Gary Diskin - Jul 29, 2008

Tourism is a great activity. Millions and millions of people travel to discover the wonders of our planet. The choices are vast and no matter where the tourists go, one can be sure, they will be keen to learn. Their hunger for knowledge is so intense they are ready to ask a question the minute it pops up in their head. Tour agencies and information centers often get an earful of questions which are – to put it mildly – rather bizarre.


In fact, some of these are so incredibly hilarious it would be a crime, more or less, to not share their comments with the wider public. The funniest questions often come from visitors to national parks and great natural monuments. Asking whether Grand Canyon was man-made and lit up at night are only for warm-up.


The major attraction of Yellowstone National Park – ‘The Old Faithful’ – raised some concern for the ‘guy that turns it on at nights’: “When does he get some sleep?” Apparently waterfalls are also a tricky wonder of nature, as often tourists are worried they will not make it to see them “before they’re turned off for the day”.


Travelers who came to admire the Mesa Verde National Park were also intrigued by the famous pueblos. One visitor bravely asked: “Did people build this, or did Indians?”


The Lake District in England is a very popular summer resort which annually attracts thousands of tourists. The winning question reported by one of the local tour agencies is: “Are there any lakes in the Lake District”. A little further to the South, a visitor to Wales was wondering whether it was closed for the winter.


One could go on and on as tourists will continue traveling, exploring, discovering, and most importantly – asking further questions. Needless to say, they do not hurt, but are amusing – so why not share them.


  1. I used to work in tourist information in Aberdeen, Scotland, a city known for the Aurora Borealis through the song "The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen". A favourite question was and is "what time are the Northern Lights switched on?"

    And some km south of the city is a visitor centre dedicated to a local writer called Lewis Grassic Gibbon. The number of people who see the signs and expect to be able to see monkeys is unbelievable!

    But my favourite - in a slightly different vein - was the elderly couple who came in and mumbled a question which turned out to be "where can we get dentures mended?". They had decided to share the glass by the bed to soak their dentures overnight, had filled it with hot water from the kettle - and (inevitably) their teeth had melted together. We didn't ask if they'd been sampling the local malt whisky before they'd gone to bed!

    (United Kingdom)
  2. Well, Elma's comment is sooo funny. I remember people in the Prague tourist office once complained that foreigners keep asking if they can take a boat and get to Vienna. They didn't know it is 250 km far away - and even does not lie on the same river:)

    (Czech Republic)
  3. I used to work for Pegasus Solutions and one day had a call from a very friendly American lady. When I asked her where she wanted to go she said in the most friendly way...EUROPE..I asked her where in Europe? She replied..what do you mean where? I just want to go to Europe, don't you have any hotels there??

    You may guess the rest of the conversation...

    (United Kingdom)
  4. I've worked in tourism in Lake Bled, Slovenia for many years. It's a lovely place with it's natural lake and island in the centre.

    Many people from America used to ask where "they stored the island at night?" and "who used to tow it in at night?" Makes you wonder if anyone ever read a guide book!

    (United Kingdom)
  5. We are an online Dive Travel Agency. Although in this case the client actually answered and didn't ask the question,
    the top award must go to this US client. Our booking form asks for nationality. The Answer was: Caucasian. It took us two further e-mails to clarify what nationality means...
    Some people maybe shouldn't travel??

  6. People generally travel north to Alaska, so they must feel like they are going "up" to get here. Even though we are located right on the ocean here in Juneau, Alaska's Capitol City, thousands of people every year ask "what is the altitude here?"


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