But the Japanese Don’t Think So: In a report released last week, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) released some results from one of its reports which showed that major overseas tourism destinations are somewhat impressed with Chinese outbound tourists who have improved their manners in the past five years.
For its report, CNTA conducted a survey that interviewed 3,650 people from 10 overseas tourism destinations—the United States, the UK, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan—on the image and behavior of Chinese outbound tourists.
Survey respondents were asked to grade the image they have of Chinese tourist on a scale from one to ten, resulting in an average score of 5.2. Commenting the result, the CNTA stated that “despite there being no difference in how Chinese and overseas interviewees define bad behavior, the overall ranking of Chinese outbound tourists’ manners is not that high.”
The report also explored the range of poor behaviors among Chinese tourists witnessed by the survey respondents that resulted in their negative appraisal of Chinese tourists. According to the CNTA, the following answers were the most commonly quoted bad behaviors:
- Making a racket in public
- Cutting in line
- Showing no respect for local culture and customs
- Spitting in public places
- Urinating and defecating everywhere
- Speaking impolitely
- Taking photos when they are not allowed to
- Smoking in public places
- Not remaining rational when unsatisfied with services
Nearly half of the interviewees said that they have witnessed an improvement in Chinese tourists’ manners in the past five years. Positive response came from Indonesia, France, Singapore, the UK and the USA. However, neighboring countries such as Japan did not, with only 18.9 percent of Japanese interviewees saying they had witnessed an improvement.
(Last summer, officials at the Hokkaido Tourism Organization were annoyed enough at the purported poor behavior of Chinese visitors that it published a visitors guide aimed directly at the Chinese; it was designed to explain the dos and don’ts of Japanese culture. The guide, produced by the and published in August, placed large red “X” marks over unwanted behavior, including violations of bathroom etiquette, making noise in swimming areas and flatulence in public places.)
Chinese travelers now comprise the world’s largest outbound tourism market, but the behavior of some of their numbers has also led to criticism from many overseas tourism destinations. Liu Simin, vice-president of tourism of the Chinese Society for Future Studies, said that, in addition to tightening government or industry regulations on this issue, it is also necessary to educate people about good manners from a young age, even starting from kindergarten, which would set solid foundations for education on civilized tourism.