Are Bolivians “unfriendly” to tourists?! Part 3: Tourists respond

I figured I wouldn’t be the only one to take up CNN’s ridiculous claim that Bolivians are unfriendly to tourists.  (See my recent analysis of the relevant study here and here.)  Regardless, this claim is now being circulated in publications such as NBCThe Australian, The Telegraph [Sydney], The Telegraph [London], MSN, and is also being quoted in many tourist online discussion boards and other travel-related blogs.  And it is currently listed as “most popular” on CNN’s webpage.  This screen shot was taken on March 15, 2013:


Clearly the idea that some nation should to be recognized as the “unfriendliest” is one that resonates with many.  Sigh.

In response, I choose to focus on the positive.  Here’s a round-up of other web responses from “tourists” in Bolivia.  (I’ll update as new pieces come out.)

Elaine Radford, who sounds as angry about this as I am, writes:  “I’m sorry, folks, but that’s just plain whackadoo…. Everywhere I went, I was greeted with kindness and respect, and the local people seemed to go the extra mile to make sure I enjoyed their beautiful country.”

Last updated March 16, 2013.


2 Responses

  1. Sometimes I get this odd conspiracy theory twitch – Westerners are eating all the quinoa, Bolivians are mean to tourists, while Evo Morales fighting back against views about coca and misuse of Bolivian natural resources… 🙂

  2. Maybe that’s why Bolivians are so mean to tourists — they stole their quinoa! 🙂

    But seriously, I think your joke is pointing to something. Inequalities in economic resources, political power, etc feeds into how locals and tourists interact, into export vs subsistence food dynamics, and also into how US news sources report on Bolivian events. I always felt that Bolivia was only discussed in the US press when it was something bad (drug busts, blockades, flash floods). I suspect part of why this “unfriendliness” angle makes a useful headline for CNN is that few of their readers have been to Bolivia, and their only impressions of it (from the media, of course) are already negative.

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