Dear readers, how do you feel about Russian tourists? I’m aware the question sounds somewhat xenophobic (which in no way I’m trying to be or sound or whatever), but I got a comment on my last blogpost from Elvira who thought this sentence (“Go to Cambodia before the Russians take over everything”) was quite inappropriate. It got me thinking. It probably is a bit inappropriate, I must admit. But I guess that’s what you get after you’ve been spat at and told off by a Russian male in a tourist bus who thought I had stolen his seat. This is probably equally inappropriate. The idiot didn’t even realize that number two was the bus number, not the seat number. Poor brainless twat.
Anyway, I just wanted to get a discussion started. You see, last time I was in South East Asia was perhaps five years ago and at that time I didn’t really notice the huge amounts of Russian tourists in Koh Chang, Thailand for instance. However now, it was undeniable. Take a bus, a van, a boat or a plane in Thailand or Cambodia and you’re bound to hear Russian. In tourist towns you’ll see signs in Russian, in restaurants you’ll be able to eat borscht and liver stroganoff. Which is understandable, with their middle class growing hard every year. And why should they not be able to enjoy the wonderful beaches of Thailand or Cambodia?
Thing is, ladies and gentlemen, in my previous blogpost I said: go now, before the Russians conquer the whole tourist market. I didn’t mean to be offensive. In fact, I recently had an interview with a travel futurologist who painted a picture of worldwide travel in 2024. And he claimed that European people will not go to Paris, London, Rome or Barcelona that often anymore, because of all the Chinese tourists visiting those cities in 2024, making everything more crowded and more importantly: more expensive. Is this offensive? No, it’s actually a valid point. Middle classes are expanding in countries like China, Russia, India, Brazil. And they will have the money to see what the Mona Lisa is all about, or the Sistine Chapel. Good on them! Anyone should be able to see that beauty. But you can still have an opinion on this fact.
Also, you can’t really be surprised that travellers don’t like Russian tourists, can you? I mean, there’s a reason why people who want to go on holiday in Turkey specifically ask for hotels without Russians. There’s plenty of examples of European hotels that don’t want Russian tourists, because they scare away the other tourists. Why? Well, Russian tourists are considered quite rude (honestly, spitting at someone?), they eat and drink like feasting monarchs, show little respect to anything or anyone, … I do realize I’m generalizing heavily right now. I was just talking about the idea that other travellers have of Russian tourists by using stereotypes (for which I apologize). Thing is: those stereotypes are too often confirmed, although they’re obviously not true for ALL Russians.
Coming back to my previous blogpost: when I said ‘go now’, I meant that now is still a good time to go considering the ruble is performing weakly. In Pattaya for instance (cause that’s where a lot of Russians like to go, although I do realize you will probably never want to set foot here) the Russian tourist market dropped by 50-70 percent in high season. In the whole of Thailand the global decrease for the entire year was less drastic: -5.5 percent. Still, Russia is the third biggest market for Thai tourism. (sorry, don’t have numbers on Cambodian tourism). And when the ruble regains its strength, the Russian market will grow again, rapidly. And the prices will go up because of high demand.
To come to a conclusion: I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone with my previous blogpost. It’s just a fact that there are a lot of Russian tourists in South East Asia nowadays. And you can either like or dislike this. And when someone tries to spit at you, you will probably dislike it (although I wasn’t really that bothered, I had enough stains on my outfit already, the spit actually looked quite postmodernistic on me). But you will still realize there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just the way it goes. No hard feelings.
Also: I just wanted to start a discussion that will bring everyone closer together. If I say: com’on man, spitting at me is uncool, then maybe next time he will think about it and not spit at people. Which makes the world a better place. For you and for me, and the entire human race. Also: queuing is something that has to be explained to a lot of people. It’s quite easy, let me explain: there’s a queue and you enter this queue at the back of it. And you wait your turn. You don’t even need three braincells to do this correctly.
And again: I am by no means saying that ALL Russian tourists are this or that way. It’s just a discussion on stereotypes and the validity of them. This text could be about Chinese, French, Dutch, Americans. Even the.ego.tripper can be an asshole while traveling (actually, that was a lie).