UK stag parties fall out of favour in Riga

Britons on stag parties to the Latvian capital of Riga will not be welcomed with open arms, according to the mayor of the city.

The city break destination has run out of patience with unruly British tourists who head to the city for boozy breaks, putting off other potential visitors, city mayor Nils Usakovs told a Latvian magazine.

Riga is one of a handful of central and eastern European cities popular with stag parties, including Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and Tallinn.

But rowdy parties in search of cheap beer are deterring a wider range of visitors as Latvia struggles to fight off a deepening recession.

Mr Usakovs told Rigas Laiks magazine: "The only problem is that we have a large share of those British tourists.

"If we also had other tourists, then British visitors who piss about all the time would not be as noticeable. Let's not be politically correct - unfortunately, this is their speciality."

The biggest complaint is tourists who urinate on central Riga's Freedom Monument, honouring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence, according to the mayor.

Visitors have regularly been arrested and fined for relieving themselves on the 138ft-high monument, or climbing on it naked to pose for pictures.

Last year, the country's then interior minister, Mareks Seglins, hit out at "English pigs" for being a "dirty, hoggish people" after a British tourist was sentenced to spend five days in prison when he was caught urinating on the monument.

President Valdis Zatlers condemned his negative comments.

A spokeswoman for Mr Usakovs said Riga's problems started with the arrival of the first low-budget airlines, according to The Times.

"The British first started to make bachelor parties and the most popular thing was using our monument of liberty as a toilet. We have a stigma about British tourists. They are probably not the ones we want to see," she said.

"We are thinking about making a tourist police who will be located in the old town and will pay more attention to these tourist issues."

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