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View Full Version : Why do some people hate tourists? What's a tourist trap?


Diamonds02
02-27-2009, 01:42 PM
Excuse my ignorance, I have not traveled a lot in my life time. :(

I noticed that people who live in popular places like NYC really hate tourist, but they never say why.

A kind of semi-related question...what is a tourist trap?

astorian
02-27-2009, 02:08 PM
I lived in New York City for the first 25 years of my life, and I never thought New Yorkers were particularly hostile to tourists... or at least, no MORE hostile to tourists than they are to each other!

The definition of "tourist trap" varies widely. SOME people use it to refer to practically ANY popular tourist attraction, particularly the ones that end up costing visitors a lot of money.

Others use it to refer to cheapo, stupid roadside attractions in areas frequented by tourists. In any state or city that attracts a lot of tourists, you're likely to find loads of low-budget operations that proclaim, oh, "Exotic Wildlife" (it's really a skunk, a ferret and two goats) or "Historic Monument" (it's just some old, dilapidated house where George Washington once stopped to take a leak). That kind of "tourist trap" is generally a complete waste of time, but they hope passing tourists will stop, pay to get in, and buy a few ashtrays or baseball caps.

To me, an "alligator farm" on the road to Disney World is a typical "tourist trap." but SOME people will actually refer to Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty as "torist traps." Depends on your point of view, I guess.

TheMerchandise
02-27-2009, 02:14 PM
I only hate tourists in specific situations. Like when they gum up sidewalk traffic so they can snap a picture or peer at a map. Also, when they pause in the subway doors to wonder if they're on the right train and manage to hold everyone else up. Generally, as long as they're continuously moving, tourists are fine. :)

When I think of "tourist traps" I think of something generic and artificial, that exists specifically to attract tourists. No cultural or historic significance. Think "The World's Largest Ball of String!"

Bosstone
02-27-2009, 02:15 PM
Especially in big cities, there's a kind of flow to life, a host of unwritten rules, that residents get used to. Tourists are generally unaware of these rules and tend to cause disruptions. Not big ones, but things like blocking the sidewalk to stare up at big buildings or haggling over some minor thing or, if they come from a city with no metro, standing on the left and walking on the right when it should be vice versa (I think). New York is a fast-paced city, and tourists are speedbumps that don't necessarily need to be there. Sure, the tourism industry might bring in a lot of money to the city, but on an individual level they can be annoying. (Usual disclaimer: there are of course tourists that try to be conscientious and make an effort to not be a burden; those generally aren't the disliked ones.)

Antinor01
02-27-2009, 02:15 PM
They tend to be loud, travel in large groups and make it hard to enjoy local amenities. People often get "vacation rudeness". Things like stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to take pictures.

MeanOldLady
02-27-2009, 02:19 PM
I don't hate tourists. I just hate when they get all touristy - you know, stopping on the middle of the sidewalk to ogle all the pretty buildings, blocking traffic because they just have to get a picture of whatever uninteresting thing is before them, etc. I'm sure I've passed many people who were tourists and I didn't even know it because they didn't walk slowly, or hold up the entire program because they were trying to dig their camera phones out of their fanny packs.

tdn
02-27-2009, 02:24 PM
Yep, pretty much not tourists, but clueless touristy behavior.

What I hate is when I'm in a rush to get on the subway, and need to buy a token (this was back in the days before Charlie Cards), and some clueless tourist family is negotiating with the token booth guy. "Let's see... we've got two adults, and eighteen children... How many tickets is that? Hey, we're from out of town, do we get any kind of special discount? And which subway car do we take to get to Cheers?"

Scarlett67
02-27-2009, 02:34 PM
what is a tourist trap?

Well, there's the regular kind, used to harvest them for their pelts, and also the much more humane "catch and release" type if you just can't bear to kill them . . .

msmith537
02-27-2009, 02:43 PM
Well, as already mentioned, in NYC it can get very annoying if you are going to work and you have these fools stoping in the middle of the subway turnstyle or all of a suddenly stopping dead in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at the big buildings.

There is also a general "idiot" factor where to many New Yorkers, your basic Middle America tourist tends to come accross as simple and unsophisticated. Classic example would be overweight fans of The Today Show standing around Rockefeller Center with their bad hairdos and fanny packs and big "I [heart] Minnesota" (or wherever) signs. They eat at the same chain restaurants they eat at back home, but think it's oh so "New York" and exciting because the Red Lobster and Olive Garden in Times Square has a 50 foot sign. No one really "hates" them though.

That's really more of a stereotype though because those are the most "obviously not from New York" people. If I'm in a bar with some friends and we meet a bunch of people from out of town who look and act normal, no one thinks anything of it.

Green Bean
02-27-2009, 02:44 PM
What makes you think New Yorkers hate tourists. In my experience, New Yorkers welcome tourists--EXCEPT when they amble along the sidewalks, 4 abreast, pointing at the pretty lights, and being utterly oblivious to the human traffic jam forming behind them.

(On preview, I see that a lot of other people responded while I was writing this. Blocking the sidewalk is, apparently, a major theme!)

I think astorian gives a good idea of what "tourist trap" means.

To me, the key is that it's an attraction that offers little value for the money. The operators are just trying to get you there and collect your admission fees, and hopefully the cost of your lunch and some souvenirs. It's more hype than substance. To call someplace a tourist trap implies that the customer is being misled into thinking that the attraction is more impressive than it is.

The epitome of the tourist trap would probably be Wall Drug (http://www.walldrug.com/) in South Dakota. As I understand it, it started as just a regular drugstore/general store in the Mount Rushmore area. They started to advertise free ice water to entice tourists to stop by. Of course, the owners expected the people to buy other stuff while they were there. The plan worked, so they started to advertise more and more. Since people were coming, they added more things for people to do and spend money on, and started to present themselves as a legitimate attraction. And it worked. It's an entirely self-aware tourist trap, and its claim to fame is that it IS a tourist trap! The joke is that people are traveling hundreds of miles to visit a drugstore. Ironically, its success as a tourist trap spurred so much development that it created an attraction that is, by all accounts, pretty darn cool and fun. So, in a way, the ultimate tourist trap is not really a tourist trap at all.

Unfortunately, as astorian notes, some people will call any tourist attraction a tourist trap. That's just stupid. It's not unreasonable for the Park Service to try and earn a few extra shekels by selling you Statue of Liberty knickknacks. An attempt to make money from the attraction does not make it a trap.

Karyn
02-27-2009, 02:44 PM
The closest town is Santa Cruz which is one of the ultimate touristy beach towns but more on the low end of the scale than Monterey or Carmel are. During the summer the traffic is nightmarish, the restaurants are crowded and they generally wander around gawking as if they're at some kind of hippie Disneyland and the raggedy street people are the love generation. They're in the way and we all love to complain, but without them we have virtually no economy other than the University, nonprofit and local government jobs and there would be no solid sales tax revenue stream for the city to maintain services with. It would be just another little seaside town slowly falling apart and going broke.

I grew up in NYC but no tourists came to the Bronx. When we went to Manhattan I was always amazed at all the people with their cameras lined up to get into what to me were normal places but I left as a teenager so I never really had to deal with any inconvenience.

