Right before Chinese National Day on October 1, the government published a Guidebook for Civilized Tourism, which is supposed to educate Chinese tourists about how to behave when traveling – especially abroad.
Soon after that, the Internet was flooded with articles and posts such as “Why are Chinese tourists so rude?” etc. Apparently, Chinese tourists were even voted the worst tourists on the planet. But why is that?
To be honest, I am not really in favor of this statement. I much rather believe that people who say this kind of thing are not properly educated themselves, they don’t seem to understand cultural differences and apparently aren’t pretty open-minded.
A columnist for the South China Morning Post, Amy Li, describes the reputation of Chinese tourists as “pushy, loud, impolite, unruly, and they are everywhere.”
And although destination countries welcome the tourism dollars the Chinese spend, they loathe the chaos and hassle some mainland tourists bring upon their cities and other tourists.
“Why can’t they just behave?” people wonder, some aloud. – Amy Li
Who Really Needs to Be Educated?
So Chinese tourists seem to have a love-hate-relationship with foreign tourist destinations. On one hand, the foreign tourist industry is happy when Chinese tourists come to visit since they spend a lot of money during traveling, but on the other hand they think they are “uncivilized”. Perhaps those people should spend some time understanding Chinese culture and Chinese cultural differences compared to the rest of the world.
As being German, it always makes my hair stand on end when I see how German tourists behave in places like Mallorca, Lloret de Mar or even Asian destinations like Thailand. Do you think they are welcome there? I am sure restaurant and bar owners would say the exact same thing about them: “They are welcome because they spend a lot of money but they always cause trouble and hassle.”
Another article says: “It’s hard to say whether this nation’s citizens are actually the most ill-behaved or whether there are just more of them to go around… but the fact remains that many respondents ranked Chinese tourists as among the worst behaved.”
Maybe people in the tourism industry should start to educate themselves about Chinese manners and cultural differences before judging Chinese tourists, BECAUSE there are so many Chinese tourists with a population of 1.3 billion? Just saying…
Due to the Chinese economic boom growing numbers of cash-flush tourists travel abroad. The United Nations World Tourism Organization says 83 million Chinese tourists spent nearly pounds 63 billion ($105.6 billion Cdn.) overseas in 2012.
How About a Compromise?
Of course, I am not saying Chinese tourists can do what they want. They should also inform themselves about certain customs and cultural differences before travelling abroad. But so should everybody else. I think that if everybody informs themselves about each other, everyone can enjoy a nice vacation.
And don’t forget that there are also certain things foreigners should not do when travelling in China:
- Don’t talk about politics, Taiwan, Japan…
- Collect business cards with BOTH HANDS
- Don’t stick your chopsticks in your rice
- Always offer seats to the elderly AND children
- Don’t take pictures of certain Buddha Statues
- Don’t blow your nose at a table
Life is all about mutual respect and understanding. Just to say Chinese tourists are the rudest on the planet seems not legit to me. It all depends on the travel destination, the people there, their customs, etc. When I was travelling in Egypt, Russian tourists were considered the worst because they did not know/want to haggle with the vendors. In Mallorca or other party islands in Spain, German and British tourists don’t know how to behave and get drunk like crazy.
One thing is clear, Chinese tourists account for a higher and higher percentage in world travel. Chinese citizens can afford to travel abroad and are interested in foreign cultures. It is just the beginning and everyone has to get used to it. Get over it…