I was surprised at first to see that when I referred to some people yesterday as “clueless tourists”, this came across as a referendum on all tourists. Then I started thinking about it more, and now I’m intrigued.
If you went to see a movie and somebody talked loudly throughout the film, you might refer to them as a “clueless moviegoer”. Or you might refer to a diner who screams at their hapless waiter and then leaves no tip as a “clueless diner”.
Yet we would never think, upon hearing those phrases, that you felt this way about all moviegoers or diners. I wouldn’t think I should stop going to movies or restaurants for fear that I would be tarred by the same brush.
Every client for a service has an obligation to follow certain protocols, whether that service be a night out at the movies, dinner in a nice restaurant, or tourism.
In my experience, tourists do a very good job of understanding those protocols. The ones who don’t are the exception that proves the rule: They stand out as clueless precisely because most tourists are not at all clueless.
So why the asymmetry in how people view tourists, as compared to consumers of other services?
I haven’t a clue.