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At a time when Chinese tourists are touted as the largest travelling nationality and ones that gross copious amounts of revenue in souvenir shopping, many nations, including the Chinese themselves are dissing the disguising habits of their travelling counterparts. A national shame not unique to China, the growing disparities between the cultured and not so well heeled, the nouveau rich and those from the rural areas is being publicly criticized by both politician and proletariat in public.

A month ago, Chinese social networks were abuzz about a middle class kid from one of the rapidly rising provinces who had spray painted his name on an anciant Egytptian relic. Defaming a national treasure was shameful, but what also blackened his face was the public disgust at what in China is being viewed as tarnishing her international image.

While one may argue, that all developing nations where riches rise faster than values — which is always the case, those that are culturally sound will look down upon those that are learning to tell their dessert fork from their soup spoon. Yet it remains the prerogative of the traveller to understand his host nation and follow suit. While it might be ok to do as you please in your own country, when in Rome, do as the Romans.

Large nations as we are, India and China alike – our people differ from region to region, with varying food habits, educational backgrounds, and cultural values. Indians and Chinese travelling within our own countries also tend to tick locals off as they don’t behave upto code on holiday. Yet when travelling abroad we require everybody to behave themselves and represent their country responsibly. While some may argue that they are on holiday, Inchin Closer through experience of several Chinese and Indian tour groups to both countries firmly believes that it is the responsibility of the traveler to act within their host nations protocol. Treat national artifacts with dignity and  respect the culture and people of their host nation.

As the people within our countries gain more wealth to travel, a privilege their forefathers couldn’t even dream of we should also carry with us the responsibility to act with caution and not err on the side of culture. While planning your travel, besides researching on the cheapest hotels or the best restaurants, also take the time to understand the do’s and don’ts of the country you will be visiting. Besides helping you to enjoy your holiday in a more local way, it will also earn you the respect of the host nation.

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