Last month, to coincide with the Golden Week – a time of almost universal travel – the Chinese government published an illustrated guidebook for ‘proper behaviour’ abroad.
Travellers were warned, ‘do not pick your nose or take off smelly shoes in public’. The guide even included country specific Do’s and Don’ts. For example, in Spain, women were advised to always wear earrings, while in Japan they were told to avoid fiddling with their hair. And Hungarians, apparently, do not appreciate people smashing their mirrors.
Overall cultural caution was recommended even when conversing in Mandarin as ‘more and more foreigners can speak Chinese… don’t comment on, belittle or even curse locals while outsiders are present.’
As Chinese travel is expected to dominate global tourism by 2020, we’ll see if –in the future – the rest of the world has to embrace and adapt to Chinese customs and behaviours instead.