For the first time in 2012, China became the top country of origin for tourists visiting Thailand. This influx of Chinese tourists has proved to be remarkable to the local economy. Thai business owners were quoted as saying “We’ve seen more Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai so far this year than we have over the past ten years combined,” and ”We’re lucky the Chinese have been bringing so much money. They’re great customers.” It is a boom.
Then, the Chinese sleeper hit “Lost in Thailand” (2012) was released last December and went on to become China’s top box-office champion. To date it has earned more over 200 million USD and has sold more tickets than James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2010). Using this popular Chinese travel destination as its inspiration, “Lost in Thailand” was shot on location in Chiang Mai and continued to spark interest among Chinese tourists.
According to the Association of Thai Travel Agents, “Lost in Thailand” could be responsible for increasing the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand by as much as 10%. As such, the Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts that more than 1.5 million Chinese will visit Thailand by 2014 to help increase the total number of tourists to visit Thailand in 2013 to 24.5 million, up from 21 million last year.
However, as one trend becomes popular, it has given rise to another. The local Thai residents in Chiang Mai have gone online in droves to complain about the impolite and rude behavior of these Chinese tourists. Complaints include:
[Chinese tourists] tend to drive speedily on the wrong side of the road, and often go against traffic on one-way streets. Chinese tourists also often stop in the middle of busy intersections – just to argue among themselves about directions.Some hotel and guesthouse operators are turning them away because they say Chinese tourists often rent a room for two, but stay overnight in a group of four or five. They also deplore their tendencies to litter and hang their clothing on the balcony railing.
1. A tendency to not flush the toilet.
2. Flouting traffic laws when driving, riding a bicycle, or parking their car.
3. Being loud – even in five-star hotels.
4. Littering, spitting, queue-jumping.
5. Allowing children to defecate in public pools.
6. Terrible English-language skills that lead to difficulties in communication.
While many of these complaints aren’t new to expats familiar with China, it’s noteworthy to read that Thai people are complaining about Chinese being bad drivers with poor English skills. Yes, Thailand.
Some locals are optimistic that a progress in civility will eventually occur. Said one local tour operator, ”For now, we’re just happy to have their money. As far as courtesy goes… it will come in time.” As such, Sinopathic would like to help along this process in the one way it can: viral memes.
One of the things to result from the success of “Lost in Thailand” is in inspiring this popular Chinese meme: the cheerful, addictive smile of Wang Baoqiang is shown in a three-panel cartoon and captioned with accompanying text. To highlight the complaints of Thai locals fed up with rude and impolite behavior of Chinese tourists, here are our submissions: