GhannamLet me say it loud and clear: the behavior of some of the tourists from the Gulf states is not acceptable and has to change. Following the economic boom of 1970’s, hundreds of thousands of tourists from the region began coming to the western part of the world, mainly in British and French cities, to spend vacations during summer and spring breaks.

The numbers grew, as after the Lebanese civil war most tourists who would prefer going to Beirut switched their destination to Europe. The Gulf tourists have been generally big spenders, higher than any other average tourists. The best thing with them was that they would never stay behind. Therefore the host counties never had to cope with their any overstaying issue or their subsequent illegal employment. For this reason, Gulf citizens are among the privileged to get a visa to any European country even after the introduction of the Schengen visa. They were quite welcome there.

The problem lies with some of the Gulf tourists who disobey rules of the European or even Asian countries. Some of them think that they can do whatever they want as if they are in their countries as the law in their states is not well-implemented and reinforced. Many become shocked when they are told not to do harm to the environment, public utilities, animals and other facilities. They tend to ignore all such laws and punitive measures against the violators and act as if the matter was ok because in their countries this was a ‘no problem.’

Many of the Gulf tourists as we have all seen on the social media have gone too far in their violations against animals for example when we all saw the killing of the goose which then became scrumptious lunch for such violators. In the Gulf there are many laws that forbid and criminalize such actions but are not enforced because the wasta (connections) is always there to back them up.

Another unfortunate incident of some of the Gulf tourists is aggression on the landscapes where many families were seen barbecuing on the green landscape and when one officer rushed to that family to warn them they invited him for the dinner. I do not blame many European countries when they delay or make it harder to give the visit visa because of what they see of behaviors of some tourists.

Tourism is an important sector for both the tourist and the host country. You learn from each other and you appreciate other people’s way of living. And importantly, you relax from the daily work routine. To be honest, Europe has been very hospitable to all the tourists including those coming from the Gulf region. What concerns me now is their gradually changed behavior. Despite the fact that the majority of the Gulf tourists are well-behaved, yet a small number who are ignorant can change the general attitude in the host country.

During the past years, we have seen a welcome gesture by many European resorts that adapted to the needs of the Gulf tourists, which must be appreciated. Thus we see Arabic restaurants introducing Halal meat; places allocated for daily prayers and several such things. After all, respect others in order to be respected and act according to the laws and regulations set in the host countries and forget what many had used to do wrong in their own countries.

Until the next article insha allah

By Talal Al-Ghannam