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Dukey1 Sep 20th, 2014 08:36 PM

Chinese Tourists in Paris: Not Always Happy
An interesting piece in the NY Times about problems some Chinese tourists have had when visiting Paris.

adrienne Sep 20th, 2014 08:55 PM

I just read that article and then saw this post. If the Chinese tourists have so much money to spend on luxury goods then why are they staying in budget accommodations in the northern suburbs? That's a little odd.

Dukey1 Sep 20th, 2014 08:57 PM

I gather they use tour operators and have no idea about the "better" parts of Paris. I can only imagine the complaints we'll get when these folks have decided to "OVERRUN" the 5th and the 6th.

Bedar Sep 20th, 2014 09:09 PM

There was an article in The NYer on them not so long ago. Evidently they eat in their own restaurants, and the highlight of their European tours is a visit to Karl Marx's birthplace in Trier, Germany. On our Paris trip in March my daughter witnessed some ugly scenes involving them in luxury shops. Oh well.

justineparis Sep 20th, 2014 09:25 PM

I read an article about Chinese tourists and it said they were surprised by the dirtiness of Paris. This was funny to me.. ever seen how dirty some Chinese cities are.. and the air pollution in some cities is at critical levels in many Chinese cities...

Personally I have been very unhappy with the behaviour of the tour groups I have seen .. they came across as rather rude.. block passage ways in museums etc.. the guides we encountered were a bit aggressive in talking loudly and herding them through.. but perhaps all groups are like that..

SeeHag Sep 20th, 2014 09:50 PM

I was just in Gimpo airport in Seoul where we witnessed a fight among some Chinese tourists who appeared to be part of a tour group. Where were at the luggage carousel and suddenly heard a screaming match. We seriously thought one woman was going to beat down another woman. My son said they have a bad reputation in Seoul. We also ran into tons of Chinese shoppers in Osaka. We were in a shopping area and our Japanese friends said all the signs in the shops were written in Chinese which I had not realized.

annw Sep 20th, 2014 10:01 PM

Interesting! In a brief stopover in Paris 3 weeks ago, I found the French uniformly kind and helpful -- probably more so than any previous trip. Maybe they were just relieved I wasn't in an enormous tour group of Chinese persons.

michele_d Sep 20th, 2014 10:04 PM

<Personally I have been very unhappy with the behaviour of the tour groups I have seen .. they came across as rather rude.. block passage ways in museums etc.. the guides we encountered were a bit aggressive in talking loudly and herding them through.. but perhaps all groups are like that..>

I too have encountered Asian tour groups like this. It really annoyed me until I mentioned it to my friend, whose wife is Chinese and just ten yrs ago moved to the US from China. He told me that they do not do this to be rude, and are actually quite unaware that it is not proper behavior. This is how they have been raised: to fight hard for everything they have. This is just how they are. I have looked at the tour groups differently now and just step aside and let them pass. What seems rude to one group of people is normal behavior for another.

Dukey1 Sep 20th, 2014 10:21 PM

This is how they have been raised: to fight hard for everything they have. This is just how they are.

And now that they are traveling to other countries and directly interacting with other "cultures" they need to do what all other civilized people do: they observe the local customs and they adapt. They LEARN about what is considered proper BEFORE they arrive and please, if they can learn about the location of "high end shopping" at the Galleries Lafayette they can spend some time learning how to act as well.

When I visited China I observed local customs and I remained polite and respectful. These people are not stupid and when they travel they are no longer in their own little world.

justineparis Sep 20th, 2014 10:33 PM

Exactly what Dukey said.. many of us go to countries where we may not be aware of cultural differences and we ASK or research on how to behave to be polite.

The excuse of "its not how we do it at home" is not ok for anyone.

manouche Sep 20th, 2014 11:46 PM

The people on those tours often come as "buyers" - they are not typical tourists. They are sent on a cheap group tour, and are given a whole bunch of cash to spend for other people who finance the trip.

