"Too many travellers are uncritical, or have a false solidarity with the governments of the countries they visit," he said, arguing that visitors should talk to "people in authority" at airports, museums or hotels in countries where abuses of women's or children's rights occur or where the death penalty is practised. (...)
Tourists to destinations such as Turkey which attracted 3.7m Germans last year should be aware of the limits on press freedom and "deficits in the country's legal system", and could engage with local people on these issues. Equally, visitors to Egypt where 1m Germans travelled last year could ask hotels for information on why emergency powers have been in place since the early 1980s. Tourists visiting the Olympics in China next year could organise "private meetings" with local citizen groups, although he warned against actions that endangered visitors or locals. Regine Spöttl, of Amnesty International, said she was "thrilled" by the appeal and said visitors to luxury hotels in Dubai, for instance, should confront hotel managers over the working conditions of low-paid Bangladeshi women staff, who regularly faced rights abuses.
Full text of this Financial Times article is available at MSNBC, which used the appropriate headline: "German tourists told to be rights pests"
I am sure, Günter Nooke's appeal is well meant, but I just can't imagine a positive outcome of this initiative. Most German tourists will ignore Nooke's appeal anyway. Others will continue to criticize the breakfast or the swimming pool rather than human rights. A few tourists might lecture some service personnel about human rights violations they can't do anything, but I very much doubt that German tourists will talk to "people in authority" as Mr. Nooke would like to see.
One consequence of Nooke's initiative might be more cartoons about German guests lecturing their hosts, like in this Simpsons clip.
Also, check out this comment by US Fulbrighter Scott Brunstetter about the "arrogant German syndrome":
Related post in the Atlantic Review: Germany's Culture of Complaint
Over the fifty plus years of the German-American Fulbright program, we have done pretty well in countering the "ugly American" problem. Through direct experience in each other's society we bring direct interaction that can inform both sides of the cultural and societal norms of both Germany and the US; myths are dispelled and replaced with facts. Yet, we fall short in addressing the "arrogant German" syndrome, in part because it is relatively new.