‘Drunk tourists are acting like they’ve conquered our city’ As visitor numbers soar to 9 million a year, the Czech capital is launching a crackdown to stop noise, nuisance and the defacing of landmarks. Robert Tait joins one of the organised tourist pub.
Eugen Kukla could not have made his feelings clearer as 120 drunken tourists thronged noisily past his home around midnight, rudely breaking the silence of a normally sedate city-center residential street.
“Fuck pub crawls, fuck pub crawls,” he repeated over and over again while filming the scene on his smartphone. Some of the crowd reacted in amusement, smiling and waving into the camera.
But Kukla, 55, a photojournalist, did not see the joke. “It’s an expression of my personal feelings, a buildup of frustration over a long period of time, years and years and years,” he said. Kukla says his and his family’s lives have been disrupted by the snowballing trade in pub crawls through the centre of Prague and past their fourth-storey flat. “It’s been going on for 10 or 15 years – but it’s got worse.”
Kukla’s act of resistance was witnessed by the Observer, which joined one of the organised crawls along with a senior councillor from Prague 1 municipality, the local authority responsible for the Czech capital’s historic tourist district – now under strain as never before from a burgeoning influx of foreign visitors.