Indian tourists to Britain have been labelled “amiable” but “indecisive in new guidelines on how to deal with visitors issued by VisitBritain to hotels across the UK.
The advice from VisitBritain, the government-funded tourism promotion body, says: “Understand that Indians are amiable but have a tendency to change their minds quite frequently,” reads the advice from VisitBritain.
Hoteliers are warned not to poke fun at Indian accents.
Britain is a popular tourist destination among Asian countries, which accounted for 2,73,927 (54 per cent) of the 5,07,701 visitor visas issued in 2012. India accounted for 15 per cent of that total.
VisitBritain’s guide of do’s and don’ts , which receives around 30 million pounds of government funding each year to boost tourism and promote Britain around the world, is keen on keeping visitors from Asia happy.
Its list of do’s and dont’s for the tourism industry is a guide to avoid offending foreign guests to ensure Britain’s position as a welcoming destination.
The latest guide recalls a famous 1975 episode of the popular BBC comedy, ‘Fawlty Towers’, in which owner Basil Fawlty played by John Cleese makes repeated references to World War II.
Along those lines, VisitBritain devised a comprehensive set of tips to cover different cultural sensitivities: DO: Ensure tourists from Russia, a “tall nation”, are housed in rooms with high ceilings and doorways.
DO: Anticipate the needs of a Japanese visitor even if they haven’t told you what they are.
DO: Deal promptly with any complaint from German or Austrian tourists, who can be “straightforward and demanding” to the point of “seeming rude and aggressive”.
DON’T: Ask superstitious people from Hong Kong to sleep in a historic property or a four-poster bed because they associate them with ghostly encounters.
DON’T: Exchange a smile or make eye contact with anyone from France who you do not know.
DON’T: Describe a visitor from Canada as “American”.
DON’T: Try to talk to Belgians about their country’s politics or language divisions.
Despite ill-considered moves by the coalition government targeting Indian tourists, including a now-scrapped plan to introduce a £3000 “security bond”, South Asian visitors continue to flock to Britain with London, unsurprisingly, one of the more popular destinations.
Despite its rhetoric the government, it seems, is keen to keep these visitors happy.