How far would you go for a picture-perfect shot? Would you scale a building, pester an animal or even risk your life? Well in such a case, you wouldn’t be the first one to do so. Selfies have become an increasingly fatal nuisance in the past few years. In an attempt to capture the ideal frame, people have pulled hilarious, irrational or even life-threatening gimmicks. This trend has led many governments to enforce no-selfie zones at popular tourist attractions.
The most talked-about example of the same is Hanoi Train street in Vietnam. The slim lane through which the train slithered, was lined with cafes and houses perched almost upon the track itself. With a negligible distance of only a few inches, the track posed a threat to the tourists on the sidelines. As a crowd-puller, the street also witnessed its fair share of photo-crazy tourists. An incident last year involving an emergency stop due to tourist crowds on the track led the government to shut down the lane.
This may seem dramatic on first look, however it is not the only place forced to take action against perilous tourist behaviour. A study of news reports conducted in 2018 revealed that India was the number one country in selfie-related deaths. A disturbing incident occurred in 2015, when a Japanese tourist passed away while taking a selfie at the Taj Mahal. The visitor fell down the stairs of the Royal Gate and suffered multiple head injuries. Another case was of a 20-year-old who fell to his death from the top of raesi fort in Jammu and Kashmir while attempting to capture a selfie.
As a result of incidents as such, 16 major tourist attractions in Mumbai were turned into no-selfie zones. This included major tourist attractions such as Girgaum Chowpatty, Bandra bandstand and even the city-famous Marine Drive promenade. Deaths have been recorded at these areas, one being a teenager’s death by drowning in the sea while trying to capture a photo.
Following this, party capital Goa announced a ban on selfies on its beaches due to multiple fatalities. Many deaths were discovered to be caused by attempts near the water or even on slippery rocks. An astonishing number of people were known to be swept away in the currents. Soon enough, the country appointed all states and union territories to identify and create no-selfie zones across all selfie-prone tourist destinations in the country.
The famous Kumbh Mela is also on the list due to risk of stampede in the incredibly crowded area.
Apart from India, many countries have labelled certain destinations to be free of selfies due to inappropriate behaviour by tourists. One such country is Spain, particularly the Pamplona region. This region hosts the dangerous bull race that many Indians may recognise from the popular movie Zindagi na Milegi Dobaara. The rather shocking obsession of people led many to be severely injured when they tried to click a snap amidst the run. Regarding this as a problem, the government has labelled this area selfie-free, in order to avoid any further mishaps.
‘The happiest place on earth’ may need to be just a memory unless you tag along with a buddy. Disney Parks have banned selfie sticks in their premises, deeming them to be a nuisance and even dangerous. Another famous landmark to come to the same conclusion is the Colosseum in Rome.
Another unfortunate result of the selfie craze is the suffering of innocent creatures in the process. In an enraging act, tourists at the ocean of San Bernado in Argentina pulled out a baby dolphin out of the waters simply to take selfies with it. The dolphin lost its life in this endeavour. In a more foolish attempt, a couple on their honeymoon decided to click a selfie with a shark right before they fell victim to it.
To battle these audacious efforts with unfortunate consequences, Lake Tahoe in the United States of America has also banned selfies. Cute, cuddly-looking bears roam around the area, however, they are ferocious and will maul you when they think they sense threat. Foolhardy actions by many have led them to be victim to these attacks. Johannesburg Lion Park in South Africa follows the same principle to avoid any trouble with the lions.
On a less serious note, the Garoupe beach in South France has enforced a ban to stop the media crazy visitors from bragging about their visit to the beach and instead just enjoy their experience. They call it the ‘no braggie zone’. Bans are also enforced in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and the Church of Bones in the Czech Republic, and Auschwitz in Poland due to inappropriate behaviour, considering the historical and religious significance of these locations.
Who knew a simple selfie could land you in so much trouble?