They stay in hotels on the outskirts because they are inexpensive, are paid extra to prepare food that suits Asian tastes, have parking for tour buses, and dormitory-like sleeping arrangements. The tourists are bussed everywhere, and closely supervised, so they can't explore on their own. They are basically coming to Paris to work - buying luxury merchandise for someone who will re-sell and/or make copies for mass-marketing. It's probable that the fight at the baggage claim was just someone protecting the merchandise he was responsible for.

justineparis Sep 21st, 2014 12:55 AM

hmm.. nice work .. but not a nice vacation.

Cathinjoetown Sep 21st, 2014 01:17 AM

Travel to some place as "exotic" as Paris is very new to the Chinese working and emerging middle class.

As in so many areas, they will quickly adapt and learn how to have a more enjoyable, safe experience. Lord knows LV and Hermès will do everything they can to help them achieve that!

kerouac Sep 21st, 2014 03:18 AM

Another important thing with the hotels that the Chinese tour groups use is that they have either electric kettles or huge thermos bottles of hot water in every room.

latedaytraveler Sep 21st, 2014 03:34 AM

DUKEY1, very interesting...

flpab Sep 21st, 2014 03:51 AM

I tend to notice they see everything through the lenses of their cameras. Put the dang thing down and enjoy. I use to want to yell at people here for their first shuttle launch with all the cameras. Look at the whole picture, hear it, feel it and look for the solid rocket boosters falling. You can't do it trying to follow just the flame.

hetismij2 Sep 21st, 2014 03:53 AM

Hopefully they will also adapt and learn how to behave when not in China. Lots of countries struggle with the behaviour of Chinese tourists, and not only Western countries. Many Asian and African countries also find Chinese behaviour such as spitting, public urinating and defecating, shouting, ignoring no entry signs, etc etc highly offensive.

My Malaysian Chinese SIL hates meeting big groups of Chinese when travelling. She is embarrassed by them, and suffers from being seen as one of them.

laverendrye Sep 21st, 2014 03:57 AM

How ya gonna keep 'em down in Beijing after they've seen Paree!

Southam Sep 21st, 2014 04:52 AM

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Fifty years ago it was "ugly Americans" who were derided in Paris. Thirty years ago the pushy German package tourists were demanding schnitzel in every resort town. Recently wealthy Russians? Mon dieu!
So now maybe the Chinese are approaching a certain sort of distasteful equality abroad. "Plus ca change..."

Christina Sep 21st, 2014 09:49 AM

I'm surprised they have that much money, most Chinese are still pretty poor. And going to paris from China must be really expensive.

They stay in the 10th because there is a large Asian community there and out of custom, that's where other Chinese tourists have done. It's just what those companies are used to and know, this is typical of other nationalities also, when traveling. A lot of Japanese seem to be in the area between Palais Royale and the Opera.

kerouac Sep 21st, 2014 10:08 AM

Actually, the 10th is "Little India" not Chinatown. Chinatown is in the 3rd, 11th, 13th, 19th and 20th arrondissement. Most of the Chinese tourists are lodged in big hotels in the suburbs.

While it is true that "most" Chinese are quite poor, the population of the country is so huge that the middle and upper classes already represent countless millions of people, even if they are only 6 or 7% of the total.

nytraveler Sep 21st, 2014 10:29 AM

Seems like these tourists are very naive - and have totally unrealistic expectations. Sounds like they would be better off with some basic orientation on the west, how things work - and that Parisians are not standing around waiting for any foreign tourists to arrive - no matter where they are from.

Perhaps the chinese will take over the image of the ugly americans.

Alec Sep 21st, 2014 10:39 AM

Luxury imported goods are highly taxed in China so even with airfare and accommodation cost added, they make handsome savings. Also gifts they give out must match the perceived status of giver and recipient, so Western luxury brands are essential for the upwardly mobile.

