Would you insult your target audience?
They must have read the Gillette case study and thought it was a good idea.
Take a good look at this photo:
Travel + Leisure appears as though it aspires to be a competitor to Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and other well respected travel brands that cater to the American market, setting itself apart from bottom shelf blogs like this one with quality content and beautiful photography.
And then right when you least expect it, they slap you in the mouth. I decided to comment on their article entitled “Americans Are the Worst-behaved Travelers in the World”.
* * *
If I had to generalise and name a country for exporting the worst tourists in the world after a decade abroad –it wouldn’t be America.
Sure, Americans aren’t the best tourists and the young drunk ones can be brutal, as young drunk people usually are –but in my experience, they’re pretty well behaved as tourists go.
Nobody really likes any tourist.
I’ve met some raucous Brits, Russians, Australians, Israelis, and social justice Germans. I’ve painted towns with the Irish, and suspected a Canadian of spiking my drink, all on the road. And don’t get me started on Francophones from Quebec or France –trouble!
But allow me to be trite for a moment; a bad tourist is the sum of his or her actions. At least, that’s how I view it.
You can’t put a country on it. I’d be a shitty traveller if I did.
What makes a bad tourist to high-brow progressive American publishers? A lack of life experience or exposure to other cultures? Too much money and not enough class?
Or is it just breaking a bunch shit and chewing with your mouth open?
Travel + Leisure could only dig up five US examples for their article. I know bashing the US is en vogue with Trump in office, but let’s be real. Worst-behaved tourists in the world, they are not.
I’ve never once seen an American drive a car into the moat surrounding Chiang Mai’s old city. And that happens every other month. And it ain’t the locals, either.
* * *
Who are they writing for?
In this particular case, my theory is that American publishers are the real problem, and they’re conditioning Americans to fucking hate themselves, and eachother.
And Travel + Leisure is the NBA of travel magazines. The Hollyweird that rewrites scripts to appease a particular group at the expense of another within their audience.
No online magazine whose mission is to inspire the widest, most general audience of American readers to travel should throw stones that big and still have a following.
Especially one that’s at the professional level T+L has become, has staff and pays salaries –unless it’s clearly on the label that you’re a bloody comedian.
(My label says hobo, take that how you will).
Because professional online travel magazines are not supposed to generalise entire groups of people, actual diversity respects the individual –and headlines like that fly in the face of what travel is all about.
Travel experiences help us empathise and relate to other cultures, they change how we choose to live, and they can even shape elections back home. In centuries past, travel was considered an education.
Travel magazines shouldn’t clap down to their fucking readers. Why shrivel up an audience whose only mistake was looking to you for travel advice? Leave it for the Daily Mail.
Instead, I think we should be encouraging US citizens to travel and get a wider world view –as opposed to shaming them out of it before they pick up their passport.
Travel + Leisure should be ashamed for publishing an article that’s being passed around the internet with gleeful derision, making a mockery of the very readers it’s supposed to serve. Otherwise, why write in American English?
You can literally pick on any country in the world for their shitty tourists. It’s not like any American has ever been patient zero and boarded a plane –especially not twice or three times.
It is so out of place to log onto a travel site for inspiration, and then be told you’re scum.
* * *
Although I’ve never met an American tourist wearing a US flag bandana, the picture atop the article is honing in on a type –those patriotic Americans, the ones waving their flags and proud of their country.
A subtle troll on national unity and possibly one side of the political aisle.
Ethnic diversity in stock photos has become so commonplace, it stands out when you’re not looking at it. I can’t help but notice two white males are the only subjects in the photo. Is that intentional, too?
“Just stay home and look at the pictures, deplorable American”.
The progressive-types in the crowd self-righteously assume they’re not the ones the article refers to. Stacey Leasca thinks she’s being clever. Her editor pats her on the back. So brave.
If the world didn’t like a certain kind of American, I’d wager it would be the pussy hat wearers, the social justice types, and the ones calling everyone names when they don’t tow the left line.
Intersectional identity politics have become so ubiquitous they’ve reached the tourism industry. Oh, lawd have mercy –social credit is going to be a bitch.
Why are American companies so content bashing their audience?
The whole “woke” rage-based revenue model just hasn’t worked out too well for publishers, or the country itself, writ large. It’s divisive, and no one is looking to brands that once tried so hard to earn our respect –to get slapped in the mouth for existing.
T+L forgot it’s a fucking travel magazine, and this click bait trash is long in the tooth. If they’re reading this I think they should learn from Vox and Vice and understand their grift has an expiration date.
Thousands of griftwriters lost their jobs in 2019 into 2020 because of their bad attitude toward an identifiable group for clicks and ad revenue.
Stick to travel and leisure, Travel+Leisure. I estimate your writers aren’t up to the task of learning to code.
You can view and react to their tweet here. Share this if you’re as tired of this sort of crap as I am. And I’m not even American. If you want to read an article about how shitty travel bloggers can be, click here.
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