MeanOldLady
02-27-2009, 02:48 PM
I spent most of my life in Los Angeles and now live in Minneapolis. I used to work on Hollywood Blvd, but I'm not even going to go there right now. Oddly enough, I don't see a lot of tourists anymore, though an occasional business traveler will stop to look at the Mary Tyler Moore statue downtown. I gawked for quite a while that there was actual nature out here, but I never stopped in the middle of the street to stare for five minutes.

They eat at the same chain restaurants they eat at back home, but think it's oh so "New York" and exciting because the Red Lobster and Olive Garden in Times Square has a 50 foot sign.
Gah. When I first went to San Francisco with some idiots from my freshman dorm, everyone decided that they wanted to eat dinner at Tony Roma's. Are you effing kidding me?

The Devil's Grandmother
02-27-2009, 03:02 PM
Because tourists are, by their very nature, a transient audience you don't expect to see again any restaurant that caters to tourists is going to be bland overpriced food and crappy service. When I think "tourist trap" I think of the restaurants located within a block or two of any major attraction.

Hampshire
02-27-2009, 03:09 PM
now live in Minneapolis. Oddly enough, I don't see a lot of tourists anymore, though an occasional business traveler will stop to look at the Mary Tyler Moore statue downtown.

Go to the Mall of America. Plenty o' tourists there.

tdn
02-27-2009, 03:14 PM
When I think of tourist traps, I think of gift shops that sell little Indian drums with rubber heads and those little plastic pinball machines with a Niagara Falls theme.

JaneSaintClair
02-27-2009, 03:20 PM
For a few years, I had the unfortunate experience of living in Gettysburg. It was there that I learned to to have occasional contempt for tourists. First, because it was a small town, traffic was a nightmare during the high tourist season. Residents learned there ways through alleys and back roads to avoid going through town because of not only the traffic, but the huge number of careless tourists who would step out of their cars to take pictures. There were also a large number of families with children in tow... most of whom could have cared less about the history to be learned. Therefore, the need for more attractions that catered to families resulted in the inevitable min-golf courses, fudge shops, wax museums (complete with miniature 1st ladies!), buffet restaurants, and theme stores. The classic tourist traps... if you don't like the history, we'll sanitize it for you and present it to you in moving color, and give you some fudge on the way out the door.

Most tourists leave thinking how charming and quaint it is.

Death of Rats
02-27-2009, 03:21 PM
There is also a general "idiot" factor where to many New Yorkers, your basic Middle America tourist tends to come accross as simple and unsophisticated. Classic example would be overweight fans of The Today Show standing around Rockefeller Center with their bad hairdos and fanny packs and big "I [heart] Minnesota" (or wherever) signs. They eat at the same chain restaurants they eat at back home, but think it's oh so "New York" and exciting because the Red Lobster and Olive Garden in Times Square has a 50 foot sign. No one really "hates" them though.




That's ok. The rest of the world feels the same when New Yorkers travel and do the exact same thing! ;)

Diamonds02
02-27-2009, 03:26 PM
So what are characteristics of good tourist attractions? Examples? Because I admit, I am really into gift shops and the World Largest Ball of String, sort of places.

Diamonds02
02-27-2009, 03:28 PM
Oh, as for obnoxious tourists, we almost never have that sort of thing in Kansas City. I can understand why some people may find tourists annoying. Getting out of your cars to take pictures on a busy street? WTH?

Hello Again
02-27-2009, 03:35 PM
To me, the key is that it's an attraction that offers little value for the money. The operators are just trying to get you there and collect your admission fees, and hopefully the cost of your lunch and some souvenirs. It's more hype than substance. To call someplace a tourist trap implies that the customer is being misled into thinking that the attraction is more impressive than it is.

Yes. As to residents, the Venice Vaporetto (water bus) is a legitimate service. A monthly pass costs 40 Euro - that's pretty comparable to the monthly pass on the NYC subway.

But as to tourists, it's a total tourist trap. A single fare costs 6.50 Euro, a 6th of the monthly fare! You can walk across Venice between the Rialto Bridge/Train Station and the Doge's Palace in 20 minutes. (includes getting lost and asking whores for directions, true story). People do it "for the experience" and get raped for their interest.

Kaio
02-27-2009, 03:54 PM
My main issue with tourists in my city are the ones that, in the pursuit of their perfect vacation, are oblivious, lack common courtesy, or are actively (sometimes aggressively) rude, or some combination of the three.

If you're a tourist and don't do any of those things, I'll never even notice you, no harm, no foul.

However, a large number of them seem to be shocked, shocked! that people actually live in the city they're visiting. Some relatively minor incidents have already been mentioned, but there are also people who, for example, make as if to leave the train, suddenly stop dead in the doorway, and get pissy and shouty because the 50 people behind them couldn't stop in time to not blunder into them. During rush hour.

Or stopping suddenly anywhere that's a high-traffic area. For the love of god, take a moment to get yer head out yer ass, look around you, and step off to the side out of the way.

Or talking at outdoor-volume in an enclosed train car. Your friend is 12 inches away from you, and the city residents aren't talking. Your friend can hear you!

The best example of this rudeness, and the epitome of why I hate tourists: once I was driving home from the gym. I was sweaty and gross, because, you know, I'd just been at the gym. It was a warm afternoon, so my window was rolled down. While waiting at a red light, some idiot chick and her idiot chick friends in the SUV next to me started pointing and laughing at me, and one of them whipped out a camera and started taking pictures. Uhm, excuse me? I'm not an effing zoo display! They got a number of photos of me scratching my temple with my middle finger. :rolleyes:

Once the light changed and they drove off, I checked their plates, and sure enough, they were out-of-state.

Mops
02-27-2009, 03:55 PM
So what are characteristics of good tourist attractions? Examples? ...

A good tourist attraction IMO is one that the local residents also visit from time to time (and not just the once on moving to the town).

Troy McClure SF
02-27-2009, 03:57 PM
Our big tourist trap is Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39. No one from SF goes there*, because very little is worth a second look, and it's all overpriced. Hey look, a shitty camera shop and a shitty t-shirt shop, and a Walgreens with shitty cameras and shitty t-shirts! I think, at least around here, that's the trap.

-*minus a handful who will no doubt say they go three times a week and love it, including me when a friend bartended at Pompei's Grotto.

Why people hate tourists, I have no idea. I went to Bring Your Own Big Wheel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/troymccluresf/sets/72157600059184472/) one year with some friends, which is just the epitome of goofy SF-type fun, but between races, one of my friends would start yelling at everyone who looked like a tourist, for no apparent reason. To this day, I have no idea why, especially since their tax dollars (at the tourist traps) help keep this city going. (Also since said friend isn't even from here and was a tourist once, himself.)

I'm pretty ambivalent toward tourists, and I'll occasionally offer my help to one who looks lost. But I'll agree with other posters that it's annoying when I have Shit To Do and they're blocking the sidewalk or subway door or whatever.

Also, just a tip- do not wear shorts & Hawaiian shirts to Fisherman's Wharf. "Sunny California" does not actually include all (or even most) of California, and we will laugh at you for that. ;)

Sternvogel
02-27-2009, 03:57 PM
The epitome of the tourist trap would probably be Wall Drug (http://www.walldrug.com/) in South Dakota.

