Travel: An undeserved Dead Albatross

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The Independent Travel
THE FIRST nomination for our Dead Albatross award (for conspicuous lack of service to the traveller) came from Fiona L Barltrop, who reported her failure to pick up any decent information from the Zimbabwe Tourist Office in London.

Jocelyn Wood of Epsom says Ms Barltrop was unfair. 'Unlike France, Zimbabwe is still an emerging tourist nation and it may be lack of finance rather than lack of will which has led to poor service.'

Miss Wood visited Zimbabwe in September and found the people welcoming and helpful. 'After two intercontinental and four internal flights, we would also thoroughly recommend Air Zimbabwe. They may well be a useful source of tourist information (see their ads in the Independent]).'

She visited the Zimbabwe Tourist Office in the Strand six months before her holiday and met the Zimbabwe High Commission's Information Counsellor. 'He spent some time discussing the drought situation and answering our other questions and concerns in a very helpful manner.'

Sheila Williams of Brighton suggests a Plain English category for the Dead Albatross, for which she nominates the Grenoble Tourist Office for an extraordinary poster it has produced:

Surrounded by the alpine picks, Grenoble has the particularity of being at the same time, the Capital of the French Alps and the flatest town in Europe . . . Grenoble marked French History with a strong imprint since the rehearsal of the French Revolution in 1788 . . .

. . . and so on. 'The French assistants in the tourist office are well aware of its hilarity, but are powerless to get an improved version,' writes Mrs Williams.