Friday 12 August 2011

Will UK riots affect tourism?

I have watched latest UK events in shock. My primary information sources have been: the riots incident map, live blog from The Guardian and a number of independent bloggers and tweeters (like The West Londoner and a Bristol tweeting cyclist).
Events like these seemed unthinkable during my visit to London a couple of months ago. But it has happened anyway and now we will have to deal with it.

Fortunately things seem to be calming down but a strange feeling of something lurking in the dark may still stick around for a while. The question is will this affect tourism and the upcoming London Olympics?
There will definitely be some effect - a number of cancellations have already been noted, but experts do not see a large-scale drop of tourist visits as a likely consequence. The UK's tourism body VisitBritain stressed that London's violence was taking place away from key visitor attractions, and that transport links were running as normal.
Also "British people won’t be put off from visiting the Olympics in Stratford because a year earlier shop windows were broken in Hackney," said Tom Jenkins, executive director of the ETOA (The European Tour Operators Association). I guess this also applies to foreign visitors - people tend to forget quickly (sometimes even too quickly).

Some UK government responses during these days seemed necessary and other are dangerously close to usual Chinese and Middle Eastern leaders' decisions. I believe David Cameron's latest statement also falls into that category:
"We are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality," said the UK prime minister.

What is your opinion on this? Do you think the government should have the right to decide about who can use Facebook and Tweeter? Can current circumstances be an excuse to pass something similar to the well known USA Patriot act also in the UK?

I've been thinking lately about the journalist terminology used during latest events in different parts of the World... Can anyone please explain the difference between a Libyan rebel, Syrian protester and a British rioter?

I hope this didn't turn out like another political post. I meant to simply address the link between tourism and latest UK events, but got astray somewhere on the way.
Please forgive me for this... I promise this won't happen... too often.


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger 12 August 2011 at 11:52  

There is not much difference between those three people you mentioned. Those young idiots should be severely dealt with by the police in England.

I would imagine it would affect tourism, but the Olympics is still a year away. Things can be quickly forgotten!

Duncan In Kuantan

MeAndFrenchie 12 August 2011 at 18:40  

These riots are insane. When I heard about it, I'm like no biggie. Then to see it on the news, insane! Our friend from UK said things like this used to be cleared a lot faster.

Travel-PB 12 August 2011 at 20:00  

This situation really is frightening. I just hope things get to normal soon.

On the other hand it is nice to see some people still kept their sense of humour in spite of everything.

Here is an example:

Mandy 14 August 2011 at 14:48  

Your question about rioters versus rebels is very important and I wish more people took that into account when listening to media reports about events such as this. There is no "truth" in media, just what they decide to tell you. (Sorry, I know you were worried that your post had become political and I think my reply has! I've just studied the media in places like Rwanda, Vietnam and South Africa quite a lot and find it intriguing).

I know a lot of people overseas were quite alarmed by the riots but they were contained in certain specific areas. So a lot of what tourists see was not affected, for example, but Lewisham, Croydon and Tottenham were gutted.

Travel-PB 14 August 2011 at 18:52  

I totally agree with you. I saw what media actually publish about a known event too many times. It can be really scary to see their version of truth and chosen focus (usually on things that really don't matter at all). This happened with almost every event I knew the real story behind.
So I don't think it's strange to just stop believing and even paying attention to media.

As they put it in an old Body Count lyric: "There is no truth only variations of lies." This is definitely true about the media of our time.

I know some people living in London and they say it is quite scary. They went to work as usual these days but there is a strange feeling of insecurity in the air at all times.

Mandy 14 August 2011 at 19:31  

Really? I hope they were all okay. We didn't see anything at home or work (although I travel into London via Woolwich and Lewisham) but our work and classes were affected in Manchester, Birmingham and Croydon.

Travel-PB 14 August 2011 at 20:51  

Yes, they were all OK last time I checked. But I guess a strange feeling still remains...

Scott 19 August 2011 at 02:02  

I would pass on London for a while...

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