Europe’s Airports Are Chaos This Summer. And Now There’s Another Problem

Tourists are back in full force in Europe, and travel has become chaotic with delays, cancelations, and disruptions. If the queues outside airports weren’t bad enough, terribly behaved tourists are adding fuel to the fire.

A series of incidents have recently been filmed and written about, where holidaymakers are seen out of control. In a shocking event in May, a Saudi tourist drove a Maserati down the Spanish Steps in Rome, causing fractures to two steps of the 18th-century attraction. He was apprehended by the police and charged with aggravated damage to cultural monuments and heritage. 

Just this month, an American tourist hurled her e-scooter down the Spanish Steps while wheeling down the stairs with a companion. She caused €25,000 in damage. Initially, both were fined €400, but after an assessment of the damage, they were banned from the historic site. (Sitting on the Spanish Steps has been banned since 2019, and police can fine offenders up to €400.)

Two tourists were fined €1,000 for dipping into the Trevi Fountain. Tourists are also being reprimanded for flying and crashing drones in Italy. Sadly, such reports are nothing new. For years, cities have fined and banned travelers who disrespected national and historical monuments and broken laws. 

Strict Rules

Overtourism is partly to blame for a spike in rowdiness in popular destinations, and many countries are now introducing legislation to control the number of visitors and their transgressions. 

Not only do the officials in Rome fine people for sitting on the Spanish Steps, but other behaviors could land you in trouble in Italy, including being bare-chested, jumping into fountains, and messy-eating by monuments. Venice is going to introduce a tourist tax in 2023 to counter over-tourism. The city already employs “angels of decorum” who patrol the streets and fine unruly tourists, and it has banned large ships from its Venice lagoon. Amsterdam is planning to ban tourists from its cannabis coffee shops, and its tourist tax is one of the highest in Europe. 

Related: The Best Things to Do in Rome

In Spain’s Playa de Palma, locals have had it with drunk tourists who cause damage to property and start fights. The Spanish Balearics has introduced new laws that limit the number of drinks at all-inclusive resorts, and now bars and restaurants are refusing entry to people wearing swimwear and football t-shirts. The Spanish secretary of state for tourism, Fernando Valdes, has promised that badly behaved tourists are not welcome in Spain.

And now, Amalfi Coast in Italy has restricted tourist entry on its narrow, winding road due to miles-long traffic backlogs. According to new rules, vehicles with odd number plates can drive along the coast on odd dates and even number plates on even dates between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in August and the weekends of June and September. Travelers are encouraged to use public transport to avoid choking the road; the ban doesn’t apply to locals. 

Beyond Europe

In April, a Canadian actor posted videos of performing haka, a ceremonial Maori dance, naked on a sacred mountain in Bali. After the footage caught people’s attention—it was offensive to the Maoris and Balinese—the authorities detained him for being disrespectful. Since he was unvaccinated, he was waiting to be deported—airlines weren’t willing to fly him. The video has been deleted, and he is banned from Bali. 

Bali allowed tourists to stay in the country during the pandemic, but it is now tired of the silly antics and brash behavior. Since the pandemic, Indonesia has been fining and kicking out tourists who are violating health protocols—punishment also included push-ups. Travelers who are treating holy sites as their playgrounds are also deported. Influencers pranking guards with drawn-on masks, a couple filming porn on a sacred mountain, a tourist climbing a sacred tree, and an influencer posing with a sacred tree naked are examples of how much of a problem badly behaved tourists are. 

In 2019, the governor of Bali said that the government would deport people who don’t disregard local culture and customs. The region has been dealing with the threats brought on by over-tourism and was on Fodor’s No List in late 2019.

Now that the world has opened up and everyone is out and about, it’s important to remember how to be a responsible tourist. Respect local culture and follow the rules, or you’ll find yourself on the opposite side of the law (and unfortunately, also plastered all over social media).

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