http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/03/06/americans-are-worlds-worst-tourists-says-new-survey/?intcmp=sem_outloud i'm sure none of "US" were included in this.
I read the article. It was primarily Americans rating Americans. What it really demonstrates is that we aren't smart enough to know when we don't have the context required to answer a poll.
Elaine, Interesting article but I'm not sure it's fair to categorize residents of any country as having the "world's worst tourists". I've seen rude and arrogant behaviour by tourists from many countries, including my fellow Canadians. One factor which may have skewed that poll is that perhaps there are just more Americans travelling, so they're more prominent and noticeable? The U.S. has a population ten times larger than Canada, so proportionally more Americans than Canadians may be travelling. In speaking with shop keepers, hotel owners and others in Europe, I've heard complaints about other ethnic groups besides Americans and Canadians, but of course they tend to "grin & bear it" and tolerate the bad behaviour as they want the income. I should also add that many of the people I've travelled with on RS tours have been American and they've been polite and respectful tourists (as I also try to be). Cheers!
Hi, I used to think so based on what I observed since the early the '70s and '80s. Now that distinction of being the "world's worst tourists" can be applied to a couple of other nationalities I have in mind which I have witnessed within the last decade and who seem to be vying for that label.
Most Italians love American tourists, especially in Tuscany. Of course they smile at their tackiness when they see them wearing their gym clothes straight out of the hamper when they visit the tourist sites, but most Italians think Americans are the nicest people on Earth.
I wouldn't read much into it - these surveys seem to come along pretty frequently don't they? I just googled "worst tourist" and found this report on a 2009 survey: 'Rude' French are worst tourists Or if you prefer, exactly the same survey headlined as: Britons are worst tourists in Europe Of, for variety, a different survey one month later: Russians top worst tourist poll The tone in the last one is notable.
This article also came from Fox "News". Fear mongering is now placed in the travel realm. People now won't travel because they won't want other nations to think they are rude or the worst travelers;)
Oh James, I was just being a little silly. I've never voted for a president who has won, so I really have no agenda, politically.
Wow, I didn't see any polictal agenda in Kellys post at all??? Everyone knows Fox news is.... I don't think I have ever seen an American behaving rudely in Europe ,
in fact the only time I really witnessed rude behaviour it was from a Brit, and that was an isolated incident, the guy was a twit but his wife seemed fine, I don't think there is such a thing as any nationality being the "worst tourists",, but do have some personal opinions on large tour groups ( like 50 people) who proceed through museums etc , following their guide ( who is holding up some umbrella or banner) and move a giant "glump" , blocking others from passing them( Versailles nightmare,stuck behind such a group)
Don't people realize that when they take things from hotel rooms the owners have to pay to replace them - so the prices have to go up? Are these the same people who are also identified in both copies of this article?
Speaking as someone who owns an hotel in France, I can tell you that Americans are not in the "top" five, as far as I'm concerned!
"You perceive I generalize with intrepidity from single instances. It is the tourist's custom." -- Mark Twain
Doesn't a post like this show up about once a year? Some people complain about the behavior of their fellow countrymen, others say people from such-and-such a country are worse, some people proclaim how culturally sensitive they are and would never display the behavior being debated, etc. The debate gets quite fierce, then gradually dies down, with nothing really settled, until the thread gradually disappears into the archives. Oh well, off to get a Brautwurst and some Glühwein.
I think Americans are the worst tourists to an extent. That is of course a huge generalization, and the type of tourist who watches Rick's shows and use his guidebooks are not typical of the average American tourist. Rather, they are "good", open-minded, respectful, courteous, and intelligent tourists. Rick is a good influence, and intelligent, open minded people are drawn to his shows! The average American tourist often does not respect or appreciate diversity and foreign culture, and I often wonder why they didn't just stay home. However, when it comes to tipping, Americans are the best tourists. When I worked in the service industry the foreign tourists often didn't tipped or tipped much smaller amounts than their American counterparts here in the States.
