Letter: Traveller's tale of filtered facts

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Sir: Your new travel editor Simon Calder's 'Dear Adele Bliss' letter (5 August) has taught me one home truth at least - that journalist's copy has a lot more in common with tourist brochures than is generally appreciated.

Most tell it as it is, some as they'd like it to be. Hopefully, your readers can tell when the writer has filtered his facts. Mr Calder's argument that tourists arriving in Britain quickly get the message 'Now sod off' does our tourists and tourism industry a greater disservice than the purple prose traditionally associated with outbound brochures.

Nowhere does he mention that the 'Fawlty Towers' he stayed in was not part of the Tourist Boards' quality assurance 'Crown Scheme', to which 30,000 accommodation providers belong; (yet would he lightly recommend a package that was not a member of Abta?), or that the 5,000 people trained in our Welcome Host programme are all 'putting substance behind the welcome signs', or that a break in Cumbria, Cornwall or the Costwolds - why restrict the choice to Cleethorpes? - need cost no more than one on the Costa del Sol.

The appeal of overseas holidays, with which he can find no fault, is a strong one. It is a pity that, in urging more focus on how we overcome it, the English Tourist Board runs the risk of articles like his. And, in pointing out what needs to get better, let's not forget that much of what we offer is world-beating. The evidence lies in record numbers of visitors (many of them repeats) to our shores and, contrary to popular myth, the fact that more Britons still holiday here than go abroad.

Yours faithfully,

ADELE BLISS

Chairman

English Tourist Board

London, W6

5 August

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