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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Latvian brands tourists 'savages'
Riga and Liverpool
Ryanair launched flights from Liverpool to Riga in September
A Latvian MP has branded Liverpool tourists "savages" as more people are visiting his country on cheap flights recently launched from the city.

Oskars Kastens MP said tourists were behaving inappropriately, particularly at night, in the Latvian capital Riga.

He has since said his comments were not aimed specifically at Liverpudlians but at British tourists in general.

Martin King of the Mersey Partnership said the comments are "an unfair and damaging generalisation."

The director of tourism added: "Liverpudlians are not the only people to organise and enjoy stag and hen trips to destinations served by flights from Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Oskars Kastens
Oskars Kastens MEP said tourists were behaving inappropriately
"The opinions expressed by the MP do not square with the reputation earned by thousands of Merseysiders who have followed our football teams on their various European campaigns over three decades.

"It's clear to anyone who has visited Riga that the Latvian capital is a very beautiful location - but not without its own problems, some of which are undoubtedly linked to the type of attractions on offer."

Mr Kastens, from Latvia First Party, wants to market Riga as a cultural destination rather than a drinking one.

He said: "If somebody is going to another country for sex tourism it is quite different to a person going to another country to visit museums.

"I'm welcoming people coming to visit my country, but not just for stag parties."

Cheap flights from Liverpool to Riga - for as little as 10 - were launched in September 2005.

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