Don’t Hate Chinese Tourists
We all travel to immerse ourselves in a new environment and learn about the customs and people there, right?
So why do so many people hate Chinese tourists?
As people in China earn higher wages and have the means and opportunity to travel, I hear more and more voices around me complaining about Chinese tourists.
Below, I’ve compiled a bit of cultural background you should know before you complain about the next van of Chinese tourists.
And I’ll give you some tips for how to work together to improve the relationship between Chinese tourists and everyone else!
After all— Don’t complain, Educate!
Here is a bit of cultural background on China:
1) There are a LOT of people in China. That means the noise level even in a quiet place in China might seem decibals above what you’re used to— and this carries over when people from China travel.
2) They’re not intentionally rude, usually. When my mom came to visit me in China, she complained about how I shoved her when getting off the elevator. The weirdest part— I hadn’t even noticed ! What you might see as rude behavior is not usually meant that way— it comes from a different set of cultural values, and a different relationship to the space around you.
3) Selfies = Appreciation. Many Chinese people value beauty, but the way they show it is through photos and loud exclamations. Up until the last decade, many Chinese people didn’t have a chance to travel within China, let alone abroad. Next time you see a group taking hundreds of photos, imagine your sense of awe the first time you left your hometown.
So, what can you do?
1) Engage positively! Approach someone in the group and introduce yourself. They may not speak much English, but I’m sure they’ll be friendly!
2) Ask them to [be a bit quieter]. Most of the time, they might not realize their own volume— after all, life in China is pretty loud most of the time. And people have adapted their voices to cut above the din of the bustling streets of Shanghai. But if you ask, they might lower their volume! And they definitely won’t if you don’t ask.
3) Young people from China are different travelers from the older gens. Many people DO want to learn about the culture and history of the places where they travel, not just take photos. So just because you had challenging interactions in the past, don’t stop trying to reach out and share the cultural dos and don’ts with other Chinese travelers you meet.
Here’s to improved communication for the enjoyment of all travelers!