Tourist vandalism on the rise in popular Czech destinations

Certain areas are experiencing an influx of visitors, resulting in issues such as littering and veering off designated paths. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.07.2023 16:08:00 (updated on 21.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic's picturesque landscapes and well-known localities have long been popular among tourists. However, the rise in visitors is causing a concerning rise in tourist vandalism, prompting nature conservationists to take action.

Hřensko, Adršpach, and Pustevny, among other destinations, are grappling with a growing number of tourists that exceeds the area's sustainable capacity. Recent data from Munipolis, a mobile application that allows individuals to report environmental issues, reveals a troubling trend. Reports of damage to nature have increased by 17 percent in the first half of this year compared to the previous year.

Munipolis founder Ondřej Švrček said that the increase in reports is not solely attributed to irresponsible tourists. "The number of those who care about addressing these problems is also growing," he said, according to news agency ČTK.

Vandalism and trash left behind

The reports lodged through the Munipolis app often highlight instances of overturned signs, vandalized benches and shelters, graffiti, and defacement of natural monuments. The rise of overtourism is a key factor behind these problems.

Martin Úbl, the founder of the Czech Trail project, said popular tourist spots resemble crowded fairground attractions at times. Not only is there vandalism but also a high volume of discarded paper trash and plastic bottles. Some visitors deviate from marked routes, causing damage to the landscape.

He expressed concern over the detrimental effects of overtourism, and said that its consequences "extend beyond just physical damage" to "the degradation of our natural heritage and scenic beauty."

The concept of overtourism, where the number of visitors exceeds what is sustainable, is not unique to the Czech Republic. Cities like Venice, Amsterdam, and Dubrovnik have grappled with this phenomenon in the past.

Two types of tourists

Munipolis representatives observe two distinct groups of visitors in Czech forests: disciplined tourists who respect nature by not leaving litter behind, and undisciplined tourists who deface natural monuments, vandalize signposts, and stray from designated paths.

Domestic tourism remains a popular choice for Czech citizens this year, with 61 percent opting to spend their vacations within the country, according to state agency CzechTourism.

Conservationists and environmentalists are calling for increased awareness and responsible tourism practices to preserve the natural beauty of the Czech Republic for generations to come. As tourist numbers continue to rise, a collective effort could protect the country's treasured landscapes from the damaging impact of overtourism and tourist vandalism.

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