Watching a bullfight
The Running of the Bulls (or Festival of Saint Fermin) in Pamplona, Spain, is one of the country’s most famous – and controversial – traditions, seeing more than a million pour into the medieval city each and every year, reports USA Today. The practice sees bulls chased with sticks and rolled-up newspapers down an 875-meter (2,870-foot) racecourse before culminating in matador fights (and almost certain death, at least as far as the bulls are concerned).
Bullfighting has existed in some format or another since Roman times and like all ethically problematic cultural traditions, the debate on whether to ban, restrict, or continue said tradition is a particularly sticky one. However, as a tourist, you can choose whether or not to contribute time and money to the blood sport. For an equally lively and much less controversial Spanish festival, there is always La Tomatina.
Visiting places already overrun with other tourists
The rise of budget airlines, large-scale resorts, and short-term rentals (looking at you, Airbnb) means every Tom, Dick, and Sally can hop aboard a plane and visit extraordinary locations that our grandparents could only dream of. This can be a good thing – think: the economic and personal benefit of travel – but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. In this case, it can lead to overtourism and destruction of the natural habitat. (Not to mention angry residents.)
Perhaps, the best-known example of this is the beach from The Beach, which is actually Hat Maya beach on Phi Phi Leh Island, near Phuket, Thailand. Back in the 90s, when Danny Boyle began filming, it was a little-known destination. Now, as many as 5,000 paradise-seeking tourists step onto its shore every single day, The Telegraph reports, degrading the reef and threatening marine life. It is for this very reason, Thai officials made the decision to indefinitely close the island this year.
It's not just Hat Maya that's at risk of overtourism. It's Boracay in the Philippines, Machu Picchu in Peru, Venice in Italy, and Bali, which is swamped in plastic garbage. More recently, the Rainbow Mountain of Peru has attracted attention. Only discovered five years ago (and probably as a result of climate change), it is now drawing crowds of up to 1,000 a day and a 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) trail has already been seriously eroded.