Our national tourist boards have come in for some flak from the British media this week. What for? For a domestic marketing campaign. Some of the tourism industry has joined in to stick the boot in too. The outbound tourism industry, that is.
Some journalists appear to think it unlikely that rich celebrities would ever consider holidaying in the UK. Yet their colleagues on the travel pages can readily list stars who love this country. Isn’t it obvious that those who have to travel across the world for work might just enjoy pottering around their own beautiful, temperate “backyard”?
I was taken aback to read Sarah Vine, in today’s Times, suggesting that the new Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign may have “overstepped the line between xenophobia and patriotism”. And, although she first says “I love UK holidays”, she concludes that “chic, hot and foreign” is “what holidays are all about”. I thought those days were over.
Of course no one’s suggesting that we globetrotting island dwellers give up international travel. As if we ever would: it’s in our DNA. And we are bombarded with enticing advertisements from an ever-increasing number of overseas destinations to woo us abroad.
But, wherever in the world you’re from, exploring and experiencing your own native land can be life-enhancing. And – with the Cultural Olympiad, Year of Creative Scotland and NI 2012, as well as the Olympics, Paralympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Titanic Centenary and Dickens 2012 – surely it’s not surprising that our national tourist boards have decided to compete in the marketplace with the message that Brits should consider holidays in the UK too?