Since you took that one, I'll add another "attraction" of that state -- the World's Only Corn Palace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Palace). When I was about 12 and living in Ohio, my dad took the family on a trip out west. My mother had paid a childhood visit to the Corn Palace, and remembered a lot of museum-type displays about growing, harvesting, and processing maize. Although the architecture and the murals on the outside were pretty cool, however, the interior of the Palace was just one huge gift shop by the time I set foot inside there. At least admission was free, but you were obviously expected to buy some pennants, postcards, snow globes, giant pencils, and other gewgaws.

The phrase "tourist trap" also brings to mind the many places that go by such names as Mystery Hill and Gravity Hill. Your car rolls uphill! Dad is suddenly shorter than little Joey! Of course, there's nothing paranormal at play, just optical illusion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_hill).

Future Londonite
02-27-2009, 04:03 PM
To me tourists traps aren't just limited to attractions - some restaurants/pubs I'd consider tourist traps as well.....the ones that happen to be right on the popular stretches and serve mediocre overpriced food/drinks

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
02-27-2009, 04:04 PM
The Royal Mile in Edinburgh's a good example of a tourist trap. It's got two big tourist attractions at either end, the castle at one end and Holyrood house at the other. All along, there's hundreds of shops selling cheap bagpipes, kilts made from polyester, tartan towels and ginger wigs. All the shops are blaring horrific bagpipe music over loud speakers, and have men dressed as William Wallace outside their door, trying to get people in. In short, it's a bit of a circus.

Pubs and restaurants are three times more expensive along the mile than they are less than ten minutes walk off it.

(Tourists, I'll give you a clue: if the kilt you buy costs you less than £200, chances are, it probably isn't worth buying!)

Oredigger77
02-27-2009, 04:10 PM
My problem with tourists is when they prevent me from participating in my normal life.

When I was living in a beach town, I would go to the beach once a month but during the summer it was so crowded on weekends that Thursday through Monday there wasn't enough room to run the dog or play volleyball. If I wanted to watch 4th of July fireworks over the ocean I'd have to show up 4 hrs early to get with in 3 blocks of the beach. Basically it turns all the big beach days into stay at home days.

Now that I'm up in the mountains the biggest problem is that the ski bums all want to go out to dinner on their way home from the mountain and every single restaurant is at least an hour wait. Not to mention the roads in both places see about 3 times as much traffic as they were designed to during tourist season so I can't even get to the grocery store.

Kaio
02-27-2009, 04:13 PM
Another amusing tourist story:

Someone I know was on the bus on her way home from work, and overheard a conversation among a tourist family. They were discussing a man they'd seen who was sleeping on the sidewalk. One of the adults suggested that the man must have just gotten off work, and was just too tired to make it back home to sleep.

And they were serious.

The conversation went on for a good ten minutes or so, and not once did anyone mention that maybe he was sleeping on the sidewalk because he had no where else to go.

Troy McClure SF
02-27-2009, 04:38 PM
Not to mention the roads in both places see about 3 times as much traffic as they were designed to during tourist season so I can't even get to the grocery store.

Sounds like the locals' problem. ;)

Katriona
02-27-2009, 04:38 PM
My main issue with tourists in my city are the ones that, in the pursuit of their perfect vacation, are oblivious, lack common courtesy, or are actively (sometimes aggressively) rude, or some combination of the three.

If you're a tourist and don't do any of those things, I'll never even notice you, no harm, no foul.

However, a large number of them seem to be shocked, shocked! that people actually live in the city they're visiting. Some relatively minor incidents have already been mentioned, but there are also people who, for example, make as if to leave the train, suddenly stop dead in the doorway, and get pissy and shouty because the 50 people behind them couldn't stop in time to not blunder into them. During rush hour.

Or stopping suddenly anywhere that's a high-traffic area. For the love of god, take a moment to get yer head out yer ass, look around you, and step off to the side out of the way.

Or talking at outdoor-volume in an enclosed train car. Your friend is 12 inches away from you, and the city residents aren't talking. Your friend can hear you!

The best example of this rudeness, and the epitome of why I hate tourists: once I was driving home from the gym. I was sweaty and gross, because, you know, I'd just been at the gym. It was a warm afternoon, so my window was rolled down. While waiting at a red light, some idiot chick and her idiot chick friends in the SUV next to me started pointing and laughing at me, and one of them whipped out a camera and started taking pictures. Uhm, excuse me? I'm not an effing zoo display! They got a number of photos of me scratching my temple with my middle finger. :rolleyes:

Once the light changed and they drove off, I checked their plates, and sure enough, they were out-of-state.

This sums up why I was on the verge of committing patricide when my dad and I were in London a few years ago. He was the very model of the modern Ugly American.

The money is "weird." The food is "weird." The accents are "weird." I think he was expecting a Disney-fied version of home or something, only with older stuff.

I used to work at Boot Hill, the big attraction in Dodge City.

"Where are the mountains? There's mountains on Gunsmoke!" OK, you pick up I-70 at Wakeeny, drive 8 hours west, and hang a right at Pueblo.

"Where's Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty?" Go back to your hotel room, and channel 9 probably has Gunsmoke running at some ungodly hour, and if you must, "Miss Kitty" will be hosting the saloon show at 7. But since they didn't really exist, no, this house didn't belong to either one of them.

We weren't allowed to call them "tourists" on the grounds. They were "guests" or "visitors." (And we weren't just teenaged lackeys parked in stupid costumes to make sure we didn't get ripped off; oh no, we were "interpretors of history.") We took great pleasure at screaming "tourist" at anyone with an out-of-town license plate in our off time.

Freddy the Pig
02-27-2009, 05:22 PM
Anything you see relative to the gangster era in Chicago is probably a tourist trap. There aren't many authentic relics of the gangster era around, and nobody who lives here cares much about it or wants anything to do with it. Outsiders, however, seem to love it.

Cardinal
02-27-2009, 06:21 PM
Hate is a strong word, but in So. California, if someone's parked on an entrance ramp waiting for the traffic to clear before they try to merge with freeway traffic, it's a very good bet the people are from out of state. Trying that is almost suicidal, because now you've lost your initial speed and will be merging with maybe 65 mph traffic while doing 35mph.

The Superhero
02-27-2009, 06:34 PM
To me, the key is that it's an attraction that offers little value for the money. The operators are just trying to get you there and collect your admission fees, and hopefully the cost of your lunch and some souvenirs. It's more hype than substance. To call someplace a tourist trap implies that the customer is being misled into thinking that the attraction is more impressive than it is.

The epitome of the tourist trap would probably be Wall Drug (http://www.walldrug.com/) in South Dakota. As I understand it, it started as just a regular drugstore/general store in the Mount Rushmore area. They started to advertise free ice water to entice tourists to stop by. Of course, the owners expected the people to buy other stuff while they were there. The plan worked, so they started to advertise more and more. Since people were coming, they added more things for people to do and spend money on, and started to present themselves as a legitimate attraction. And it worked. It's an entirely self-aware tourist trap, and its claim to fame is that it IS a tourist trap! The joke is that people are traveling hundreds of miles to visit a drugstore. Ironically, its success as a tourist trap spurred so much development that it created an attraction that is, by all accounts, pretty darn cool and fun. So, in a way, the ultimate tourist trap is not really a tourist trap at all.

