The Best and Worst Tourists in the world!

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As Perpetual Travellers we are all too quick to judge the transportation means and accommodation units that we frequent, whilst demanding ever increasing services at lower cost in line with our needs, but who is judging us the Tourists?

Having worked in the Tourism Industry for over 30 years within the fields of Hotels, Tour Operators, Airlines and Cruises, I learned from many of my former colleagues typically over coffee breaks or in more informal settings, that we the industry people often categorize Tourists and the behaviors of our Guests by their nationality, which in all honesty involves a measure of stereotyping.

For example many of us know that omni-present classic European statement, which is supposed to explain the essence of our strengths and weaknesses, as an expression of how we view ourselves in Europe. If you are not familiar, it goes something like this…

The perfect Europe would be when all the…
  • Cooks were French
  • Police are British
  • Mechanics are German
  • Lovers are Italian
  • And everything was organized by the Swiss
In stark contrast Europe would be HELL if all the…
  • Cooks were British (Fish & Chips for all)
  • Police were German (tough and inflexible)
  • Mechanics were French (on strike)
  • Lovers were Swiss (organized but boring)
  • And everything was organized by the Italians (just like Italian Politics!)
As former a former Director of a Cruise Line, I remember all too well profiling tourists of each country by their habits, culture, customs and traditions; looking at ways in which we could tap into such trends from a revenue generation perspective. For example, with regards to the Casino I discovered how people typically played according to their Nationality profile as follows...
  • The French in general show a strong preference towards SLOT machines
  • Italians play card Games with EMOTION, whereby the environment, people and Croupier is critical to their playing patterns. In other words, they need to feel comfortable and to be seduced by the environment and/or people. We learned too The Spanish, Portuguese and Latino's in general are similar in this respect
  • The Russians tend to play for POWER. It's not only a matter of winning or losing, but showing your strength and power at the card table.
  • The Americans play for FUN. They consider that Casino type Games are fun and that they buy fun, so that even if one loses, they can buy fun or entertainment. Las Vegas was in fact built on the concept of fun and Americans are the only nationality happy to lose!
  • The Greeks, Cypriots and Turks play COMPULSIVELY. Once they get started, their compulsive nature takes over. People often drive in the same compulsive way in Athens and Istanbul. The strange thing about Greeks and Turks, who often do not see eye to eye on some matters, when it comes to habits and even eating preferences they are quite similar.
  • The Chinese are somewhat ADDICTED to gambling. The quality of the environment or even the service is not critical, as playing is what matters and the habit is fast, furious and addictive. This is why recently Casino receipts in Macao overtook Las Vegas.
  • On the other hand Israeli's play to WIN, more than anyone else we encountered or experienced. Losing is never on the agenda.
On a more general feedback note on Tourists, I was interested to see that 4,000 Hoteliers were asked by Expedia to vote on the “Best & worst tourists”. They were requested to vote on the following...
  • Attitude
  • Manners
  • Complaints
  • Language cleanliness
  • Money spent
  • Generosity
To say the least the results are interesting and provide a fascinating insight to what the Hoteliers think about their own Guests. Here below are the results all things considered of the best and worst Tourists in the world in order of the best first...
  1. Japanese Generally regarded as the best, as they are in particular respectful, polite, quiet and tidy. 
  2. German/British (tie for second place) The Germans were considered the tidiest of all nationalities but certainly not good tippers.
  3. Canadian
  4. Swiss 
  5. Dutch 
  6. Australian/Swedish (tie)
  7. Belgian
  8. Norwegian 
  9. Austrian/Danish/Finnish (tie) 
  10. New Zealand (Kiwi) 
  11. U.S. American/Thai (tie) Although American Guests are still regarded as the biggest-spending and best-tipping tourists, though somewhat over-demanding. 
  12. Irish/Czech/South African/Portuguese (tie) 
  13. Brazilian Lots of fun, love parties, they like to stay up to the early hours, but many are extremely messy and often leave a trail of disaster behind them.
  14. Italian/Greek/Polish (tie) Italian were voted as best dressed, which is not surprising, but according to the survey lacking in language skills.
  15. Turkish 
  16. Spanish
  17. Mexican
  18. Russian 
  19. French Like the Italians lacking in language skills and clearly they do not like tipping.
  20. Indian 
  21. Chinese
* Survey compiled by:

So there you have it, the best and worst Tourists worldwide according to Expedia with a touch of my own experience. Of course, this cannot be considered as definitive, however it does provide us with a good indication of how Hoteliers perceive their Guests from different languages.

One thing is for certain, there should be some kind of international code of conduct for how Tourists conduct themselves and how they should respect local culture. The days of trashing Hotel rooms, drunken Tourists, no respect for local customs and treating locals in an arrogant or patronizing way must stop.

Perpetual Traveller


  1. Hi Grant,
    Good article and I certainly tend to agree,

    All the best


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