Visit Britain does a great job of promoting travel but it appears to have made a misstep when it comes to stereotyping the very people it hopes to lure to its shores.
According to numerous, humorous articles, Visit Britain’s new guide for travel professionals is loaded with bizarre nationalistic stereotypes. [Note to U.S. readers: Surprisingly we could find no critiques of American tourists, though we have not seen the actual guide]
What follows are the strangest comments from the guide, gleaned from several news sources. Do we believe any of these stereotypes? No. In fact, what follows bears no resemblance to our interaction with any of these people. However, if you fear you fit one of these stereotypes, see the advice below.
These tourists are said to be “sarcastic and intolerant.”
- Bonus stereotype: They rarely tip.
They are said to be “straightforward” and demanding.
- Bonus stereotype: They like to “plan in advance.”
They don’t wish to talk about their country’s politics.
- Bonus stereotype: Don’t ask them about their country’s different languages, either.
They will be offended if described as “American.”
Bonus stereotype: Sorry, Canadians, there’s nothing more.
They dislike ghost stories.
- Bonus stereotype: They dislike “beds that are too soft.”
These are “private people” who won’t make eye contact with strangers.
- Bonus stereotype: They won’t hesitate to complain.
They can come across as “demanding, aggressive and rude” [sounds like the traditional stereotype of American tourists, minus the shorts and sneakers].
- Bonus stereotype: They are supposedly “obsessed with cleanliness”.
An amiable people but apt to change their minds frequently.
- Bonus stereotype: They are “not confident drivers.”
They want you to “anticipate” all their needs.
- Bonus stereotype: Don’t say ‘no’. Say it in a nicer way.
The people are described as a “tall nation” who require hotel rooms with high ceilings. They may also come across as “cold and not very open or polite.”
- Bonus stereotype: Russians are said to be “big bread lovers.”
Advice to All Tourists
We don’t have to tell you this: Treat others with the same courtesy you’d appreciate – which is exactly how most visitors do behave. Also, try getting off the beaten path and get to know the locals (which might even help you avoid some nasty travel scams).