An Italian hotel owner had issued an etiquette guide for 'uncouth' Russian tourists, though he may not need have worried. The Association of Russian Tourism Agents issued statistics that showing that Egypt is the most attractive country for Russian tourists in 2014. More than 500,000 Russians visited Egypt in the first quarter of 2014, while Thailand ranked second with 409,000 in the first quarter of 2014 and the UAE came in third with 215,000.
As the summer tourist season approaches, Italians have a message for their rich Russian visitors - "you may be minted, but you have no manners."
Big-spending Russians have proved a lifeline for the Italian tourist sector during the last few years of economic recession but the Russian tourists are often perceived as boorish, brash and rude.
|Italians tell rich Russians how to avoid being boorish and rude when they descend on Tuscany's smart resorts for the summer. The eastern tourists have gained a reputation among locals for being 'arrogant', according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, for not thanking staff or appearing cheerful enough.|
Salvatore Madonna runs luxury hotels in Forte dei Marmi, an upmarket resort on the Tuscan coast which caters to Russians with menus written in Cyrillic and plentiful designer outlets, and has been nicknamed “Moscow-on-Sea”.
The three-minute advertisement advises Russians to “smile more”, to say thank you more often and to be more pleasant in their dealings with waiters and hotel staff.
|Italians order an espresso or a caffe macchiato - an espresso with a dash of milk.|
Italians instead would order an espresso or a caffe macchiato - an espresso with a dash of milk.
Nor should red wine be ordered with fish – for seafood, it has to be white wine every time. Cashed-up Russians are also warned that it is vulgar to choose the most expensive wine on the list.
The advert, which will be shown on TV in Russia and on Russian social media networks, features Ljudmila Radcenko, a Russian model who lives in Italy.
“The first rule when you enter a hotel is to say hello, smile, and to look the person in the eye.
“In Russia we're maybe not really used to doing that,” she says, speaking in Italian but with Russian sub-titles on the screen.
Even showy Italians baulk at Russian women wearing barely-there, sequinned bikinis and swim costumes.
“Russian women who love to wear high heels and tiny bikinis should perhaps avoid those,” she says.
“When you leave the hotel, it's nice to be communicative, to express your satisfaction for the service, to smile and say thank you,” Ms Radcenko concludes in her advice to her compatriots.
Mr Madonna, the head of a luxury hotel group called Soft Living Places, says he hopes the short film will help “better integrate” Russian tourists to Italy.
Teaching uncouth Russians how to behave in a more civil way should not be construed as Italian arrogance, he said, but a way of gently shepherding tourists towards more culturally acceptable behaviour.
“It is mortifying for the people who dedicate so much time and attention to preparing dishes when they are asked to serve them all at the same time, as the Russians often do,” Mr Madonna said.
“But we don’t want to give them instruction, just to offer advice on some of the peculiarities of the Italian way of life.”