5 mins

5 examples of atrocious tourist behaviour

They left more than footsteps. And took away more than a memory. Five acts by tourists that will have you hanging your head in shame

Security scan (Police handout)

1. Kidnapping a penguin

In a scene reminiscent of The Hangover, three Welsh lads woke after a heavy night of drinking on Australia’s Gold Coast to find a penguin in their room. On further reflection they vaguely remembered breaking into the local SeaWorld, swimming in their underwear with dolphins and kidnapping the penguins. They dumped the penguin in a local canal, popular with bull sharks, and were only caught after they boasted about their exploits on Facebook.

2. Breaking the finger off a 600-year-old statue

Every wondered why museums don’t like you touching their stuff? A 55-year-old surgeon from Missouri found out when he innocently tried to measure his pinky finger against that of the one on a 600-year-old statue in the Opera del Duomo in Florence. 

The finger snapped off – the statue’s, not the tourist’s – and the American is sweating on whether the museum has a ‘You break it, you buy it’ policy.

3. Charging an elephant

Not a tourist this time, but someone who should know better – a safari guide. After a few too many Windhoek lagers, and egged on by his mates, this guy thought it would be a good idea to charge an elephant. 

Luckily, the elephant decides he’s not worth it and walks away. His employers felt the same way. He was sacked the next day.

4. Passing out on a luggage belt

Italian newspaper La Repubblica recently ran a report about a 36-year-old Norwegian tourist who turned up at  Rome’s Fiumicino airport, beer in hand, to fly back to Oslo and promptly passed out on the luggage belt as he checked in. It wasn’t until he passed through the x-ray machine that he was spotted. Apparently a security guard saw his internal organs on the monitor and contacted the police.

5. Writing your name on a 3,500-year-old Egyptian carving

A 15-year-old Chinese school boy scratched ‘Ding Jinhao was here’ on bas relief in an ancient temple in Luxor, Egypt. It was spotted by a fellow Chinese tourist who took a photo and posted it on the internet. The boy was tracked down and after reporters descended on his home, his mum issued an apology on his behalf. 

Before the internet you could get away with such behaviour. Just ask Lord Byron.

Have you ever witnessed atrocious behaviour by tourists on your travels? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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