A travel blogger sparked backlash after posting an Instagram photo of himself posing on the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii.

Nils Travel, who has close to 44,000 followers on Instagram, posted the photo of himself atop a crumbling pillar in the Roman city with the original caption: “A little area that had NO people! Meaning, nobody to yell at me meaning I had to come down from this thing! Exactly what I needed!”

Shortly after, the Dubai-based travel blogger began to face criticism online – because sitting on the ruins of Pompeii is not only disrespectful, but forbidden.

In addition to death threats, the photo provoked fury in Italy – where numerous people reported Nils, who is from Belgium, to authorities.

The photo also prompted Vincenzo Marasco, a local researcher, to write a Facebook post about the issues with the photo.

Marasco wrote alongside Nils’ photo: “The delicacy of our historical heritage must be preserved and defended especially by those who are not aware of its great value.”

According to a Pompeii visitor guide, visitors are expected to be “extremely careful” when moving among the ruins. The guide also reminds guests: “Do not stand on the edge of the digs or climb the walls.”

In response to the international outrage to his photo, Nils decided to keep the photo on his social media but replace his original caption with an apology.

The lengthy acknowledgement of his wrongdoing reads: “I would like to apologise to everyone that I have offended by sitting on this stone column.

“I admit that it was not my smartest decision, and I was not thinking about the historical significance of the place and how it could be perceived by others if I pictured myself in this manner.

“In my photography, I try to always convey the beauty and feeling that I experience myself in a place, so I meant in no way to disrespect the cultural and historical heritage this place signifies.”

Nils then acknowledged that his large social media presence meant he was accountable for his actions.

“However, as someone with a large online following in the tourism niche, I realise I bear a greater responsibility than others to be an example of what and what not to post, or how to behave as a traveller. Now more than ever that is clear to me,” the blogger wrote.

Concluding his post, Nils said that he had learned from the experience, which resulted in “harm and death wishes,” and hopes others can learn from his mistake too.

He wrote: “I am ready to move forward, discuss and engage in a healthy debate with anyone who wishes.”

And, as a “sign of good faith and remorse,” Nils urged his followers to donate to the Pompeii Preservation Project, which conducts research and restoration work at the site.

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