• Visit Britain thinks Germans are rude, Australians intolerant and Russians cold

    Ramesh Tiwari
    January 15, 2014
    Visit Britain thinks Germans are rude, Australians intolerant and Russians cold

    London : VisitBritain, the government’s agency with a budget of nearly £30 million a year, which is tasked with bringing as many visitors to the UK as possible, releases a detailed inside guide on tourists from most destinations for use by British hoteliers and operators.

    A well-meaning official manual for tourist industry workers, instructing them how to cater to the needs of foreigners during UK visits, has been accused of racially stereotyping the very people it aims to please.

    It does not appear that government officials considered that actual tourists might get their hands on the open-access documents – only to see themselves portrayed as demanding, irrational, and odd in very country-specific ways.

    For example, Russians “may come across as cold and not very open or polite”, while “spending more than they can afford” during their sojourn to the UK.

    This “tall nation” will be disappointed by the size of hotel rooms in London, so any hoteliers are advised that the “ceilings and doorways should better be of a suitable height.”

    The “big bread lovers” and “hearty eaters” are also to be served “preferably brown bread” with the three hot meals a day that they expect.

    While Russia’s voracious giants present one set of demands, the easily-flustered Chinese are an entirely different proposition.

    Apparently, Chinese tourists dislike ghost stories, “beds that are too soft”, and four poster beds (which are said to lead to “ghostly encounters”). They also hate talking about money, and any fillet meats “which are considered to be uninteresting foods”. Instead the Chinese will “recourse” to “comfy” meals such as “stir-fried leafy vegetable” and “spicy food”.

    A tourist takes a picture of herself in front of the River Thames and the London Eye in central London (Reuters/Olivia Harris)A tourist takes a picture of herself in front of the River Thames and the London Eye in central London (Reuters/Olivia Harris)

    Indians “have a tendency to change their minds quite frequently”, but not when it comes to bargaining, which they will engage in “whenever they see an opportunity”.

    They are also “not confident drivers”, like to ask “unnerving personal questions” (but in good faith) and shun credit cards because they bring “temptation” and are “difficult to understand”.

    While it is unsurprising that ‘exotic’ tourists are described in a striking light, those from more familiar cultures apparently pose their own problems.

    The French are a “private people” who don’t “smile or make eye contact with strangers”, but nonetheless “won’t hesitate to challenge you or complain if something is not to their satisfaction”.

    Germans can come across as “demanding, aggressive and rude”. They also like “to plan in advance” and collect “detailed information on all activities” as well as being obsessed with “cleanliness”.

    And Australians are “sarcastic”, “intolerant” due to long flights, and almost never tip “unless the service was exceptional” for cultural reasons.

    Unsurprisingly, the official documents have caused a stir after being republished by local newspapers in many of the countries that received an unflattering write-up. More than one newspaper pointed out that the instructions may as well have been written by Basil Fawlty the hotelier from the classic 1970s sitcom, famous for failing to hide his prejudices towards the vast majority of his customers, particularly those hailing from abroad.

    But VisitBritain, which says that more than 30 million foreigners visited the UK last year, spending more than £20 billion, has defended the guide, saying it has been an important part in making the country a top destination.

    “Our market intelligence reports provide an unrivalled source of information on inbound tourism, allowing British businesses to gain an invaluable insight on key markets globally,” said VisitBritain’s marketing director Joss Croft in a statement. Jan. 13 , 2014

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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