World’s worst tourists

Traveller has revealed the world’s most hated tourists. But it’s not a single nationality that we can point fingers at. Tourists flood different pockets of the world and clash culturally with different regions, meaning that every country has its own favourite and least favourite visitors. Yet, some nationalities stand out overall as the world’s worst tourists.

In 2018, Chinese travellers took more overseas trips than any other nation; a whopping 150 million in total. So, it makes sense for them to sit high on the ‘naughty’ tourist list.

According to three-quarters of Singaporeans surveyed, one quarter of Australians and 40 per cent of Thais, Malaysians and Vietnamese, Chinese are the worst tourists.

However, in countries with a smaller portion of Chinese tourists, the locals seem to look on them more favourably. In most European cities only 10 to 20 per cent of people voted Chinese as the worst tourists.

Apparently Germany and Denmark have something to say about Russian tourists, with one third of people voting them as the world’s worst tourists. Around a quarter of other Nordic countries agree.

According to, 42 million Russians travelled abroad in 2017, of which only 15 million people travelled for tourism purposes. So, it’s fair to say they have a big – negative – impact for their numbers.

If anything describes the global opinion of British tourists, it’s this; even their own countrymen can’t stand them. In fact, one quarter of British people voted the British to be the worst tourists in their own country.

Less than a quarter of British people think they are viewed favourably when they travel. Shockingly, 60 per cent of British tourists have a negative opinion of other British tourists when they travel abroad. They may have low self-esteem, but at least they’re self-aware.

While it is fun to point fingers at the world’s worst tourists, we should also acknowledge the world’s best. Drum roll please … Japanese! In Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Finland, France and Germany, Japanese travellers were voted as their best-loved tourists. It appears that the stereotypes of Japanese people being polite, tidy and well-spoken are true.

But what of us Aussies? We’ve either heard news reports of bad behaviour, particularly in nearby Bali or Thailand, or seen them firsthand. Sculling drinks for literal buckets, getting aggressive on the streets, refusing to wear anything but thongs to visit temples … the list goes on. It’s no surprise that seven per cent on Indonesians voted Australians their least favourite tourist, yet shockingly to some, 14 per cent also voted Aussie’s to be their favourite.

In fact, 28 per cent of Indians and 31 per cent of Vietnamese have voted us their favourite tourists.

We fail to get a significant mention in most countries’ bad books, yet we have the third worst self-impression of any country. It appears that we’re hyper aware of our bad behaviour, but that it doesn’t bother our host countries as much as we expect.

How do you think you’re seen when you travel? Who are your favourite and least favourite tourists?

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Written by Liv Gardiner


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