What’s the first and last thing you’re likely to experience in a country you visit? And what kind of lasting impression is that going to leave?
Cigarette-burn marked toilet paper dispenser (empty) at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, April 28 2007
Toilet paper dispenser at Singapore’s Changi Airport, April 28 2007
Investment in tourist attractions, advertising campaigns and big ticket infrastructure projects may lure visitors, but chances are they will remember what hits them first and last. If you want to win visitors over, bathrooms at airports might be a good place to start.
Travel tip: the practice in an Indonesian bathroom, by the way, is to yell out ‘paper please’ (‘minta tissu’) to the attendant once you’re perched in the cubicle. He’ll then hand you some under the door.
I remember some pretty hideous toilets when I visited Malaysia and China. A big grass patch would have offered a much better “experience” than those filthy holes in the ground.
Another thing that’s worth investing in to improve the image of a country – the cleanliness of taxis.
I drove a truck cross country for years and let me tell you there are places in the United States that you wouldn’t want to sit down at either. Man, I could tell you some stories …