Unfortunately, as astorian notes, some people will call any tourist attraction a tourist trap. That's just stupid. It's not unreasonable for the Park Service to try and earn a few extra shekels by selling you Statue of Liberty knickknacks. An attempt to make money from the attraction does not make it a trap.

Agreed. I think tourist traps tend to spring up around legitimate tourist attractions. The fact the the Park Service runs a Statue of Liberty gift shop is fine - but the dozens of vendors selling chintzy souvenirs and the people dressed up in Statue costumes who want money to pose for photos turn Battery Park into a tourist trap associated with the legitimate tourist attraction that is the Statue of Liberty.

Wall Drug is, indeed, the King of All Tourist Traps, and it is awesome.

ivylass
02-27-2009, 07:01 PM
I love tourists. They help to pay our taxes. But there's more to Orlando than Disney World, bless their hearts.

Leaper
02-27-2009, 07:07 PM
I've read that in Hawaii, some Native Hawaiian activists consider tourists a scourge (possibly representative of the core problem of America taking over their kingdom in the first place) and would rather they just stopped coming altogether.

What they think the economy will do after that, I don't know. Maybe they envision kicking enough people out so that they'll be self-sufficient, or would depend on some kind of business development or starting to charge the military.

Green Bean
02-27-2009, 08:19 PM
So what are characteristics of good tourist attractions? Examples? Because I admit, I am really into gift shops and the World Largest Ball of String, sort of places.
Are you really asking for examples of "good tourist attractions?" Okay, well...here are some well-known U.S. tourist attractions that I've visited and think are worthwhile: (And I'm not even going to give you anyplace in the Northeast.)

Alcatraz Island. San Francisco, CA
The "Underground Tour." Seattle, WA
Yosemite National Park
The Desert Botanical Garden. Phoenix.
The Grand Canyon
Kennedy Space Center. Cape Canaveral, FL
Gatorland. Orlando, FL

Some of those places are natural wonders. Some are man-made. Some are of historical interest. 5 of the 7 are places that were not specifically created for visitors. Two were, but neither fall into the "tourist trap" category. I suspect that Gatorland did start as a tourist trap, but it isn't one now as it doesn't meet any of the criteria discussed above. (In fact, I visited Sea World right after Gatorland, and Sea World was the tourist trap!)

Beware of Doug
02-27-2009, 08:38 PM
Anything you see relative to the gangster era in Chicago is probably a tourist trap. There aren't many authentic relics of the gangster era around, and nobody who lives here cares much about it or wants anything to do with it. Outsiders, however, seem to love it.I'll assume it's the gangsters you don't want anything to do with. Or is it the era?

Martini Enfield
02-27-2009, 08:47 PM
The money is "weird." The food is "weird." The accents are "weird." I think he was expecting a Disney-fied version of home or something, only with older stuff.

I used to see a bit of this at my previous job; very lost American tourists wandering in wanding to know why they can't plug their hair-dryers in or how come we drive on the "wrong" side of the road etc.

I even recall one woman talking to me VERY LOUDLY AND SLOWLY like I was some kind of Mexican petrol station attendant. She was amazed when I replied to her (in my best BBC Newsreader voice "I. SPEAK. ENGLISH. AND. SO. DOES. NEARLY. EVERYONE. ELSE. IN. AUSTRALIA." and replied with a "Really? Well fancy that!" as if it was a stroke of good luck that she happened to walk into the only shop in town where the staff spoke English. :rolleyes:

The biggest problem many people have with tourists, IMHO, is that they clog up the infrastructure so the locals don't get to use it, and in many cases the locals don't gain any benefits from having the tourists around in the first place (or if they do, it's still not outweighed by the fact it can take an hour to drive three kilometres across town in peak season of whatever). Not just roads, but as other people have mentioned upthread, restaurants, beaches, particular areas of town, and all sorts of other things that the locals might want to use or enjoy but can't because half the country is there on their holiday.

Sublight
02-27-2009, 08:49 PM
I don't hate tourists.

What I hate are the ones who come here and treat the whole place as a giant amusement park, and the people here as park guests whose only purpose is to amuse them. One noted attraction, the Tsukiji fish markets, finally decide to hell with the tourists after too many of them were getting in the way, interfering with the auctions, and just generally acting like obnoxious asshats (http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=JP&hl=ja&v=tzBwtylHiqo). After being off-limits for a couple of months, the recently started allowing guided tours back, but no drop-in visits anymore.

Most tourists aren't like this, and a lot of the people who are aren't here as tourists.

Oredigger77
02-27-2009, 08:51 PM
Sounds like the locals' problem. ;)

Ya kind of, if the roads were improved the town would lose it's quite beach town atmosphere and they would go some where else eliminating the need. But I think the biggest it that the locals don't want them around so they don't want them to be comfortable.

blondebear
02-27-2009, 08:57 PM
What about the Pyramids of Giza? I haven't been, but I gather that the "vendors" are always on high alert. Even Mark Twain had to deal with them.

Tourist traps can be great fun. Sometimes you need a distraction after driving for a long time. A place like the Archway Monument (http://www.archway.org/) in Nebraska or The Thing (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2023) in Arizona can be a godsend after the monotony of hours (or days) on the road.

Geek Mecha
02-27-2009, 09:00 PM
I've read that in Hawaii, some Native Hawaiian activists consider tourists a scourge (possibly representative of the core problem of America taking over their kingdom in the first place) and would rather they just stopped coming altogether.

What they think the economy will do after that, I don't know. Maybe they envision kicking enough people out so that they'll be self-sufficient, or would depend on some kind of business development or starting to charge the military.
They're short-sighted idiots, for the most part. I'm always embarrassed when people outside of Hawaii hear about them. They do not represent the views of the vast majority of Hawaii residents.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with tourists. I love that they love Hawaii and want to come and spend time (and money!) there. I love it when non-residents consider it their second home or where they would like to live someday. But I can't stand the ones who comment about the minority majority, the weird food, and the lack of [whatever they have where they're from], and who go off trails and break their legs falling off cliffs, who complain that the line to some tourist attraction is too damn long, who ignore warnings that something is dangerous and then get hurt and look for someone else to blame, who leave valuables in plain sight in their rental cars and hotel rooms and then are surprised when they're stolen, who stand in the middle of the sidewalk in downtown to stare up at a palm tree, who regard ordinary people doing ordinary things as oddities worth gaping at and pointing at and photographing, who think that since they're on vacation, so is everyone else and the normal precautions one should take with regard to just about everything no longer apply. Fortunately, most tourists aren't like that, and I try to not be like that when I travel and become a tourist.

It's not a tourist hate as much as it is a hate for oblivious, stupid people.

matt_mcl
02-27-2009, 09:54 PM
Tourists in Montreal seem like a pretty nice bunch as a whole; only real exceptions I can think of are the occasional (read: quite rare) douches who scream "Speak English" at some poor Québécois who had the temerity to address them in French.

The most amusing thing they do is, when I find them clustered around a map and ask them if I can help them find anything, to ask how to get to the Underground City, in tones of hushed anticipation, as if it is some sort of mystical grotto possibly staffed by Oompa-Loompas. Folks, it's shopping malls. I don't know why the guidebooks push it as if it's some sort of fairy kingdom, but they do.

dalej42
02-27-2009, 10:07 PM
I don't hate tourists, but they can be annoying at times. Phoenix gets the Middle America type tourists who often act like Cousin Eddie from the Vacation movies. I'm sure the restaurant knows you don't want it spicy. I'm glad you're allowed to smoke in restaurants/bars back home. I don't care that you voted for McCain.

