Two young Chinese tourists carve their names on the Great Wall. Hundreds of picnickers leave their garbage moldering on the banks of the Yellow River.
Such episodes during the recent National Day holiday have produced a flurry of photographic postings and a spasm of soul-searching in China, highlighting anxieties over the habits and image of tourists at home and abroad in a nation that is increasingly cash-rich but, some say, short on manners and experience with the outside world.
- When you travel, how do you behave? Do you expect things to be similar to your country? Do you say things like, “We do this better/differently where I come from.”
- What is ideal behaviour from a tourist?
- Although tourism can improve the economy, there can be negative effects as well. What are some negative effects that tourism/tourists bring?
To gin up interest in the country, a Swedish tourism agency created the Swedish Number, 46-771-793-336, a single phone line that connects international callers to randomly selected Swedish volunteers to chat about whatever is on their minds.
The Swedish Number’s website invites callers to “talk about anything you want.” After I dialed the number (callers from the United States should dial 011 first; international rates apply), an automated voice responded: “Calling Sweden. You will soon be connected to a random Swede, somewhere in Sweden.”
- Would you call the number? What would you ask? What would you talk about?
- Do you think this is a good idea to introduce your culture to the world?
- What are some issues that could result?
- Would this idea work for your country?
- What other ways can we foster relationships between people/culture/nations?