Globalisation in general is a good thing. People know more about stuff that happens all around the world and there’s the free market, and, you know, stuff. But one thing globalisation has brought upon us, whether we like it or not, is tourism. Tourists are the real test. They walk slowly in the middle of the road and read a map in the crossroads. They don’t speak the language. They are rude. They stop at random places to take stupid pictures of themselves and the most irrelevant things imaginable. They dress completely inappropriately to the climate. They think there are polar bears and penguins in Finland and that all Scottish men wear kilts all the time (with obviously nothing underneath and think it necessary to check the truth in that whenever they run into someone wearing a kilt).
What is it about being in a new place that makes people act like idiots? Obstructing the normal everyday life by being touristy and doing touristy stuff is basically what tourists do. Wandering about aimlessly in big flocks speaking a language no one understands and spending loads of money on stupid souvenirs that often have nothing to do with the country they’re from. For the world’s economy, tourism is very important. But couldn’t they rather just send all their money here and stay home if they like us so much? What need is there to come here and annoy the you-know-what out of everyone!
Oh yeah, there is the culture issue. Stereotypes… Argh. It’s an issue I’d rather just leave at that. No, in Finland we aren’t all blonde and blue-eyed. No, we do not herd reindeer in the cities and yes, we do have an actual summer (not just -30 degrees Celsius all year round). The cultural stereotypes do sometimes succeed at what they were originally meant to do, to strengthen the feeling of national pride and belonging, but tourism flaunts it all around and just hits you in the face with it instantly. It's so invasive that sometimes you suddenly find yourself having your picture taken holding a Scottish flag in front of amazing Highland scenery listening to your kilted guide play the accordion.
Another thing I just don’t get is bus tours. Why would anyone want to sit in a bus and stare out of the window all day only getting off to take a picture of something the guide just pointed at? Weatherproof it may be, but if it’s raining cats and dogs you’re not going to see any of the landscapes anyway so what’s the point? Why not get off your fat arse instead and try horse-riding or taking a bicycle or even hiking for goodness’ sake! All of those are more economic, more active and way more fun than a boring bus ride.
Organised and sterile package trips for old (and/or boring) people are ridiculous. First of all, they’re expensive as hell and they only take you to some places chosen by someone who ‘knows their stuff’. Secondly, you don’t really see the ‘real life’ from a bus. Why not try to get to know someone local and asking them to show you around instead of going to the places your often non-local guide takes you to?
As annoyed by tourism as I might be, I’m always looking for another chance to go abroad and visit places I’ve never been to. So yes, I admit it, I like being my own enemy and I would be more often if I just had the money. Obviously it’s ok for me to do that, because when I’m abroad, I’m the annoying one reading a map in the middle of the busiest street of the city and happily taking in all the cultural stereotypes with no hesitation whatsoever. Also, keep bringing in the money, we all need it.
The writer is a fourth-year English student who appreciates different cultures and likes traveling around seeing new places and spending money, i.e. being a tourist. She also supports globalisation and all kinds of international cooperation wholeheartedly.