Wed, Aug 25, 2004 - Page 6 News List

`Raucous, rowdy' German tourists get etiquette lessons

MANNERS A German TV network is educating travellers on how to behave abroad, telling them not to hog poolside chairs and to stop trying to shake hands all the time


Faced with a survey showing most German tourists abroad are embarrassed by their fellow German tourists, a German TV network has issued a guide for appropriate manners and etiquette for German travelers.

Three out of five German vacationers cringe when they see loud-mouthed, beer-swilling German tourists giving their compatriots a bad name, says the survey by the German Travel Channel.

Raucous and rowdy Germans who get falling-down drunk at bars or belligerent Germans who make a scene at hotel reception desks along with inconsiderate Germans who hog all the best poolside chairs are the bane of other Germans' existence.

"The worst are mobs of overweight Germans who converge on beaches and bars on the island of Majorca, where drunken patrons make fools of themselves with inappropriate and loutish behavior," the Travel Channel says.

The new etiquette guide is designed "to prevent boorish Germans from sticking their foot in their mouth -- or both feet," according to the Travel Channel.

"Many German tourists are naively oblivious to the most commonplace rules of behavior in other countries," the guide says.

"For example, few Germans are aware that it is considered in extremely poor taste in many countries to blow your nose at the dinner table or to use toothpicks at the table -- two activities which are considered acceptable by the respected Knigge Guide to Etiquette at dinner tables in Germany," it adds.

"In Japan, it is considered rude to count your change after paying your bill at a restaurant," the guide points out. "Germans at home in Germany always count their change and will quibble about the least discrepancy. In China tipping is rare and is sometimes considered rude -- except in Hong Kong, where you will be expected to tip 15 to 20 percent," the guide says.

Sun-hungry people from soggy Germany like to free themselves of excess clothing when they reach sunny climes -- with German women going topless and men wearing the skimpiest of bathing suits on beaches. Oftentimes they wear little more while shopping.

"In Italy, Spain and France it is considered indecorous to reveal too much skin anywhere but in the water. And in Moslem countries bare limbs and shoulders are a sign of wantonness. Your best clue to clothing is to look at the natives: Men in Mediterranean countries generally do not wear shorts on the main street. Nor do women in those countries dress scantily while shopping."

France is just next door to Germany, but it is "a million miles away as far as common manners are concerned," according to the guide.

"We Germans have it drilled into our heads that we must always be fastidiously punctual, even for dinner parties. But in France it is considered uncouth to show up at a home on time. Arrive at least half an hour late with a bouquet, but on no account can they be carnations -- which the French consider funeral flowers," say the manners mavens.

"And if you are invited by a business colleague to lunch, it is permissible to talk about any subject under the sun -- except of course the business matter which brought you together in the first place. Discussing business at a business lunch is gauche to the French," the guide warns.

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