Some American tourists are pretty horrible - regarding inappropriate clothes, rudeness, loudness, arrogance - but not everyone. Probably not a big enough percentage to call us the world's worst.
Heather, yes, as you say that is a huge generalization, on one hand you say Americans are the worst, on another you say they're the best. Just curious where you get your belief that the typical American does not not respect or appreciate diversity and foreign culture, they may not understand it but then again many people that visit the U.S. don't understand our culture and diversity. As others have posted it doesn't take anything in particular such as nationality to be considered the worst. After reading this board at times I feel that many who follow the RS philosophy are lemmings, they're seen at the same restaurants and want to stay at the same hotels, I wouldn't consider that diversity.
As a group the worst are Bit Stag parties. As individuals that are worst are those who behave the worst no matter where they come from
The worst tourist are just people who are rude and obnoxious no matter where they come from! We have encountered people from many other countries who were rude but because some of them were rude, would not judge their whole country based on their actions.
Actually James has a point, the worst tourists are Brit "hen" and "stag" parties, while in Spain we saw "No Stag/Hen Parties" signs in a few places.. they are just rowdy.. I don't think its because they are Brits mind you, its just so convenient for larger groups of younger folks to jump from UK to various places in Europe on those cheapo airlines for 2-3 days then it would be for Americans, Canadains, or Australians..
The worst type of tourists are those who think they are better than the others.
I agree Tom, but those who puke outside the cafe rate pretty high in my book too.
on my trips if you are loud and poorly dressed you are an american! probably includes me.
Tourist rating if you puke inside a cafe?
I absolutely do not believe that Americans are the worst tourists, in fact, here in Italy they are very curious and fascinated by a different culture. It seems to me that some years ago a survey of Italian hoteliers had classified the Americans as the most welcome tourists along with the Germans, while the last places English and French.
many who follow the RS philosophy are lemmings, they're seen at the same restaurants and want to stay at the same hotels Those who follow only his guidebooks can be lemmings like that, but one part of his philosophy is to find your own back doors. In general, I follow his philosophy, and when I do end up in a place he recommends, it's coincidental. I found it on my own. BTW, the worst case of "ugly American" I ever saw was an Italian, who spoke perfect English because he had lived in NYC, who threw a fit in a schnitzel house because he couldn't get a beefsteak.
of course, the worst American tourist was an Italian.
If the respndents of the survey were Italians, or Germans, or any other national group (large enough that its presence is easily noticeable for conationals abroad), opinions would probably fell on the same line. British people love to loath fellow British tourists and there is a cadre of them bragging about how they avoid places with "too many Brits" like Costa del Sol or Malta... Up to an extent, it is positive people can make self-criticism. It is also the case that, being abroad, you will have your attention captured when, say, you are in a train and suddenly hears some other group of people speaking English. If one American sees someone that is most likely not an American (language, dress etc), while travelling abroad, chances are you will just put that to the other wealth of information your brain is absorbing. But if you recognize (English accent etc) a fellow group of Americans, you will likely project your own expectations over them and judge them accordingly. We all do that. This being said, the 3 most populated countries in the World are China, India and United States. Being much richer, on a per capita basis, than the other two means Americans are often the largest foreign group in any major touristic destination. Things become intersting when some people conceive vacations as getting far not only from America but from Americans, only to be let down stumbling upon dozens of then on the quaint streets of Vernazza.
Different countries have different rude behaviors depending on where you are and what you are doing. If you were at a beach resort, you would be so angry at the Germans getting up 1st thing in the morning and reserving every single lounge chair at the beach or pool with their towels. They are also known for being very rude and demanding in hotels, restaurants and stores.
If Andre' would come hang out at a major tourist attraction for a while, he would see how many Chinese are traveling in Europe. Zillions of them. All on buses, with guides using loudspeakers, and very, very pushy. Not fun. Those who work in restaurants and hotels in popular tourist cities will give you their own take on the rudest tourists and Americans, nor Brits, nor Aussies are anywhere near the top. Russians seem to top the list here in Germany. Middle Eastern men can be quite rude too, as well as the Chinese.