I tell them to go see their beloved Cubs and spend a lot of time in beautiful downtown Mesa. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa,_Arizona)

SciFiSam
02-27-2009, 10:26 PM
I don't hate tourists. They bring a lot of money to our city, many of my friends who visit are tourists, and I've been a tourist in other places too.

However, I do get annoyed at people who:

Ignore the many signs telling them which side of the escalator to stand on;

Put their ticket into the machines at the tube wrongly - not just once or twice, but umpteen times, then stand there wondering aloud what's going on, while fuming commuters breathe down their necks.

Think that the ideal place to stand and muse on where to go is the exit to the tube station, blocking hundreds of other people;

Walk four abreast, very slowly, on a busy street;

Do the above while holding a map out really widely so that even more people are blocked from the pavement;

Do all of the above at the bottom of the stairs at a tube station, or at the exit from the stairs to the platform at that station. I understand that you're confused, but could you please be confused a bit further away from entranceways? Do you honestly think that the people digging you in the head is because Londoners are rude, rather than because you haven't left them any space and that's the only place their elbow can go?

These actions are not confined to tourists, but tourists make up a significant number of such miscreants. In some ways I can understand why they make these mistakes - they're not used to such long escalators, they're in an unfamiliar place, and so on - but I'd never take up an entire bloody pavement in any city or continue to stand in an entranceway once I noticed the massive throngs of people squeezing into the gap left around me. Even if you can understand why they're making those mistakes, they still add a little extra annoyance to your day.

Or at least, they did, when I had to use the tube regularly. Phew!


I'm extremely amused by tourists who, for some reason, in London of all places, assume that bystanders won't understand what they're saying and conduct loud personal conversations in public in their own language. :D

Karyn
02-27-2009, 11:02 PM
I took my mom to Paris when she was in her early 70s and she kept asking people if they "spoke American". It got to the point where I was saying "no, but they might speak English" just because someone had to say it and they were too polite to.

Fantome
02-28-2009, 12:24 AM
The best example of this rudeness, and the epitome of why I hate tourists: once I was driving home from the gym. I was sweaty and gross, because, you know, I'd just been at the gym. It was a warm afternoon, so my window was rolled down. While waiting at a red light, some idiot chick and her idiot chick friends in the SUV next to me started pointing and laughing at me, and one of them whipped out a camera and started taking pictures. Uhm, excuse me? I'm not an effing zoo display! They got a number of photos of me scratching my temple with my middle finger. :rolleyes:

Once the light changed and they drove off, I checked their plates, and sure enough, they were out-of-state.
Are you particularly funny looking or anything like that? I doubt there are any states where sweaty people are found to be particularly hilarious and photo worthy.

elfkin477
02-28-2009, 12:52 AM
You're probably read the often e-mailed list of unofficial state mottos (http://www.123child.com/UBB/showthread.php?t=3898), right? NH's is "Go away and leave us alone" for a reason. Most of us don't hate tourists, but we tend to find them irritating.

All their cars clog up the roads. Look, if we wanted to live somewhere with a lot of traffic, we wouldn't live somewhere with less than 1.5 million people, would we?

They drive around with their FL plates at 20mph less than the speed limit and with a turn signal on for miles.

In the fall they tend to drive real slow so they can look at the pretty leaves, but given they apparently think that sunglasses are just for the summer, slam on their brakes every time it gets sunny, making us worry about rear-ending them. Or wanting to rear-end them.

They freak out at traffic circles and slow everything down when they try to go around one.

They're loud, and worse yet, they think it's okay to try to engage random strangers in conversation.

Gas and grocery prices go up to coincide with tourist influxes. I know, it's not their fault directly, but...

But other than that, I guess they're okay.

Desert Nomad
02-28-2009, 01:14 AM
I don't mind tourists in Nevada. They stay in the casinos and keep us from having to pay state income tax. Overseas, I tend to go where there are no tourists... most of the time. I was recently in Jordan and found it too touristy in many places. I much preferred Yemen in this regard.

EpicNonsense
02-28-2009, 01:21 AM
I hate tourists who buy (and wear) all that touristy crap.. Novelty shirts, hats, shoes, etc. Other than that they don't really bother me at all.

The Surb
02-28-2009, 02:19 AM
They don't know where they are. They don't know where they're going. And they won't get out of the fucking way.

t-bonham@scc.net
02-28-2009, 02:25 AM
When I think of "tourist traps" I think of something generic and artificial, that exists specifically to attract tourists. No cultural or historic significance. Think "The World's Largest Ball of String!"Hey! Don't be dissin' our Twine Ball (http://www.dasselcokato.com/dasselcokato/graphics/darwintwine.jpg)!

And you can hardly say it exists only to attract tourists; Francis worked on it for many years before telling anyone about it.

Also, to me, tourist trap implies something where you are trapped -- you had to pay to get in, and then once inside you discover that it isn't worth paying for. That isn't true of the Twine Ball, since it is completely free, displayed out in a public park.

Martini Enfield
02-28-2009, 02:47 AM
To me "Tourist Trap" implies something the locals would never visit, has an abundance of Concession Stands and shops selling Souvenirs (usually overpriced and of mid-range quality at best), and exists largely to part said tourists from their money in exchange for said over-priced souvenirs and snacks. There's also a connotation of Tourists being stuck there until the coach leaves; too- hence the aptness of "Trap" in the name.

Illuminatiprimus
02-28-2009, 03:29 AM
It's not a tourist hate as much as it is a hate for oblivious, stupid people.That's my view too. I don't care if you're from outside of where I live, just don't be a dipshit the whole time. I've had my fair share of tourists given that I work around the corner from Parliament Square in London. I used to walk through it on the way to work but eventually changed my route because of the huge amount of human flotsam that would get in the way (oh, and nearly losing an eye on more than one occasion when someone you're walking past suddenly jabs their finger out to point at something, completely obliviously to all the other people around them).

I agree that the difference between a tourist trap and attraction is the quality/price and whether it's actually worth seeing. The Tower of London is a tourist attraction, the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly Circus is a tourist trap.

missred
02-28-2009, 04:41 AM
Over the years, I've found some very nice, polite and even entertaining tourists. These folks are not bad to have around and contribute a lot to the local economy.

However, for every two of those, there is the rude idiot who thinks that all of the locals are there for his/her entertainment or to cater to his/her every wish. Example: at local songwriter's or performer's nights, sometimes there is someone from BF Nebraska (no offense, Cornhuskers, just an example out of my hat) who wants you do a duet with him/his drunk buddy the next set. Listen, bubba, a) these things are scheduled to showcase the talent that draws tourists like yourself, locals and folks in the industry looking for talent and b) you really think anyone who works or has ambitions in the business would get up with an unknown quantity, likely drunk person to perform with his/her own name on the bill? Sit back, enjoy what you came to Music City to see or next year go to DisneyWorld. Don't ruin it for everyone else.

That said, I enjoy being a (polite) tourist in others' home areas.

Cicero
02-28-2009, 05:28 AM
Tourist trap- go to John O'Groats.

Diamonds02
02-28-2009, 11:53 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone. I now understand what people mean by annoying tourists.

