Friday, June 01, 2007

Manners - Not Table but Travel

According to a latest survey conducted among 15,000 European hoteliers by the travel Web site Expedia , Indians were ranked the second worse tourists in the world, preceded only by French. What an embarrassment!

The different nationalities were ranked according to several key criteria, including behavior, politeness, tidiness, noise, willingness to speak the local language, holiday spending and fashion sense. The best tourists in the world are the Japanese who stood out for being polite and tidy, followed by Americans and the Swiss who were commended for being quiet and considerate.

But here are the toppers for worst Tourist Overall
1. French
2. Indians
3. Chinese
4. Russians
5. British

To be frank some of the criteria looked odd to me. The French took the title of ‘World’s Worst Tourists’ due to their unwillingness to speak the local language, lack of generosity and impoliteness. I personally don't consider "unwillingness to speak the local language" big enough criteria to rank them the "worst". I agree that it's not hard to learn some basic words like ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’ in another language. But most countries have multiple languages or dialects and then some bilingualism will be a necessity if one wishes to travel the world. Imagine someone visiting India trying to learn the 35+ Indian languages and more importantly speak them at appropriate regions!!

Respondents said they disliked Indian tourists for being loud, untidy, and poorly behaved. I haven't observed foreign nationalities that much to comment on them, but I would agree about the behaviors of Indians.We have a general tendency to behave badly :(

The most annoying thing is undoubtedly the Noise. Most of the people travel in large groups and I should say they are LOUD, oblivious to surroundings. We go to a place to enjoy the scenery and the tranquility of that the place and there comes a group who would be shouting away to glory.. As a result, instead of peace and serenity the entire situation becomes terrible.. Many a times I have felt like stuffing clothes into their mouths..:(

Also they never seem to understand how a queue works. Jumping the queue seems to be a sport, even if the time advantage they gain is a minute and they are in no hurry.. When others nicely queue up and stand for long hours, they will be sitting down somewhere and yapping.. And when the queue starts moving and the end of the queue is like no where to be seen, they stand up, pretend that they don't see the queue at all and just go right in front and stand there or sometimes join the queue from the MIDDLE. What’s wrong with these people? I wouldn't have bothered if they were some small kids, or mothers carrying small babies, or aged people, but most of them are adults of working age - most of them Professionals.. But education doesn't seem to have taught them even the basic manners. Instead they seem to be very comfortable jumping queues and act as if they are not in the wrong by doing so..

Another point is they don't like to follow instructions. If they is a "Photography Prohibited" board, they will try to sneak in the camera and click a couple of snaps.. If there is a "Don't touch" board, they will make sure they will touch that.. I have seen people standing under a 'Silence Please" board and giving lectures!! Are they so ignorant or is it just that they just don't care?

And our untidy holiday habits - We just don't keep our environment clean and tidy. If you observe, most(or should I say all) of the common tourist spots are filled with litter - broken bottles, plastic plates and glasses, excess food thrown away,.. a mess that surely made the once pristine place look like garbage mela. Sometimes I wonder what's making them carelessly toss their garbage anywhere they choose..Probably they are thinking that the trash spiffs up the place or that these bottles and cans would disappear on their own.. Or is it that they are leaving the garbage as a landmark, so that they can find their "spot" again!!

Drinking is another problem. This can range from groups of established street drinkers drinking in an area, to gatherings of drinkers in parks or open spaces, or the drunken rowdy groups causing nuisance and intimidation. Oops I forgot another category which get sloshed before a travel and start 'gana mela'(music concert) in the bus/flight !! The poor fellow passengers will be cursing their fate for having had to travel on that day!!

The situation that we are in is really sad. These irresponsible behavior is hurting our reputation as a civilized nation. Like spoiled children, we are treating every part of the world as our own personal playground and showing the world a face that is not so pretty. I think it's high time we launched an etiquette campaign to teach our people to stand in line, stop spitting and littering, stop yelling into the cell phone and generally be better mannered. It would not only make us better tourists but would also make us better citizens of the world !!


it's me said...

thts very true..
Especially about ganamela, photography, noise etc etc.. stuff
As India being so densely populated people are accustomed to live in a noisy environment.. and hence they make more noises.. :)
Think indians fear solitude and silence.. or rather we seldom experience these..

Anonymous said...

Your comments are true.. but there even worst category of people.. like people from middle east, who are notorious for talking loud, as if they are fighting with each other.. and most of them yet to learn public etiquette..
- indoo

Anonymous said...

when u do not understand a language and when it is spoken loudly, as a normal course, it always sounds as if people are fighting. Even within India u experience this with the regional languages.

We have to handle our newly gained affluence with responsibility. A poor has no choice but to be polite but when rich is polite it shows his culture and upbringing. If we are proud of our 5000 year old culture let us display it thru our behaviour to the world.

Anonymous said...

Thats’ really true and a good observation with such minute details. I am sure that these kinds of shameful stories will help our people as an opportunity to learn and change themselves rather than being ashamed about themselves. Thanks!!!

Bindhu Unny said...

Agree with you completely!