22 Nov 2011

Earth calling UK? A Perspective on the World Travel Market

The following post was written by Nic, a recent graduate who is currently unemployed. Nic is into tourism, keeps chirpy and writes a wry and very readable blog called Life from Scratch

Nic recently visited the World Travel Market. 

November 10th 2011.

Today I have been at the World Travel Market doing some bits and bobs for my internship. It was a good day, a fantastic opportunity to get out there and investigate the whole industry, and my place in it. I have to say however, where the UK fits in I am left wondering.
Never have I seen such a poor effort, just because we have a queen doesn't mean we should put no effort into attracting tourism. It is our third largest industry - can we afford to ignore it, bung a few half empty stands and dog-eared leaflets in the corner and hope our reputation will see us through? I think not.

The top bosses for marketing our country as a destination deserve a clip around the ear, there was limited cohesion, there was bare minimum effort, most of the stands weren't even manned. I had been told that it would be a poor show but this was something else. As a point of comparison, Nigeria had a 12ft banner declaring "Tourism is Life" and India were sporting flags with the slogan "welcome to service". Some places had even constructed fibre glass versions of their best monuments, palaces and were dressed in traditional costume. I hate to break the news, but we didn't invent the railway yesterday, it was a good few years ago now. Our country's CV is tired and I think we might have to start putting in the effort again.

The last glimpse the world got of us was when our teenagers were rampaging through the streets looting sportswear and burning things. And sadly the next glimpse the world is likely to get of us will be a horrendous journey on the pathetic infrastructure we call "Transport for London". I will personally be championing a name change to "Embarrassment for London". This is not unfounded, yesterday when I was trying to plan my trip to ExCel London (one of the biggest exhibition centres in the UK), the Transport for London website didn't recognise any of the three ExCel rail stations, and the interactive map planner was just a picture of a map. Disappointment at every turn. Perhaps, because I don't have a job, I don't get bogged down in bureaucracy and can just think freely and logically, but it really was pathetic in the extreme.

I won't even put forward my suggestions as I would be wasting my breath. There is no wonder the most exciting thing most of our population can comprehend is two weeks in a Spanish Resort, every year, for their entire life. I want our country to look as amazing as it is, tourism board....Earth calling UK?

Original article: Nicole New, Life from Scratch