Grumpy Traveller: Why Do Indians Travel Badly

Grumpy Traveller: Why Do Indians Travel Badly
Photo Credit: Outlook Traveller

Why is the average Indian traveller so uninterested in the world--s cultural and natural splendours?

Suman Tarafdar
June 17 , 2015
01 Min Read

Yes, even as outbound travel (read Indians travelling to ‘phoren’ lands) is on the rise, there is a perceptible rise in one species that the world could do well without—The Ugly Indian Traveller. Once the Americans had been known for this quality almost globally, and the average Chinese and Korean tourists evince such reaction in places such as the Philippines and Hawaii, but it is clear that the Indian traveller, especially when travelling to places such as Thailand, Switzerland, casinoland et al could soon be abused with such epithets as well.

That a lot of Indians will want vegetarian food is understandable. Uncharitable reactions on seeing a globally-famed destination is less understandable. Often they go with such reluctance, make snide, smart aleck-y remarks about remarkable places—be it the Pyramids (yahan kitni garmi hai) or Shakespeare’s house (iss bau ne kya kiya tha), or the white sands of Boracay—take that compulsory selfie and rush back to the air-conditioned comfort of 4-star hotels even in chilly Melbourne. Followed by room service, drinks, loud music (yes, Yo Yo Honeyji’s colossal talent is the preferred choice) and preferably the closest approximation to ‘Indian’ food. Any remarkable cultural heritage, whether opera or folk art, might as well be for aliens, they couldn’t care less. I know someone who forgot to take photos of the Doge’s Palace in Venice (yes, I kid you not) as none of the 38 selfies captured her at her best, she felt.

Why is the average Indian traveller so uninterested in the world’s cultural and natural splendours? Why go then? Just to tell friends, relatives and neighbours? The only time passion makes its way upfront is when preparing for the trip to the outlet malls, hours out of Boston/Philadelphia/Chicago/Austin/Denver/San Diego/Miami... Messers Sharma or Mahapatra or Rao were once known as cultural travellers, value-conscious travellers, shoppers, urban(e) travellers. That’s changing fast. Indians still do not venture much to beaches, with multiple good reasons, of course, but their bargain-hunting indulgences at night-time Pattaya do not make them much desired even by Thais!

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