In this survey, Americans are too hard on themselves.
Should tourists from around the world and even locals follow courtesies common to a locale?
Bruce I do think we as tourists should try to observe the local customs and manners..to the best of our ability. Sometimes people just don't know the "rules", and accidently commit blunders, but there are some tourists who don't care to follow other countries customs out of a sense of superiority that they are the way they are and thats just fine thank you very much. Those are the "bad" tourists ..not the former.
Why American tourists should be the worst? are they noisy, arrogants, rude, stingy? American tourists that I met around Europe did not seem so to me.
I have never met a stingy American. I have met rude noisey arrogant ones though, but I have also met rude noisey arrogant ( p any other nationality here)all over the place. Nationality has little to do with how a person really behaves, there are sometimes cultural or customs mistakes or misunderstandings , but not really arrogance or intentional rudeness. What I have noticed for ALL nationalities is sometimes tour groups or large family /friend groups get a mob mentality , pushing to stay together, blocking side walks or passages in museums etc, I hate getting stuck behind a bus load of tourists from anywhere who so intent on staying together that its impossible to pass them or get around them in places like Versailles. All nationalities have shown this behvaviour and it bugs the heck out of me!
You can always push back if you have no compunctions about doing that. I have seen that type of rude, impolite, arrogant, complaining behaviour described, especially in Vienna and Frankfurt, in particular towards hotel personnel while waiting for my turn to check-in. I emphasize waiting in the proper manner but mindful these characters don't push ahead on me first. Certain displays of behaviour always show up...they never can speak German. They always have to speak English, without which they're stuck. I marvel at the forbearance of the German hotel staff at having to deal with these types not in German and, mostly, putting up with these unpleasant guests. Most likely, as hotel staff they're under orders to be pleasant even if the guests are not. When English is spoken with American accents, that catches my attention and notice. Some Americans are indeed probably too hard on themselves in the way they may be viewed. I wonder if those in the big tour groups, the Chinese and Russians, care what sort of image (it's all about image and perception) they are creating or have. They're not putting out efforts to be endearing in Germany and Austria, not by my observations.
There are dozens of these rankings about the worst tourists in the world. In 2009, Expedia did a survey on the behavior of tourists from various countries, in 4500 worldwide hotels and the French were the worst. In 2011, a survey, conducted by comparison website for cheap flights, Skyscanner, revealed that the British were considered the worst tourists in the world. I bet that in 2013, we Italians will be the worst.
Lola, what you tell is interesting because, in these surveys, seems that Japanese tourists are the best in the world. I have traveled to many European countries, these surveys make me smile. The American tourists that I met here were friendly people. My personal opinion is that this survey does not deserve any attention and rightly it will be forgotten in a month. Surely some people, moved by a genetic anti-Americanism will exploit this fact to confirm their granite theories, but who cares!
Getting out my popcorn! Seriously though, I think many Americans are aware that there are some unpleasant stereotypes of Americans worldwide and thus take great pains to avoid them. Sometimes they go overboard, walking around with a chip on their shoulder and expecting everyone to hate them (especially in while traveling in France!) So putting out those bad vibes probably results in some silly behavior. But on the whole most Americans I know go out of their way to try to present a good face for our country. The stereotypes I hear from Europeans about Americans are that we can be loud, competitive, friendly (overly so?), like to make small talk, and only speak English. And those are often true (including for myself!) compared to Europeans, but they're not negative, just different, and I think most Europeans get that. Some prefer it! I think the survey is meaningless, it would be better if hotel owners and people who operate tourist attractions outside of the US had rated tourists. And I have to laugh at Brits and Aussies rating us the worst - look in a mirror, guys - we tend to share a lot of the same cultural traits and behaviors compared to Europeans!
"The stereotypes I hear from Europeans about Americans are that we can be... friendly (overly so?)"... and such a contrast as pleasant verbal greetings amongst even strangers is the norm in our little part of the world.
