Singapore Travellers Have Stickiest Fingers, After Argentinians

Travellers from Singapore have “sticky fingers”, according to a survey by travel bookings website on guests pilfering items from hotel rooms.

The survey asked some 4,700 participants from 28 countries what they have taken from hotel rooms and never returned, with the exclusion of toiletries, because “everyone takes those”, said

Seventy-one per cent of Singaporean respondents said they have taken items from their rooms, putting Singapore in second place on a list of nationalities most likely to steal from hotels. In first place was Argentina, with 73 per cent.

On the other end of the spectrum, Colombians were least likely to have taken something, with 69 per cent of participants claiming they have taken “nothing” from hotels.

A representative from said Argentina, Germany, Ireland, Singapore are the only countries that did not have taking “nothing” as their top answer.

But guests were not looting grand works of art or luxury bedsheets, according to the survey, which was conducted from March to April this year. Instead, 52 per cent of travellers brought home slippers, 35 per cent took stationery and 12 per cent took magazines or books.

Commenting on the survey findings, Mr Jacob Tomsky, author of the best-selling Heads in Beds, a account of the ten years he spent in the hotel industry, told the Telegraph: “No respectable hotelier is going to want to pry open your luggage and search for shampoo. We hope you take the amenities. We want you to use them later and think of us.”

Hotels TODAY contacted declined comment. Grand Hyatt Singapore however provided a list of items that guests can keep, including toiletries, slippers, and coffee and tea packets. Items like bath robes, yoga mats and towels on the other hand were for borrowing or purchase.

Mr Jeremy Hau, 22, confessed to keeping hotel room key cards as memorabilia of his travels around the United States. So far, he has collected around 40 key cards. “I want to keep it to remind myself of all the hotels I’ve stayed in so far,” said Mr Hau, who spent the last five months seeing different parts of the US with friends while on his university exchange programme.

Other Singaporeans travellers TODAY interviewed pointed to the “kiasu” mentality. Said teacher Benjamin Wong, 29: “It’s just that mindset that ‘I’m already paying so much, I want to maximise my money’s worth’”. He confessed to once having taken a towel, but only, because he really needed it. “Even for that towel, I was really worried when I was checking out,” he said. “I won’t go through that again.”

Mr Alan Soh, 48, pointed out that there may be an unseen price to these thefts. “If everyone (steals), hotel rates can only go up … someone has to pay, and definitely the hotels are not going to pay for it,” said Mr Soh, who travels twice a month for his work in the trading industry.

Here is a list of the top 10 items stolen from hotels:

1) Towels/Linen
2) Batteries/Light
3) Food/Drinks
4) Cutlery
5) Picture Frames
6) Artwork
7) Curtains
8) Kettle
9) Books
10) Bible


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