I am not quite sure how robust this report is in terms of its data sample, but it does rather undermine the standard complaint that the British are the worst tourists. I am still not entirely convinced, but still:
PARIS (Reuters Life!) – French tourists are the worst in the world, coming across as bad at foreign languages, tight-fisted and arrogant, according to a survey of 4,500 hotel owners across the world.
They finish in last place in the survey carried out for internet travel agency Expedia by polling company TNS Infratest, which said French holidaymakers don’t speak local languages and are seen as impolite.
“It’s mainly the fact that they speak little or no English when they’re abroad, and they don’t speak much of the local language,” Expedia Marketing Director Timothee de Roux told radio station France Info. “The French don’t go abroad very much. We’re lucky enough to have a country which is magnificent in terms of its landscape and culture,” he said, adding that 90 per cent of French people did their traveling at home.
Yet we Anglos are not that great at speaking foreign languages either. I mean, I speak passable French, German and a few phrases in Italian, but most French folk I have met abroad do speak English of varying degrees. To a certain extent, such a finding might depend on the type of tourist and the places they go to: most French tourists or expats living in London will tend, I find, to be pretty keen to find out about where they are and so will learn the language a bit.
The report concludes:
“But French tourists received some consolation for their poor performance, finishing third after the Italians and British for dress sense while on holiday.”