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Chinese tourists invade the world

— The New York Times
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… and face a barrage of criticism for their social faux pas

The Ugly Americans terrorised Europeans and Asians with their booming voices and tennis shoes in the years after World War II. Decades later, Japanese tour groups descended from air-conditioned buses to flash peace signs as they shot photos of every known landmark as well as laundry on backyard clotheslines. Now it is China’s turn to face the brunt of criticism.

The complaints are familiar — they gawk, they shove, they eschew local cuisine, and last year, 83 million mainland Chinese spent $102 billion abroad, overtaking Americans and Germans making them the world’s biggest tourism spenders, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation.

But their also place them among the most resented tourists. Mainland Chinese tourists, often laden with cash and unfamiliar with foreign ways, are tumbling out of tour buses with apparently little appetite for hotel breakfast buffets and no concept of lining up.

Like their predecessors, the Chinese are newly wealthy and helpless with foreign languages, a combination complicated by their country’s historical isolation.

Embarrassed by the spate of bad press that month, Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang has publicly railed against the poor quality of Chinese tourists, said People’s Daily.

Despite these faux pas, countries are practically tripping over themselves to attract Chinese tourists.

Parisian officials recently published a manual for the service industry that offers transliterated Mandarin phrases and cultural tips for better understanding Chinese desires, including this titbit: They are very picky about gastronomy and wine.

Wedding companies in South Korea are trying to lure Chinese couples with bling-heavy ceremonies inspired by the viral music video Gangnam Style. A coastal county outside Sydney, Australia, is building a $450 million Chinese theme park centered on a full-size replica of the gates to the Forbidden City and a nine-story Buddhist temple.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that the National Tourism Administration has now publicised a 64-page Guidebook for Civilised Tourism on its website. The reputation of “uncivilised behaviour” had “damaged the image of the Chinese people”, said Vice-Premier Wang Yang. The guidelines urge tourists not to occupy public toilets for long periods of time or leave footprints on the toilet seat. Nor should they pee in swimming pools.

The handbook also has country-specific advice. Chinese visitors to Germany should only snap their fingers to beckon dogs, not humans. And diners in Japan are instructed not to play with their clothes or hair during a meal.

— The New York Times

and AFP

The complaints are familiar — they gawk, they shove, they eschew local cuisine,

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