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News: British tourists amongst worst in the world

Fri, 21 Sep 07

New research reveals extent of Brits’ noisy habits and bad behaviour abroad...

The reputation of British tourists abroad remains almost as bad as it was five years ago, according to Expedia’s 2007 Best Tourist League.  Although Brits are no longer considered ‘the worst tourists in the world’, they remain in the league’s top five, thanks to their noisy and untidy holiday habits, bad behaviour and miserly tipping.

Expedia compiled the 2007 Best Tourist League by asking 15,000 European hoteliers to rank different nationalities according to several key criteria, including behaviour, politeness, tidiness, noise, willingness to speak the local language, holiday spending and fashion sense.

“We decided to compile another Best Tourist League to reassess the reputation of British tourists - obviously with the hope that we would have risen up the ranks since 2002,” says Caroline Cartellieri, managing director of Expedia.co.uk.

“However, it’s disappointing to learn that our position in the world rankings hasn’t really changed, with foreign hoteliers still perceiving Brits as noisy, untidy and badly dressed. Although it’s good to see Brits perceived as generous in their spending habits, now we just need to work on ditching those ‘socks and sandals’.”

Japanese are Simply the Best

The league reveals the best tourists in the world are the polite and tidy Japanese, who secured 35 per cent more votes than the Americans who came in second. New to this year’s list were the Swiss who came in third and were commended for being quiet and considerate. The French took the title of ‘World’s Worst Tourists’ – previously held by the British - due to their unwillingness to speak the local language, lack of generosity and impoliteness.

Hey Big Spender!

Despite their faults, hoteliers do look favourably upon British spending habits, voting them the third biggest holiday spenders after the Americans and Russians. However, Brits are not so generous when it comes to tipping, with even British hoteliers voting British tourists as the meanest tippers.

Fashion Victims

The British penchant for ‘socks and sandals’ and other holiday fashion disasters appears to be alive and well, with hoteliers voting Brits the second worst dressed tourists, second only to the Americans. Unsurprisingly, tourists from Italy, France and Spain lead the way in the holiday-style stakes.

Brits...their own worst enemy

British tourists can’t even blame cultural differences for their poor performance in the league, with the harshest criticism coming from British hoteliers, who voted them the worst behaved of all nationalities, preferring even the Germans.

Good old British manners also seem to have fallen by the wayside with British hoteliers rating their countrymen the third most impolite nationality. Brits have even shaken off their traditional reserve to become one of the top three biggest holiday complainers.

Key findings include:

  • Overall, the Japanese were voted the World’s Best Tourists, followed by the Americans and the Swiss
  • The Japanese were also the best behaved, beating the Germans and the Americans who came top for their behaviour in the 2002 league. The British, Russians and Danes were cited as having the worst behaviour
  • The Americans are no longer the most polite, slipping to third place since 2002. The Japanese are now the most polite while British manners have improved significantly from last place to second this year
  • The Americans have changed their approach to travelling and now rank highest for attempting to speak the local language
  • The Italians are the loudest on holiday followed by the Americans and the British while the Japanese, Chinese and Swiss are the quietest
  • Those smooth operators from the Mediterranean are the best dressed with the Italians, French and Spanish coming top in the style stakes
  •  The Germans are the perfect guests, tidying up before their chambermaid arrives

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