Overtourism is a new term that is used to describe the negative consequences of a mass flow of tourists to different countries and cities. Last year the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) published a list of the 50 cities that suffer from overtourism the most. Of course, it’s local people who get affected by these inconveniences the most. It’s one thing when polite and well-educated travelers visit a country, and quite another when crowds of tourists violate the norms of behavior that are acceptable in these places.
We learned about the things that tourists from different countries do that annoy locals the most.
- Ignoring rules surrounding wildlife. I live in Australia and the amount of times I’ve seen tourists show a lack of care or respect drives me nuts. Whether it’s feeding animals random food they have on them, which could make the animals seriously ill, or using flash photography, which can stun certain animals (e.g. penguins on the beach at certain locations) or even simple things like littering. And during the many times I’ve called tourists out for this, they just stare at me like I’ve got 2 heads.
- Don’t be too easily offended, our banter can be very strong.
- We get it, you can do a great Aussie accent, but don’t make fun of our accents, culture, indigenous people, or anything else.
- Don’t visit a favela and take smiley pictures like it’s a theme park, it’s not. People live very tough lives there and it’s ridiculous when people from first world countries think it’s cute.
- Tourists usually believe that people here are stupid and that women are easy. That’s wrong!
- I live in Portugal and almost every tourist tries to speak Spanish to us. For the last time, WE AREN’T SPAIN.
- It appears that no tourist can pronounce any Irish sounding name correctly.
- It’s not a big deal (although some people make it out to be) but saying you’re Irish because you have a distant relative from here will always generate some eye rolls. Most of us see it as a culture thing more than a blood thing.
- Leprechauns, Lucky Charms, Shillelaghs, and “Lord of the dance.” We don’t care about any of these things.
Northern Ireland, Great Britain
- My apartment is very close to the Titanic Museum. I like to eat my breakfast on my balcony, Asian tourists like to take pictures of me as their open-top bus goes past.
- It’s Northern Ireland. Not the north of Ireland. They are 2 different countries.
- Don’t talk about politics or religion. No one cares what you think about the geopolitical status of our country. Most of us don’t want to talk about it, and there is an unwritten rule that you don’t. If you start that conversation with the wrong person, in the wrong pub, you can get into a lot of trouble.
- Going to Ireland and ordering an “Irish Car Bomb” is like an Irishman coming to the US and ordering a 9/11. It’s in massively poor taste.
- Don’t talk so much.
- Please don’t sit next to us on public transport if there are other free seats available in the salon. Keep at least one meter of personal space.
- Don’t haggle.
- Bikes don’t make as much noise as cars do. That’s why you have to ALWAYS look both ways when going outside. People here are easy-going, accepting of different cultures, and happy to help. But if you walk in the bike lane you will be mowed down.
- Please stop using Airbnb. Sincerely, Amsterdam. Seriously, I am convinced the housing prices are this insane because renting a room out to tourists is more profitable than… Anything else.
- Please don’t say we are like Germans in any way. We do not sound like them and we do not look like them.
London, Great Britain
- Stop teasing the Royal Guard. They’re not a tourist attraction, they have bayoneted guns, that sometimes have bullets. Don’t make faces at experienced militaries bearing their service just because they wear funny headwear.
- It’s extremely annoying when tourists stop in the middle of Oxford Street at rush hour. They take photos and make the “Peace” sign with their fingers in front of every shop window.
- Tourists pushing everyone out the way to see Buckingham Palace. My mom (who’s disabled and needs a cane to walk) nearly got knocked over while she was walking past the Palace once.
- Stop giving money to the levitating Yodas on London streets.
Scotland, Great Britain
- Don’t order local cuisine and then loudly complain. Too often I hear tourists whining their heads off after ordering haggis because they didn’t actually realize what it is, they just thought it was soooooo Scottish. It’s a stuffed sheep’s stomach, it’s meant to be meaty and (in my opinion) is an acquired taste.
- Many tourists buy a kilt and wear it in an everyday situation. Kilts are formal attire for weddings, funerals, etc., not for shopping on Princes Street.
- Stop looking for Nessie. She doesn’t like tourists, so stay away.
- I wish that western tourists would stop walking the streets in their underwear. Contrary to popular belief, the entire town is not beachfront. The mall is not the beach, neither are the restaurants.
- Don’t give handouts to the street children, because next thing you know you will be swarmed with a lot of children and will be followed everywhere you go. One of my friends was punched by a street kid when she refused to give them money.
- Please don’t put locks on the “love bridge,” your love is better than that and it’s ugly. Moreover, they all weigh several tons and one of these segments recently collapsed into the Seine.
- When I lived in Paris, I’d always get annoyed at tourists standing in the middle of the metro corridors, preventing people who actually knew where they were going to pass through.
- Tourists arriving by cruise ships get bussed to where the path to popular mountain treks begin, then they start out in sandals or high heels and wearing shorts and T-shirts. Most make it part of the way, and then local volunteer rescue services have to help them back down because they are cold and exhausted. Some make it all the way up and by then it’s dark and they get lost, and again we have to send out a volunteer rescue crew or a rescue helicopter.
- For the sake of everything on Earth, don’t say the phrase “I’m going to Oslo, what’s your best advice for seeing the northern lights?” Oslo is too far south for places where this natural phenomenon can be observed.
What habits of tourists visiting your region confuse you and make you frown?