Fiddle Peghead
02-28-2009, 11:59 AM
I lived in New York City for 15 years, and have lived in Washington DC off and on for 7 years. I can't remember ever getting pissed off at a tourist, or even mildly upset. In fact, I love tourists. If there weren't tourists where I live, it would be like the one-horse town I grew up in, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

whiterabbit
02-28-2009, 01:08 PM
Without tourists, where I live would be screwed. It nearly was, until they brought in skiing a few decades ago.

That being said, we get a lot of Californians up here, and the way they drive makes me want to scream. In the summer? They try to go way too fast. Small town. Tiny blocks. Slow down, idiots. In the winter? OMG, snow and ice! Must go 3 miles an hour or we will DIE!!! Yes, you do need to slow down, but if you are that scared, you shouldn't try to drive here in the winter. We have buses. Lots of them. Some are free. Please use them.

Though I guess I'd rather get stuck behind some panicky Californian than end up in front of some local jerk in his big truck who thinks that he is invulnerable to ice on the road since he has 4WD. :rolleyes: Sorry, asshole, I am not going to go 55 at night in a blinding snowstorm on the windy two-lane highway.

NinjaChick
02-28-2009, 01:15 PM
Tourists tend to display an astonishing amount of ignorance.

They come to New Mexico and sometimes aren't sure what country they're in. They complain that it's so dry, or that it's raining every afternoon, or that it's too cold, or too hot (or both). And pretty much without fail, even if they don't do the above, they come here to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and remark loudly on their surprise about how many people speak Spanish. Yes, lots of people speak it fluently or as a first language. No, that doesn't mean they're all Mexican. If you don't like people speaking Spanish, don't come to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As for a tourist trap, the Statue of Liberty. You go and spent, what, ten bucks to take a crowded ferry out to the island where you stand and look at a statue, and then if you want go into a museum where you can look at pictures of the same statue - which is really of no historical significance at all.

Karyn
02-28-2009, 01:31 PM
They come to New Mexico and sometimes aren't sure what country they're in. They complain that it's so dry, or that it's raining every afternoon, or that it's too cold, or too hot (or both).
I took my sister to southern Utah and Arizona a few years ago and at one point she looked at me accusingly and said "You didn't tell me that it was going to be so hot and dry here!". No, I didn't. I thought that the word "desert" would give you a clue.

As for a tourist trap, the Statue of Liberty. You go and spent, what, ten bucks to take a crowded ferry out to the island where you stand and look at a statue, and then if you want go into a museum where you can look at pictures of the same statue - which is really of no historical significance at all.

When I was a little kid you could climb all the way to the top and look out the windows in the crown but they wouldn't let you go up the arm to the torch anymore (that I can recall). It was pretty fun for a kid who didn't mind walking up all of those stairs, and the ferry ride was exciting. I guess we didn't get out much as kids.

Freddy the Pig
02-28-2009, 03:57 PM
The Statue of Liberty isn't even close to being a tourist trap. It's run by the National Park Service (not for commercial gain), it's one of the most instantly recognizable works of art in the world, and it has tremendous historical significance as the first sight in America glimpsed by the huge generation of European immigrants in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.

Not everybody who visits it will enjoy it, but it isn't a tourist trap.

Green Bean
02-28-2009, 05:22 PM
As for a tourist trap, the Statue of Liberty. You go and spent, what, ten bucks to take a crowded ferry out to the island where you stand and look at a statue, and then if you want go into a museum where you can look at pictures of the same statue - which is really of no historical significance at all.
You are displaying an astonishing amount of ignorance.

SciFiSam
02-28-2009, 05:31 PM
Stonehenge is a tourist trap. It is a very interesting edifice, but tourists aren't allowed to go anywhere near it, so they only few it from a distance while sitting in their car or coach. Then you really might as well just look at a picture of it.

Kyla
02-28-2009, 05:42 PM
Everywhere is a tourist trap. Why bother going anywhere and dealing with stupid people when we can stay at home and look at pictures of everything on the internet?

SciFiSam
02-28-2009, 05:49 PM
Everywhere is a tourist trap. Why bother going anywhere and dealing with stupid people when we can stay at home and look at pictures of everything on the internet?

Was that in response to my post? It's a really odd interpretation of it, if so.

Kyla
02-28-2009, 07:08 PM
No, not really, I was just amused at the turn of the conversation. Anyway, don't mind me, I was just being silly, not sarcastic.

Glazer
02-28-2009, 07:13 PM
Visit Rock City

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
02-28-2009, 07:37 PM
I lived in New York City for the first 25 years of my life, and I never thought New Yorkers were particularly hostile to tourists... or at least, no MORE hostile to tourists than they are to each other!

The definition of "tourist trap" varies widely. SOME people use it to refer to practically ANY popular tourist attraction, particularly the ones that end up costing visitors a lot of money.

Or likewise, even very worthy and culturally significant attractions that are spoiled by the throngs of tourists they trap, for instance famous museums, or particularly the galleries that exhibit the crowd-pleasing artworks like the Mona Lisa.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
02-28-2009, 07:50 PM
but think it's oh so "New York" and exciting because the Red Lobster and Olive Garden in Times Square has a 50 foot sign. No one really "hates" them though.

There should be a sociological term for the phenomenon of glamor by association. I know that for many years there was a neon Planter's Peanuts sign in Times Square and maybe it's still there. What makes that unusual for the rest of the country is that we don't usually see such elaborate advertising for such humble products, and I think for some people that creates a sort of cognitive dissonance. What's more, you nailed the type of tourist who travels 1000 miles or more but then seeks out only the familiar. They think they're getting the true character and excitement of New York when what they're really doing is avoiding it. Just as importantly, by sticking to TGIF's and The Red Lobster they can then relive their week in NYC for the rest of their lives by going to the same chains locally.

Martini Enfield
02-28-2009, 10:34 PM
There should be a sociological term for the phenomenon of glamor by association.

Veblen Good (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good), perhaps? They're popular and desirable because they're expensive, instead of the other way around.

NinjaChick
02-28-2009, 11:31 PM
The Statue of Liberty isn't even close to being a tourist trap. It's run by the National Park Service (not for commercial gain), it's one of the most instantly recognizable works of art in the world, and it has tremendous historical significance as the first sight in America glimpsed by the huge generation of European immigrants in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.

Not everybody who visits it will enjoy it, but it isn't a tourist trap.
Well, personally I disagree that "recognizable" and "lots of people saw it" necessarily make something tremendously significant. I didn't mean to imply that it's for-profit, though I seemed to recall that the ferry was privately-run (could be mistaken, of course). But I do acknowledge that I might be something of a curmudgeon who has a slightly skewed perspective of what makes things important. (Ellis Island is great, though.)
You are displaying an astonishing amount of ignorance.Thank you for your extremely valuable and enlightening contribution.

Lust4Life
03-01-2009, 12:01 AM
Our big tourist trap is Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39. No one from SF goes there*, because very little is worth a second look, and it's all overpriced. Hey look, a shitty camera shop and a shitty t-shirt shop, and a Walgreens with shitty cameras and shitty t-shirts! I think, at least around here, that's the trap.




