The Ugly Australian.
While the vast majority of foreign tourists enjoy their stay, it is revealed that about 280,000 visitors a year are unhappy with aspects of their Australian holiday.
Complaints obtained by the Herald Sun newspaper under freedom of information laws show poor service, rudeness and dishonesty being the principal grievances. Australians in front-line tourism roles, especially bus drivers, were the most frequently complained of, said Tourism Australia.
Rip-offs are also a common cause of complaints, with inflated prices and high-pressure tactics upsetting many.
The newspaper said one tourist complained he paid 10 times the going rate for blood-pressure medication bought for him by a tour leader.
Poor-quality rooms charged at top rates are another problem area.
A group of Irish tourists complained that the hostel they had booked looked nothing like the pictures on the Internet, and was not "brand new" as advertised.
Car rental agencies accounted for a number of complaints, including one from an Indian couple who did not receive their A$1500 security deposit back from a car rental agency. Despite a series of letters to consumer authorities, they still had not received the money five months later.
The complaints followed research showing that many tourists, especially Asian visitors, were unhappy with their experiences on guided tours, the Herald Sun said.
A 2004 report on dissatisfied tourists found that on guided tours, they were forced to spend too much time shopping, the choice of goods was poor and the prices high.
Last year, Australia received a record 5.5 million overseas visitors who spent A$19 billion.
Tourism Australia chairman Tim Fischer told the newspaper that shonky operators let the industry down and members of the public should dob them in.
"The vast majority have great experiences and our back interviewing of them at airports shows they have great experiences," he said. (Neville D'Cruz - Bernama)
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The original Herald Sun report: Racists, rip-offs spoil stay
Labels: World News