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Editorial: Epidemic of disrespectful tourists

Your social media feed isn’t more important than a 150-year-old statue at a villa in Italy

Nobody cares that “Bill was here”.

Nobody came to see “Ivan+Haley 23”.And your social media feed isn’t more important than a 150-year-old statue at a villa in Italy.

This summer we’ve been hearing about an epidemic of narcissistic tourists cutting a swath of entitlement across destinations the world over.

A 27-year-old tourist is accused of carving the aforementioned “Ivan+Haley 23” into the wall of the Colosseum in Rome. To add insult to injury he claimed not to know how ancient the ruins are. You have the opportunity of going to one of the most famous tourist sites in the world and you don’t even bother to find out the bare minimum about it. It’s not romantic to carve your initials into an ancient architectural masterpiece, it’s arrogant and stupid.

Not to be outdone, two other tourists were caught carving their initials into the Colosseum in separate incidents in the days that followed. Nobody cares that any of these people “was here” except that they are chipping away, quite literally, at our collective wonder and history.

A group of 17 German tourists is accused of knocking over and damaging a statue that stood in a fountain in a villa in northern Italy. They climbed into the fountain to take photos for their social media accounts.

Canadians aren’t immune from this kind of bad behaviour either. A 17-year-old Canadian boy was questioned by Japanese police after using his fingernail to carve letters on a wooden pillar of an 8th-century temple that’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s reminiscent of the people who inevitably die every year from standing too close to the edge of cliffs or deliberately climb outside of fences so they can get the best shot. Does it really matter how many people “liked” it if you’re dead? Time to think of more than self-indulgence and me, me, me. Time for some behaviour that is respectful of the places you have the great privilege to visit.

Black Press Media