Thumbrella is conducting an exclusive industry survey this week, with just one question. How many of your customers are idiots?
I seem to spend a lot of my time defending backpackers to those who would label them drunken morons, bringing nothing but trouble to the communities in which they reside.
Hardly a week goes by when I’m not on the phone to some tabloid hack in search of a story (pot, kettle anyone?) explaining how young travellers take hard-to-fill jobs, then spend more than they earn, ploughing A$3.5 billion into the economy in 2009.
And then a couple of pissed-up passengers decide to jump off the Manly ferry and swim to the Opera House after a night on the sauce and all my hard work goes to waste.
Yes, we all do stupid things when we’ve had a few – I once jumped on to a tube line at London’s Victoria station to retrieve a cigarette and told the arresting officer I wasn’t prepared to accept a caution as he was “only nine years old”.
Fortunately, I was just one of many drunken loudmouths out in the capital that night, and the incident never made the news. I doubt Sydney’s idiot quota is any lower than London’s, but it’s a smaller city so these things tend to make a bigger splash (pardon the pun).
And actually, we don’t need the results of a poll to tell us that, just like any other, the backpacking community has its fair share of idiots. But that’s not going to stop the locals reading their newspapers this morning and concluding most of our customers are stupid.