back to article UK.gov pledges probe into tourists' 'motivations'

Yep-she's-still-the-UK-Prime-Minister Theresa May took time off from packing today to launch a strategy to increase tourist visitors to the fair islands. No, this isn't a reboot of the the New York Times' "Brexit means Brexit" disaster tourism-style package holiday at $6,500 a pop. May's cunning plan is to increase annual …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    The Britain Experience

    With all those Europeans working in the hospitality industry gone, the visitors will be treated to the true British Customer Service Experience(tm) instead of that smiling foreign waitress rubbish.

    If Corbyn gets in we could even nationalise the Blackpool Landlady as a national treasure

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: The Britain Experience

      If you think the customer service here is that bad may i suggest you go to Europe and experience their customer service?

      Even in Spanish tourist destinations it can be shockingly bad sometimes. And then there's the French...

      Not all of the 60+ million people of the UK are anti-social miserable people when dealing with tourists/the public/in general.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: The Britain Experience

        I think you'll find that misanthropy is the true national sport of England.

        We're certainly better at it than football.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: The Britain Experience

          My partner would like me to point to that this is a very male chauvinist thing to say - the women are showing some competence.

          1. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: The Britain Experience

            Are you confusing the gendered terms misandry/misogyny with misanthropy?

            I can't speak for all 60 million Brits but I am certainly anti-social miserable when dealing with people. I don't save it all for tourists though.

            Is pedantry a British trait or just a twat trait?

      2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: The Britain Experience

        True experience last time i stayed in a Spanish hotel (2017):

        Upon finding a dead cockroach by the fridge and asking to move rooms - "But what if the next room has roaches?"

        NO! You DO NOT say that to a customer. You say something along the lines of "i'm very sorry sir. We'll get that sorted and move you to another room", or just offer a discount or something.

        Now i know it's a badly cleaned hotel with an infestation you still think i'd want to stay there?

        In the age of online reviews bad service can be a death sentence for a business. Any business.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: The Britain Experience

          I don't think they expect or see much returning business. Or, putting it differently, they presumably see essentially zero reasons to invest any effort in trying to prevent an existing customer who already thinks that the place is rather shitty from becoming a customer who thinks that the place is outright horrible.

          As for online reviews, everyone knows the cost-effective way to deal with those is either paying for fake reviews by the metric tonne, or outright threatening to and/or actually suing anyone leaving negative reviews, based on some obscure clause you had them sign. Quality service is unsustainable and obviously for suckers. /s

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: The Britain Experience

            Bad reviews for hotels in tourist destinations can be quite damaging.

            I've heard from a few people that the French in the service industry can be quite rude and condescending to Brits abroad.

            Coincidentally I had a friend named Arthur who was insulted by a French man, who told him his mother was a hamster, and his father smelt of elderberries.

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: The Britain Experience

              Well, that's what the second paragraph was for - you certainly don't want negative reviews, but in the end absolutely any place will have _some_, and as mentioned there are active mitigation strategies available...

              As for Arthur, that was definitely rude of said Frenchman, but in his defence your friend is a bit of an eccentric fellow too, what with riding invisible horses and all that...

      3. Jon Blund

        Re: The Britain Experience

        Last few times I was in France I found the service both professional and friendly. Perhaps the attitude of the visitors influence the interaction?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Britain Experience

          Last few times I was in France I found the service both professional and friendly.

          Well, there's "France'"and then there's "Paris". Parisians are equal-opportunity grumblers, they're rude to everyone, even the French.

          Outside Paris a lot does indeed depend on attitude and whether you speak French. But it still won't get you good service if you (the customer) is in their way when they (the supermarket shelf-stacker) wants to finish up & go home.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: The Britain Experience

      With all those Europeans working in the hospitality industry gone,

      No reason that should happen, have you actually read the various agreements that have already been signed?

      Anyway, maybe you don't remember the 1980s, when most of the bar staff in London were Australian or Kiwi. Plus ca change...

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The Britain Experience

      Not even out of the EU and they are already talking about breaking EU data protection laws...

      I hope it is at least opt-in for EU visitors.

  2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    More Hotels?

