Who are the worst tourists? Usually, they’re the ones who have never had to adapt to a new culture before. Egotourism is becoming more and more of a concern. However some nationalities have tendency of putting themselves out there for all to see. Bad behaviour by foreigners is usually more evident: being a visible minority in another country will put you in the spotlight when you misbehave. But who are the worst?
Please note that this article was written and published in December of 2015.
Surveys, specific events relayed by the media or personal experiences can make up a pretty good idea of who are the worst tourists on Earth.
Please note that I understand very well the difference between the generalisations of a nationality and the behaviour of individuals. Keep the hate mail coming…
Are your compatriots part of the list? Who are the ones you’ve noticed the most?
Worst Tourists: Hong Kong residents have staged protests against Chinese tourists in the past
– Worst of the worst? Chinese Tourists
This one is an easy one. To their defense, Chinese tourists are new at this, and so having to adapt to certain social customs is not something they’ve ever had to do. How new is tourism for the Chinese? In 6 years (2013-2019), Chinese tourism to the USA is expected to rise by 172%. They are now the #1 spenders on tourism, after the Americans and Germans.
There are dozens more examples. In my personal experience, I have witnessed groups of Chinese tourists violently shoving people out of their way to get inside a train in Tokyo. Oh, and queue jumping seems to be a national sport! Even their government had to issue warnings about their behaviour abroad. The Chinese government is now tracking the behaviour of their nationals. This isn’t exactly the best way to be liked…
Worst Tourists: Americans – Two sisters were arrested in Cambodia and deported after taking nude selfies on the sacred grounds of Angkor
– Worst Tourists: Americans, close second
While Chinese tourists do well to make sure they’re noticed, the Americans have a certain claim to fame on their own. They’re the worst tourists… according to themselves!
There are a couple of things that Americans are known for. Speaking loudly is one. Expecting everyone to understand English is another one. Speaking loudly to someone who doesn’t understand English and expecting that person to understand better because they’re yelling is one of the worst.
But these are general behaviours. What about specific situations?
My personal experience? A young American man having a beer with some fellow tourists in Vietnam went on a loud rant against communism (in a very strict communist country), but also against every single European country and even at Canada for “providing for the scum of the Earth”, ie. the poor, and “involving the government in health care”!
– Worst Tourists: Russians and vodka
The issues with Russians all stem from their relationship with alcohol. They tend to drink a lot and refuse to respect the rules.
My personal experience: one morning, in a plane going from Prague to Belgrade, a huge Russian man dressed in a track suit and sporting large jewelry, travelling with two women, drank vodka shots of a bottle they brought on board, stood up during takeoff to reach in the overhead bin and refused to put his seatbelt on. The man also insisted on speaking Russian to the Czech attendant, which irritated her a great deal.
Worst Tourists: The English and Irish are party animals… for better or for worse
My personal experience? In Laos, the first night of my arrival at a hostel, an Irish girl brought back another tourist to the dorm and had sex in the middle of 9 other people trying to sleep. The night following the incident, once again in the middle of the night, completely drunk, she entered the dorm and screamed on top of her lungs at her friend who was in the dorm next door to bring her earplugs. I’d had enough of her antics and screamed back at her, saying that we’re trying to sleep. From that point on, she acted as if she had been wronged. Oh well!
– Worst Tourists: The smug French
“Oh, in France, things are much better…” Have you ever heard this sentence? The smug French have been voted the worst tourists on Earth on Expedia. That being said, claiming that they are “penny-pinching, rude and terrible at languages” is nothing compared to the behaviours cited above.
My personal experience isn’t about tourism but rather immigration, as the French are thousands upon thousands each year to emigrate towards Montreal, my hometown. And the debate rages on: are they victim of discrimination? Or do the French who emigrate to Canada do exactly what they blame immigrants in France of doing?
Worst Tourists: Canadians – In Berlin, do NOT refer to the Second World War
– Worst Tourists: Canadians? Really?
For some reason, that same survey claimed that Canadians are the second-best tourists on the planet. The caricatural ultra-polite Canadian with a northern Ontario accent probably has a way to mark the minds.
But the crown of the worst tourist behaviour of all time probably goes to this Canadian guy who, in Berlin, did the Heil-Hitler pose while his girlfriend took a picture…
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