Armchair Traveller

Australians are unfriendly, unhelpful and arrogant — according to foreign tourists

Australians are unfriendly, unhelpful and arrogant — according to foreign tourists

Do we really say "go away" more than "G'day"?

While most Australians would say we're a friendly bunch, foreign visitors have a different opinion.

We're "unhelpful", "untrustworthy" and "arrogant" to travellers coming down under, according to a new report delivered at yesterday's National Tourism and Events Excellence Conference in Sydney.

The Gruen Transfer's Russel Howcroft, head of the George Patterson Y&R advertising agency, broke the news yesterday with some damning insights.

According to the research, Chinese travellers think we're "stylish and classy but not very helpful", while Americans find us "carefree and rugged" but rate us low on quality and value. The British see us as "charming and independent — but untrustworthy", while Indians "believe our daring is offset by arrogance", News Limited reports.

Howcroft's findings come from worldwide surveys of hundreds of brands in an ambitious attempt to feed advertising agencies with information about what 700,000 consumers want in different markets.

Russel Howcroft from ABC1's The Gruen Transfer.

Whether you agree or not, it's not all bad news for Australian tourism. Howcroft thinks Tourism Australia are on the right track with their $180 million "There's nothing like Australia" campaign (anything would be better than Lara Bingle's "Where the bloody hell are you?" bungle).

Plus, the respondents who had actually been to Australia had much better impressions of us than those who haven't been here yet.

But again, Australia loses out on value for many potential international holiday-makers looking for a less expensive trip.

"Australia isn't cheap, so they need to have a perception of very high quality, high value for what it costs them when they get here, to appear reasonable," Howcroft said.

One of Tourism Australia's new strategies involves promotion on social media through foreigners who have visited Australia.

Tourism Australia's SeeAustralia Facebook page has 3.2 million fans worldwide, making it the largest destination page in the world.

Are Aussies rude and unhelpful to foreigners? Tell us what you think below.

Watch: New Tourism Australia ad — is it any good?

User comments
Everywhere you go in Australia the people and culture varies greatly. In the big cities people generally are way more unfriendly than smaller places. Culture also varies from state to state and in country towns .In the smaller towns everyone waves or will say hello even if they do not know you. None of the capital cities are anything alike. Brisbane is smaller and more friendly and laid back than Melbourne or Sydney. However melbourne is really full of art and culture compared to Brisbane. Melbourne people love going out a lot more than Sydney people. Sydney has a stunning beautiful harbour, but Melbourne has a much more interesting city centre. More parks, sporting events and plays and entertainment etc. You just have to pick out the best bits and things from each place. I have travelled abroad and all over Australia and despite what a lot of people are saying Australia is still a wonderful country.
I am Australian and I would never be so rude or insensitive to people from other countries, as to insult them or their countries in the way they are with these comments. They are saying how rude we are yet at the same time they are been far ruder to us with their comments than I could ever be to them. Sure if we want we can all find faults with people and other countries. But I like to think there are more people left in the world who look for the good in people and places instead of focusing on the faults. It is mostly only the people that like complaining that voice their opinions the most. You rarely hear from the happy ones. Of course Australia and Australians are not perfect. Im sure too our more laid back attitude towards certain siuations could be mistaken for rudeness.
Many Australians I have met, as well as the media generally, are overly concerned with what others think of them. They are continually making comparisons with others, and seek to put themselves in a good light. But their standards of quality are very low. It is vanity. Likewise, there are few serious readers. The world outside of the Island is a swirl of stereotypes and dangerous places. Literature is not highly valued, and the life of the mind is an anomaly here. There is a sort of pornographic love of America, but once they meet an actual American, the gaps in their love are obvious- they treat them like invaders. They like the image, but have no clue about the reality. The "we're laid back" thing is an irony, as I have met so many thin-skinned people who crack at the slightest notion that they may not be all they imagine themselves to be. Like characters in a Tennessee Williams play. I could go on, but I am still trying to "get" this place. It seems lost in time.
Have been wheelchair bound for three+ yrs and most people have been curteous and willing to help. Sure their are some people who are most ignorant and unfortunately its mainly older people esp the men but maybe cause they cant see you as well as others when your a bit lower and they dont have the perephenal vision ( excuse the spelling) We always knock our youth but some of them have been terrific in offering assistance. Aussies are helpful esp when they see someone whos againsty the odds
After moving to Adelaide to be with my Aussie partner and child, i have to be careful not to tar everyone with the same i did fall in love with an aussie! However i have never felt so unwelcomed in my life!theres not many places i havnt travlled around the world and love getting involved with others cultures and forms of life!i speak 6 languages due to this!after being here for 2 years i am slowly realising why most Aussies are, well to be frank, ToSERS! i find them disgustingly racially challenenged, how can a country of immigrants be so against immigration....have u forgot how ALL of you got here!since birth most aussies are drilled to thnk that this is the dogs danglie bit. u have everything here so why would you want to go somewhere else unless its to Phuket for a quick ***!all in all its all wrong here attitudes, arrogance and i for one cant wait to leave this *** crack of the universe. i think everyone is just tooooo coool.or the defo think think they are!
The prime minister once said (Julia Gillard) that Australia is the best country in the world. Well, every slightly intelligent person knows that there is never a "best of" anything. There is always ONLY a "ONE of the best" of anything or something. Australians are overconfident and under pressure underperforming. A German is usually understating but performs best under pressure. That is a huuuge difference. The majority of Aussies can't handle alcohol. When drunk they are the rudest, most violent and loudest people I have met. Although it seems to be a problem of may english speaking countries. The Americans, Irish, British get also very violent when drunk. In many ways, Australia is light years behind other western countires (including Japan and South Korea). Internet speed, housing market, general quality of products, innovation, cleanliness, education lacks behind. It took Australia 40 years to finish ONE dual-carriage-way from Sydney to Melbourne. I
THIS is Australia.. -The majority hates everything non-australian (although they want to be something else) -no service (USA, Germany, Canada)..they do it so much better -rude attitude -ignorant towards others -laid back attitude is an excuse for being lazy or a lack of attitude -most expensive housing market with the poorest building quality I have ever seen in my live -no variety in supermarkets (Europe is paradise) -poor work ethics -majority sees alcohol as a cultural part of Australia and therefore justifies drunken behavior -the society equates "freedom" with antisocial behaviour -Julian Assange doesn't get a bailout but every "Druggo-Bogan" that couldn't respect the drug laws of the country IT was visiting will get a taxpayer bailout from the Aussie government -poor education quality -not everyone wants to come to Australia..there are also many Aussies (usually the ones with a brain) that are happily leaving -no respect for others -list could go on and on
The only rude Aussies I've met are the Immigration & Custom Officers. They asked me lousy questions. That's all. After that, everything is cool. The receptionist at the hotel was very nice and accommodating. Then, I went to Officeworks and they were very nice. I don't mind if they didn't follow me around in the shop. i have only travelled to Melbourne so I could not comment more on that.
Yep. I'm Australian and it's true. We are truly vile.
This is why we get rude, dont say youve been here 10 years and hate it here. If your having a bad time, if you think everyones against you then LEAVE!!! We dont want people complaining all the time especially when youve been here so long so stop whining or you wont be treated any better

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