I bet you've got your own stories!Ask a stupid question: tourists' dumbest requests
January 22, 2010 - 2:11AM Comments 105
Teachers like to say there are no dumb questions.
Teachers need to work in tourism offices.
Travellers are expected to be curious. But some might be better off doing a tiny bit of research before they open their mouths.
We contacted several tourism offices and asked for the oddest questions they've received. Teachers, take note.
According to staff from Australia's Sunlover Holidays customer call centre, queries from both Aussie and international travellers are as varied as they are strange.
"I'm doing a crossword at the moment and need your help. What is the name of that really tall building in the Gold Coast?" one asked.
Another wanted to know why Australian stop signs were shaped like hexagons and why "they always plant bananas on slopes" here.
A smoker wanted to know how many cartons of cigarettes they could take on their driving holiday to Queensland and a swimmer asked call centre staff to predict how many people would be in their hotel pool on Good Friday.
Australian geography is often the weakest point for international visitors, one asking what type of car they would need to drive overnight from the Great Barrier Reef to Perth.
Another wondered what passport they would need to visit Melbourne from Queensland.
Yet another asked for staff to compile a list of toilets they could visit while driving from Cairns to Brisbane.
But it seems us Aussies have similar difficulties with geography.
According to Flight Centre staff, would-be Aussie holidaymakers have levelled their fair share of jaw-dropping questions.
"Can I catch a train from Fiji to New Zealand?" asked one visitor interested in booking a rail holiday.
One traveller was baffled by the concept of international time zones, asking: "I know it's a long flight but how is it that I take off at 10am in Sydney and land at 10am in Vancouver on the same day? How is that possible?"
Others wondered what the capitals of Africa and Europe were and asked whether Canada and America were different countries.
Another Aussie wondered what their duty free allowance was in Tasmania while another checked that shops in Perth would take the same currency as Brisbane.
"Can you get Australian money out of ATMs overseas?" asked another.
But travellers Down Under aren't the only ones cursed with blonde moments.
Would-be American visitors to Japan can be similarly geographically challenged.
Nori Akashi, of the Japan National Tourism Organization office in New York, says she has had requests for a map of Saipan, information on Guam, and the question: "How long does it take from Tokyo to Korea ... by the famous bullet train?"
According to Jennifer Haz, of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, one inquiring mind asked: "Can you tell me which beach is closest to the ocean?"
Paul Gauger, of the VisitBritain.com office in New York, responded to our inquiry with a list of questions that included: "Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?"
And a visitor to Scotland wanted to know what time the Loch Ness monster was fed.
You wonder how these people find their way to the airport.
Cara Schneider, of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, says that one tourist was disappointed about the Kennett Square mushrooms (the fungi are a multimillion-dollar industry in that city). The visitor's complaint? No square mushrooms.
Another Philadelphia tourism staffer, Donna Schorr, reports: "I have been asked where in the city the Boston Tea Party took place."
Heather Bryant, of Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau, says one prospective holidayer asked about taking a ferry around downtown. Another wanted to know what time the whales swim by.
Going to The Netherlands? Be sure to visit the tulip factory. At least that's what one visitor wanted to do.
Rosina Shiliwala, of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, says her office was asked that, as well as whether Thanksgiving is celebrated in Holland.
Someone also wanted to know if they would end up in Holland if they drove through New York's Holland Tunnel.
Silly. That's what the bullet train is for.
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