5 Unexpected Ways Tourists Ruin Absolutely Everything
Anyone who's ever lived in a tourist town knows how annoying things get whenever ski season / spring break / Ponycon rolls around. But sometimes the aftermath of an influx of rubbernecking rubes is a lot worse than wrecked hotel rooms, trash-strewn streets, and impregnated Denny's waitresses. For example ...
New Zealand Is Drowning In Poop
Most people know New Zealand as "the place that isn't Australia," or at best, "where Lord Of The Rings was filmed." With its gorgeous views and now exceptionally low orc count, New Zealand tourism has shot up over 50 percent since The Fellowship Of The Ring was released back in 2001. While all these tourists have brought sweet, sweet nerd dollars to the economy, they've also brought something else: mountains of shit.
In 2017, New Zealand welcomed 3.5 million tourists, a whopping 480,000 more than they had projected a few years before. All those extra tourists have to work out their trail mix and lembas bread somewhere, and it's becoming a big problem. The government built a "poo tracker" for the sole purpose of determining what national landmarks are closed because of "fecal contamination." In 2016, ten different beaches were closed so the government could tackle the rising feces levels. We'd hate to be the tourists who arrived at those beaches only a few turds before they closed.
52 hours. That's how long this video takes to go from the world's most beautiful scenery to the busiest bathroom at Oktoberfest.
To be clear, the problem isn't that tourists meandering through Hobbiton are determined to make its streets their personal toilets. It's more that New Zealand's sewage systems simply aren't built to handle this much crap. They're constantly overflowing, and travel companies are forced to rent out portable chemical toilets to give visitors an option besides flinging their shit about like monkeys. That's why the country is considering putting a cap on the number of annual tourists ... or at least taxing them heavily to lessen the load, as it were.
Chinese Tourists Have Been Feeding North Korean Children
As strange as it sounds, North Korea does want tourists. They're particularly interested in Chinese tourists, mostly because China doesn't hate North Korea quite as much as the rest of the world. But there is one problem: The tourists won't stop treating local children like ducks.
Though, counterpoint: Somebody needs to feed those kids.
Koreans are increasingly upset that not only will Chinese tourists throw candy at kids in the street, but they have no problem grabbing students during a school performance, scooping them up, and taking selfies with them like they've stumbled upon a kookaburra on a safari. In America, that kind of behavior would get you shot, and in the famously harsh North Korea, it gets you ... nothing, apparently.
There has to be some happy middle ground there. Maybe "gently stabbed" or "shot, but somewhere nonvital, like the love handles."
Tourists Are Killing The Bahamian Swimming Pigs
One of the top tourist destinations in the Bahamas is Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island home to some world-famous adorable "swimming pigs." Local legend has it that passing sailors left them there, planning to return and cook them later, then plain forgot about Food Island. Whatever the case, the result is the same: cute swimming pigs!
Or their floating corpses, at least.
A number of visitors got a macabre surprise when, instead of a school of pigs happily swimming to shore, they were greeted with the unfortunate sight of seven dead ones bobbing around. While many were quick to blame a small but unsavory number of tourists who had been riding around on the poor pigs, feeding them junk food, and even trying to get them drunk, the official cause of death was sand. It seems the lure of snacks on the beach led them to abandon the food sources in their natural habitat, and beachgoers unwittingly fed them sand every time they threw food to the little piggies.
A Small German City Celebrates Karl Marx To Sustain Chinese Tourism
There's a lot of reasons to visit Germany: beer, castles, and ... Karl Marx? That's right, Mr. Seize The Means Of Production is a major draw for hundreds of thousands of tourists from China, and they've become instrumental to the economy of the moderately sized city of Trier, where Marx was born.
This would normally be a cute local quirk, if not for one little issue. The town is located in the former East Germany, and some locals are uncomfortable a) celebrating the man they associate with that regime and b) working to please China because of it. Thanks to the complete infusion of Marx, he literally tells them when to stop and when to go.
It's not just cute little stop lights, or the fact that the house is a museum. China commissioned and built a huge statue of Marx for the city center, though Trier was able to negotiate the size down from 21 feet to a more modest 17.
According to city officials, this is no big deal. Marx is an important son of the city, and it's entirely possible -- nay, encouraged -- to separate the man and his ideas from those who abused them. The fact that they stand to profit enormously from the statue, and that it was gifted to them by a repressive government, is entirely beside the point. Their faces must have been pretty red, then, when China confirmed in a party newspaper that glorifying communism was exactly the statue's purpose.
Some locals have pushed back by protesting or writing about their distaste in the paper, but they have little actual recourse. Perhaps they can take solace in the fact that they are undermining Marx's principles with the capitalist spectacle of mass tourism and those little Marx rubber duckies they have for sale.
Venice Might Be Visited Into Nonexistence
Venice, the world's most beautiful open sewer, is at risk of disappearing. And it's not what you're thinking. Before the islands sink because of climate change or the gondoliers rise up in rebellion, tourists will kill the city.
The city's population has dropped from 175,000 to 55,000 since WWII, and it loses another 1,000 people each year. Compared to the 30 million tourists and counting each year, it's clear that Venice is devoid of Venetians. A city can't exist without its inhabitants, which is why UNESCO has threatened to revoke the city's status if it drops below 40,000 people. Astute math-doers will note that if it keeps losing residents at its current rate, that will happen in 15 years. By the time you're officially uncool, Venice could be a floating museum.
And it's all thanks to the outsiders who make living in the city unbearable for its natives. Foreigners buying property have driven real estate prices and the cost of living way up, and the city's services can't handle the volume of people. The latest solution is straight-up segregating the populations. In 2018, the government tried to keep the tourists out of the way by restricting them solely to popular attractions, and even erecting metal barriers to physically stop them from interacting with locals. Hopefully, it goes well, and the same system can be implemented in Los Angeles.
E. Reid Ross has a couple books, Nature is the Worst: 500 Reasons You'll Never Want to Go Outside Again and Canadabis: The Canadian Weed Reader, both available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Jordan Breeding also writes for a whole mess of other people, the Twitter, and a weird number of gas station bathrooms.
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