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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
British 'world's worst tourists'
British tourists
The British scored poorly in the survey
Britons have been labelled the world's worst holidaymakers in a survey of tourist boards around the globe.

Research by online travel service Expedia suggests Brits abroad are the least well-regarded by foreigners.

They are the rudest, meanest, worst-behaved, most linguistically incompetent and least adventurous holidaymakers, the study published on Friday claims.

But the Germans are generally welcomed and topped the poll of tourist offices in 17 countries worldwide.

Top tourists
1st Germans
2nd Americans
3rd Japanese
4th Italians
5th = French, Norwegians, Swedes

Categories included behaviour, politeness, willingness to learn the language, trying local delicacies and spending on the local economy.

And overall, the British finished bottom of the league table of 24 nations, which was topped by the Germans, Americans and Japanese.

Germans were the best-behaved and the British, Irish and Danish the worst.

The behaviour of British tourists was recently in the spotlight when 13 were arrested on the Greek island of Faliraki, in a police crackdown on lewd behaviour.

Language barrier

Simon Calder, travel editor of The Independent newspaper, told Radio 4's Today programme: "We put little value on learning languages and the British consequently are guilty of terrible cultural and linguistic arrogance.

He added: "All over Europe, the bartenders and waiters at the resorts are steeling themselves for another miserable summer when the British invasion begins in earnest."

Americans were judged the most courteous and the British the rudest, alongside the Russians and Canadians.

Worst tourists
17th = Argentines, New Zealanders, Czechs, Finns
21st Indians
22nd = Irish, Israelis
24th British
The Brits also seemed to make least effort in speaking the local language, a quality excelled by the Germans, French and Americans.

Keith Betton, of the Association of British Travel Agents, said it was more difficult to speak foreign languages abroad because most other nations speak English.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I think we're changing. Travellers are now more adventurous and like to go places on the map that no-one's ever heard of."

The Italians, Spanish and Germans are most likely to try local food, but the Britons, Indians and burger-loving Americans are more likely to shy away from native delicacies.

When it comes to other things like doing the Conga at two in the morning, the British are champions of the world

David Glover
The Tourist Trap

But the Germans did not perform well in the spending and tipping stakes and were described as the meanest nation - closely followed by the British.

The big spenders were the Americans, then the Japanese and Russians.

Dermot Halpin, managing director of Expedia.co.uk, said: "A little effort goes a long way in a foreign country, and as much as it pains me to say it, perhaps the Germans actually deserve to get the best sunbeds."

But David Glover, producer of the Channel 4 programme The Tourist Trap, said the British had more fun than the Germans.

He told Today: "When it comes to other things like doing the Conga at two in the morning, the British are champions of the world."


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Rude tourists
Who are the world's worst travellers?
See also:

29 Jun 02 | Europe
12 Jul 01 | Europe
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