Yup, and plenty of Europeans LIKE this about Americans. I know a lot of Germans who hang out with the english-speaking expat group - which is about 50% American - because they find us friendly, open, and fun. Easier to make friends with when you move to a new city!
I don't go around chatting with everybody at home, but when I travel I seek out people to talk to. Maybe it comes from traveling alone and needing company. Anyway, in England I am usually the one to start a conversation and the other person usually seems happy to talk to me. Am I being "too friendly?" I don't know, but I've never had a complaint. If somebody doesn't feel like talking, they just ignore me. My least favorite tourists are the nuts of many nationalities with cameras who take up street or sidewalk space with their photography. I confess, I usually walk right thru the shot, especially when they are blocking the sidewalk.
Am LOL. Several years ago at Louvre a group of Asian tourists kept wanting me to move so they could take a picture. This happened several times until I decided to get in their pictures, just stood in the back of them and when they took a picture, there I was. Probably did it at least four times until they moved on and I could picture them going home, developing pictures wondering who was that grey haired lady in all these pictures. I was polite though, not pushy and had a great time!
Americans can certainly be the most physically unappealing to look at, so maybe that's why we're number one? And, it's super shocking that Irish respondents view Brits as the worst & Brits view Germans as the worst...never would have guessed that. How is it that so many Asian countries made this list when they're the best of the bunch in actuality...maybe it's just plain old racist stereotyping by white people who travel? These surveys are ridiculous, and Tom's right...one of these threads pops up about yearly around here. "can't tell the difference between a news outlet and a news source..." You mean Kim Jong Un really isn't the Sexiest Man Alive like The Onion said?
I don't consider mention of the behavior of large goups of Asians as "racial stereotyping" at all (and I'm Asian so probably sensitive to that). In each case people were talking about a group, which behaved in a certain way. (And one person clarfied that when she met individuals they were very polite).
I imagine Chinese and Japanese and Korean tourists in Europe feel pretty insecure, without any language familiarity at all, and wish to stick tightly together and not be separated. That is all I see in the comments. N.B. there was an interesting article recently in a magazineI think the New Yorker-about the Chinese style of travel in Europe. They wish to pack in a lot in a very short time, so they move very fast from one thing to another, eager to take it all in. Not meaning to be rude when they push in front of someone, just eager to see it. It's a very sympathetic article. I'll try to find it.
I was referring only to the results of the actual survey itself, not to any comments made by anyone here. Sorry about the unintended consequence of an ill-described reply on my part. In fact, I didn't read your comments until now. I'll further my point, however, by saying that racism, stereotyping, xenophobia, or whatever is a common thread when one group berates another (i.e. Mexicans don't like Hondurans, Americans don't like Mexicans, or whatever). Of course this is a big generalization, but you get the point. It's not surprising to me that these attitudes might show up in a survey on the world's worst tourists. But let's be honest, the RS crowd has been particularly hard on Asian (specifically Japanese) tourists in the past, based mostly on negative stereotypes...maybe even racism.
It's also a little messed up to to assume any Asian tour group is Japanese. Most of the groups I've seen traveling in Europe are Chinese these days. Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) and Japanese sound absolutely nothing alike, and it's a little weird to just see a group of Asian tourists in a group and assume that they're Japanese.
You're right, and that's exactly my point about negative stereotypes. This is a big generalization and doesn't apply to everyone, but it's based on my own personal experience, so I know it's valid: When you talk with average folks say 80 years old, they'll use terms like Oriental and Chinaman when referring to anyone who is Asian. When you talk with average folks around 60, they will often assume all Asians they see are Japanese. These people may not have racist intent, but there is a certain level of bias there that's obvious, and they don't even make an effort to get it right...they simply don't think about it or just don't care too much. On the other hand, when you talk to students who are say 20, color, race, nationality, etc. doesn't matter, and they'll almost always get it right, because it's important to them to get it right. Educated young people care about multiculturalism...a good thing IMHO.
