How to avoid that Fawlty welcome...

Sybil with long-suffering husband Basil Fawlty, who thought he know just how to deal with German guests - with disastrous results. Below: Claire Smith said there was a lot of sense in the advice.

Sybil with long-suffering husband Basil Fawlty, who thought he know just how to deal with German guests - with disastrous results. Below: Claire Smith said there was a lot of sense in the advice.

  • by Paul Baldwin

A Government-backed official ‘hoteliers guide to foreign tourists’, which has been ridiculed for suggesting Austrians can seem rude, Australians sarcastic and Germans demanding, has been welcomed as ‘actually rather sensible’ in Blackpool.

The slightly bizarre ‘do’s and don’ts list, produced by VisitBritain the taxpayer-funded body that promotes the UK abroad, advises hotel and guest house staff not to poke fun at Indian accents, to refrain from shouting at Japanese guests and to avoid putting people from Hong Kong in historic houses or four-poster beds because they may be scared of ghosts.

Some of the advice has been ridiculed as being a blend of the blindingly obvious and the plain daft and even Basil Fawlty-esque, but in Blackpool, which is seeing increasing numbers of visitors from all corners of the globe, the research has been broadly welcomed.

Claire Smith, boss of the award winning Number One South Beach, in Harrowside, and Number One St Lukes, South Shore, said: “As daft as it may sound there’s a lot of sense behind things like this because we get visitors from all over the world and we hoteliers don’t always understand the cultural niceties of every different country.

“For example, we have quite a few visitors from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and it turns out they like to have their breakfast all at the same time rather than say grapefruit first, then the full English then maybe toast and marmalade to finish.

“And I agree with the advice about Australians and New Zealanders, they are cheeky, but as long as they get their Vegemite they’re fine.”

She added that the resort was seeing an increasing number of Russian and eastern European guests, many attracted by Blackpool’s two major dance festivals.

Mick Grewcock, owner of the five star apartments at the Burbage Lodge and Queen Mansions added: “We do need to be aware of the different needs of visitors because we are getting guests from all over the world.

“Some of the advice might sound daft but a lot of it is true - we had some Canadian guests over Christmas and they could not have been lovelier, but the only way they would ever get riled is if you suggested that they were Americans.”

He added that other recent guests were from countries as far afield as Saudi Arabia. Ireland, Spain, and the USA.

He said: “Blackpool has got so much going for it but I sometimes think it’s only the visitors from abroad who really appreciate it.”

A spokesman for Visit Britain said its profiles of overseas markets were designed to ensure Britain’s hotels, tour operators, visitor attractions and entertainment establishments offer the best service.

Joss Croft, marketing director at VisitBritain, said: ‘Our market intelligence reports provide an unrivalled source of information on inbound tourism, allowing British businesses to gain an invaluable insight on key markets globally.’


Official advice on the quirks to look for

• Chinese visitors will not tolerate discussions about money

• Belgians dislike any attempt to talk about their country’s politics or language divisions.

• Australians have a tendency to be sarcastic and their jokes about ‘Poms’ are meant to be endearing.

• Hotel staff should avoid excessive eye contact with French tourists.

• Indian visitors are ‘in the habit of shaking their heads’ and hosts need to be ‘intuitive’ when determining whether the gesture ‘signifies assent or objection’.

• Holidaymakers from Austria and Germany are ‘straightforward and demanding’ to the point of sometimes seeming ‘rude and aggressive’.

• Japanese tourists expect their every need to be anticipated without them actually asking.

• Canadians will be offended if they are described as ‘American’.

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