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Old 03-04-2008, 01:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
Bees's Avatar
Location: New Hampshire, US
Tourism and Perceptions: A list of the world's "Good Tourists" and "Bad Tourists"

I ran across this list of the best and worst tourists a while ago, and started thinking about how it affects the perceptions many people have in regards to people from other countries.

Since tourism has become such serious business in many countries, we should pause for a moment to consider how deeply perceptions of who are "good tourists" and who are "bad tourists" could effect such an influential part of a country's economy.

Should we allow our perception of tourists to also affect our perception of a nation as a whole? We abhor generalizations yet we make them all the time.

That being said, here is short run-down of which countries are said to have the best and worst tourists. Research provided by online travel service Expedia and reported by the BBC News.


The Best Tourists:

1. Germans
2. Americans
3. Japanese
4. Italians
5. A tie between French, Norwegian, and Swedish tourists

The Worst Tourists:

17. A tie between Argentinian, Finnish, Czech tourists as well as New Zealanders
21. Indians
22. A tie between the Irish and the Israelis
24. British tourists

Some comments from the article on the best and worst tourists highlighted often stereotypical but important perceptions about certain types of tourists.

"...Germans were the best-behaved and the British, Irish and Danish the worst..."

"...Americans were judged the most courteous and the British the rudest, alongside the Russians and Canadians..."

"...The Italians, Spanish and Germans are most likely to try local food, but the Britons, Indians and burger-loving Americans are more likely to shy away from native delicacies..."

"...But the Germans did not perform well in the spending and tipping stakes and were described as the meanest nation - closely followed by the British.

The big spenders were the Americans, then the Japanese and Russians..."

Now open for discussion:

From what countries do your "good tourists" and "bad tourists" come from and why?

Have you, yourself always been a good tourist?
The sands of time past keep shifting according to how we remember or forget or refashion it in hindsight, which is no sight at all.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
I've never left the US so I don't count .
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: New Hampshire, US
Originally Posted by Randle2I
I've never left the US so I don't count .
That's OK Randle21 you'll make it outta here soon, I hope.

I forgot that good TFP form calls for the one who posts to go first.

I've seen German and Irish tourists getting very drunk and loud and sometimes quite rough. Israeli tourists have a reputation for agressively trying to get cheap prices.

Has anyone besides me ever been accosted by Israelis that are manning mall kiosks? It seems to me that they are just as agressive when buying or selling.

Still these are all generalizations. For every one "bad tourist" I've come across there are many of the same nationality that are totally pleasant and charming.
The sands of time past keep shifting according to how we remember or forget or refashion it in hindsight, which is no sight at all.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Manhattan, NY
I'm going with my sig. It doesn't matter, there are good and bad eggs of everything. I try to judge in the moment not as a whole. I've met many nice people and I've met complete assholes in my travels. But I do not travel where tourists roam for the most part. I tend to not travel with the packs of tourists because where they want to go isn't all that exciting to us.

While we tend to stay in fabulous resorts, I like to get the local flavor by immersing myself amongs locals. This is sometimes uncomfortable for me and the wife, but it is how we get to know more about a people and their culture.

Our most recent trip we couldn't believe that people said Puerto Rico was really expensive. Every meal we had was really inexpensive, until we went to where the tourists went, and wow that area is expensive.

Where people have strong cultures and offense is tantamount inadvertently such as Thailand, (feet pointed at someone is offensisve) Philippines (tend to point with their mouths in a kissing motion), Singapore (gum chewing), there are many books that detail just how to deal within the culture.
I don't care if you are black, white, purple, green, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, hippie, cop, bum, admin, user, English, Irish, French, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, indian, cowboy, tall, short, fat, skinny, emo, punk, mod, rocker, straight, gay, lesbian, jock, nerd, geek, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, either you're an asshole or you're not.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Windiwana
yeah im with Cyn here. if your an asshole your just an asshole. it doesnt matter where your from. I'm mostly well behaved, but every once in a while my punk side emerges. For example, i almost got arrested in Mexico and in the Bahamas.

bah, what can i say? every now and then i like to get drunk and act like a stupid ass.

oh and a word of advice, carrying a drunken' friend over your shoulders in Progresso Mexico is not a good idea. Dont lie down on the sidewalks, and dont do a drunken' circle pit/slam dance in the streets, either.
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for me And there was no one left to speak out for me.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
It would be interesting to know which tourist boards were surveyed in this 6 year old article.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: New Hampshire, US
Originally Posted by SSJTWIZTA
For example, i almost got arrested in Mexico and in the Bahamas
Your post reminded me that I did get arrested in Mexico.

oops! I guess I should have fessed up to that in the first place.
The sands of time past keep shifting according to how we remember or forget or refashion it in hindsight, which is no sight at all.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: upstate NY
I live in a town that is just about over run by tourists each summer.