Ha well you folks don't live where I live and I can assure you when I refer to Asians I most certainly lump in a heck more in then Japanese, first of all we have a huge population of Chinese( er Vancouver is sometimes nicknamed Hong-couver) and Koreans, as well as Japanese, and its not always easy to tell them apart ( tip, if going by names my friend whos last name is Nishumira) explained that Japanese surnames almost always have multiple syllables, and Chinese names most often only have one ( my friend whos last name is Woo concurs with this, lol ) No its not about which group its GROUPS in general. Sometimes those who to take a tour are new to travelling, or perhaps nervous travellers, and they seem to have a major fear of being seperated from their group, even for a few minutes,( like they couldn't find their way back to the hotel or even the bus in the parking lot without being led) and so they tend to be very aggressively "groupy".. And since many Asians have the language issue to deal with ( remember their alphabet is different , and its harder to read and interpet signs etc in that case) they often prefer group travel. Some of us may feel a similar discomfort trying to read street signs in places that use the cyrillic alphabet right? So they do tend to make up a larger number of tour groups that I have seen. Just my experience from what I have seen.
"The Americans the world's worst tourists?" who cares, from 2000 to 2010, 11 million Americans came to Italy, the largest non-European, God bless them, we hope they continue to come here!
Groups of Japanese have indeed been known to behave differently than groups of other nationalities. See: World War II.
Hi, Anyone with a knack for tonal languages can tell the difference between Japanese vs. Mandarin and Cantonese when you come upon these tour groups.
Anyone with a knack for fashion can tell the difference as well.
Will: Indeed, the Chinese, Koreans, and many others may have a serious bone to pick with the Japanese. In fact, the Koreans I know dislike the Japanese much, much more than the North Koreans. They don't even care about North Korea as much as we seem to. Still, what's your point? Couldn't you just as easily say the same thing about Americans? Our group enslaved an entire race of people just a couple hundred years ago, launched a genocide against all native people, suspended constitutional rights and imprisoned American citizens of Japanese heritage but did no such thing to those of German heritage (white), and continued to legally persecute black people through Jim Crow and other weird laws. Does this mean that Will from Columbia should be personally thrown in with the group of Americans who have been known to behave differently than groups of other nationalities? BTW, I haven't even mentioned our goofy Cold War plans to invade Canada and blow up the moon to shock and awe the Soviets. Look in the mirror, fella.
@Michael, "our goofy Cold War plans to invade Canada and blow up the moon to shock and awe the Soviets" Wow, those are some interesting things I didn't know. I can't believe anyone in their right mind would seriously consider doing either of those things.
I know...it's quite unbelievable but true. It's all declassified now and can be found in any number of sources, online or otherwise. How crazy!
blow up the moon to shock and awe the Soviets. Yup - I just saw a BBC program about it complete with photos of the type of bomb which would have been used. Makes you wonder ...
Hmmmm. Invade Canada during the cold war....???
I don't know about that - But I do remember lively classroom discussion back in high school (60s) when we debated about what we'd do with those 50 new little provinces in the south.
My point was simply that if you don't know the nationality of a group of tourists, it's better not to assume what their nationality is. Older non-asian people might simply assume that groups of Asian tourists are Japanese because in the 1980s the stereotype of the Japanese tourist group was a thing - and the booming Japanese economy meant more international travel for Japanese people. But today the booming economies are Korea and China, so you see a lot more of those tourists in Europe. But Fred is right about the tonal language thing. All forms of Chinese are very tonal (except Mongolian), Thai and Vietnamese to a lesser extent, but Korean is far less tonal, and Japanese is almost not tonal at all. My ear and knoweldge isn't good enough to be able to tell the difference between say, Thai and Vietnamese via walking past a tour group, but distinguishing forms of Chinese from just about anything else is pretty easy. This video shows 17 different Asian languages back to back, and the diversity is interesting, as is the sheer number of major languages in China:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7P_ZLnh3b4 Not touching the political discussion!
