Say what? Yes, you heard it right. There is a famous business saying, ‘The customer is always right.’ This is not always the case. In many instances, a customer can be wrong but since he who pays the piper plays the tune, the seller is left with no option but to give in to what the customer wants. Tourism is an experiential industry.
While in buying goods we carry them home, a tourist carries the experience. One cannot throw it away or give it to a neighbour or relative, it is yours for keeps. While the host destination or attraction managers are the ones largely responsible for creating a wonderful experience for tourist, a tourist can go a long way in making his or her experience even better.
Respect the locals
A tourist leaves his or her home, town or country to visit something that is not found in their locality. Many attractions a found in places where people have a different lifestyle from ours, level of education or world view. While we may not agree with some of the things that the locals do, it is always important to be respectful. Instead of saying “I will not participate in your barbarian practices”, or, “I will dress in what I want”, one can say, “No, thank you” or “I am sorry I do not have any outfit that is more appropriate”. This can also give you an opportunity to improvise in a thing or two. It does not hurt to say “excuse me”, “please” and “thank you”. It does not matter how much one is paying for the services, being respectful or lack of it will make the difference between a tourist who will be treated like royalty, or have coffee spilt on them ‘accidentally’.
Do not Show Off
More often than not, our tourism adventure leads us to low income areas with amazing beauty and attraction. In certain instances, we visit places where on only the who’s who visit. Whether we are at a high end or low income attraction, do not show off. You will have a chance when you get back home to show off to your friends, colleagues or competitors.
Listen to Your Guide
This has become one of the biggest issues with tourists. With so much information on the internet from countless people and studies that we have made before hand, we often feel like experts. “What is this fool telling me, hasn’t he read…”, “Doesn’t he know that …”, “Oh, but I read something different on Tripadvisor”. While it is important to find out as much information as possible about a destination before visiting it, not all the information is accurate. People often write based on their knowledge, experience and world view.
In the end, whether you are paying for your tourism experience or getting it for free, you have the chance to make or break it. Some things are beyond our control, but if we are a little bit more sensitive to the hosts, we can have beautiful memories that we will keep for the rest of our lives.