Travel boss is offering vandals a free holiday to help educate them about community tourism
The founder of G Adventures, who was recently honoured for his services to humanity and made an Officer of the Order of Canada, has launched a global search for ‘Ivan + Hayley’, whose names were carved into the wall of the Colosseum in Rome.
A video of a tourist carving what appeared to be his name and that of his fiancée into the brick wall hit the headlines around the world after it was tweeted by Italy’s culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano.
The minister tweeted on Monday: “I consider it very serious, unworthy and a sign of great incivility that a tourist defaces one of the most famous places in the world, a historical heritage (site) such as the Colosseum, to carve the name of his fiancée.”
G Adventures boss and executive director of documentary film The Last Tourist, Bruce Poon Tip is now seeking ‘Ivan + Hayley’ in an effort to educate them to be more conscious travellers.
If they are found, Poon Tip will invite the couple to travel with him, along with any one person who assists in reaching them, to a G Adventures summit.
“While it’s shocking to see anyone deface an ancient landmark like the Colosseum, it’s not as uncommon as many would think,” said Poon Tip. “When filming The Last Tourist, we captured footage of tourists behaving in the most unconscious ways, from spray-painting landmarks to bragging about destroying 6,000-year-old rock formations. Unfortunately, travellers often suspend the values they abide by at home the moment they step on a plane, and it’s this mindset that needs to change.”
Poon Tip added: “Rather than condemning Ivan and Hayley, I’m launching an appeal to find them, and to invite them to GX, G Adventures’ inaugural annual community travel summit, which is taking place in September in Peru. At this industry-wide event they’ll have the opportunity to experience the concept of community tourism first-hand, and to learn the value of protecting the destinations they visit.”
The Last Tourist launched in the UK in May and addresses the impact of mass tourism on destinations, the environment and local communities.
“I encourage everyone to watch The Last Tourist. Being able to travel is a privilege that only a small percentage of the world has, and travellers need to understand that power and the responsibility that comes along with it,” concluded Poon Tip.
Those who can help find Ivan and Hayley, can email the tip line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture of the Colosseum in Rome by Catarina Belova/Shutterstock