United States is most forgiving nation, while United Kingdom not so kind, survey shows

LONDON — It was said for centuries that the sun would never set on the British Empire. Now, a new survey finds the sun may never set on the grudges most Brits hold. The poll of 8,000 adults living in seven different countries finds the United Kingdom is the least forgiving nation. Despite all its recent turmoil, the United States still comes in as the most forgiving of the group.

In all, 42 percent of U.K. citizens in the survey say they would never trust a business or person again after being let down or wronged. The six other countries include the U.S., Canada, France, Spain, China, and Germany. Somewhat surprisingly, only 26 percent of American respondents say they never let go of a grudge.

Meanwhile, if you’re planning a trip to China, make sure people view you as trustworthy. A staggering 94 percent of Chinese citizens consider trustworthiness the most important trait a person or business can boast about. In comparison, only 74 percent of Germans say the same. In regards to trustworthiness, Chinese respondents overwhelmingly view themselves to be the most virtuous. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Americans most often admitted to being less than genuine at times.

What about trusting someone else?

Again, Chinese survey participants say it is quite easy for them to put their faith in someone else. Among the six other nations, the French find trusting another person the most difficult.

“In carrying out the study it has become apparent different countries approach trust and trustworthiness slightly differently. And this goes to show just how complex a subject this is – with many conscious and unconscious reasons why we might or might not be willing to put our faith in someone or something,” comments a spokesperson for Travelzoo, the company commissioning the survey, in a statement. “What is clear however is that being trustworthy is a highly valued trait among the vast majority of adults polled.”

Trust when traveling is key

Regardless of nationality, 51 percent of all respondents say trust is essential when booking a getaway or vacation.

Pulling on that string a but further, researchers asked respondents about what exactly they look for while booking a vacation during this ongoing pandemic. Forty-six percent say they want to know that all the proper COVID-19 precautions are being taken on any and all planes, trains, or cruise ships they’ll be boarding. Another 44 percent say the same regarding hotels and accommodations.

Similarly, 40 percent want to know that their general destination is “safe from the pandemic.” Others want to see COVID testing at airports (40%) and hotels (33%). Above all else, half the poll say a money-back guarantee and fair cancellation/rescheduling policy are absolute musts.

Interestingly, the survey also reveals how the pandemic has influenced public perceptions toward the travel industry across different nations. For example, close to half of respondents (47%) from North America and China say they trust travel companies more since COVID-19. In Europe however, it’s a different story — only 18 percent of European respondents say the same.

Finally, respondents revealed which organizations in general they consider the most trustworthy. Topping the list, 23 percent say it’s banks and financial institutions, with non-profit organizations (21%) and restaurants (17%) following close behind.


  1. United Kingdom
  2. Spain
  3. France
  4. Canada
  5. China
  6. Germany
  7. United States

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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John Anderer

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  1. If we’re so forgiving, why is our prison population the highest in the world?
    (OK, a reasonable answer may be Guns, as Americans are irrational/fanatic about them, more than 1 gun for every citizen; not that all have them, mind you), but the only forgiveness I see is that of the super-rich, who do as they please, throw money and a sorry and go on; or hide behind corporations which are treated as people in court, yet have none of the responsibilities of real people. No one goes to prison if a Corporation kills a person. If that’s the forgiveness you speak of, then okay, that’s really bad. Meanwhile, banks can charge $60 for a $0.50 overdraft. I don’t see true forgiveness as a current American trait. I see in the headlines far more hate than help/forgiveness. But, if I’m wrong, forgive me.

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