Singaporeans are scared of sharks, Americans read books, Mexicans play volleyball and Indians love making sand castles.
These were just some of the fantastic nuggets of information revealed by Expedia’s latest ‘Flip Flop Report’, which returned this year to shed more light on global beach behaviour. It was all rather quaint of course – Danes like wearing Speedos, Japanese get waxed, Norwegians suffer sunburn etc. But, reading between the sound bites, some interesting trends did emerge, perhaps revealing some insights into a few national psyches.
For example, it was revealed that while almost one-in-five Germans admitted to going nude on a beach, almost two thirds said there was “no way” they would post a swimwear photo of themselves on Facebook. Meanwhile, although almost 73% of French beachgoers reported being “comfortable” with topless beaches, they were also the least likely to strip off. So, once you scythe through all that chest hair, it appears that those famously liberal Europeans are actually just as shy as the rest of us.
Perhaps most intriguing however, was the fact that while Malaysians were identified as the nationality that visits the beach the most (77% in the past year – even more than Brazilians), they are also the nation least likely to return, and the country most afraid of drowning. All of which makes you wonder what on Earth is going on at Malaysia’s beaches.
One of the nicer findings of the survey was the fact that Asian holidaymakers are more inclined to search out secluded beaches. Yes, dispelling (partially at least) the myth that Asians like to travel in big groups, the report found that choosing a destination away from crowds was important for a full 33% of Asian respondents – more than the US or any country in Europe.
Unfortunately this was tempered by the fact that Asians were also the most likely to want family-friendly activities, which detracts from the Robinson Crusoe spirit somewhat. But it’s a pleasant finding nonetheless.
Happily, the survey also found that the most popular beach activity is walking, ahead of swimming and sunbathing. All of which sounds considerably more appealing than stripping naked, playing volleyball, or, heaven-forbid, both at the same time.
And wherever you come from, I think we can all agree that beaches should be places to relax – to stroll, sit back, soak up the sun, and, if you’re Indian, to make a few sand castles. And what could be nicer than that?