Actually when I went to S.F as a tourist FW was pretty uninspiring.
As to tourists remember that cities actually go out of their way to get them to visit them and while many businesses may not be involved in the trade itself those that are are paying taxes and employing people.
You dont bite it the hand that feeds you even if someone who has travelled halfway across the world doesn't have the same indepth local knowledge as those people who stay there all the time.

Martini Enfield
03-01-2009, 01:15 AM
Actually when I went to S.F as a tourist FW was pretty uninspiring.

Ironically, I rather liked Fisherman's Wharf. Yes, it was a tacky tourist trap, but it was interesting nonetheless and they had an In-N-Out Burger, of which there are none in Australia.

As to tourists remember that cities actually go out of their way to get them to visit them and while many businesses may not be involved in the trade itself those that are are paying taxes and employing people.

Not necessarily. Brisbane, for example, doesn't go out of it's way to encourage people to visit AFAIK- basically because there's not a lot of interest to Tourists in the city. Queensland, however, is a great place to visit and there's lots to do in the State. Which is huge. And largely empty. But still full of interesting things to do. Most of which aren't in Brisbane.

You dont bite it the hand that feeds you even if someone who has travelled halfway across the world doesn't have the same indepth local knowledge as those people who stay there all the time.

You're assuming the locals want or need the tourists there in the first place. I doubt that, say, Gladstone would care if they never saw another tourist again.

interface2x
03-01-2009, 01:24 AM
Stonehenge is a tourist trap. It is a very interesting edifice, but tourists aren't allowed to go anywhere near it, so they only few it from a distance while sitting in their car or coach. Then you really might as well just look at a picture of it.Actually, from what I understand, there are special tours you can go on that allow you to walk amongst and touch the stones if you want. I'm not sure how it works, though, as I've only heard about it third-hand. When I went there I had to stay behind the ropes.

not_alice
03-01-2009, 01:59 AM
One noted attraction, the Tsukiji fish markets, finally decide to hell with the tourists after too many of them were getting in the way, interfering with the auctions, and just generally acting like obnoxious asshats (http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=JP&hl=ja&v=tzBwtylHiqo). After being off-limits for a couple of months, the recently started allowing guided tours back, but no drop-in visits anymore.


Say it ain't so! One of the best experiences ever was a late night /wee hours at Tsukiji on a business trip.

I wondered where the crowds were, we left as the sun was coming up, maybe 6am and the crowds were streaming towards the place. But the main action was already over. I have recommended it many times - always with the caveat to plan to be DONE by 5:30 am.

That video doesn't even begin to hint at the scope of the work that goes on there, and the guys on those natural gas carts are an exercise in choreography. I can't believe those guys were jumping on the carts. Given their facility with Japanese, they were no Johnny-come-latelys.

Lust4Life
03-01-2009, 02:36 AM
Ironically, I rather liked Fisherman's Wharf. Yes, it was a tacky tourist trap, but it was interesting nonetheless and they had an In-N-Out Burger, of which there are none in Australia.





If I may be indelicate whenI was at FW I had a sudden overwhelming urge to move my bowels and there being no observable public toilets in the vicinity I paid a visit to the Guinness hall of World records and made my own rather outstanding contribution there.
Unfortunately there weren't two independant witnesses observing so it didn't become an official world record but I just KNOW that England would have been proud of me.

CanvasShoes
03-01-2009, 09:20 AM
They get themselves trapped on Mt. McKinley and have to be rescued to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars of taxpayer duckets.

They clog up the Seward Hwy to the Kenai (150 miles south of Anchorage) with their slow moving motorhomes (for most of the road, it's only two lanes, through mountain passes and twisty windy wilderness).

They do stupid things like hunt in April in a Tshirt and nearly die of hypothermia , or mauled by a bear, because they didn't follow trail regs, or stuck in the mudflats (yes IN), and have to be rescued, again to the tune of 10s of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

Chefguy probably has much better ones than that.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
03-01-2009, 02:03 PM
Veblen Good (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good), perhaps? They're popular and desirable because they're expensive, instead of the other way around.Not exactly, because the tourists in msmith537's example are--how shall I say it--conspicuously underspending--so it's the opposite in that regard. The phenomenon I was referring to is that one Red Lobster in Times Square sheds luster on all the rest of the Red Lobsters around the country. "If there's one in Times Square, New York, NY," these people reason, "then it must be better and more sophisticated than I thought." Which probably does a lot of good for the restaurant chain, but really not much at all for the hundreds of independents in the city, struggling to stay open. You might even say that, as their means permit, tourists have a moral obligation to support local restaurants rather than national chains. No wonder locals find some tourists objectionable.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
03-01-2009, 02:09 PM
Ironically, I rather liked Fisherman's Wharf. Yes, it was a tacky tourist trap, but it was interesting nonetheless and they had an In-N-Out Burger, of which there are none in Australia.

That was my impression too. FW isn't a place I would go just to go, but there are one or two restaurants that I think are worthwhile in their own right, which happen to be located there. I do recall seeing an oyster and champagne bar just to the left as you go in, though, and I was rather impressed by that.

Voyager
03-01-2009, 04:31 PM
Well, personally I disagree that "recognizable" and "lots of people saw it" necessarily make something tremendously significant. I didn't mean to imply that it's for-profit, though I seemed to recall that the ferry was privately-run (could be mistaken, of course). But I do acknowledge that I might be something of a curmudgeon who has a slightly skewed perspective of what makes things important. (Ellis Island is great, though.)


When my father saw it returning home from Europe after WW II, he considered it pretty significant. I'm a native New Yorker, and I don't recall any of my friends ever calling it a tourist trap. It still does it for me.

The only thing sadder than tourists, in my opinion, are natives who won't go to cool place for fear of being considered tourists.

Voyager
03-01-2009, 04:36 PM
That's ok. The rest of the world feels the same when New Yorkers travel and do the exact same thing! ;)

Not so much. At least some people who live in tourist areas learn from bad examples. My daughter, after years of going to NY for auditions, is severely allergic to stopping in the middle of a street and pulling out a map.
I lived in a dorm which was an architectural landmark. Tourists in buses gawking at you when you eat lunch is annoying. Groups of architecture students from another university touring the dorm was even more so, especially if you were going back to your room from a shower.

msmith537
03-01-2009, 04:52 PM
You might even say that, as their means permit, tourists have a moral obligation to support local restaurants rather than national chains. No wonder locals find some tourists objectionable.

People have a "moral obligation" to spend their money where they see fit. However, given the inflated prices of Manhattan chain restaurants, tourists might get a much more interesting and authetic experience (for the same cost) simply by picking up a Zagatts guide.

One of the best things about New York is that the most interesting areas are away from the tourists. That's why, IMHO, you have to live in Manhattan to truly experience it properly. There are so many little restuarants, stores, bars and whatnot that your typical tourist just won't be notice them.

Boyo Jim
03-01-2009, 04:53 PM
My definition of a tourist trap is: an place, that once you go there, you can't even imagine any circumstance that would bring you back. Or, of you're a local, you've never gone, because you've heard from other local suckers what a rip-off it is.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
03-01-2009, 07:48 PM
People have a "moral obligation" to spend their money where they see fit. However, given the inflated prices of Manhattan chain restaurants, tourists might get a much more interesting and authetic experience (for the same cost) simply by picking up a Zagatts guide.

