There area some people who want to emphasize the difference between a tourist and a traveler, especially when describing themselves. I’ve seen a lot of debate on this, and even more tips on travel etiquette and on how to generally act when visiting a new place. Am I clear on what the difference between a traveler and a tourist is? Not really. Not unless you mean Irish Travelers and then maybe I get it.
You might try to differentiate between vacation travelers and long-term/permanent travelers. Or tourists. Whatever word you choose to use, it doesn’t clear it up. The truth of it is that tourist was the word chosen to describe everything wrong with people who travel. The loud, obnoxious, uninformed, insensitive people out there – those who make everyone look bad – got lumped together in the tourist category and I totally understand the need to not be in the same category as them.
But the ministries are still of tourism, the branch of business and economy is still tourism, and using a dedicated word for this bunch makes them sound like a bigger crowd then they are. They seem to be many because the ones who act like that are really hard to miss.
Just take a look at this infographic I stumbled across:
Doesn’t the column on the left describe total douchebags? I think it does. Disrespectful, uninformed (being uneducated is not the same, because people lacking formal education can still learn on their own), mean, loud, and prone to being overcharged. Besides, some of these rules are confusing. If you have to stay true to yourself, how can you respect mindsets and practices that are against everything you stand for? I mean, would you ask a dog owner to eat a dog meat dish and expect him not to go on a long, yelling-type rant about how dogs aren’t food?
Or here’s a different example: you know those dolphin “hunts” in Japan that everyone says are cruel. Are you supposed to immerse yourself in those experiences? You can be aware of certain things, not interfere, and then stay as far away from them as possible. You might respect their right to still do it, but not respect the custom, and that’s fine. You’re not a douchy tourist, relax! You might think these examples extreme, but they aren’t the worst I could think of.
And isn’t this traveler pedestal also misleading? I am sure we’re all wonderful human beings after 20 hours of flight, bad food, possibly a delayed connection, getting on the wrong buss, and after finding out there was a problem with our booking. I am sure at that point, if someone says something to us, we are 100% unable to snap or just go to our room and cry and think the place we’re in sucks. No? Yeah, I thought so. I also know anyone would feel better the next day after a hot meal, a shower, and a nice, long sleep.
My take on this? I am a traveler because I travel. And I am a tourist because I am another number on tourism statistics and budgets. Other than that, I try not to act like a total moron, be as nice as I can, and generally try not to annoy the life out of people. The end 🙂
What’s your take on this?