NewbE Sep 21st, 2014 11:01 AM

<it said they were surprised by the dirtiness of Paris. This was funny to me.. ever seen how dirty some Chinese cities are.>
I think you failed to read carefully. The NYT article made clear that the reason Chinese tourists are disillusioned by dirt and muggers and other realities of Paris is NOT because its worse than China but because they idealize Paris from afar. After a lifetime's steady diet of romantic depictions of Paris, they are shocked to see it's not a museum. They are naive, and their habits and behaviors are annoying, but they are new to international travel, and they will learn.

I do think that of all the great must-see cities of the world, Paris is the most idealized.

IMDonehere Sep 21st, 2014 01:55 PM

The Chinese visit other world capitols and do not seem to half the problems, they have in Paris.

Here is the top ten foreign countries that Mainland Chinese visit:

The United States leaped from the 13th position in the last quarter to the second spot in the latest rankings, while Canada, which was the most satisfying destination for 2013, took third place. Australia, Singapore, Italy, Thailand, United Kingdom, France and South Korea rounded out the top ten.

The other country that the Chinese have visited less is Malaysia due to the airline safety concerns.

I wonder what the problem can be in Paris?

kerouac Sep 21st, 2014 02:58 PM

Here is the list that I found:

Top 25 destinations for Chinese in 2012

Destination - (,000 trips) - 2012 % growth

1 Hong Kong - 15,110.4 - 11.1%
2 Macau - 7,958 - 8.4%
3 South Korea - 3,383.2 - 55%
4 Thailand - 2,820 - 62.2%
5 Taiwan - 2,590.7 - 47.1%
6 Singapore - 2,054.2 - 30.2%
7 US - 1,593.5 - 46%
8 Japan - 1,506.5 - 44.4%
9 Vietnam - 1,428.7 - 0.8%
10 Malaysia - 1,369.3 - 24.6%
11 France - 1,288 - 15%
12 Russia - 830.4 - 16.4%
13 Germany - 762.9 - 19.7%
14 Switzerland - 663.4 - 33%
15 Australia - 626.4 - 15.5%
16 Indonesia - 585.2 - 16%
17 Austria - 356.4 - 37.1%
18 Cambodia - 335 - 35.2%
19 United Arab Emirates - 300.8 - 23.7%
20 Philippines - 291.4 - 20%
21 Italy - 253 - 12.9%
22 Canada - 243 - 2.7%
23 New Zealand - 215.4 - 48%
24 UK - 206.6 - 17.5%
25 Mongolia - 203.8 - 2.5%

Since travel became freely available for the Chinese, France has always been their #1 destination in Europe.

IMDonehere Sep 21st, 2014 03:20 PM

I live in NYC and there is substantial Chinese tourism. Over 500,000 Chinese Americans live just in the NYC. And I have not heard of the problems to any degree that are different than any other tourist group.

And more Chinese visit the US than France.

Lois2 Sep 21st, 2014 04:16 PM

they have "trashed" Galleries Lafayette..walked in for about 5 mins last fall and left...a total mob scene and all of their massive "coaches" waiting for them. We head the other direction when we see them.

IMDonehere Sep 21st, 2014 04:21 PM

How come the Chinese tourists don't act like that in NYC?

darkonfire Sep 21st, 2014 05:01 PM


They do, at the Woodbury outlets. I was talking to the staff there and they said the Chinese generally make a beeline for the Coach and Tory Burch stores.

Not all Chinese tourists are awful but in huge groups, they can be rather overwhelming.

UNCalum Sep 21st, 2014 05:49 PM

A few years ago, two friends and I were visiting the Eiffel Tower. We had noticed a large group of Chinese tourists there at the same time. When the three of us boarded the elevator to go down, it was obvious that no one else could squeeze on. Imagine our surprise when a Chinese lady grabbed the arm of one of my friends, yanked her out of the elevator and jumped into the empty spot just as the doors were closing.

