We Indians have earned ourselves a bad name as tourists – we are known to be loud, messy and demanding. The 1,300 Indian men who caused recently ran amok on board a Royal Caribbean cruise is a classic example of the worst of Indian tourist behaviour.
While not reflective of an entire population, a few rotten tourists do tend to spoil a country’s image. So here are some of the world’s worst-behaved tourist nationalities according to surveys, incidents and discussion threads.
Chinese: The Chinese are the top international spenders when it comes to travel and tourism. According to the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO), the Chinese spent a whopping USD 258 billion in 2017 on travel.
However, our neighbours also have the reputation of being among the worst behaved tourists in the world, which often stems from plain ignorance. In a hilarious, yet scary situation, an elderly couple threw coins into a plane’s engine just for good luck. According to reports, the woman stood on the stairs and threw the coins, which if undiscovered, could have led to a major disaster.
In another incident, a passenger opened an emergency exit while the plane was due to take off from Hangzhou because he wanted some ‘fresh air.’ Other accusations that Chinese tourists face include taking selfies with wild animals, desecrating archaeological sites, assaulting airlines crew members, littering and defecating in public places.
USA: Think US tourists and the image that comes into your mind is that of loud, obnoxious travellers who expect everything to be similar to how it is back home. The image is also often the truth. While on a holiday in Spain, American tourist Marian O was arrested in August 2017 after insulting a ticket seller at the Palma Cathedral for not being able to speak English.
The Americans have also often been accused of disrespecting the local culture. In November 2017, two tourists were arrested for mooning a Buddhist statue while on a trip to Thailand. Adding on to that is the fact that quite a few of them have sticky fingers – in a 2016 survey, 69 per cent of American tourists admitted to stealing extra hotel toiletries while 64 per cent admitted to urinating in public places.
French: You would think that by virtue of being one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, the French would know a thing or two about behaving properly as tourists. However, turns out that they don’t. A 2009 Expedia survey which asked 4,500 hotels worldwide to rank tourist nationalities based on their behaviour actually found French tourists to be the worst in the world.
According to the survey, the French are the worst tippers, the least likely to learn a new language, more likely to complain about hotels and to engage in scandalous behaviour. This video shows a group of French tourists narrowly escaping getting mauled by a pack of cheetahs at Beekse Bergen Safari Park in the Netherlands.
Germans: The masters of precision expect everything to be perfect when they step abroad. A Reddit thread on Europe’s worst tourists speaks about how Germans, especially the elder tourists, are rude, keep complaining and are never satisfied or happy with the service they get. They feature amongst the worst dressed tourists with their sandals, socks and speedos. German tourists are also known to reserve all the loungers at beaches and, as this hilarious video shows.
Russians: Most of the problems with Russian tourists occur after they are a couple of vodkas down. In an incident which went viral, a Russian passenger on board a Siberian Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Russia had to be restrained with seatbelts and tape after he started harassing a female passenger.
The Italians are particularly miffed with rich Russian tourists, who, though the lifeline for many cash-strapped Italian resorts, are considered to be rude, ill-mannered, with little regard for local customs. One Italian hotel owner was reportedly so fed up with Russian tourists that he made a 3-minute video advertisement showcasing how rich Russians should behave while on holiday.
His pointers include smiling and saying thank you, looking at people in the eye and greeting them in a friendly way, avoiding wearing high heels and tiny glitzy bikinis around the swimming pool and avoiding the need to show off by ordering the most expensive bottle of wine on the list.
English: The mayor of the Croatian island of Hvar was reportedly so fed up with loud, lewd and drunk English tourists that he announced hefty fines of up to Eur 700 on tourists caught drinking, sleeping, eating, and behaving uncouth in public places.
An Expedia.co.uk survey which questioned tourist offices in 17 popular tourist destinations, including Bangkok, Cote d’Azur, Cyprus, Dublin, Edinburgh, Ibiza, London, Majorca, Marbella, Orlando, New York, revealed that the British make the worst tourists. Stag and hen parties and bar brawls are what the English tourists are most infamous for.
Israelis: Most young Israelis travel abroad for a year after completing their three years of compulsory military service. The Israelis find themselves on this list primarily because of this huge backpacker population, who are often accused of lack of education, of disrespecting the local culture and of debauchery. Many genuine travellers have recounted tales of friendly smiles disappearing at hotel receptions as soon as they show their Israeli passport.
In 2014, Israeli tourists were detained by Peruvian officials after they were found partying, allegedly high on alcohol and drugs, while a few were even caught having sex at the spiritual site Sacsayhuaman site called Mulluqocha. In 2006, an Israeli tourist was held at the Mumbai airport after arriving on an El Al flight, after a cartridge loaded with 16 9-mm bullets were recovered from her bag. A number of Israeli tourists have also been accused of illegally lighting fires at campgrounds and setting forests on fire by their actions.