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Barcelona Considers Banning Tacky Souvenirs

Plus, bad tourists are embarrassing themselves again, and more top travel news.

Is it even summer if you don’t encounter a few ugly tales of tourists behaving badly? This week’s news involves two cases–one in Bali, another China. Meanwhile, Barcelona is still on the warpath against overtourism, while more countries are struggling with deadly heatwaves.

NO.1

PANDA RESEARCH CENTER BANS BAD TOURISTS

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding banned 12 tourists for life. In separate instances that took place between April and June, these visitors, whose ages ranged from 26 and 61, were caught throwing lollipop sticks, eggs, bread, and cigarettes on the outdoor playing area of the pandas. 

The research facility said that the pandas are fine and healthy. But there’s a word of advice for everyone who visits: stay clear of animals. Violators will be punished for their bad behavior. The Chengdu Research Base website warns that the penalties include, “criticizing and educating, banning them from entering the park within one year, banning them from entering the park within five years, or banning them from entering the park for life.”

NO.2

TOURIST SHAMED ONLINE FOR BALI BEHAVIOR

Bali is also frustrated with disrespectful tourists–especially those who strip at sacred places and flout local customs and laws. Even after countless warnings, penalties, and deportations, it’s not too hard to find tourists embarrassing themselves. 

In a recent incident, a man at a five-star resort in Nusa Dua put his face in a large decorative bowl of water and rose petals, and tipped it over. The viral video has amassed 54 million views and more than 34,000 comments. As expected, there were many who called out the disrespectful behavior. One said, “And this is why tourism has such a negative light 🤷🏻‍♀️.” Some were befuddled about why someone would do this, while many found the clip hilarious. 

@milzo09 Who let Max and @Kate Woodland830 go to a posh resort? Sorry #apurvakempinskibali….. #fyp #fypage #foryou #fail #failsoftiktok #failed #epicfail #funnyfailsoftiktok #funny #jokes #bali #travel #faceplant #tourism ♬ original sound – Milzo


Fed up with inconsiderate tourists, Bali is also proposing to increase the tourist tax from $10 to $50 to improve the quality of visitors. I Gede Komang Kresna Budi, chairman of Commission II of the DPRD-Bali, a regional legislative body, said that low taxes have turned Bali into a cheap tourist destination and that “Bali should not be sold cheaply.” 

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Related: How Not to Be a Jerk When You Visit Bali

NO.3

U.S. FINES EMIRATES $1.8 MILLION

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has landed in hot water with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The U.S. agency has slapped a fine of $1.8 million on the airline for flying in restricted zones designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Emirates and JetBlue have a code-sharing agreement, which allows the New York-based airline to sell tickets on Emirates. As such, the DOT has authority to impose penalties for any violation of FAA orders. The DOT explained in its notice that the airline operated a significant number of flights in prohibited airspace between the U.A.E. and the U.S. between December 2021 and August 2022. The FAA prohibits airlines from flying under 32,000 feet over Iraq, and Emirates said that the flights flew lower due to orders by air traffic controllers.

The DOT had imposed a $400,000 fine on the airline for similar violation. 

Related: U.S. Fines Emirates for Entering Restricted Iraqi Airspace

NO.4

BARCELONA CONSIDERS BANNING TACKY SOUVENIRS

Phallic-shaped bottle openers and sexist t-shirts might be the next target for the city of Barcelona. The Spanish city is considering banning offensive, sexist, homophobic, and tacky souvenirs that “degrade” the city. Jordi Coronas, a district councilmember, said that these souvenirs devalue the streets.

But that’s not all the city wants to get rid of. It is also banning short-term rentals to make more apartments available for locals amidst a growing housing crisis. In the next five years, the city will scrap almost 10,000 tourist flat licenses and make way for locals to have better access to housing.

NO.5

OVER 1,300 DIED OF HEAT IN MECCA

More than 1,300 pilgrims who arrived in Mecca for the holy Hajj pilgrimage have died due to soaring temperatures in Saudi Arabia, as high as 51C (123F). Around 1.8 million people are in the city for the sacred religious duty, but thousands of tourists have traveled with unlicensed tour operators.

Authorities confirmed that 31 of the casualties traveled from Egypt, though as many as 1,000 Egyptian-nationals may have died. Saudi Arabia issues a set number of Hajj visas every year, but those who are unable to procure these travel on regular tourist visas. Hajj pilgrims are entitled to medical treatment in Saudi hospitals, but regular tourists aren’t.

Egypt has revoked the licenses of dubious travel agencies arranging improper transport. More than 50,000 Egyptians made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, but many attempted out without proper permits.