“Do not hug a Hindu, not be alarmed if the French are rude and never confuse a Canadian with an American,” are the top tips for Visit Britain, the official British tourism agency, to address the thousands of visitors who will come to London during the Olympic Games in 2012.
The guide aims to help citizens to receive with open arms all the guests. ‘To give a warm welcome to our visitors is absolutely vital to our economy, “said Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of the tourism agency.
According to studies, the British are seen as “honest, efficient, funny and friendly”, although they should improve their relationship with foreigners to match with that given in Canada, Italy, Spain or the Netherlands. To help foreigners to feel at home, the tourist agency has created a guide with tips to avoid big misunderstandings.
Avoiding eye contact with the Japanese people.
The recommendations range from avoid talking about personal issues with the Brazilians to be patient with guests from India or the UAE. The relationship with other cultures is often confusing especially with the Orientals. The Japanese, for example, tend to smile when they are angry or sad, and cannot stand talking to someone who has his hands in his pockets. The guide advises against the Japanese staring or winking at a Hong Kong citizen.
Citizens of India consider offensive the physical contact when they meet someone. The guide warns that the “no” to the Koreans really means “you’re welcome.” But surely the Chinese culture can lead to more conflict. Visit Britain advises to avoid thanking a compliment given by a Chinese (instead, we must deny to show humility), and use only black and white for professional presentations because of the complicated meanings of colors.
Do not talk about personal issues with Brazilians.
With Brazilians it is advisable to avoid personal questions (age, income or marital status) and with Mexicans we should not discuss some issues like poverty, immigration, earthquakes or war with the United States.
Finally, the guests from the UAE may be offended if they think that someone gives them orders. So often appreciate the attention of people who understand the culture in which, for example, is incomprehensible to ask if they want to drink wine during the meal.