Letter: The truth about English tourists

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The Independent Online
Sir: I refer to the letter from Melissa Rapp (17 January). As a regular tourist to the US, I am appalled by the sweeping and vitriolic attack by Ms Rapp. To categorise all English tourists as she has done is to place all American tourists in the 'loud trousers and loud voice' category.

Certainly the average English tourist is less flamboyant than his American counterpart, but, as regards being 'rude, whiny and complainy', Ms Rapp should try escorting her countrymen on a tour of England. She will soon see that it is the claustrophobic atmosphere of touring that brings out atypical behaviour, not ethnic characteristics.

My wife and I have experienced organised tours on both sides of the Atlantic, although we much prefer to organise our own itinerary, and have been amazed how different we find Americans in their home country from the public perception gained by seeing them as tourists. I am sure that the same applies to the English.

My experience tells me that a successful tour in no small way reflects the style and attitude struck by the tour guide. I am grateful that I did not have my introduction to the beauty of the Thousand Islands of Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls tainted by the xenophobic Ms Rapp, who appears to have graduated from the same New York school that produces US immigration officials.

Yours sincerely,


Rowlands Gill,

Tyne & Wear

17 January