Noisychatterers, smooching lovebirds, armrest hogs and selfish seatrecliners – we hate them all with the utmost passion. But nastytravelers get classified not only by the infuriating things they doon planes. Every now and then a list of the world’s most annoyingnationalities gets published, stirring as much consenting laughter ofthose at the receiving end as it does clamor among those who find themselvescomplete the roll call. Here’s 8 that always get the dubious badge oftheir countries’ bad ambassadors, together with 8 reasons why we are ready to turn a blind eye…
Indians don’t fair well in thepoliteness stakes as hoteliers all over the world describe them asrudest, most indifferent to local culture and least likely to tip.Local cuisine is also something they will approach with suspicion,and the level of noise they generate is considerably higher thanwhat’s on average considered tolerable. Anything that exculpates thisoff-putting reputation? Well, despite the fact that rudeness reallyis a national problem in India, other attributes need to beinterpreted in terms of a specific cultural pattern. Tipping is not anorm in India. Nor is saying thank you, and nobody makes fuss aboutit there. Quite the contrary, aggressive haggling runs in the Indianblood and so is the tendency to speak quite loudly. On the otherhand, cross-cultural etiquette should apply to everyone and it is theawareness of some universal rules that makes traveling a pleasure forboth the guest and the host. After all, when in Rome …
OK, this one is quite controversial. As host Greeks are considered exceptionally warm and friendly, but somehow got on TripAdvisor’s list of the most annoying tourists. What may be to blame? Well, Greeks can be very loud and disruptive in public, often speaking too loudly, yelling at each other and fully exercising their range of explicit vocabulary (perhaps hoping nobody will understand). They also tend to be quite demanding of restaurant staff and will often complain about the service or quality of food. Heavy smoking doesn’t win them friends either.
The list of wrongdoings committed byRussian tourists is as long as the Volga River. Some of them howeverare so ridiculous that they seem more of a legend than real offensesto travel etiquette. OK, they may have terrible taste infashion (happily combining tracksuits with golden jewelery) andappalling table manners (belching and swearing through meals). It’salso within belief that they sport their money around (expectinghotel staff to be their servants) and cut in line in bars. But theidea that they load doggie bags with buffet food and hide sunloungersin their rooms overnight to make sure they get a spot at the pool inthe morning seem a little far fetched. Or maybe?
Fine. So what did those courteous,respectful people do to get on the list? Well, perhaps the reason isbecause “they cruise the gambling tables like Baracuddas with asore stomach”, as one tourist to Vegas has nicely put it. The thingis that for the Chinese traveling is a relatively recent phenomenon,and a luxury that still not everyone can afford, so once they areout, they feel compelled to make the most of the moment. And that forinstance boils down to the fact they always want to look at theirfinest (including wearing ties and high heels when hiking in nationalparks), tend to enjoy high level of noise and opt for sightseeing inlarge groups, often blocking passages, obstructing views and simplydisturbing silence. But can we really be mad with them? It seems wejust need to give them a little time to learn how to be tourists.Luckily, the Chinese foreign ministry have issued guidelines to helpChinese tourists learn appropriate behaviors when traveling abroad.
The British are a hard nut to crack.For three years in a row, they have been named as messiest, meanest,scruffiest and worstbehaved … but only in Europe. In Greece, for instance, localresidents and business-owners held a protest against Britishtourists, because “they get drunk, they exhibit themselves infront of our eyes”, and frequently get arrested for random actsof violence and vandalism. Outside Europe, however, Britishholidaymakers hover around the top in the worldwide Best Touristrankings, with over 15% of the surveyed commending them for theirgenerosity and politeness. Weird…
Beforethe Russians arrived on the international scene, it was the Germantouristswho fell subject of habitual jokes about hoggingsunloungers at the crack of dawn. But much as they’ve been knockedoff the top spot, they still have enough vice to secure themselves aplace on the podium. Not only are they claimed to be the mostfashion-challenged tourists (right beside the Americans), but alsoget really bad marks on politeness towards waiters and hotel stuff.There are even rumors that they’ve been frequently caught stealingfrom tip plates on bars. Some of us have apparently been hit by thecrisis harder than others…
Just as with the British, putting aclearly-defined label on the lot of American travelers would be quiteunfair. They were holding the ‘worst tourists’ crown for years,mainly for their noisiness, frequent complaining, bad taste infashion and obnoxious remarks on why none of the locals spoke anyEnglish. And although there’s still quite a lot to do to shrug offthe reputation of a slobby, noisy, ignorant American, the US touristshave managed to warm up their image abroad, basically by getting topmarks for generosity, as the biggest spenders and tippers, andreadiness to try local cuisine.
For years the Americans have been the undisputed champions ofholid
ay rudeness. But it seems their reign has finally come to anend in favor of the French. A survey by Expedia reveals they comeacross as penny-pinching, impolite, inattentive to local customs andleast ready to try a new language. Who in fact hasn’t been atthe receiving end of this indifference? It’s true that the French have been blessed with a fabulous country and don’t need to go abroad much. Consequently, they may not be familiar with travel etiquette and even a bit stressed when on holiday. But does this really excuse arrogance?
Just to finish it all off, do you thinkthe label of the world’s worts tourist can really be stuck on anyparticular nationality? And isn’t it that we can put up with anything– scruffy clothes, bad table manners, ignorance in terms of localculture and language – as long as we are addressed with courtesyand respect?