Poll Finds Brits Badly Behaved in Europe; Americans Most Generous but 8th Place Overall - My Family Travels

I want to share the results of a fascinating poll called the Expedia Best Tourist Index. It has run annually since 2002, and gauges the opinions of hoteliers worldwide to rank different nationalities on their behavior while traveling. 

According to the press release we received, the poll was carried out on behalf of Expedia by TNS, during the period June 10-23,2009 on 4,557 hoteliers worldwide, predominantly in Europe, the Americas (North and South America), Africa and Asia Pacific. Results were issued in London on July 10, 2009, with a headline that named British tourists the worst behaved in Europe. Of course, with these results, Expedia.co.uk may want to change their logo (pictured above)!

Here’s the press release in its entirety, followed by the “scores” the various nationalities received. Note that there are many ties.


London, 10th July 2009 – British tourists have been named as the worst behaved in Europe, according to new research out today. For the third year running, Europeans have also voted the Brits messy, bad tippers and very likely to complain.

The Expedia Best Tourist Index, running annually since 2002, gauges the opinions of over 4,500 hoteliers worldwide to rank different nationalities on their behaviour abroad – everything from spending habits to their willingness to try and speak the local language.

International relations

While the Europeans are critical of British holidaymakers, the rest of the world paints a different picture. For the second consecutive year, British holidaymakers are runners-up overall in the worldwide Best Tourist rankings. A fifth (18%) of those surveyed commended the Brits for their politeness, while those from the UK were ranked second in the best behaved category and most generous nationality, although trounced here by the Americans who comfortably stormed in to first place.

The traditional socks and sandals stereotype of holidaying Brits also seems to be waning. For the second year in a row, they ranked highly in the wardrobe department, rated second most stylish overall, beaten only by the couture-clad Italians, with the French in third place.

Brits on Brits

Despite being voted the second best tourists in the world, Brits have a disparaging view of themselves. A fifth voted their fellow countrymen the worst globally, only behind the Americans. A further 20% claimed home-grown holidaymakers were both the most miserly and the noisy.

“Being voted the worst tourists in the world by our closest neighbours highlights the fact that the ‘Brits Abroad’ moniker is a label we still haven’t managed to shrug off. While we are in second place in the global ‘Best Tourist’ rankings, we clearly have a job to do to convince our European counterparts and those at home that we can be better behaved on holiday,” says Jonathan Cudworth, head of product marketing, Expedia.co.uk.

The Good, The Bad & The French

The Index reveals that the Japanese are far and away the world’s best tourists, scoring highly not only as the quietest and most polite but also the cleanest and least likely to complain.

Britain’s friends across The Channel didn’t fare quite so well with hoteliers naming the French as the world’s worst European tourists. As well as being the most frugal and meanest tippers, they can also lay claim to being among the rudest tourists in Europe, with a tenth of hoteliers citing them as most impolite.

Additional findings

* Speaking louder and slower is a thing of the past as Brits move up the rankings from last year to number three, being the most likely to try to speak the local language

* Worldwide, the Japanese, British, Canadians, Germans and Australians are considered the most polite nations.

* The Top 3 loudest nations are the Americans, Italians and Spanish

* After the Americans and the British, the next biggest tippers are the Germans and the Japanese.

* Canadians, Australians and Swiss were the other top five nationalities named as least likely to complain.


2009 Expedia Best Tourist Global Index

1= Japanese
2= British
3= Canadians
4= Germans
5= Swiss
6= Dutch
6= Australians
8= Swedish
8= Americans
10= Danes
10= Norwegians
10= Finnish
10= Belgians
14= Austrians
14= New Zealanders
16= Thais
17= Portuguese
17= Czechs
19= Italians
19= Irish
19= Brazilians
22= Polish
22= South Africans
24= Turkish
24= Greeks
26= Spanish
27= French

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