「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Bad tourists

By Samantha Loong


As Jarvis Cocker — frontman of popular '90s band Pulp — sang, "Everybody hates a tourist." Sadly, there's a lot about tourists to dislike. And all of us, whether we like it or not, will end up being a tourist at some point in our lives.

So, what is it exactly that makes tourists so unlikeable? One major negative impact they have is on the environment. New Zealand tour operators were excited when New Zealand's tourism industry exploded after the popularity of the Lord of the Rings movies. However, this boom in tourism has resulted in severe damage to the landscape. Pictures have been released showing damage from too many vehicles being driven around the edge of a popular lake. Tourists were also leaving so much rubbish that some helicopter tour operators were too embarrassed to fly over the area.

Embarrassment is also strongly felt by people who have had their country's citizens labelled as Bad Tourists. There was that incident where tourists from China were shown destroying cherry blossom trees in Osaka in order to get a good photo. The Japanese media did a great job of vilifying these tourists and, in turn, anyone else from China. What didn't make the news broadcasts in Japan were the comments from equally outraged Chinese citizens on the mainland. The majority of Chinese citizens were horrified at the terrible behaviour of these tourists.

It happens everywhere. Tourists to parts of Southeast Asia have been photographed begging or trying to sell their wares on the street in order to fund their travels. Brits have the reputation of being drunk, destructive holidaymakers. Maybe there's a reason why tourist sounds a little too close to terrorist.

A lack of respect for being in a different environment seems to be the main cause for bad behaviour. Although I've seen plenty of examples of people in my Japanese neighbourhood tidying up the local streets, I've also seen Japanese people litter, or leave trash — and much worse — in already overflowing rubbish areas. And during a hike on a lesser-known mountain in Wakayama a few years ago, I was disappointed to see so much rubbish left by other hikers.

I recently asked some students to discuss one of Mark Twain's quotes: "Travel is fatal to prejudice." One of my students pointed out that while that may be true for the visitor, travel can also create prejudice towards visitors from certain nations if tourists are badly behaved.

Another popular quote on travelling is "Take only memories, leave only footprints." But maybe leaving even footprints is too much. Perhaps what tourists and travellers need to remember is that they are representing their country and their people — they should instead leave a good impression.



The Japan Times ST: July 21, 2017

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版