Tourists. What would we do without ’em ?
Posted by Big John on May 12, 2011
David Else, the author of the ‘Lonely Planet’ warns, in the latest edition, that parts of Britain’s tourism industry “just doesn’t deliver”, and describes Britain’s restaurants, accommodation and tourist attractions as “overpriced or lacking in quality”.
He adds that while the UK has become a great value destination for foreign visitors, thanks to the weaker pound: for us Brits … “Britain ain’t cheap”.
Now I don’t get about as much as I used to, and the only tourists spots I’ve been to recently are Bath and Brighton, and I enjoyed my visits to both cities. Perhaps I was just lucky, but I never felt that I had been ripped-off by the ‘locals’, and I must say that I met with friendly service at all times.
However, I did spend most of my working life in London, and now live close to Canterbury, one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations, so I have had plenty of opportunities to observe the Japanese camera clickers, American culture vultures and assorted ‘innocents abroad’ who are shepherded around the ancient streets of those cities.
Most seem happy to be relieved of their dollars, euros and yen, as they enjoy the great British ‘experience’, sipping their pints of ‘Ye Olde Brown Ale’ and scoffing ‘Ye Olde Fish ‘n’ Chips’, while at the same time sorting through the bag of Chinese made ‘tourist tat’ which they just purchased from that nice Romanian ‘Cockney’ gentleman outside ‘Ye Olde Pizza Parlour’, before rejoining their air conditioned bus for the trip back to ‘Ye Olde Holiday Inn’.
Now I know that some parts of our country can be “depressing” and others “tacky” as Mr Else says, but he also says “that while expensive, some parts of Britain are still the most fascinating places in the world to explore”, so my advice to tourists visiting our shores is, get off the bus and “explore”, and stop following that bloody woman with the guide book and umbrella. If you’ve ‘done’ one cathedral, you’ve done ’em all.
OK, so there’s a chance that you may get ‘ripped off’, be offered a plate of jellied eels, not understand a word the taxi driver says, or even get to meet one or two of us hard up ‘locals’, so just remember …
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs … and avoid the people, you might better stay home”. … James Michener.