Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Czech republic is not ready for tourists

Some news speak of a story about 350 Danish High School students from Christianhavns Gymnasium who were kicked out of their hotel due to riots. However it isn't true. Not a single student were sent home.

The trip which were organized by the students themselves ran into some problems when the hotels they had chosen showed very little ability to deal with normal tourist behavior.

The behavior shown at the hotels is not a special phenomenon for Danish tourists. In fact The Sun had a larger piece about the problems tourist from the United Kingdom faced when they travel abroad. Some remember the culture clash which led to an arrest of a British woman and her boyfriend when they showed affection for each other at a public beach and in relationship to this story The Sun published this story explaining the problem.

The problems seems to be based on a huge difference in culture and education between the tourists and the native population. The obvious question is if there is such a big difference between a country like the Czech republic and Denmark. To this question the answer must be yes.

One of the most prominent politicians Denmark has ever produce - the former member of the European Parliament Mogens Camre spoke very clearly about how much difference there are between Danes and the population from some parts of eastern Europe. France 24 wrote on their homepage that he did hit a raw nerve in the question of expanding the European Union.

I guess what happened in Prague was that there were some kind of miscommunication between the Danish tourists and their Czech hosts. The native population were not able to understand the communication between Danes which obvious took place on a higher and refined level. They were simply not prepared to host foreign tourists.

It is a huge problem for travel agencies to find the right place to send out their guests. In this case it was a private trip arranged by the students themselves. The school did not send teachers to Prague. So maybe too little research had been done when choosing the destination.

It you look at the possible travel destination in Eastern Europe, one country are able to stand out. Bulgaria was worn down after some 50 years of communist rule. So in order to have interesting places for the tourists to see they built Sunny Beach. Today this area is the only interesting place to visit as there is nothing else to see but it is there. Bulgaria has built a model of how to attract tourists the rest of the countries in the eastern Europe could copy.

I hope that the high school students overcome their ordeal and the quite hostile environment they by mistake traveled to. While it seems hard at the moment it is a important lesson they have learned. Danes should consider things twice before choosing to either work, study or spend their holiday abroad. Not every place in the world is friendly to outsiders.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Protection of kids on other cultures

I happened to watch a Dr. Phil show.

A mother let her 10 year old son walk one mile to soccer practice on his own. One mile!

It meant that she was visited by a police officer who blamed her for poor judgment in her parenting approach.

An overreaction?

Yes like most Danes we believe that a society where you cannot let your 10 year old son ride a bike or walk to soccer practice just a couple of kilometers away is acceptable. If you have supply your children with bodyguards for such a short distance, there is something terrible wrong with the society.

On our webpage we have listed the stoller case as example number 6. More than 10 years ago Anette Sorensen - a that time a wellknown actor visiting New York was in the city with her boyfriend and her daugther in a stoller. They decided to eat dinner at a restraurant. Every expert in Denmark advice parents to leave their babies outside in the cold instead of taking the child inside for a nap. Smoking customers in a restraurant could damage the airways of the baby and increase the risk of Astma for the child later in life. Second the lungs of the baby needs to be developed and toughened. It is best done by letting the child sleep outside in warm clothes and in a secure stoller.

However the actor and her husband was arrested and charged for Child endangerment. The child was taken into protective care. It took a long and painful trial before they received a small settlement for the wrongful arrest.

The totally incomprehensible actions of the authorities placed the incident on our webpage. When we now learn that the security level in the United States is so severe that children cannot even do the most simple things without guards or other protection some might ask if the case still fulfill the conditions for being listed on our webpage.

The answer is Yes. Anette Sorensen was not adviced by the police that she had entered a nation gone to pieces or basically a warzone. They could have asked her to phone the embassy so they could have explained her the sad facts about the conditions in New York. New York back then was no place for tourists taking children with them. The same goes for the entire country today as the Dr. Phil show so clearly illustrate today.

But the travel agencies display no warnings in that regard. That's why the case needs to be listed on our webpage.