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Have your say: Europe's tourist boom

The bars of Riga in Latvia are filling up with stag parties from Britain

Jonathan Charles travelled from Latvia to Sardinia to see how far Europe is developing sustainable tourism.

We asked for your comments on this programme, a selection of which are below.


I was recently in Riga and was appalled by the behaviour of the herds of shaven-headed, badly-dressed, ignorant, not-so-young English yobs rudely abusing locals on so-called stag weekends.

They've shamed the British in Prague, Amsterdam and so on, and have now turned their boorish attention on the Baltic states.

What kind of sick, arrogant society is spawning these people which have no counterpart in Europe?

All other visitors cringe at their antics, shouting and singing in bars when everyone else wishes they would just shut up; drunkenly throwing litter in the streets like they presumably do back home; and abusing and propositioning the local women like an invading army of drunken soldiers.

Come on England! Deal with this contemptible scourge before the English in general become the pariahs of Europe and beyond if it is not already too late.
David Walls, Scotland

I'm about to hit Slovakia for my stag do and want to make clear that my party will be getting up to none of these disgraceful antics.

We are primarily Oxbridge graduates and will be mostly playing golf, as well as sampling the local music, which is rivalled only by Albania for its diversity.

I think the behaviour of what I must grudgingly concede is the "typical" stag do is quite frankly just plain sad.
Mr Childs, UK

I am a Brit and I spent four months living in Bratislava until a month ago.

I saw more and more of these groups (almost always Brits) out and about over the months and quite frankly I was embarrassed, and at times ashamed to be British, when I witnessed groups of them being so loud and inconsiderate with such yobbish behaviour.

They have pretty much infested the region
Carl, UK
My colleagues - most of whom were from other EU states - were always shocked. The groups of Brits stood out so much and for all the wrong reasons. Why is this kind of behaviour isolated to British people?

Most of the locals, other tourists, and of course expats were quite annoyed by them too.

It is very unpleasant to see 20 or so men drunk in the street from midday onwards screaming and chanting, behaving like children, harassing girls and so on.

From my travels to Prague, Krakow and Budapest, I have seen that they have pretty much infested the region, and that is largely thanks to the budget airlines.
Carl, UK

I'm flying out to Riga next week. Reading all of this regarding the stag nights, I can say only say: "Dear me".

I can't stand them in this country and certainly won't like them in Riga.

I do hope I will be able to enjoy the beauty of this country
Fred Bender, UK
Why do men need to behave like this? I have never been able to understand it.

Riga is supposed to be a wonderful city with beautiful buildings and cultural things.

I do hope I will be able to enjoy the beauty of this country without being disturbed by these low budget alcoholic tourists.
Fred Bender, UK

I somewhat blame the locals for fuelling the problem by tolerating such behaviour in their own city.

I could just imagine what would happen to these lads if they behaved like that and disrespected the locals in my hometown (Skopje).
Arben, Macedonia

There has been a huge increase in tourists in Latvia this summer.

Unfortunately, it is not retired Germans in their 70s spending money on concerts, museums, restaurants and souvenirs. It is young Brits who come here to spend money mostly on cheep beer.

We saw several groups of young, drunk Brits walking past and shouting out rude, abusive things
Elina, Latvia
Last night I was out in the Old Town with a friend. We were sitting at an outside cafe terrace.

We saw several groups of young, drunk Brits walking past and shouting out rude, abusive things to local women and girls.

Perhaps they think nobody in Latvia understands English and they can say what they like, but they are very wrong in thinking that.

I bet they would never dare to do the same in their local town in the UK
Elina, Latvia

The way to deal with this is through tough policing to discourage loutish behaviour, including throwing drunks in jail before deportation, and at home in the UK, police and local authorities need to be much stricter about drunken behaviour.

I don't believe the "cultural" argument that British and Irish people are going to do this no matter what.

British settler societies like the USA, Canada, and Australia simply do not have a problem on this scale with public intoxication. They don't tolerate it.
Tom Lundberg, Chester, United Kingdom

I've lived in Riga for a year now and it's amazing how much it has changed.

I arrived before the low-cost airlines started flying to Riga and although there were some tourists, most of them were there to experience the history and culture.

They need to nip the situation in the bud before these people start destroying the city
Ben Archer, Riga
I used to go out at night through the Old Town without any problems.

Now, I try to avoid it in the evening because of the British stag parties there.

Although Latvians can drink excessively as well, they do not often act irresponsibly. However, most British stag parties I've encountered have treated women with little respect and have been inconsiderate to others in restaurants.

Luckily, most Latvians tolerate it and see the funny side but I think that they need to nip the situation in the bud before these people start destroying the city and spoiling the atmosphere that makes Riga what it is.
Ben Archer, Englishman in Riga, Latvia

So it's ok for the chattering classes, like the people who made this programme, to go to Latvia, and Sardinia, but as soon as ordinary people can afford to go then the world is allegedly at an end.

It should be up to Latvians, not the BBC, to decide how much tourism there should be in Latvia and of what type.
W Boucher, UK

I found it very interesting to read about the programme concerning Latvia, and the rise of the "stag do" tourist culture.

I have recently been to Slovakia on holiday. I spoke to some chaps who run a tourist website promoting stag and hen parties from the UK.

