On a visit to Australia‘s Gloucester Tree, two tourists jumped as I barked at them. 350 plus years old and standing at 72 metres tall, this Karris is the second tallest fire lookout tree in the world.
Over one million tourists have climbed the tree in Pemberton, Western Australia since 1947. These two tourists had decided that the tree needed their names carved into the tree and were engrossed in the task with a knife when chewed out by me . Furious at this intrusion into one of my favourite spots, I was determined to make them stop. Telling the ranger later, she lamented that this was a never ending battle.
As the son of an archaeologists, I was horrified to see tourists clambering all over Angkor Wat in Cambodia past signs saying “Danger” and “No Entry” and “Keep off”. An ancient relic is danger of being squashed to death by tourists seeking the best “selfie” spot.
Parisian authorities are being urged to ban the tradition of lovelocks leaving locked padlocks in bridges which are starting to cause significant damage and irritation within that city.
I have seen tourist graffiti on church walls in Italy, bits of statues appropriated to take home and rock art painted over. Its selfish, rude and spoils it for others (read: spoils it for me).
When in Uluru (Ayers Rock) I have been fascinated and horrified by a collection of artefacts in a hut on the way to the rock. These include rocks and dirt that were collected by tourists and then returned. Every tourist who has returned stuff complains of being plagued by bad luck from the time they took their artefact. The site is considered sacred and the local people believe that nothing should be taken from the site.
I was brought up with the slogan: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. This saying seems to have been adopted by the Sierra Club in the USA in the early twentieth century from a translation of a speech purported to be by native American leader Chief Seattle. While it has been literally applied to wilderness zones, I think it is a good adage for travelling anywhere.
What do you think?