    I can drive 5 minutes and pass 3 Premier Inn's, do we not have enough bland hotels already?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: More Hotels?

      No. On very rare occasions I need to stay overnight for a remote jobs and getting a cheap and cheerful hotel room at short notice is a pain. Many years ago, I was all over the country and booking hotels on a daily basis 4 nights per week (very rarely the same area from one day to the next) and it was often difficult to find one of the Travelodge-type chains near where I wanted to be (as in plenty of them and you know the room will be clean). Back then, it was often early afternoon before I knew where the next days job would be and it wasn't unusual for the nearest ones to already be fully booked.

  3. JohnFen Silver badge

    Thus guaranteeing

    "It hopes to treat the visitors to some of the lovely surveillance the locals are usually on the receiving end of, and use this data to better understand UK visitors' "motivations and habits"."

    Thus guaranteeing that I won't be going there on my next vacation.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Thus guaranteeing

      Then come here on Holiday instead.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Thus guaranteeing

        Meh, gramps, that lingo is sooo noughties-lame... these days they call it "staycation"...

        (now where is my "how do you do, fellow kids" icon?!?)

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge

          Re: Thus guaranteeing

          <original>

          I'm so hip, they had to replace one of them for being too hip

          </original>

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Thus guaranteeing

      Good....

      And I don't mean that as an insult. - We don't deserve you.

      This country is fucked. Half the population are morons, and the whole brexit mess has shown the self-serving politicians are not fit for purpose.

      We want to close the borders, and stop freedom of movement, but then expect people to want to come here?

      And May wants to try and launch schemes to encourage tourism? If the whole lot of them hadn't made the country so damn uninviting then they wouldn't need to spaff more money on useless projects.

      The NHS only exists because of the people at the time - if we had a US style insurance system today, there's no way any politician would try to go single payer - indeed, the tories are slowly privatising the NHS bit by bit.

      The UK has the worst rich-poor divide in Europe.

      Workers rights? Long holidays?? The only thing that hasn't given us more of the same bad conditions that America has is due to the EU, and now we're fucking that up too, laying outselves to be exploited by the big corporations just like America.

      We don't even have decent weather to make up for it.

      And for those who say "If you don't like it, leave", I'll ignore the stupidity of that statement and reply that if things continue as expected over the next few years, then after family commitments are sorted, I'm off.

      This is no longer a nice place to be, so, yeah.. don't visit. The UK doesn't deserve you.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Thus guaranteeing

        We want to close the borders, and stop freedom of movement, but then expect people to want to come here?

        There's a big difference between asking people who want to move permanently to prove they will make a useful contribution before you give them permission, and wanting to increase short-term tourism.

        The UK has the worst rich-poor divide in Europe.

        Not even remotely true. As far as disposable income goes, the EU's own figures place the UK slightly better than the EU average. For wealth distribution the OECD also places the UK pretty much in the middle of other OECD countries (I couldn't find EU figures for wealth).

        Workers rights? Long holidays??

        In my personal experience we are, again, not far from the average. Much better than the US, but among the best in Europe for minimum paid vacation days. We do suffer in terms of public holidays, with around 8 (there are regional differences) even the US is better (it has 10).

        We don't even have decent weather to make up for it.

        >30C today, Glastonbury is even handing out free sunscreen!

        after family commitments are sorted, I'm off.

        I'm curious to know where you'll go, since I think you'll be very disappointed. I left the UK to live elsewhere in Europe many years ago, and am looking forward to moving back. The grass is rarely as much greener elsewhere as you might think.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thus guaranteeing

          Not true? Yet we have at least 3 in the top 10 of the poorest areas in northern Europe despite London being a magnet for obscene wealth.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Thus guaranteeing

          I left the UK in 2002 and have been living in Germany ever since. Due to Brexit, I got my German Citizenship through just before the deadline, so I now have dual-nationality. I am not planning on moving back. Although the grass is pretty brown at the moment (extended dry spell and extreme temperatures), I love it here.

          There's a big difference between asking people who want to move permanently to prove they will make a useful contribution before you give them permission, and wanting to increase short-term tourism.

