When I was in India last year I was surprised at the persistence of "touts" (any person who solicits business or employment in a persistent and annoying manner).

It has been suggested to me that touts are present in Mexico and Egypt, as well, altho I've never been to either myself.

Anyway, is there a good rule of thumb I could use for determining how bad touts are for any given country? Maybe the higher the Gini coefficient the worse the touting problem is going to be? Altho I note that according to wikipedia the Gini coefficient for the US is higher than it is for India..

  • 3
    A rule of thumb: any place that attracts foreigners ranging from low to high depending on the country's GDP/capita with an increased chance if the region has many immigrants. That's how I've experienced it across Europe: higher income areas don't do it, lower income do it at touristic areas. Mar 21 '15 at 12:35
  • I don't know the answer, but if I had to develop a 'rule' I would use a weighted figure of inflation rate and interest rate. With that I could see that India is moderately high, but Turkey and Egypt are even higher. But that's an ad-hoc rule...
    – Gayot Fow
    Mar 21 '15 at 20:41

It's going to come down to culture, and income differential.

I've found that in countries where bartering is more common, then generally touts are more persistent, as they can keep lowering prices and the like.

However, in other countries where you're the 'money on legs' to the locals, you may find more persistent 'bugging' or chasing down streets, because the payoff for them is huge.

In addition, when tourists are out of their comfort zone, their fears can be used or lack of knowledge taken advantage of, to elicit cash. Overpriced taxi fares, a guide for the 'dangerous streets' and so on.

So in evaluating a country ahead of time, consider if it's generally a poorer country, a very different culture, and considered 'dangerous' by outsiders. As a ROUGH (there are always exceptions and changes!!!) guide, that's an idea.

You can also search the internet for views of touts in the area, but generally more people post bad experiences than good experiences, so take them with a grain of salt.

Disclaimer: Not everyone has the same experience, and reading online will see arguments about how Mexico does or doesn't have bad touts, or how Moroccan ones will chase you down the street - but my description above comes from some experience.

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