June 07, 2016 23:07 ET

Diamond Resorts International® -- Vacations for Life® -- Highlights Cultural Differences Around the World

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - June 07, 2016) - Discovering differences between cultures is one of the most exciting elements of travel. What is normal in one country may be unheard of in another or perhaps offensive. With its more than 420 managed and affiliated properties in over 35 countries, Diamond Resorts International® has certainly observed many of the distinctions and believes that celebrating the differences is really what unites the world. As Mark Twain wrote, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…"

One of the first things a visitor may hear when entering a home in Brazil is, "would you like to take a shower?" It's not an innuendo, it is as honest as "would you like some coffee?" Brazilians love their showers, many of them showering three times a day, or even more if they are particularly physically active. Why so many? Two words: it's hot. Or four words: it's really, really hot.

Business cards in Japan and China are, well, serious business. They are considered an extension of the person themself, and so the etiquette in offering, receiving and reacting to cards provides an immediate personal impression and sign of respect. Cards should always be offered with both hands, with the writing facing the recipient so they may read it easily. It should also be accepted with both hands, gratefully and carefully, and then studied for a number of seconds before making a comment which might be anything from a question about their position to simply repeating their name. Never simply put a person's business card in a wallet or worse, stuff it into a pocket. Sophisticated business card holders are de rigueur, both for one's own cards and for saving the cards of others. And never, ever write on a business card, it's like defacing the person's picture.

Hand gestures can be one of the most complicated elements of a culture, and also one that can have diametrically opposite meanings depending on the country. In the United States, it is considered a courtesy to finish your meal if offered food by a host. However, in Asia, this can be considered offensive, implying that they did not feed you enough. In Australia, Greece, and the Middle East, the classic thumbs-up that we use in the U.S. to indicate positivity can actually be offensive and a sign of dismissal. Indeed, pointing is one of the most varied and potentially offensive motions culture to culture. Using the index finger to point at something or someone in China, Japan, Indonesia, Latin America, and many other countries is considered quite offensive. In Africa, the index finger is used only for pointing at inanimate objects, never at people. And in the Philippines using any finger at all to point is considered rude. Instead Filipinos quickly pucker their lips like a kiss in the direction of the thing being pointed at.

About Diamond Resorts International®

Diamond Resorts International®, with its network of more than 420 vacation destinations located in 35 countries throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa, provides guests with choice and flexibility to let them create their dream vacation, whether they are traveling an hour away or around the world. Our relaxing vacations have the power to give guests an increased sense of happiness and satisfaction in their lives, while feeling healthier and more fulfilled in their relationships, by enjoying memorable and meaningful experiences that let them Stay Vacationed.™

Diamond Resorts International® manages vacation ownership resorts and sells vacation ownership points that provide members and owners with Vacations for Life® at over 420 managed and affiliated properties and cruise itineraries.

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