          While I agree, if you move within Europe, you have to have health insurance and unemployment benefit, if you aren't working, or that you are able to support yourself. You can stay for up to 3 months to try and get work, if you haven't found a job, you are supposed to move on/back home.

          Having been in other parts of Europe, I agree that the UK is somewhere in the middle field, when it comes to wealth and workers rights (although the UK Government seems to be sailing pretty close to the wind, when it comes to workers rights and laws in general (RIPA was sent back 2-3 times from the ECHR as being illegal).

          I live in north Germany and we have a similar climate to the UK, generally, but we've had naff all rain in the last 12 months and several days over 30°C already, and we aren't even into the peak summer months! I'm used to this weather from southern Germany, but here it is generally more humane, but the last couple of years have been very extreme.

        3. Jon Blund

          Re: Thus guaranteeing

          There's a big difference between asking people who want to move permanently to prove they will make a useful contribution before you give them permission, and wanting to increase short-term tourism."

          What politicians claim to want is neither here nor there, the xenophobic 50% of the population who despise Polish construction workers or Indian doctors will be just as resentful towards tourists from "abroad".

  4. Len

    The UK an international conference destination?

    The UK is rapidly losing its attractiveness as a place for international conferences, in large part due to Theresa May's hatred of foreigners. She has had six years at the Home Office to make sure people consider the UK a ridiculous backwater.

    You'll think twice about organising an international conference where (gasp) non-English people are expected to attend after you have had to change your conference programme because your keynote speaker couldn't get a visa. "Oh noes, Prof. Dr. such-and-such has a brown skin, we can't possibly give them a visa, they might wish to give up their academic career for a life in British squalor and overstay on their visa."

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: The UK an international conference destination?

      change your conference programme because your keynote speaker couldn't get a visa.

      You're confusing it with the USA.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: The UK an international conference destination?

        Nope, there's even a parliamentary enquiry into it...

        'Prejudiced' Home Office refusing visas to African researchers

        Academics invited to the UK are refused entry on arbitrary and ‘insulting’ grounds

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: The UK an international conference destination?

          And parliamentary enquiries go where exactly (see Hostile Environment ect ect ect)

        2. herman Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: The UK an international conference destination?

          W0t? There are researchers in Africa?

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: The UK an international conference destination?

        Oh, NO, he's not. And the UK has been doing this for quite a while now, a.k.a. how to keep the UK safe from the menacing menace of Dutch prog rock: "As previously reported, two UK shows had been scheduled for February 3rd and 4th but had to be scrapped due to immigration problems entering the country."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The UK an international conference destination?

      > The UK is rapidly losing its attractiveness as a place for international conferences, in large part due to Theresa May's hatred of foreigners.

      Let us put it this way: I've been deambulating through much of the EEA, on business, these last few weeks. Exactly once I needed to produce my passport (and show it to a machine that for five minutes refused to do anything), and exactly once I needed to queue for twenty minutes in a decrepit place with a concentration-camp feel in order that I could have a tube of toothpaste (that had travelled with me all those weeks) stolen by someone who I am certain never completed secondary education.

      Sample place where, incidentally, getting a semi-reliable data connection was as much of a challenge as getting decent food.

      I couldn't care less what some deranged woman about to be out of a job thinks about foreigners. The problem is *much* bigger than that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The UK an international conference destination?

        Exactly once I needed to produce my passport (and show it to a machine that for five minutes refused to do anything), and exactly once I needed to queue for twenty minutes in a decrepit place with a concentration-camp feel in order that I could have a tube of toothpaste (that had travelled with me all those weeks) stolen by someone who I am certain never completed secondary education.

        Sample place where, incidentally, getting a semi-reliable data connection was as much of a challenge as getting decent food.

        Yeah, I hate Lyon airport too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The UK an international conference destination?

          Good point! I haven't been to LYS this time, otherwise my toothpaste loss count would certainly have increased by one.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Maybe she feels a need to try to over-correct on the hostile environment bit.

    OTOH what I've read about the US would persuade me never to go there for any reason whatsoever.