Maybe obligation wasn't the best word. What I was trying to get at was the implicit relation between the local and tourist as a sort of host and guest. Like a house guest, the tourist is the source of some inconvenience to the local, but if give back a little, then it's not so bad.

Sunrazor
03-01-2009, 08:15 PM
I am what my wife calls a "rubber tomahawk tourist." We're Colorado natives and, as such, one of our favorite sports is tourist-watching in Estes Park. But I really do love the place -- I cannot go there without buying salt-water taffy (I have no idea, that's just what they call it) and some trinket from one of the shops on Elkhorn Avenue. There is a huge store at the corner of Elkhorn and Morraine that has sold, since I was a small boy, toy bows, arrows, lances and tomahawks. I confessed to my wife once that all my life I'd wanted a rubber tomahawk because that's what all the other kids brought back from Estes Park.

Estes Park is a "tourist trap" in the sense that it exists primarily for the purpose of harvesting large sums of cash from people who don't live there. Think of it as a sheep-shearing operation, and the tourists are all very wooly.

As a Coloradoan, I mostly love tourists. Bless their hearts, they're trying to have experiences they've never had before, and I know what that's like. I love to travel, so I've spent a lot of time being a tourist. I don't expect them to know their way around, I expect them to need emergency help, to be unaware of our local ways, etc. I love them because they mostly appreciate what we have here in Colorado, they mostly poke fun at themselves as they take each other's pictures, and they spend a lot of their hard-earned money on our rubber tomahawks.

What I hate, however, is the jerkoff who thinks that because he's a big shot back home, he should be treated as such here, too. Sorry, Beavis, I don't know you from Adam's off-ox. I hate the overbearing bastard who demands the highest level of service and has a long list of instructions on how he wants his food prepared, then leaves a paltry tip, if any. I hate the fat cow who moos loudly about how un GAWD-leee hot it is, as if we locals have the power to turn the heat down.

Here is a story I've told before on these boards; I swear by all that is holy to the Dope that it is true:

I pulled into the McDonald's in Fort Morgan, Colo., on a hot August day about two years ago. A Lincoln Continental with Florida plates pulled in about two cars down, and from it emerged a large, and what would turn out to be, very bossy middle-aged woman; her diminutive husband and their chubby teen-age daughter. We ended up pretty much together in line at the counter. In the next line over was a young Mexican man who was chatting up, in Spanish, the attractive young Hispanic girl behind the counter, and she was obviously enjoying his attention. She was local, he was not, and I know this because I've lived here all my life. Anyway, it was cute as hell, and he will figure into the story in a moment.

Ahead of me, the Florida family had placed their order; Papa left for the restroom and Mama and the girl were getting their drinks. Unfortunately, something was wrong with the drink dispenser; every time Mama went to draw lemonade, she got clear water. She loudly demanded a new cup and the attention of the manager. She finally got both, and the manager quickly determined that someone had mistakenly swapped the hoses on the lemonade/water dispenser. He hurried to the back of the store to rectify the problem while Florida Mama fumed and fretted over terrible service. Finally, the manager re-appeared with news the problem had been rectified, whereupon Mama immediately mashed her cup into the lemonade dispenser to draw -- you guessed it -- water. The manager tried to explain that he still needed time to drain off the water from the lemonade line, but by this time, Mama was furious. She threw down the cup and demanded her money back -- just as her lunch order was delivered to the counter in front of her. There was a brief confrontation wth the manager, and she was persuaded to accept a voucher for freebies, good at any McDonald's. She snatched up the sack of food and proclaimed she'd never had worse service in her life, and certainly never this bad in Florida.

For reasons I will never be able to explain, the harrassed manager looked directly at me with an expression that said, "See what I go through!?" I could not restrain myself. I asked him, loudly enough to be heard within about a 10-foot radius, "Why do they call it tourist season when we're not allowed to actually shoot ''em?" At that moment the Mexican lad poked his head into conversation and advised, with a classic south-of-the-border accent, "Naw, you don' wanna' do that. Their hides are worthless and they taste like shit!" I was still laughing ten minutes later and ten miles down the road.

chacoguy
03-01-2009, 09:15 PM
I've been putting off posting be can no longer resist passing on a few stories of obnoxious tourist stories.

-Down on the Hopi reservation, it is common to see signs that read "Please don't enter residences uninvited." I asked one of the locals if that actually happened. "All the time" was the reply. "How often is 'all the time?' "I dunno, once a week?" "People just open the door and walk into you home uninvited?" "Yup" :rolleyes:

-Tourists come here and carve their names on the rocks, usually it's children; everytime that I've politely suggested that they shouldn't do that, the little bastards have been vigorously defended by their parents. How does that compute? If me and mine came to where you lived and my kid started carving his name on anything would that be okay?

-It is never safe, legal or a good idea to park your car in the middle of a State Highway, with the doors open and stand around and take pictures.

-Don't think that the price of everything is negotiable, I've stood behind tourists who were trying to negotiate the price of gasoline.

-Don't be shocked, shocked that a town that possesses but a single stoplight doesn't have a Walmart. We have six lights, but still, no Walmart.

-We're in the middle of nowhere; it costs a bundle to get things shipped out here. Everything costs more. The prices aren't raised because we get a malicious thrill out of ripping you off.

-Don't litter; that's not Okay anywhere.

-I'll be patient with the fact that you don't speak English. Don't get impatient with me because I don't speak..........

-Driving 20MPH over or under the posted speed limit is unsafe and illegal.

-When you do something incredibly stupid and get hurt or lost, there is no 'Ranger Station' with paid professionals just lounging about, on standby waiting to come rescue you. They are volunteers that put aside their; lives, jobs and families to come save you.

-When your guide asks you to do something; do it. She's not there to be a buzzkill or to order you around; she's trying to make sure that you have fun. If you break your bones or you kid drowns, it stops being fun.

-Please realize that you make at least twice as much as everyone here. (The Mayor owns a convenience store.) Be gracious, don't demand that we kiss your feet just because you spent some money here.

- I guess I'm done.

Kaio
03-01-2009, 11:54 PM
Are you particularly funny looking or anything like that? I doubt there are any states where sweaty people are found to be particularly hilarious and photo worthy.

I don't know, am I? (http://autumneve.com/actor/download/KatOConnorB.jpg)


:rolleyes:

Mk VII
03-02-2009, 08:48 AM
Shakespeare's Stratford is a tourist trap, dedicated to parting them from their money as expeditiously as possible. Huge numbers of buses clog up the streets, to the disadvantage of those who actually have to live there. You can see performances of the plays there, but no better than the ones mounted anywhere else, and in some cases considerably worse, in the hideous Shakespeare Memorial Theatre which has never been a satisfactory working environment. Shakespeare's Birthplace is, at best, a 'three new heads and two new handles' reconstruction and Anne Hathaway's Cottage burnt down in 1969 and the present building is pretty much a replica.

The Scrivener
03-02-2009, 10:30 AM
Tourists contribute to an inordinate number of auto accidents because they aren't familiar with the roads, or they're driving very slowly to take in the views and impede the flow of traffic, etc.

Tourists are often lousy tippers, too -- either because they're on a tight budget [Canadian snowbirds are notorious for this], from countries where the gratuity is automatically added to the bill, or because they cynically know they won't be repeat customers, so what does it matter if they stiff their waiter/waitress?