Michael O’Regan, FOM, is quoted in CNN travel – in an article that asks “Travelers behaving badly: Is the conduct of tourists getting worse?
Michael O’Regan, a senior lecturer at Bournemouth University and former assistant professor at the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao, shares these sentiments, saying the trend for sharing these types of videos on social media only serves to worsen the relationship between tourists and locals.“If a video goes viral, politicians are forced to act,”
O’Regan tells CNN Travel, referencing an incident in Venice where two German tourists were fined 950 euros (around US$1,040) after being caught on camera making coffee on the steps of city’s landmark Rialto Bridge.“Naming and shaming people weakens public support for tourists, creating an ‘us’ and ‘them.’“Everyone wants this perfect tourist. But that creates a system where there are good tourists and bad tourists, which only makes things worse.”
O’Regan agrees that communicating with tourists and educating them on local culture is the best course of action.He says there’s no evidence to suggest codes of conduct actually work, pointing out that many tourists won’t even be aware of them in the first instance.“I think we’re going down the wrong road,” he says. “We can’t expect every single tourist to be aware of every cultural practice in the place they’re traveling to.“Tourism was meant to educate.
Travelers would go to a different destination, adapt to different cultures and come back somewhat changed.”He stresses that simply placing signs in taxis or at the airport or issuing etiquette guides can prove effective.For instance, Japanese city Kyoto recently introduced a smartphone update to rein in impolite tourists after reports of travelers lying down in the street to take photos and chasing geishas.