  6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Technology

    56 per cent use location technology whilst on holiday

    That'll be the Americans who come to England and can't wait to visit Edinburgh.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to attract and charm tourists

    To achieve these visitor figures, she generously lathered a whopping £250,000 on improving internet connectivity at UK conference centres – the plan hopes to increase off-season visitors by encouraging more conferences and exhibitions.

    Let's see ... my last three visits to the UK (all to London) were:

    1. To see a play at the Globe

    2. To see a play at Wyndham's

    3. To see an exhibit at the British Museum

    Would it entice me to come more often if UK conference centres offer faster internet access? Nope.

    Would it help if I have to fork out for the mini-visa? Doubt it.

    Would it improve things if the border agents were slightly less brusque and minded their own business instead of making me produce the theatre tickets and hotel booking for their ogling satisfaction each and every time - or at least let me use the e-gates with my non-UK, non-EU passport? Actually, yes, it would.

    Sadly, that one does not appear to be on the menu.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I have no idea how the UK intends to do this

    Since the government has no reliable entry/exit figures, just extrapolations from surveys in airports by employees from the National Statistics Office.

    Perhaps it's best to learn how to walk before learning how to run.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I have no idea how the UK intends to do this

      Alternative version.

      Perhaps it's best to learn how to walk before learning how to run tripping over your own feet.

  9. Tom 35 Silver badge

    The tourists arrive in the entrance hall here, and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort and past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed...

    1. Snowy Silver badge
      Boffin

      Is that where they get upgraded?

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Brilliant. But when I were a lad...

  10. SkippyBing Silver badge

    I can think of few areas of human endeavour less suited to government 'assistance' than tourism. This sounds like what 'top' civil servants think people do when they travel, rather than what actual humans do on holiday. An approach that worked brilliantly when they told the post-war aircraft industry what airliners to build...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      The most feared sentence in business: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

      1. Diogenes Silver badge

        The 2nd most feared phrase...

        "The government should ..."

  11. deive

    "small businesses - from the likes of Airbnb, Barclays, BT, Expedia, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group and TripAdvisor."...

    Hmmm. So many problems here! They are not small, struggling, British companies so why are we giving them more data??

    1. RuffianXion

      Those companies are where the data is coming FROM; they already have the data and will be making it available - via the Hub - to SMEs.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Those companies are where the data is coming FROM

        Ok ok, let's talk about one of those companies.

        Barclays.

        What data have they got that they can give the tourist industry?

        Credit card numbers? Bank account details? Ooh, yes please! Somehow I don't think the ICO will be very happy with them for that.

        So, if not credit card numbers, then what?

        Remember, they are no longer sponsoring "Boris Bikes". That is now provided by a Spanish company, which begs another question, but I'll leave that one alone for the moment.

        1. Is It Me Bronze badge

          Re: Those companies are where the data is coming FROM

          I believe that they could offer anonymised data on which country's payment cards are being used where and with how much spent,

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK is mega expensive

    Been many times (15+) from the Colonies.

    Biggest single issue, cost.

    The usual technique employed is: avoid anything with an entrance fee!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK is mega expensive

      Biggest single issue, cost.

      aka "The weak dollar" ?

      1. Is It Me Bronze badge

        Re: UK is mega expensive

        Well that seems to have been resolving itself over the last few years, the Euro and Dollar seem to be much stronger then they used to be

  13. clyde666

    hostile environment for visas

    UK government interested in tourism ? What a laugh. Tourist organisations know that's a lie for a start.

    "In 2018, organisers of more than 20 festivals issued a joint letter raising their concerns about the impact of the UK’s visa system, saying the costs, delays and refusals for writers, musicians, dancers, technical crew members and more mean artists are now “much more reluctant to accept invitations to come to the UK”."

    The Edinburgh Festival in particular has seen lots of acts cancelled this year because the artists are being refused entry to the UK. Particularly people from North Africa, it seems.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/17675126.fiona-hyslop-calls-for-an-end-to-edinburgh-festivals-visa-embarrassment/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hostile environment for visas

      artists are being refused entry to the UK. Particularly people from North Africa, it seems.

      You should try France if you really want to see how people treat N. Africans.

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