Is there a law in Japan that people have to walk in groups of 200? - Steve Sweeney
Italian tourists: Distinctiveness: the love of the Italians for designer clothes does not abandon them even when they leave the shopping streets in Milan. It is not uncommon to see Italian women climb the slopes of Machu Picchu in high heels and using a Gucci handbags to avoid contact with a slobbering Lama. Strengths: If there are Italians, there's probably a good coffee. They are also those who at the restaurant table manage to get a better time than that of other tourists! Defects: Italians have a reputation for being overbearing and care little about the feelings of other travelers. Unjust thing, perhaps, but when your house is one of the best tourist destinations in the world, you can probably live with this defect. American tourists: Distinctiveness: to dress like professional golfers ... but as those who did not qualify for the tour. Strengths: Even though some of them are too noisy and prone to complaining, years of inculcation to the PC and of generally quiet life in one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world have made the majority of Americans more culturally sensitive than the stereotype of a time. Defects: they still seem to believe that "American" is synonymous with "right" and they believe they have invented the Pizza.
"and they believe they have invented the Pizza." Considering that almost every pizzeria in the US has Italian-themed decor, I somehow doubt there's more than a handful of people who honestly believe this.
"American tourists: Distinctiveness: to dress like professional golfers ... but as those who did not qualify for the tour." Good news as we've improved from lawn mowing clothes.
Canadian tourists Distinctiveness: the Canadian flag! they apply it on everything: backpacks, hats, shirts, shorts, possibly even on underwear. Most likely they have tattooed it somewhere in case their luggage is swiped by thieves, who probably see the maple leaf as an invitation to get their hands on these clothes, a bit boring but practical. Strengths: Do not be an American. They have all the positivity of their cousins of the "south", without too much excess. They are so polite that eventually you will cheer on their hockey team, hoping to be able to beat your own. Somehow they always manage to be loved. Defects: They claim on every occasion they are not Americans, as if they thought of being blamed because of the war in Iraq, global warming or the existence of Sarah Palin. British tourists Distinctiveness: The nuclear tan. Deprived of sunlight into the house, the British love to harass their soft skin with death rays from our nearest star. Strengths: They can (usually) speak English, and the tendency to burn in the sun can be used as a simple indicator on the duration of the holiday. A day on the beach is provided by color alabaster, two days are highlighted by a color change lobster, the third day is characterized by the presence of bubbles and blisters, while the fourth day they get to complete desquamation. Important Note: If you offer a beer to an Englishman, will become your friend for life. Defects: For English, holidays and alcohol go together too much and ...
Claudio, I must say you have generalized and pigeon-holed a bit but all in all you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the morning pick-me-up, I laughed when I read your post. Glad you joined the helpline.
no offense, just a joke
Australian tourists Distinctiveness: Wear the typical Australian uniform: shorts, singlet and flip-flops regardless of the weather or the local cultural sensitivities. Strengths: contagious tendency to relax. Capable of running dressed as surfers also in the hottest parts of the earth, from the geopolitical point of view. Defects: tendency to clump together and shorten words. Taken individually they are good people, but when they are in groups they become difficult to manage, especially with the taking of beer and the insistence on shortening every second word they say, in an incomprehensible slang. Chinese tourist Distinctiveness: The independent traveler is still a rarity among Chinese tourists. Most tours are organized into groups, recognizable by a guide with a megaphone which screams information from less than a few feet away from the group. Strengths: ready, willing to do anything and able to eat anything you put in front of them ... and they appreciate it like a local one. And even money: tourism suffers during the global economic recession, but the Chinese are still able to spend. Defects: It 's still early for the global chinese tourism and is perhaps the reason for the lack of etiquette of a Chinese on holiday. We are confident that the days, that they will cease to carve their names on the historic sites and smoke everywhere, surely coming soon.
Elaine, Yes, we Americans are the worst. After the U.S. being ranked 25th in math scores, and 17th in science, its good to be ranked first in something besides obesity. U.S.A, U.S.A, U.S.A!! ;-)