Don’t be THAT person.
When tourists receded from overcrowded destinations in 2020, the economy came to a grinding halt but residents sighed with relief. The pandemic gave them a brief pause from disrespectful, rowdy travelers. But the headlines are back: tourists flouting rules, trespassing, damaging cultural heritage, and ignoring all forms of decency. It’s even harder to stomach these after the pandemic when there is a newfound appreciation for travel, history, culture, and nature.
Badly behaved tourists suffer more than international infamy. From fines and penalties to bans and jail time, authorities around the world have been cracking down on people who break the law on foreign land and think of the world as their playground.
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The Woman Who Posed Topless on a War Memorial
WHERE: Venice, Italy
A tourist from the Czech Republic was caught posing topless on a war memorial in Venice in January. She stripped off her top, went for a dip in the lagoon, and lay next to a statue of a murdered partisan. She was accompanied by her boyfriend and another woman, who also jumped the barrier. She was fined a total of $513 and banned from the city for 48 hours.
Venice is no stranger to tourists being indecent. Since 2018, the city has employed “angels of decorum” to patrol the streets and monuments, and fine people for swimming in the canals, sitting on monuments, feeding pigeons, and roaming in bathing suits or going bare-chested.
The Dutch Tourist Who Did the Nazi Salute at Auschwitz
In January, a Dutch tourist made a Nazi salute at the gate of Auschwitz, a former Nazi concentration camp in Poland where more than one million Jews, Roma, Poles, and POWs were murdered. The site is now a museum, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and still stores horrors from the war. The woman, who was reported by the museum guards, was arrested on the charge of promoting Nazism and fined after she pleaded guilty. She got off easy, it could have landed her two years in jail according to Polish law.
Two Americans Who Broke Into the Colosseum to Drink Beer
WHERE: Rome, Italy
Does someone really need to break into an ancient amphitheater to enjoy their spirits? In November, two tourists from the United States thought it would be a good idea to enter the historic monument in Rome and were fined $905 after early-risers spotted them. The Colosseum has faced vandalism many times in the past with tourists trying to steal bricks or carving their initials into the monumental structure. A Russian tourist was fined $22,692 for carving “K” on a brick in 2014.
The Woman Who Was Fined $500 for Touching an Endangered Monk Seal in Hawaii
WHERE: Kauai, Hawaii
Last June, a woman from Louisiana posted a video on TikTok of her touching an endangered monk seal in Hawaii while on her honeymoon in 2021. The marine mammal is endemic to Kauai and protected by federal and state laws—there are only 1,400 seals left. The couple apologized for their behavior and paid a fine.
The honeymooners were hardly the only bad tourists in Hawaii last year: In September, a woman was arrested for faking a COVID-19 vaccine certificate to avoid quarantining. Hawaii has had one of the strictest entry requirements in the U.S. and travelers have tried to falsify their documents to work around them.
Hawaii also witnesses repeated disruptions from tourists who have trespassed on sacred lands, disrespected signs, and disturbed wildlife. You can be a better tourist in Hawaii by staying on marked trails, keeping your distance from the seals, and following the rules.
Two Men Who Trespassed on an Undeveloped Section of the Great Wall
In April last year, two tourists from Senegal ignored a “no crossing” sign on the Great Wall of China and climbed atop an undeveloped section of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. They have since been banned from ever returning to the wall.
The Woman Who Got Too Close to Grizzly Bears
WHERE: Yellowstone National Park
On a trip to Yellowstone National Park, a woman from Illinois got too close to a mama bear and her three cubs in May. She was trying to capture a picture of the wild family when the mama bear charged at her and then retreated. The tourist was booked on a charge of intentionally disturbing wildlife and is facing a one-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
The woman at Auschwitz could have been a member of a neo-Nazi organization. In the 1930s and 40s, the largest Nazi Party outside of Germany was the Dutch one. Anton Mussert led that party but the Germans put Austrian Nazi Seyss-Inquart in charge of the occupation of the Netherlands. NOT a topic that's popular with the older generation in the Netherlands.
I am not sure what others think is "woke" about this site, but it is certainly rude and inconsiderate, not to mention dangerous, to behave in this manner. Showing respect for other cultures and their memorials, icons,etc. is a sign of good manners and reflects well on you and your country. The lady photographing the mother bear is lucky to be alive. Mother bears are notoriously protective of their young, and this woman's actions could have resulted in the bear being put down as well as her losing her life.
Hey! I got a great idea, since Hawai'i is so worried about tourists, why don't they just ban tourism altogether? Oh yeah all that money they bring in...sorry! If one has to follow so many rules, why bother going, anyway? What can you do? sit on a beach, maybe, if you don't endanger something or pollute something, and go to a luau?
Never a good idea to go near a female bear and cubs, never!
Irresponsibility and lack of respect for nature, historic artifacts or places of national and/or international homage sites should be stricktly punished... This isn't any kind of "WOKE" or "PC" - it is just common sense and politeness... Unfortunately some tourists are bent on proving how dumb they are... I pity those and hope they would not be returnng to places they do not understand until they do.
If respecting other people"s cultures, laws and traditions is "woke" or "PC", count me in.