The latest locale to face the wrath of misbehaving Chinese tourists is a quiet Italian fishing village known for its tranquility, beauty and connection to nature.
When it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, the committee praised the Cinque Terre National Park in northern Italy for its: “harmonious interaction between people and nature to produce a landscape of exceptional beauty.” Each year, the rugged cliffs and picturesque seaside villages in this region attract tourists from around the world — including China.
Last month, one group of Chinese visitors to Cinque Terre were captured on camera manhandling some live sea urchins straight out of the sea. In a video that was aired by Taiwan’s TVBS news station, the tourists are seen snatching the urchins from the water and passing them around. One woman is even seen trying to smash open a sea urchin using a rock. The person recording the video remarks that she can’t believe what she has seen.
A local fisherman told the group’s tour guide that the sea urchins were currently too small, and can’t be removed, but that didn’t seem to stop the tourists.
You can watch the video below:
Last month, a group of tourists in Malaysia also ignited an outrage for ravaging the local marine life to use as props in a set of “fun” photos on the beach. Thanks to Chinese tourists’ reputation for destruction, locals assumed that the tourists must have come from mainland China.
In recent years the villages of Cinque Terre National Park have been under increased pressure as more and more tourists from around the world visit the remote place. In August of this year, a China Daily article described the traffic jams on the paths between the villages, which didn’t seem to phase some Chinese visitors.
“Words fail me, it is so amazing,” one 18-year-old tourist told China Daily. “Are there too many people? No. You know, in China, everywhere you go there are so many people. (For us) there are few people here.”
Of course, it’s all a matter of perspective. With 2.5 million tourists visiting the area last year, the 5,000 or so locals living in Cinque Terre filed a petition calling for UNESCO to better manage the arriving tourists and save the world heritage site from catastrophe.
[Video via TVBS]