I'm with stupid: Are these tourists adventurous, reckless or just dumb?

  • Europe
  • Friday, 13 Sep 2019

Visitors to Iceland often underestimate the danger of getting stuck in river beds or mud with their rented cars. Photo: dpa

Getting burned by boiling hot springs, trekking across slippery glacier ice, jumping from balcony to balcony: Some tourists seem to have left their brains at home when packing their luggage. Popular travel destinations are so worried about the behaviour of reckless tourists that they’re taking measures to prevent injuries.

Cinque Terre, a string of five seaside villages on the Italian Riviera, has banned wearing bathing slippers on coastal paths, with a penalty of up to €2,500 (RM11,590), though nobody has had to pay yet.

“Our goal is not to cash in on the fine. We want to make sure the travellers are safe and come with the right equipment: appropriate shoes and water,” says Luca Natal, a spokesman for the Cinque Terre. The measure has been a success: the number of injured has drastically declined.

The beach is another hotbed of potential danger for careless visitors. Badly fastened parasols can be swept away by the wind and hit unsuspecting sunbathers.

And worse still, many reckless beachgoers swim out too far before they realise they have no strength to return, according to a spokesperson of the Italian trade union of public bathing institutions.

A beach in the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, which has introduced fines for tourists who wear the wrong footwear. Photo: dpa
Are slides and slippers the right kind of footwear for a dangerous trek like this? Photo: dpa

In Mallorca, Spain, a trend known as “balconing” has been popular for some time. This involves jumping between hotel balconies, usually under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or trying to jump into the pool from one of the upper floors.

These “tests of courage” often have fatal consequences. The first deadly fall of this year’s high season took place on the island at the beginning of June. The victim was a 20-year-old Brit who fell from the second floor of a hotel in Magaluf at about 3am. Last summer, there were at least eight deaths.

In Scandinavia, the fixation with the perfect selfie has driven tourists to foolhardy stunts. In Norway, visitors have ignored barriers to try to walk on extremely slippery glacier ice. And on the Faroe Islands, people regularly have to be rescued from the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic in their kayaks.

Visitors to Iceland often underestimate the danger of getting stuck in river beds or mud with their rented cars. Photo: dpa

In Iceland, the Facebook group “Stupid things tourists do in Iceland” has become popular. Members make fun of visitors underestimating the dangers of glaciers and geysers or getting stuck in river beds and mud with their rental cars.

Pop star Justin Bieber’s recent trip to Iceland has made things worse. In the music video to his song I’ll Show You, he’s seen walking along a narrow path on the edge of a steep canyon, sitting on a cliff, rolling around in the moss and jumping across fences.

After the video was released, the influx of visitors to the canyon was so overwhelming it had to be closed temporarily. The local tourism board Visit Iceland has started several humorous campaigns to encourage visitors to be more careful and respectful towards nature.

One is an online oath visitors can take to act responsibly and be prepared for any weather. Point three on the list: “Take pictures that are to die for, without actually dying.” — dpa

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