October 17, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Tourist Destinations with "No Selfie Zones"


Tourist Destinations with "No Selfie Zones"

Danger sign and skeptical woman face split image

In today's digital era, the irresistible urge to snap a perfect selfie can often overshadow the very essence of a journey. However, some destinations worldwide have put stringent restrictions on the act due to the perils it poses.

Interestingly, in the recent decade, selfies have claimed five times more lives than shark attacks, despite the global craze around these self-portraits.

Continue reading to find out just how serious of an issue this really is, including real-life reports, statistics, and specific places where selfies are no longer allowed—that’s right, not allowed. There are now official “No Selfie Zones”.

Selfie Stats

A woman taking a selfieSoloviova Liudmyla, Adobe Stock

The statistics are alarming. While only three selfie-related deaths were documented in 2011, the figure skyrocketed to 98 by 2016.

One study revealed that between 2001 and 2021, 379 people passed away while attempting to capture the perfect selfie, with drowning, transport-related accidents, and falls being the most common causes.

Real-life Reports

Shocked Woman Covering Her Mouth Sitting in a Restaurant in gray sweaterNicoleta Ionescu, Shutterstock

Selfie-related accidents and fatalities have been reported worldwide. Here are just three specific incidents:

Cliffs of Cabo da Roca, Portugal (2014):

A Polish couple vacationing in Portugal tragically lost their lives when they slipped and fell off a cliff while trying to take a selfie at the edge. Their children, who were present but fortunately unharmed, witnessed the tragic accident.

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of mainland Europe, and its cliffs provide a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean, making it a popular spot for tourists.

Taj Mahal, India (2015):

A 66-year-old Japanese tourist succumbed to head injuries after he slipped down the stairs while attempting to take a selfie at the Taj Mahal's Royal Gate. 

The Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, draws millions of tourists every year.

Bear Selfie Incident, Odisha, India (2018):

In a distressing incident, a man in India was mauled to death by a wild bear when he tried to take a selfie with the animal. A video of the encounter went viral, showing the man's ill-advised approach to the injured bear, leading to the fatal attack.

Despite bystanders trying to distract the bear and rescue the man, their efforts were in vain.

Now that we know the extent of the selfie-related danger, let’s explore which tourist spots where capturing a selfie is not permitted.

India

People in front of the Taj Mahal on a foggy day4kclips, Adobe Stock

In recent years, India has seen a concerning rise in selfie-related incidents. To combat this, the authorities have demarcated numerous "no-selfie zones" across the country, especially in places with inherent risks, such as waterfronts, mountain edges, and historical sites with precarious structures.

Mumbai, for instance, has designated 16 such areas as no-selfie zones after a spate of accidents. These measures, accompanied by warning signs and regular patrols, aim to protect citizens and tourists alike from the unforeseen dangers of capturing that "perfect" shot.

India has reported the highest number of selfie-related deaths in the world, followed by Russia, United States, and Pakistan.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, USA

Woman at the Grand Canyon, Usablazekg, Adobe Stock

Attracting millions of visitors each year, this iconic U-shaped bend in the Colorado River is a sight to behold. But steep cliffs with no safety railings have made it a hazardous place for fearless selfie-seekers.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, there have been several accidents, some fatal, as visitors have lost their footing while attempting to take the perfect shot.

Trolltunga, Norway

Tourist spot in norwaydmytrobandak, Adobe Stock

A rock jutting out about 700 meters above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, Trolltunga offers jaw-dropping views. The challenging 10-12 hour trek to the spot, coupled with its sheer drop, has led to fatal incidents, making it an incredibly risky place for photographs, especially selfies.

Norwegian authorities have been urging travelers to exercise caution.

Running of the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain

Bull run event in spainImagineDesign, Adobe Stock

Every July, daring individuals run alongside charging bulls in Pamplona. It's illegal to record the event, but that hasn't stopped some from trying. 

In 2014, a man was fined €3,000 for attempting to take a selfie during the run, endangering himself and others in the process.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Tourist spot Cliffs Of Moher, IrelandMNStudio, Adobe Stock

These dramatic cliffs draw over a million visitors annually. Unfortunately, gusty winds and the cliff's unstable edges have led to several selfie-related accidents in the past.

In recent years, there have been multiple reported deaths, many attributed to taking risky selfies.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Bison in fieldMark Lotterhand, Adobe Stock

While the park's geothermal wonders are stunning, they're also incredibly dangerous. Visitors are regularly warned to stay on marked paths, away from wild animals, and definitely not to take selfies with bison, which have resulted in multiple injuries.

In July 2015, a woman was attacked by a bison while trying to take a selfie with it. The 43-year-old Mississippi woman turned her back to the bison, which was about 6 yards away from her at the time, to take a photo with it. The bison charged, and she was lifted and thrown into the air by the animal. 

Fortunately, she survived with minor injuries, but the incident served as a cautionary tale about the dangers of approaching wildlife too closely and underestimating the risks just for a photo.

Safety First, Selfies Second

Dealbreaker DatesShutterstock

As a tourist, the allure of capturing that perfect shot to commemorate your travels is strong. However, your safety and well-being should always come first.

When taking selfies, remain hyper-aware of your surroundings. Avoid snapping photos near the edges of cliffs, balconies, or any other high places. Steer clear of busy streets or hazardous areas and always respect safety barriers and warnings.

Remember, a picture might be worth a thousand words, but it's not worth risking your life. Embrace the moment and prioritize safety over snapshots.


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