Travel eti­quette

For­eign­ers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries com­pare them­selves to Chi­nese tourists

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - By Wang Han

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port con­ducted by the China Tourism Acad­emy, an es­ti­mated 130 mil­lion Chi­nese cit­i­zens trav­eled abroad in 2017, spend­ing around $115.29 bil­lion world­wide, thep­a­per. cn re­ported in March. As more and more Chi­nese choose to spend their hol­i­days abroad, how do peo­ple of other na­tion­al­i­ties per­ceive Chi­nese tourists? What are some com­mon stereo­types of Chi­nese tourists in other


The road most trav­eled

Many in­ter­vie­wees agreed that Chi­nese trav­el­ers pre­fer to stay to­gether and move around in big groups. Ital­ian Daniela Ro­mani, who is presently trav­el­ing in Shang­hai, said Chi­nese tourists vis­it­ing Italy seem to al­ways be in a group. “Not in a com­pul­sive way, but they like to stay to­gether,” she said.

Ro­mani is im­pressed by the huge num­ber of Chi­nese tourists in Italy. “They are ev­ery­where. They know what to do and what to see in Italy. They are well-pre­pared. And mostly, they want to go shop­ping,” she added.

Ger­man na­tion­als Chris­tine and Chris­tian said their im­pres­sion of Chi­nese trav­el­ers in Ger­many is that they usu­ally ar­rive in big groups and visit the fa­mous sites in a rushed way. “They don’t have enough time to see ev­ery­thing. They try to do Europe in two days. It is like do­ing China in one day,” they told the Global Times.

Some for­eign­ers we in­ter­viewed pointed out that West­ern­ers rarely travel in bloated groups, pre­fer to travel in­di­vid­u­ally, and take their time see­ing the sites. They also said that Chi­nese trav­el­ers tend to take many pho­tos and self­ies dur­ing their trav­els.

“They are more in­ter­ested in tak­ing pic­tures of places than ac­tu­ally try­ing to un­der­stand the cul­ture or en­joy­ing the cul­ture of that place,” Mex­i­can Pa­tri­cio Suarez said. “I think they pre­fer places over peo­ple,” Suarez told the Global Times.

Mal­go­rzata and Bartek from Poland told the Global Times that com­mon stereo­types of Chi­nese trav­el­ers in Poland are that they pre­fer to stay in large tour groups and take many pho­tos, but he said such habits are un­der­stand­able.

Mal­go­rzata, for in­stance, said it is al­ways eas­ier to move in groups while trav­el­ing abroad, and it is com­mon for peo­ple to take pic­tures while vis­it­ing a new coun­try. “If you go to the other parts of the world, it is cool to have lots of pic­tures. You can show them to your friends and fam­ily,” Bartek added.

The two added that, com­pared with tourists from other coun­tries, Chi­nese gen­er­ally re­spect Pol­ish cul­ture and tend to be­have prop­erly in Poland. “They won’t do some­thing im­proper com­pared to other peo­ple who come to Poland just to drink and party,” Bartek said.

An­other in­ter­vie­wee, Linda from the US, who has been work­ing in China for a few years, said that Amer­i­cans tend to stereo­type all Asian trav­el­ers as rich and car­ry­ing a cam­era around their necks. She said this was an ironic stereo­type, as she did the ex­act same thing when she first ar­rived in China in or­der to share her over­seas ex­pe­ri­ences with friends and fam­ily back home.

Shout-talk­ing and spit­ting

Due to dif­fer­ent so­cial cus­toms and cul­tural back­grounds, when Chi­nese are trav­el­ing over­seas,

some­times their be­hav­ior is mis­in­ter­preted by for­eign­ers as im­proper or rude.

Chris­tine said that, com­pared with trav­el­ers of other na­tion­al­i­ties, Chi­nese tourists gen­er­ally talk very loudly. “They are so loud. Ev­ery­one is talk­ing loudly all at once, and for us [West­ern­ers] it sounds like they are stressed out,” she told the Global Times.

Ro­mani pointed out that she, too, has heard Chi­nese tourists talk loudly and also seen them spit­ting on to the ground. “But now they are chang­ing,” she added.

Sim­i­larly, Suarez and Linda pointed out that spit­ting seems to be a com­mon trait of Chi­nese tourists. “I know here [in China] it is okay to spit. But in Mex­ico it is not okay,” Suarez said.

Linda like­wise said spit­ting on the side­walk is a Chi­nese habit she fre­quently sees in China, which few Amer­i­cans do back in her coun­try. None­the­less, she said Amer­i­cans also tend to be quite loud and ob­nox­ious in restau­rants and pub­lic ar­eas, which is not per­ceived as a po­lite habit in many other coun­tries.

“I don’t think that Chi­nese peo­ple be­have im­prop­erly when they are trav­el­ing. I think it is just that we don’t un­der­stand each oth­ers’ cul­tures very well. What is com­mon in China maybe is not so com­mon in the US, and vice versa,” Linda said. “We have some habits that we bring to China when we come from the US that are prob­a­bly con­sid­ered rude here.”

Mu­tual en­rich­ment

To help Chi­nese be­come more so­phis­ti­cated global trav­el­ers, our for­eign in­ter­vie­wees of­fered dif­fer­ent sug­ges­tions. Suarez, for ex­am­ple, said it is im­por­tant for Chi­nese trav­el­ers to first un­der­stand the lo­cal so­cial cus­toms of the for­eign coun­try they wish to visit. “Try to un­der­stand it and act with re­spect to that cul­ture,” he said. “For ex­am­ple, when I come to China, I try to be­have in the Chi­nese way.”

“I think for Chi­nese trav­el­ers to act more so­phis­ti­cated in the US, it is very re­gional spe­cific. I would sug­gest they look on­line to see what is proper in each area of the coun­try and be more adapt­able,” Linda said, adding that, in cities like New York, peo­ple are ex­pected to be pushier and louder, while peo­ple are ex­pected to be­have more re­served and quiet in the mid-west US.

Chris­tine and Chris­tian sug­gest that Chi­nese trav­el­ers take more time while vis­it­ing Ger­many. Mal­go­rzata and Bartek en­cour­age Chi­nese trav­el­ers to try Pol­ish tra­di­tional food and not feel afraid to ask lo­cal peo­ple for help in Poland.

In terms of the ben­e­fits that Chi­nese trav­el­ers bring to other coun­tries, most in­ter­vie­wees pointed out that the in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese tourists helps with cul­tural ex­change. Mal­go­rzata said Chi­nese trav­el­ers en­rich Pol­ish cul­ture.

Linda said Chi­nese trav­el­ers in the US con­trib­ute to a mu­tual un­der­stand­ing of the two cul­tures. “It is a global world now, so we re­ally need to un­der­stand each other and be able to do busi­ness to­gether. I think it is very im­por­tant that we un­der­stand what is im­por­tant for Chi­nese and what is im­por­tant for Amer­i­cans,” she told the Global Times.

“And of course there are eco­nomic ben­e­fits. Our econ­omy has im­proved from all the Chi­nese tourists,” Ro­mani told the Global Times.

Photo: Liu Meng/GT

Daniela Ro­mani(right)

Bartek (left) and Mal­go­rzata

Pa­tri­cio Suarez


Chris­tine (left) and Chris­tian

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