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Monday, Nov 29, 2021
Outlook.com
society: indian tourists

Bangkok Meri Jeb Mein

A blooming middle class belches forth more 'phoren' vacationers. And many of them have toe-curlingly awful manners.

Bangkok Meri Jeb Mein
Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Bangkok Meri Jeb Mein
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

"It began in the plane," says the weary young man, who works for one of the country's top travel companies. "They started changing seats haphazardly, ordering as many little packets of complimentary peanuts as they could lay their hands on, and getting drunk on all those little bottles of booze. When we landed in Bangkok, they behaved as if this was a nation of prostitutes, even hitting on the women behind the immigration counter. The men travelling with their wives were no better than the rest—a 50-plus man from Jaipur went crazy shooting pictures of women in traditional off-the-shoulder tops, often trying to hug them, while his wife looked on meekly."

The authorised version of Indian outbound travel is a rah-rah story bristling with impressive figures. Eight million exuberant Indians hitting foreign shores every year, their hard-earned "brown" dollars and pounds eagerly scooped up by the international tourist and retail trade. Eight million set to double to 16 million in 2011, says Euromonitor International, and likely to soar to 50 million by 2020, according to the World Tourism Organisation. An economic downturn may take the sheen off some of these figures, but in the long term, we are told, the "India outbound story" can only be an upbeat one, as a rising, growing middle class flies out to meet the world. Its dazzling size, this version goes, will ensure a warmer global reception for Indian travellers, from hotel chains falling over themselves to cook palak paneer for them, foreign tourist boards trooping to India to woo them, leisure cruise companies and casino chains luring them with attractive baits....

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