In America, this would call for a quote attributed to Yogi Berra, a cultural icon here, ‘Nobody goes there anymore – it’s too crowded.”
As a general rule I find the British strangely self-effacing when abroad…and they don’t colonise the beaches with their towels like ze germans.
Put more simply –
I am a traveller
You are a visitor
He/she is a tourist.
To the locals we are all tourists. I remember once being told that ideally the locals would like us all to stay at home and just send our money to the town/country.
Interesting read. I recently read a story about how the local shopkeepers and bar owners in Brugge lament the fact that when the cruise ships dump their passengers at the nearest port, thousands of tourists descend upon the streets of the ancient city, take pictures on their phones incessantly and then return to the mother ship within hours, usually not spending a dime while in town.
I can’t think of a more obnoxious scene.
Well I like tourists much more than ouanker “travellers”.
I can’t remember who said “it’s a paradox that the more people who go somewhere to enjoy themselves, the less fun it is for everyone”.
We have just been to beautiful and fascinating Korea where we saw about 6 westerners during the fortnight we were there.
Our charming guide said the country was planning to encourage more tourism which made my heart sink – though what were we except tourists.
I just hope it doesn’t become like Thailand.
We rented a canal boat and took our two young children for a ten-day excursion on the Shropshire Union Canal – an unusual vacation for Americans, but we wanted to experience the countryside as many native Britons did. It was April, and even though it rained every day but one, it remains one of our favorite family memories. The only unpleasant moment we had involved encountering a group of dentists from North Carolina and their obnoxious wives, who left everyone from Llangollen to Whitchurch with stories of epic American rudeness. I adopted a vague English accent for the rest of our trip out of sheer embarrassment.
One’s counrtymen can often be an embarassment, it’s difficult to know how to eal with it though. However, we can be over5-sensitive to them sometimes; I was with a visiting Australian friend in the UK when we ran into an Australian woman that my friend found extremely embarassing, but I didn’t actually find her too much of a problem.
Yes, but you’re obviously lovely. When we came upon the dentists in Llangollen, I tried to help them unblock the canal, which involved negotiating a sort of watery cul-de-sac emptying into the lane surrounded by rock and backed up with leisure boats. As an American, I’m too embarrassed to describe what ensued.
You can’t leave that story at such a tantalizing place. Please tell all!
How exactly were they rude?
But it sounds like you weren’t the falling down drunk ones. But the tough bit is that they tend to part with the most money.
The writer suggests that disdain for ones fellow Brits abroad is just snobbery. However, when one reads of the drunken barbarity of some groups of – mainly young – British tourists in Mediterranean resorts (public copulation, shouting, fighting, assaults), disdain, along with a sense of shame and sympathy for the locals, are surely the only appropriate responses.
In the early 1970’s 2 young Coldstream Guards Officers, skint and desperate for a free holiday in The South of France, managed to get the MoD to pay for a trip there, under the auspices of ” Adventure Training” so their hosts were less than pleased when they turned up at the villa in Villefranche with 3 x 3 tonner Bedford trucks, 2 x Landrovers and a platoon of thirsty Guardsmen and Non Commissioned Officers.
The horrified hosts, on night 2 of their stay suggested that said Officers took ” the boys” into Menton, lost them in a bar, and then came on to dinner at the then exclusive ” Le Pirat” seafront night club on Cap Martin.
Unfortunately, said Officers stayed drinking in Menton, and rocked up at Le Pirat, 3 sheets to the wind, with the entire platoon and vehicles.
It did not take long after the Guardsmen had taken to the dance floor, and started approaching the lissome females,?for the petrified regulars to call the CRS…
The punch up that ensued was legend itself, and post to a night in the cells, the adventure training ” exercise” was terminated… as later were the Officers commissions!
Oh gawd, a Daily Mail type diatribe of cliches about the British. Why are journalists allowed to trade in such stereotypes about the British when it’s deemed offensive to do the same for anyone else?
We like tourists here in Alaska. I have told visitors “we like you and we like your money!”
The right crowd and no crowding. We pay dearly for it!
Yes, but for those of us who can’t afford to “pay dearly,” if we want to travel, we have to go with the wrong crowd.
What a great piece. I recommend How To Make Friends And Oppress People by Vic Darkwood for some insights into Brits abroad in times gone by.
I spent considerable time 1990s – 2000s in Whittier, Alaska, a village on Prince William Sound. It is a big summer cruise destination because it does have (long) tunnel access to the outside world. Winters there are very severe and the town becomes very isolated. I asked a full time resident what the Whittierites thought of the tourists. She said “in the spring we’re glad to see ‘em come and in the fall we’re glad to see ‘em go!”
Its funny that I’m reading this in Paris. I’ve come for the architecture and the history but oddly enough I haven’t been in a single museum today but I did spend €73 euros in a Monoprix!