OFF INTO THE WILD WET YONDER How does this...
Quick, Call Campus Security… Chinese Tourists!
Thailand’s Chiang Mai University has a problem. Not with potential terrorism. Not with protestors. And not even with unruly students. But with Chinese tourists.
It appears a Chinese movie called “Lost in Thailand” is causing headaches for one of Thailand’s top universities. A 2012 slapstick comedy that became China’s highest-grossing domestically made movie ever, was partially filmed on campus and now has Chinese tourists flocking to see the place. Not only are the tourists coming to visit, but they are apparently sneaking in to attend lectures, making a mess of the school’s cafeteria, and even pitching tents on the school’s grounds near a picturesque lake. Luckily this is Thailand and not the United States, because nowadays there even campus security is heavily armed and have sensitive trigger fingers.
Since 2012, China has overtaken the “ugly Americans” and Germans as top overseas spenders, with some 100 million Chinese tourists expected to go abroad this year. Some places like Chang Mai are already noticing the challenges of dealing with certain “loud, uncouth, culturally unaware behavior.”
Apparently the low watermark of “this behavior” was a photograph widely circulated around the Internet of a person, supposedly Chinese, defecating in the city’s ancient moat. This must have been as close to bottom as one could go without causing a massive protest.
This is not to say that all Chinese are bad at tourism. It seems to be concentrated mainly on those in tour groups and those who are old… but isn’t that every tour group? From almost any country? Even some older Japanese males have been known to get together, drink, and cause havoc.
But not to worry, the Chinese government has issued a 64-page Guidebook for Civilised Tourism, which includes such helpful pointers as “no nose-picking in public,” “don’t steal life jackets from airplanes,” and “don’t leave footprints on the toilet seat, and flush after use.” Moreover, even some airlines have started to “train crew members in Kung Fu to subdue drunken passengers,” and no I am not kidding about this.
But in all fairness, these things take time. Many Chinese are new to traveling overseas and some 60% of Chinese tourists to Thailand are first-time travelers abroad, so just as in life time changes everything. Let’s just hope they get this “unruliness” in check fast or else they may have to start putting curtains around public fountains everywhere.