After a few beers they kicked off in the hotel, and were last seen, shirts off, rampaging through the city centre
Mr Smith, UK
They obviously believe it will bring money into the area, but as I said to them, this kind of tourism can bring more trouble than its worth.

I met several lads on such trips from England. As predicted, after a few beers they kicked off in the hotel, and were last seen, shirts off, rampaging through the city centre.

I live in Blackpool in England, and the stag culture there has made the town a no-go zone at certain times.

A&E is swamped with admissions for drink and violence related injuries.

Someone must tell these countries they are unlocking a Pandora's box of problems.
Mr Smith, Blackpool, UK

I have the pleasure of living in Riga and I must say the city is indeed buzzing with people from all corners of Europe, which I really love and enjoy.

I do not think English men are disturbing the Riga life at all
Agnese Johansone, Latvia
I do not think English men are disturbing the Riga life at all in any shape or form, on the contrary, they add to the diversity of this superb city.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to see culture, nature, and beautiful faces, it is all here.
Agnese Johansone, Latvia

If 90% of the challenge of the tourist boom in Latvia is simply to cater for those in search of cheap booze and girls, then why not simply set up "resorts" for them on industrial land close to the airport with accommodation, girlie bars and supporting infrastructure as appropriate, and let them get on with it.

That will bring the foreign income to Latvia and leave downtown Riga in peace.

This kind of tourist won't want to go anywhere else in the country anyway.
Peter, Brisbane, Australia

It almost seems as if Britain is now exporting its lager louts everywhere
Christopher Kennedy, Austria / Czech Republic
Unfortunately the majority of these are not particularly interested in any of the cultural highlights and tend to give the rest of us a bad name.

It almost seems as if Britain is now exporting its lager louts everywhere.
Christopher Kennedy, Austria / Czech Republic

I am an expat Brit living in Budapest for the past five years. Last year I heard no English spoken, yet this year I hear it screamed.

Gradually I am noticing that I, and other foreigners, are being treated differently
Dominic, Hungary
It's truly shocking to witness the tide of wretched young men arriving here from England bringing with them their habits and social unawareness.

Gradually I am noticing that I, and other foreigners, are being treated differently.

When they've returned to their lives back in the UK, the clean-up brings accusing eyes in my direction!

This tourism is damaging this wonderful city. Cheap flights should be barred from Budapest, or the police here should take more action.
Dominic, Hungary

We are a sports tours and stag/hen company which has been taking groups to Latvia for the past two years.

It is a fantastic country with superb, welcoming people.

We make sure our stag and sports tours only head to bars and areas where they are wanted
Ian Blackmore, Kent, England
There is definitely a market for stag groups there, however, we feel it is our responsibility that our customers have a great time whilst also being a benefit to the local people and economy.

As professionals we make sure our stag and sports tours only head to bars and areas where they are wanted, leaving other areas in peace.
Ian Blackmore, Kent, England

Latvia needs to worry. These English people will ruin the country's reputation and anyone wishing to visit the country for a nice, cultural break will think again.

My holidays are precious and I'm just not prepared to take the risk
Simon Jones, UK
Latvia, please think "quality not quantity" and you will be more prosperous in the long-term.

Stamp out the stag parties now!

I was planning to visit Prague, but I have heard so many horror stories of people's holidays being ruined by drunken English yobs I have crossed it off my list.

My holidays are precious and I'm just not prepared to take the risk.
Simon Jones, UK

I recently spent a weekend in Latvia and another in Estonia and couldn't believe how quickly stag parties have destroyed the atmosphere in those two countries.

I just pray and hope that the damage done to Europe by low-cost airlines can be rectified by appropriate actions of the local authorities.
Nigel, UK

Riga is heading in the same direction as Prague, Budapest and Krakow, and as the Spanish and Greek islands have been for years: full of drunken Brits who can't behave themselves.

It makes you ashamed to be British
Ewan, UK
It's bad enough that they do it at home, but to go abroad and drink themselves into oblivion and then brawl with each other shows absolutely no respect for the country they are visiting.

When you see these people going to such places, which have a huge cultural and historical appeal to any normal tourist, it makes you ashamed to be British.
Ewan, UK

Having just got back from a week in Latvia, I have seen some of the antics first-hand. Yes there are a few noisy groups around the capital, and there are a few establishments who are happy to take their money.

But for every lad on a mission there are 50 locals, other Europeans, or even British, just having a good time.

One local admitted that they don't know how to market themselves
David Peilow, UK
I was pleasantly surprised by Riga. It was very clean, and easy to get around, there was plenty to see and do, and the people were friendly.

One local admitted that they don't know how to market themselves. That's more a lack of imagination on the part of the tourist authorities than lack of material to work with: The truth is that the country has much to offer those seeking city breaks, decent clubbing, beach holidays, a break in the countryside or winter skiing.

It's like the best parts of the rest of Europe in one place. If they act quickly and smartly, the Latvians can create a healthy, balanced tourism industry. If they don't, then you should see it soon before the drunken British hoards arrive.
David Peilow, UK

Is there nowhere left safe from Anglo Saxon hordes, drinking, fighting and sleeping with prostitutes in Europe?

These young English men with very short haircuts, who are badly dressed and constantly laughing like hyenas, ready to start a fight are now the trademark of a culture that is sexually repressed and very badly educated.
Neal, Italy



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