Article of interest to USA hosts

This article has a heavy political bias. Regardless, it is a warning, if your business relies on European guests, 2020 is going to perhaps be even worse than you thought. Also if you are from USA traveling to Europe, you may not be welcome, especially in Italy.


Interesting. But I can tell you that while Americans seem to think they are the greatest country on earth and that they are welcome everywhere, they haven’t been viewed well in many places for quite awhile. There are American travellers who put Canadian flag stickers on their luggage and tell people they are Canadian because they get a better reception in many places around the world.
Living in a thriving tourist town in Mexico, I’ve seen some pretty crass behavior from American tourists- walking down the street, or sitting in a restaurant, talking to each other in loud, booming voices, as if everyone wants to hear their conversation, never thinking to bring a Spanish phrase book along and expecting everyone to speak English, repeating things louder and slower in English to a shopgirl who obviously doesn’t speak English, as if she is deaf or mentally handicapped. Taking up the time of a beach vendor by having him lay out his wares and poring over everything for 15 minutes, trying to bargain him down to insulting prices, only to not buy anything.
Of course there are plenty of wonderful, respectful American travellers, but unfortunately you see this sort of behavior much more among American tourists than those from other places.


Oh… you’ve just described the average English (sorry guys!) tourist also.

Kinda sums it up :laughing:



An American passport used to be an asset, now it’s looking rather more like a liability.

This is a serious question. When was it an asset?


What a hoot.

In 2019 a friend attended the Charleston SC food festival. (SE -USA). She said she was so tired of A small group from NJ/NY area (NE-USA) acting as if EVERYONE needed to hear every thing they said and complaining about everything. It was all she could do to not start yelling for them to just leave & go home and stop making every one else miserable. Seems bad behavior happens everywhere. Amazing how The behavior of a FEW Rude people Gets generalized to make everyone look bad.

Btw-NJ/NY (New Jersey/New York) compared to Charleston South Carolina has different norms for conduct.
E. G. NJ/NY will tell you Up front if they think you just said something idiotic.
In SC they just say, “really? Well bless your heart” which may or may not be accompanied by an eye roll when you aren’t looking and as they refill your sweet tea.


exactly. In 2009 I was in Greece and long story short I got yelled at by an angry greek man who blamed the americans for the 2008 recession. he had power over me. I got on a day trip to a remote greek island and literally missed the return boat. when I asked around when was the next boat they said in a week. i was supposed to come back to usa in 3 days! So I wanted to get on a small plane that flew back to the place where i was staying that night but the guy was saying the plane was full with Italian tourists and their luggage and yelled at me seeing my american passport.

From that incident on I tend to travel more with my other passport. Luckily I have dual citizenship.

Wow :frowning: … says it all.

How many US shopworkers, taxi drivers and tourist workers in tourist towns do you know that speak multiple languages (who aren’t from multi-ethnic families).

How many languages do you speak fluently (which are not family languages) so you can ‘properly converse with your guests’ ? @Jefferson


For a lot of people it still is an asset. It’s all relative. I’ve known so many people who work so hard for 10 years+ to get an american passport. But, yes, they aren’t from the UK or Florida :wink:

When I did my first backpacking trip in 1990, I was told to (and did) put a Canadian flag on my backpack; however, I was told it was for safety so that people didn’t think I had a lot of money either to steal or to spend (which, ironically, I didn’t, lol). The only thing that damn flag did for me was to get me hung-up at the airport in Houston with my american passport :roll_eyes:

But yes, I too have experienced the loud, entitled obnoxious american tourists. Though, unfortunately, I can say that about tourists in general regardless of country origin.

When we lived in NY, tourists came from certain countries all at once, depending on their vacation schedules. There would be a day when all of a sudden the whole train was full of a particular nationality and they were everywhere in the City so it was like they were living with you for a couple of weeks. The Scandanavians, Nigerians and Japanese were better than most. But the Italians, Germans, French, British, Greek, Chinese, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Colombians, Chileans, Russians, Brazilians,Koreans, Australians, Mexicans and Indian tourists were generally loud, entitled and obnoxious and we were always glad to see them go (and this was in a city already known for being loud and obnoxious ,)

I really think it’s a tourist thing. I know nice polite people from all of these countries, including the US but I’ve rarely met a nice polite tourist. I think it must just bring out the worst in people. And, also, it is people who are generally more entitled that can afford to be tourists regardless of where they come from. Travellers are different regardless of where they come from, it’s a different mindset.


@JJD Just the fact that you were travelling with a backpack instead of nice luggage should have been a dead giveaway that you didn’t have a bunch of money to steal :slight_smile:


But I was also told to remove the grateful dead patch and the amsterdam patch so that it wasn’t obvious that I was carrying hash with me. Which is funny, because I bought it in Denmark. Ahhhh…youth :wink:

edit to add: How funny to put so much into some patches on a backpack anyway.

