Justin N. Froyd - Jan 30, 2023
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After three years of the pandemic, it's not just tourists who know what they've been missing. The travel industry is also breathing a sigh of relief in the hope that the crisis is finally behind them. But as soon as things pick up again, the first complaints start pouring in because customers are behaving badly. This is despite the fact that overtourism destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, or Venice have used the Corona period to push through concepts to combat the flood of tourists - such as fewer Airbnb offers, smaller tour groups, or bans on cruise ships.

Only one problem cannot be solved about tourists: teaching travelers more respect and courtesy. Two New Zealand tourism researchers, Ismail Shaheer and Neil Carr, have analyzed what annoys residents the most, based on 2088 posts on this topic from the social news aggregator Reddit. The focus is on the social behavior of tourists that locals perceive as deviating from the norm. These five types stand out as particularly unpleasant.

The Culture Ignorant

One of the things that outrage residents the most is when visitors don't respect cultural norms. Those who do not stand in line but push ahead may still get away with disparaging looks. But the lack of respect at sacrosanct sites such as churches, temples, mosques and monuments, as well as the disregard for local customs, is something that stirs emotions among the population. For example, it is noted on Reddit that immediately after the inferno in New York, Ground Zero became a pilgrimage site for tourists, where they were happily photographed.

The Disruptors

Anything that distracts residents from their usual daily routine is perceived as a nuisance. Sometimes it even reduces their quality of life. So when bawling partygoers roam the alleys of the old town at night, they may enjoy themselves, but others might like to have peace and quiet.

It's the same with visiting churches. To walk the sacred halls rattling and taking pictures, even during a mass, is simply disrespectful. But also using the bench in front of someone else's house without being asked is not proper. Private is private.

The Photo Snappers

People who travel take a lot of pictures. After all, they want to capture the experience. But it is advisable to be more considerate and sensitive. If you want to photograph the people in your host country because of their oh-so-picturesque traditional costumes, ask beforehand whether you are allowed to do so. And if he thinks that this is not necessary, then he only has to imagine that a complete stranger would photograph him and his child without being asked. Wouldn't he find that outrageous?

Tact, not overbearing, is what's called for when taking pictures. Some religions do not allow images of people, some countries are extremely prudish, and it is also not appropriate to snap selfies at memorials with a cheerful grimace.

The Garbage Makers

Who disposes of empty beer cans or bags at home in front of their own door? Probably only a few. But why do they do it elsewhere? Just because there's no trash can nearby and the assistance of having to carry the empty bottle through half the city or on the whole hike isn't exactly comfortable?

The anonymity of the masses allows people to behave in ways that would be impossible at home. On Reddit, for example, a hiker in New Zealand gets upset: "The amount of trash that international tourists leave behind is insane. Yet it's not hard to take your own trash back with you."

The Security Illiterate

There are people who believe that the world with all its nature and living creatures is safe. This is fine as long as these people do not leave their homes. But when traveling, this assumption is naive. Such people endanger not only themselves but also others in case of emergency.

Hiking in the mountains without checking the weather beforehand is ignorant. Petting any animal can end with a bite. Even the search for the best background for the selfie sometimes ends fatally. According to the Spanish travel safety portal Fundación iO, 379 people were killed trying to take a selfie from January 2008 to July 2021.

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