Kate Simon: How we respond to the riots could affect future tourism

Travel View

Assessing the dangers of one country over another has become a preoccupation of the modern-day traveller. There's no question that some places on the world map would turn anyone off – a city break in Kabul is unlikely to appeal at the moment.

But until recently, suggest that London might be up there as worthy of a risk assessment – thanks largely to the backlash against Britain's forays beyond its borders – and you'd usually be met with a hesitant yet cynical smile.

Might this month's riots make people think again? Certainly, it's provoking debate on the other side of the world, if an article I was reading in the Sydney Morning Herald is anything to go by. "London Calling? Not to us, not any more" read a headline on its website, the subsequent piece asking if this was the beginning of the end of the love affair between Australians and "Old Dart".

"London's not the safe haven it once was," asserted the author. "There's even rioting in Clapham!" Would backpackers now forgo the convenience of a common language for the streets of other European cities, such as Berlin or Stockholm, he asked? What about giving Britain the swerve and heading for reassuring old Canada instead?

To be honest, the article revealed little understanding of Britain's centuries-old tempestuous history of social tension. A more informed report was offered by the Middle East-based broadcaster al-Jazeera. It considered how spring's royal wedding had boosted bookings from foreign holidaymakers, while summer's riots were causing governments to tell their citizens visiting Britain to be cautious, and, in South Africa's case, advising against all non-essential travel here. (Who can blame the South Africans for having a pop – after years on the receiving end of bad press about safety in their cities.)

Pity the nervous international traveller, switching tickets last minute for a less complex choice of destination, especially when news reports seem to suggest that the whole of the UK has been set alight. Alex Salmond, for one, was quick to chastise media talking of "UK riots", pointing out that none had taken place in Scotland.

To suggest Britain is a no-go area is nonsense, a fact no one seems to be more sure of than the country's tourism chiefs. Fearful of the negative effect of the riots on the 2012 Olympics, tourism leaders are observing a three-line whip, explaining, in calm voices, that even at the height of the unrest cancellations by visitors were minimal and the riots will soon be shaken off by resilient old London.

They hope. But who can predict whether there will be more riots before the opening ceremony. Tough talk instead of proper analysis of why the riots happened might enforce the peace in the short term, but could it breed further disaffection and make London a more dangerous place in the future for visitors as well as residents?

***

Remember those envelopes that you popped your roll of film into and posted for cut-price developing? Now the baton has been taken up for the digital age by Bonusprint, with an ingenious app for the iPad. It allows you to create and order a 24-page book of your photos for £9.99, to be delivered to your door, spiral bound, within the week.

Do you have a travel issue? - Email sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits