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Chinese Tourists Get Crash Course on World Travel in New Zealand

March 13, 2014 at 12:07 PM | by | ()

As we talked about in our recent review of a "state of the union" type travel book, the Chinese are without question the biggest and most important market that will determine and shape the future of tourism. But having been sheltered for so long by their own government, their transition into worldly travelers has not been a smooth process by any stretch of the imagination.

As recently as last year, complaints flooded in from around the world about the behavior of Chinese tourists abroad. In an effort to curb the declining reputation of its citizens and the country as a whole, the Chinese government issued a pamphlet that laid out some guidelines for how to act in another country.

While some of the recommendations where good ones that explained cultural differences, such as not drinking soup straight from the bowl, the behavior guide ended up backfiring in a way, as the media highlighted many of the more peculiar suggestions. The Mirror, for example, opened its article with this:

"Never pick your nose in public. Don't urinate in swimming pools. And of course, never, ever, consider stealing someone else's life jacket on a plane. These are just a few examples of the wide-ranging rules handed out by the Chinese government to their citizens before they travel abroad."

So, in an attempt to make things better, the Chinese ended up making themselves look even weaker as travelers. The latest round of news will serve them no better, as a fatal car accident in New Zealand has brought up concerns from local residents over the abilities of Chinese drivers. In response, Chinese representatives in Christchurch have designed another pamphlet to be distributed at rental car kiosks and airports that will help Chinese tourists understand the rules, regulations, and dangers of driving in New Zealand. The lack of traffic lights, for example, has been one obstacle for Chinese drivers.

To be fair, we are in no way trying to hang the Chinese out to dry. We totally respect the fact that they are taking a trial by fire approach, learning and making mistakes as they go about exploring the world. Remember, it was only at the turn of the century that the Chinese government began encouraging its citizens to travel abroad, and most of it has been conducted via tour bus operators. As the Chinese begin to take initiative and explore on their own, the rest of the world and the tourism industry have no choice but to be patient with their learning curve.

[Photo: Internations]

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