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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Pushy French are world's worst tourists; Japanese are top: study

PARIS —

Penny-pinching, rude and terrible at foreign languages: French people are the world’s worst tourists according to a study of the global hotel industry released on Thursday.

Carried out last month by TNS Infratest, the study asked 40,000 hotels worldwide to rank tourists from 27 countries based on nine criteria, from their politeness to their willingness to tip.

Clean and tidy, polite, quiet and uncomplaining, Japanese tourists came top of the crop for the third year running.

At the other end of the spectrum, French holidaymakers and business travelers were the least generous or ready to tip, and ranked next-to-last for their overall behavior and politeness.

Pushy French travelers made amends on elegance—classed third—as well as for their discretion and cleanliness.

But the French were the least ready to try a new language, unlike U.S. tourists who were most likely to swallow their pride and order a pizza, baguette or a paella in the local lingo.

U.S. tourists also got top marks for generosity—as the biggest spenders and tippers—but fell short on other counts as the least tidy, the loudest, the worst complainers, and the most badly dressed.

Despite cliches about beer-guzzling hordes descending on Mediterranean resorts each summer, Britons came a surprise second for their overall behavior, politeness, quietness and even elegance—second for dress sense only to the Italians.

But the model Japanese were followed by Canadians as the least likely to whinge when a trip goes wrong.

France’s rivals for the “worst tourist” tag, Spaniards and Greeks came near the bottom of the pack in almost every category.

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