Cina: da un posto qualsiasi..
Now that the summer's here, many people are going on holiday, including Chinese.
There are some who tour around China, whilst others travel abroad. In today's day and age, it seems like
wherever you go, you'll find Chinese tourists visiting the area, especially monuments and famous sights.
In this article, I'll be debunking some common misconceptions about Chinese tourists.
Keepin mind that these are very general:
every Chinese person is different, and it is unfair to group them together.
However, these things mostly apply to Chinese tourists travelling abroad.
I first want to talk of how Chinese travel.
It is common to see huge groups of 20+ people, travelling on buses and taking lots of photos.
Chinese tourists are sometimes made fun of because of this:
why can't they travel alone?
Why do they always have to be in a group?
Why do they have to travel in swarms?
The most obvious reason for this is that Chinese culture emphasizes the importance of being in a group.
It isn't really 'majority wins', but 'majority is safe'.
We are familiar with this concept when talking of how it's safer to be in a group in cities at night, but for them, it pours into all aspects of life.
Chinese who can afford travelling abroad do so very rarely, perhaps only once or twice in their lives:
of course, they'd want to travel as a community.
Additionally, most Chinese only speak Mandarin and their own dialects, with few speaking English.
They don't know Western languages just like Europeans aren't expected to know Asian languages, so it is logical
to want to be with people who speak the same tongue.
There is also a sharp difference between how they visit places.
In the West, it is common to spend at least a few days in each city, taking time to better know the town.
Not only do Western people visit the sights, but they also wander around, talking to or observing locals,
stopping in random bars and restaurants to experience the city like locals do:
and if Westerners don't do this, they at least try to, or have this ideal.
However, it is different for Chinese tourists.
They focus on the quantitative, not qualitative:
the norm is three countries in fifteen days.
Because they want to see as much as possible in the limited time they have.
Most Chinese work six or seven days a week, up to ten hours a day, and their life is their job.
The longest break they have is the Chinese new year (http://www.topbtw.com/topbtw-1531.html) where they visit family,
rather than travelling. Their summer break is much shorter.
Additionally, China is a long way from any other continent, and going abroad takes time and costs a lot
For all these reasons, even though they might want to spend more time in each place, they simply can't.
Three countries in fifteen days is how you experience as much as possible, in as short a time as possible.
Another factor to consider in how Chinese tourists travel is that they prepare a lot beforehand.
Many Westerners 'go with the flow', travelling to new places and only planning the hotels and any sights they wish to visit.
Personally, I do little to no preparation when travelling to another country, because I know I will have time to
absorb the culture without too much pre-travel fuss.
However, this is different for many Chinese tourists:
because they know that the time they can spend is brief, they read and research for weeks before departing.
The only difference, really, is that Westerners tend to focus more on experiencing the country,
whereas Chinese focus more onknowing the country.
The final criticism about Chinese tourists is that wherever they go, they seem to always eat in Chinese restaurants.
This is possibly the most puzzling of all.
Why go abroad and not even sample the food?
Again, we should consider that there isn't enough timeto adapt to the different foods.
To be fair, many foreigners in Chins need a while to get used to Chinese cuisine, whether that is because of the amount of oil, different fish, or absence of raw vegetables, salami, and cheeses.
It is fully understandable that for a Chinese tourist who has perhaps never left the country, it feels safer
to eat Chinese food.
Now, Chinese are just starting to come to the West, and for the majority it might be the first and last time.
Perhaps when they will be able to come many times in the course of their lives, they will be able to experience more
of the West.
Happy summer holidays!
Cortesia di L.B.
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