That’s exactly the American attitude that doesn’t make Americans welcome in a lot of places. There’s plenty of little grocery stores and such which aren’t part of the downtown core tourist-oriented scene. Those stores were in existence long before the town became overrun with tourists. Those shops may be down some little side street or in a part of town which was only populated by locals until rich foreigners bought up lots and built rental houses on them. So now there may be a lot of tourists staying in there, next door to a little mom and pop market that’s been there for 20-30 years. There’s no reason whatsoever for those shopkeepers to be expected to learn English- this is their country and Spanish is their language.
When one travels to a foreign country, where the official language isn’t English, it’s incredibly arrogant to expect the locals to be fluent in English. People used to bring phrase books when they travelled, so they could make themselves understood re the basic info that most tourists and travelers would be inclined to want to know. I guess those types of books have now been replaced by phone translation apps, which is fine, as long as people actually avail themselves of them and not expect the entire world to speak English.
If the kind of experience a tourist wants is that everyone they might have to deal with speaks English, there are places they can stay, like all-inclusive resorts, where they can have that and never have to experience the “real” local life. And they can go eat at McDonald’s, where “Big Mac” seems to be a universally understood term.


I’m American and used to be a flight attendant. I recall one time when the crew went for drinks at a bar in Germany, and the waitress said " You’re Americans." When someone from the crew asked her how she knew we were Americans, she responded “Because you walk in like you own the place.” That was 35 years ago, so Americans have not been welcomed in Europe for a long time. We’re not all ugly Americans but so many rotten apples have given all of us a bad reputation : (

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It’s so ironic that translation apps make this easier than ever. I’m one American that is more than ready to see the world quit tolerating US arrogance. Like every nation we have good and bad qualities and things are definitely worse now.


I have felt welcomed in every nation I’ve been in. But I also make an effort to be respectful and fair to the people who make it possible for me to be there.


I am Australian and I am a great tourist.
I have mentioned before that I grew up in the hotel industry and I think I have pretty much seen it all in tourist behaviour.
Before I go to a new country, I research the manners, etiquette and what to do and not to do. I also look at what the level of modesty of dress for men and women. If your hair is supposed to be covered, then my hat and scarf is packed.
I did a trip to Egypt last year with some younger women who were very casually dressed with lots of skin showing. Can’t tell you how many times my big scarf came out to stop the unwelcome attention…
Before my trip to the US, I researched how to tip, because it isn’t done here.
To Thailand, the soles of your feet are considered unclean and don’t show them and never ever pat a child on their head!
When I hear a tourist moaning that this place isn’t like .home and I wonder to myself…why are you travelling then…


So have I. When I have vacationed in Europe, I personally have not felt unwelcomed. I went to France and everyone was lovely. When I told my friend how nice everyone had been to me (so unlike her trip) she said that was because they probably assumed I was a Spaniard and not an American. I really feel people treat you the way you treat them. If one is being an ugly American, why would anyone put up with such rudeness.


Same thing here. City Mexicans are quite modern and if they come to the beach here on the weekend, you’ll see lots of those girls in skimpy bikinis. But the locals in what is basically just a small coastal town whose economy ran on fishing and cowboying until it got “discovered” and turned into a tourist mecca, are quite modest in general. I see tourist women here who haven’t made any effort to inform themselves of the culture or even look around to see how others are dressed, both locals and expats who live here. Fine to wear your bikini on the beach, but once you leave the beach, wrap a sarong around you or throw something on to walk down the streets. Yet these girls will prance through town in a thong bikini, completely oblivious, as if they’re on the French Riviera.


You are missing the point. We are not talking about “a normal area of Mexico”, where visitors would be expected to use Spanish, or to make a good effort.

Tourist areas like Cozumel, Cancun or any “thriving tourist town in Mexico” will often make the effort to accommodate their customers. It is simply smart business and is commonplace in areas that are heavily dependent on tourism, especially for many decades.

To be clear - I am not saying that we should not make any effort at all. When we travel, we love to try to use the local language and customs.

To answer your question, we are completely fluent in the language of our guests. If our situation were otherwise, it would be very prudent for us to develop more than our current mixed skills in French, Spanish and Japanese.

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I had that problem in the Reagan days until I started telling the Labor pickets against Maggy Thatcher that I didn’t vote for Reagan, either. Then, it being Scotland, they wanted to be friends and have me buy them a wee dram. :wink:


I am absolutely not missing the point.

It is arrogant of you to assume that every shop or amenity in a foreign country should speak your language just because it happens to be located in a geography that has become a mecca for foreign tourists. Many in key tourist spots will have some level of your language just not necessarily be fluent.

If as you say, ‘it is such smart business’ why is it that when you go to tourist hot spots in the US the vast majority of workers who are not ethnically from another country will not speak multiple languages?

Glad to hear you and your partner are fluent in Spanish, French and Japanese. Were you already fluent before you started your STR recently, or did you learn these languages because you knew that’s where most of the your visitors would come from?