Americans can be both the best and the worst guests you could ever ask for.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Oregon
Overseas other Americans make me cringe.

I was at a McDonalds on the Champs-Elysees, and stood in line behind the quintessential Middle American Tourist Couple. Both were wearing ugly Paris t-shirts, and talked in these horrible broad accents. They didn't even try to order in French. I ordered after them, and did order in French, and the difference in attitude from the cashier was palpable.

My traveling companion was almost as bad.

As far as my opinions of other tourists go, I've met a few. I've traveled a lot within the United States, and to Vancouver, B.C. The hostels in Vancouver attract people from all over. My favorites were the Kiwis. Kiwi guys are very polite and friendly. Aussies, on the other hand, are a little rougher, mannerswise, but also very nice. I'm surprised to see the Kiwis so low on the list.

Canadians are great until they're clogging up the traffic in Northwest Washington when I'm visiting. I once met a very nice young man from Edmonton who had the most exotic good looks--he must have been part First Nations. He seriously looked like he belonged in a romance novel or something--until he opened his mouth, and then he had a strong accent. Still sexy to me; not so much to others.

Yes, most of my tourist stories involve me attempting to pick up men from other countries, or men from other countries trying to pick up me. It happens. Guys with accents--even Canadian ones--are hotter. Fact. As such, most of my experiences with those from other cultures are fairly positive, I must say.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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For me, good tourists whether myself as one or those that I meet here are friendly and outgoing and engaging. The worst tourist I ever met was a bulldog that a french dude brought here with him. I wouldn't turn you back on him if I were you.

I think I've been a good tourist. I talk with people and ask anything about them or where I am or whatever and they usually talk with me and we have extended conversations. (My first time in London, I was surprised at how many people asked me if I lived near the Grand Canyon. Apparently it is the US destination spot for Londoners.) When Mary and I were in Bermuda over the summer we stopped to talk to a woman who was gardening. She walked to the market with us and then we went to her house and had lunch. In my milquetoast existence the worst touristy I've been has probably been impatience at having to wait at an airport and saying something discouraging, or worse.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons...be cheerful; strive for happiness - Desiderata
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
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I'm a godly tourist. I tip very well, I'm friendly, I try to learn the language, and I help people.

Still, there have been times I've said I was Canadian in order to avoid political discussions.
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:47 PM   #12 (permalink)
let me be clear
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Location: Waddy Peytona
If we're considering international tourism, I've never met nicer tourists or hosts than in Costa Rica. I'd like to think we were good tourists as well.
"It rubs the lotion on Buffy, Jodi and Mr. French's skin" - Uncle Bill from Buffalo
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: corner of No and Where
I dunno about this. I've spent some time abroad and we American's can be so very oblivious. Many of the stereotypes about the American international traveler - obnoxious, loud, inconsiderate, etc. can often be embarrassingly true. However, this is far from a universal description and I think the fact that so many Americans are now aware of this stereotype has actually reduced our bad behavior somewhat.

I will say, though, that while many foreigners have damn good reason to be pissed at the U.S. lately, I really couldn't stand it when they would get mad at individual citizens traveling abroad. I don't represent my government, people! I even got this in England, which is astounding given that Britain was (and is) very much a part of the Iraq coalition. Locally, I think Americans are so ill-informed about foreign countries that we don't condescend often towards tourists in our homeland because we're embarrassed that we don't know anything about them...
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: ~
When I was in China our guide, whom we had a great relationship with, confided with us that Canadians were very cheap and her least favorite of the tourists.

Then again, some of my fellow American visitors made me cringe in their provincial attitudes.
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Old 03-05-2008, 06:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: Some place windy
It seems like perceptions of good and bad tourists could be influenced by particularly memorable experiences with bad tourists rather than a reasoned assessment of "good" and "bad" tourists from each nation.

When I traveled as a child, my parents were always concerned that we were well-dressed, quiet, and polite wherever we went. As an adult, I've always tried to blend in wherever I went. (Which never seems to work in Mexico - something about being 6'4", blond haired, and blue-eyed gives me away as a foreigner).

A few years ago, my wife and I traveled to London for a conference and Paris for fun for a couple of weeks. In both cities, we were asked for directions multiple times by people from those nations. Evidently, we were doing a reasonable job of blending in.
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