I am not a rude or aggressive person at all, but if I had been able to shove the Chinese woman off the darn elevator in time, I believe I would have done so!

330east Sep 21st, 2014 05:51 PM

In the end it's "our" fault. If the traitorous American business owners had not sent every factory over there we'd still be on top of the world and they would be the 3rd world country we have become.

IMDonehere Sep 21st, 2014 06:50 PM

I am not a shopper, so maybe I do not see it. But I do not hear about it or read about it, either

I have not been in Paris in 6 years, but I do not remember the staffs in retail and restaurants being as diverse as they are in NYC. Maybe that is a factor. In our neighborhood, for example, I would say that 90% of the shops are either owned or run by a recent immigrant.

NewbE Sep 21st, 2014 07:01 PM

<in huge groups, they can be rather overwhelming.>
As who would not be?

The article is not about negative French reaction to the Chinese, but rather Chinese disillusionment with dirt, crime and French indifference: one anecdote has a group of Chinese tourists being mugged while fellow train riders look on blankly. The point is that their expectations of NYC, to name just one city they travel to in large numbers, are not as romantic and idealized as their expectations of Paris, so they have farther to fall.

Robert2533 Sep 21st, 2014 07:22 PM

My experience with Chinese tour groups in Portugal and elsewhere is that they are rude, to say the least, and unappreciative of western culture.

IMDonehere Sep 21st, 2014 07:39 PM

So why do they go to Portugal, it is not a shopping mecca? Or are they looking for a retirement condo on the Algarve?

We are very close to Chinese-American family who are Ivy educated but their parents were born on the Mainland. Their customs and values are very different than ours but then again their experience has been very different than mine and closer to my grandparents. The third generation of kids are very American. We have so many relatives and friends that are first and second generation Americans, I guess we are more forgiving. And that could be reason you do not hear about the same problems in NYC as you do Paris.

kerouac Sep 21st, 2014 10:09 PM

Paris has the largest Chinese population in Europe, and it is also the group that applies for citizenship the fastest.

Ackislander Sep 22nd, 2014 12:05 AM

Another recent article in the Times (New York) described Chinese tourists visiting New York being housed at Newark Airport or East Brunswick and doing day trips to NYC and Philadelphia.

In some ways they are not different from US tourists of the '50's who loudly demanded ice in their bourbon in Burgundy or complained about warm beer in England.

But I have a hard time imagining that any American was ever as disrespectful of historic and religious sites in Asia as the Chinese and the Japanese before them are in Europe. Surely Notre Dame could restrict guides who do not prepare and control their parties, and they could post signs in Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and perhaps Korean explaining respectful behavior in such cultural monuments.

justineparis Sep 22nd, 2014 12:33 AM

We do not get a lot of Chinese tourists where I live.

We do get a lot of Chinese immigrants though..they are purchasing their way in.. and can afford to.. even the business I work for was recently purchased by a couple from Beijing. They have no experience or desire to work in the business.. its all about how to buy your way in..

justineparis Sep 22nd, 2014 12:43 AM

Imdonehere.. we live in a city with 4 or 5th generation Chinese.. and yes.. they are very Canadian.. but there is a new wave of mainland immigrants.. and they are not here to assimilate but infiltrate.

One of my girls at work is of Chinese descent.. generations ago.. our new owner offered to send her to school to learn Mandarin.. oddly.. they have not offered that to any other employee.. and she is a junior employee ... She was actually really angry at the offer and made it clear she had no intention of taking her up on offer( as this would be something she was expected to do on her own time.. even thought they would pay for course). She couldn't see the point of learning Mandarin as our official languages are English and French.. not Cantonese or Mandarin. In Vancouver one of the municipalities has so many Chinese speakers that now public signage is in Chinese.. not so much of a problem.. except now people are angry because its not signs in English and Chinese.. just signs in Chinese.

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