Every year, hundreds of millions of people move around to see a different part of the world. It is natural to assume that tourists who have seen other countries have a better knowledge of the people. That assumption also leads to the conclusion that international tourism promotes understanding between nations. How true is this? Let us examine what tourists do in a different country.
First, before going abroad, tourists are often told by their travel agents of the possible hazards which sometimes include local people. They are given example of extreme cases where victims are always the travelers. Then, when they arrive, they are immediately taken to their hotels in big coaches. They flood places where local people don't go. Their shopping, meals, entertainment all take place in secluded areas. They wear a bubble all the way. Apart from speaking to the guide and a few shop assistants, tourists rarely talk to the local people.
To make it even worse, they meet pickpockets, they are ripped off by dishonest traders. Furthermore, very few local people bother to talk to them out of a genuine interest in the guests' country, people and culture. Therefore, when asked how much they know about the local people, their answer is "very little".
If someone really wants to understand a different culture, he has to learn its language, stay there for at least a few month without wearing a bubble, learn how to curse and swear, bargain with a vegetable vendor and then he can say that he understands the people.