Royal Family do not attract US tourists, survey says

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The Independent Online
THE assertion that Britain needs the Royal Family to attract tourists has been challenged by an opinion poll in the US.

If Britain were to become a republic, actors or even stuffed dummies could be used to play the part of the Royal Family and tourists would still be keen to come to Britain, according to a readers' survey by the US magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.

Over 75 per cent of those surveyed said that the royals 'do not play any part in a decision to visit Britain'. Nine out of 10 said they would still visit Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle even if they were not occupied by royalty.

The magazine reports: 'It is the fabric of royalty - the palaces, the castles, the military ritual - that pulls in the visitors, not the Queen herself and her troubled brood.'

However, three-quarters of its readers said they would 'cross the street to see a member of the Royal Family if one were at hand'.

Americans rate a visit to Buckingham Palace - due to open its doors to tourists for the first time next month - as highly as a trip to the White House. 'All this suggests that the trappings of royalty give Britain some of the qualities of a theme park,' Traveler magazine says.

'The majestic buildings, the parades and such relics of ancient bloodbaths as the Tower of London are royalty's contribution to the theatre of Britain, to the idea of seeing and touching hundreds of years of history.'

The magazine claims that the current 'cast of royals' have descended to the level of soap opera and are 'merely incidental to the permanent props'.

'As at Disneyland and other theme parks, actors could just as easily play the parts deemed essential to the franchise. Or, more cheaply, stuffed dummies.'