Who are the ‘worst’ tourists?

An interesting write up by Tim Pile here at the SCMP last year. We’ve all read about horror stories relating to bad behavior of tourists from certain nationalities. They come from the North, South, East and Western hemispheres. Basically they can be from anywhere. Did you read Tim’s article in the link? If so, now you know who potentially the worst of them are.

But today our point is not to identify the ‘worst’ tourists by nationality. Rather it is about stereotyping. Certain groups of people are supposedly industrious. Others are good business people often amassing a lot of wealth. Some folks are plain stingy and mean. You see where this is going?

It does not help that media tend to sensationalize news. One black sheep these days appears to taint the entire flock black grey too. Not a fair assessment in our opinion. Live and let live. Why can’t we all just get along? Because we all have our own cultures that would be normal in our part of the globe. We travel to learn about how others live and to appreciate it.

We so often associate specific traits, characteristics, behaviors to groups of people. Labels these are, and oftentimes they are demeaning too. So before we start pointing fingers at anyone else, let’s start from ourselves. Charity begins at home and so does self reflection.

A tough and contentious topic. Any brave soul care to air a view? Or will this become another commentless post?

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

30 thoughts on “Who are the ‘worst’ tourists?”

  1. I’m used to thinking Americans are the worst, but I have seen obnoxious tourists from all over. I try to present my best face when I travel and there have been times when I see Americans behaving badly that I pretend to be a local! The key is to show respect, apologize for not knowing their language before just talking in English and assuming they know, try to learn some words or phrases of their language, and be willing to try new things. Also don’t talk too loud!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mel and Suan. I just started following your blog. You were nominated for an award by Ana from Cook The Beans. I’m from the United States and have traveled to Malaysia , Singapore , London,Australia and Canada. I’m sorry but I have to agree with voice David Willert, WE ARE THE WORSE! Some of us don’t want but EXPECT things to be just like they are in the States. When we go to other countries , if we do that, we look for a McDonalds. Many Americans have NEVER had a passport because we’d rather take that long ride to visit the folks down in Florida rather than take a visit to Japan. If English isn’t spoken or if we can’t locate it on a map, Americans DON’T go. Sad, but unfortunately that’s the way it’s been for years. We are very narrow minded and thank God this is changing with the newer generations of Americans but by and large, David wasn’t being hard on some of us americans, he was just keeping it real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, that could be well true we might have to agree. And we’ll we ya a funny one when we were on the Caribbean cruise years back. As one of the few Asian couples, we got a lot of attention and questions at the dinner tables… mostly over our English accent (Brit unfortunately) but quite a few were curious about where we came from. And you’re right they could not locate our little red dot…! Hah! But then we cannot locate a town in the middle the mid west either… so well…
      Any, glad it is all changing. The web has a lot to do with it. And IG certainly brought photos of places to the lives of many people. With the geotag it is now easy to locate them! And we’d be chauvinistic to portray red dotters as all worldly-wise and appreciative of all things outside of their country. We have countrymen who behave the same too!


  3. The world is getting smaller and although prejudice and stereotypes still exist, (I just wrote about stereotypes too), I do think it is decreasing along with awareness of other cultures. There are good and bad in every population and I am ashamed to read about the ugly Australian, mentioned in the comment above.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was thinking ‘brave you are for raising it,’ Suan. I remember way back in the 60s reading the book, “The Ugly American” by Eugene Burdock and William Lederer. It always stuck with me and reminded me of the importance of being culturally sensitive. My time as a Peace Corps Volunteer reinforced it. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For me, the worst tourists are those who expect the destination to change to suit them. Why bother travelling if you just want to be at home in a different location? Embrace the local culture and learn to adapt.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I like the conclusion to the article you linked by Tim Pile; that is, that people in the travel industry think that the worst tourists are those from their own country. Very revealing, I think. Maybe we are (generally speaking) more willing to cut people from other cultures some slack regarding their behavior, whereas we know what the standards for behavior are in our own country?

    By the way, I am STILL NOT getting emails when you post! 😦 I went back into ‘Settings,’ and it was marked ‘On’ for getting them, but it’s still not happening. So I unmarked the setting for getting emails, and then marked it again. I hope that that will fix the problem, because I don’t want to keep missing your posts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We think Tim Pile indeed made a very good point of the perspective that do not often get aired. Sensational news sells, and oftenmost it is easier to point it somewhere else…
      Oh yeah, we’ve been having the same issues with the reader recently too… seems like it does not list any article!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A sensitive topic, indeed. I live in Japan and have stereotypes dropped on me all the time (you’re American? But you’re not loud/rude! You sure you’re not [insert other nationality here]?!). There are stereotypes that Japanese folk use to “warn” me about other nationalities that often visit the country- that’s a topic in and of itself.

    For me, what I dislike about any given tourist is disrespect to that location. I’m not talking about making mistakes- we all do that in a foreign land! What I mean is blatant disrespect– knowing you should cover your shoulders when entering a temple but going shirtless anyway; being asked by a local in YOUR native language not to do something and shrilly responding with “I don’t speak [Japanese]!”; things like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Etiquette.
      Hmmm… what happened to good ole etiquette is the question for us. We are sure that most folks do not behave insensitively at home or with friends or love ones. Why can’t it be applied the same way when one embarks on a journey is the intriguing part.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When I went to Yellowstone last spring, an Australian couple was with me, and the woman kept saying whenever she saw an annoying Asian tourist that those Chinese are simply horrible, Half times I had to tell her that those are not Chinese, they were Korean. She also said she hated the Chinese born Chinese, so I had to remind her that I am Chinese born Chinese and she is traveling with me. She was surprised at that and said that my manners don’t look Chinese at all. Sigh. Prototyping at its best!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I think your point is really valid, there are some people that are bad tourists but that shouldn’t lead us to label or be prejudice towards everyone of a particular nationality. We are all fellow travellers out exploring the world. That should unite us not divide

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This the what we are looking for! You’ve hit the nail on the head! For us we are fellow travelers out in the world, wanting to see it in all its glory… and not so glam side…
      Its almost like the workplace. Some people have habits, stereotypes etc… so this is not a phenomena limited to travel. We probably meet with it all the time! But yes, we ought to unite and help each other. You know for us many years back in the outback 10 folks from different countries hiked the Murchison gorge, cooked meals together, washed up after… it was so much fun. That is what we all want.


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