Austerity squeezes British tippers’ generosity

In these times of enforced austerity, holidaymakers will obviously be looking at ways to trim their budgets, and according to the findings of a new survey it is their generosity when tipping that has seen one of the biggest cutbacks.

The survey, which was undertaken by International Currency Exchange (ICE), a currency exchange operator, has revealed that 40 percent of British travellers have reduced their tipping levels when travelling abroad, and that 45 percent do not think to allow for tipping when planning their holiday budget. Having carried out a similar survey 12 months ago, the company can confirm a massive shift in opinion during that time. Then, 65 percent of holidaymakers said that they over-tipped while abroad, albeit mainly due to uncertainty over local tipping expectations.

While the British inclination to be less generous when tipping in restaurants and hotels might be of little consequence in countries like Japan and Malaysia, which have an innate non-tipping culture, it is likely to lead to some friction in countries like the USA, where tips are expected to be as much as 20 percent of the bill, and the IRS require frontline workers to pay tax on tips in the expectation that they have received them.

If British holidaymakers are becoming so conscious of tipping as a holiday expense, it is not inconceivable that a region’s tipping expectations could become a factor in deciding where to go on holiday. If so, destinations like Spain or Turkey, where the expectation is only around 5 percent, could become even more popular than they already are.

The head of ICE Direct, Tom Johnson, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘Tipping varies from country to country, so it is difficult to know how much is too much. In some parts of the USA and Canada, tips can be in the region of 20 percent. That is £200 out of a budget of £1,000, making it a serious expense, and it’s seen as the height of rudeness not to tip.’