The World’s Rudest Nations For Travelers

by | April 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Travel

(iStockphoto)

By Andrew Bender, Forbes.com Contributor

Congratulations, my fellow Americans! We’re not the rudest nation on the planet. We’re not even in the top 5. USA! USA!

The travel search site Skyscanner.com surveyed its users about where the locals never smile and people are particularly unfriendly, and the nation with the most votes for rudest locals was…

Wait for it…

France (félicitations, mes amis!), followed by Russia. The survey received over 1,200 responses, 65 percent from the UK and Ireland, plus elsewhere in Europe, North America and Australia.

Rounding out the top five rudest countries were the UK, Germany and “Other” (those Others are the worst, don’t you think?). The US placed 7th, behind China.

Some of the perceived rudeness may be attributable to cultural differences rather than anything intentional. For example, says Tatiana Danilova, Skyscanner’s Russian Market Manager, “the Russian language is not as polite as English, so when Russians translate directly from Russian to English, it can sound rude to an English speaker even if they don’t mean it to.”

“We were surprised to see Russians come in second place,” says Skyscanner’s Travel Editor, Sam Baldwin. He attributes this in part to the “familiarity breeds contempt” phenomenon. Although Russia doesn’t compare with the Mediterranean as a tourist destination, as visa regulations have relaxed, Russian holidaymakers are increasingly flocking to the Mediterranean and coming into contact with people from other countries.

The same principle may apply to the French: “As our closest neighbors, there has long been a familiar rivalry between the UK and France,” Baldwin says, and the preponderance of responses from the British Isles may have contributed to this result. Still, Baldwin says, “Even the French acknowledge that the way they are perceived is not entirely without basis.” (In France’s defense, I’ve always found Parisians to be just as rude to each other as they are to foreigners. Outside of Paris – and even within the city – people can be as gracious as anywhere.)

The British, for their part, voted themselves “world’s worst tourists” in a previous Skyscanner survey.

The countries rated as having the least rude locals were Brazil, the Caribbean and the Philippines.

Skyscanner claims to be Europe’s leading travel search site, operating in over 25 languages with over 25 million visits and over 11 million unique visitors per month. It has offices in Edinburgh, Scotland and Singapore.

Here’s the complete list of responses:

Nationality,  Percentage of votes
French, 19.29
Russian, 16.56
British, 10.43
German, 9.93
Other, 6.37
Chinese, 4.3
American, 3.39
Spanish, 3.15
Italian, 2.24
Polish, 2.24
Turkish, 2.15
Indian, 1.9
Swiss, 1.9
Greek, 1.74
Croatian, 1.57
Austrian, 1.41
Cypriot, 1.24
Egyptian, 1.24
Korean, 1.24
Norwegian, 0.99
Australian, 0.91
Dutch, 0.83
Irish, 0.83
Swedish, 0.83
Japanese, 0.66
Danish, 0.5
Canadian, 0.41
New Zealander, 0.41
Indonesian, 0.41
Portuguese, 0.33
Thai, 0.25
Filipino, 0.17
Caribbean, 0.08
Brazilian, 0.08

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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