‘F**king emmets’: Cornwall tourism boss only wants the ‘right people’ to visit

Malcolm Bell takes aim at ‘bloody tourists’

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 23 November 2022 10:23 GMT
Cornwall is popular with tourists
Cornwall is popular with tourists (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Cornwall’s tourism chief has said he only wants the “right people” to visit the county, bemoaning the presence of “bloody tourists” and “f***ing emmets”.

Malcolm Bell, the outgoing Visit Cornwall chief executive, made the inflammatory comments during an interview with Cornwall Live.

He said that visitors “fall into five unofficial categories: “At one level you have friends, then you have guests, then you have tourists, then you have bloody tourists, then you have f***ing emmets. You can quote me on that.”

Emmet is an old word in the Cornish dialect meaning “ant” that is used as a derogatory term for tourist, similar to the Cornish and Devonian term “grockle”.

Mr Bell said the aim was to attract “the right people at the right time of year.”

He added: “The challenge we have is to get the friends, guests and tourists, who get us, then try and convert the bloody tourists, but forget the awkward people who are, ‘Why haven’t you got this?’, ‘Why haven’t you got that?’”

Barry Jordan, Conservative councillor for Camelford and Boscastle, told The Telegraph of Mr Bell’s comments: “I hate the words emmet and grockle.

“They have no place in modern society.

“We welcome all tourists. Cornwall relies on tourism.”

David Harris, Conservative councillor for Gloweth, Malabar and Shortlanesend, said Mr Bell’s comments were “a bit aggressive” but agreed that “Cornwall has got very full and there’s 10,000 people on the beach and you can’t get to the village.”

Following the interview, Mr Bell, who steps down as chief executive in December, has expressed “regret” that the issue “was not correctly communicated”.

“The point I was making is there are very, very few visitors that do not like, love and care about Cornwall and they are the ones that annoy locals, and do not show respect, and hence [are] getting called [out] negatively.

“The point I pressed was that the role of a tourist board must be to target its marketing, and to invite those that will appreciate and join us in a love of Cornwall.”

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