Is Bridlington really a better beach for surfers than Bondi? It is if you believe the government-funded TV ads out now. All in the name of English Tourism Week! So, would you pick Liverpool over the Algarve?
I’m lucky enough to have been to Bondi and Bridlington beaches, and while both had their charms, if I had to choose one for a second visit, it would be the one in Australia not East Yorkshire.
That said, I’m not in a hurry to repeat the experience of flying to Australia. So when Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint asks in the ad why anyone would go all the way to Bondi when there’s Bridlington on the doorstep, the idea of avoiding a long flight appeals.
Are holidays at home great?
Still, as much as I’d love Bridlington to be the equal of Bondi, no amount of wishful thinking is going to make it so.
And I think this wishful thinking has taken over the ad, in which Grint lines up alongside Stephen Fry, Julie Walters and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery to extol the virtues of domestic tourism.
We’re told that the green and pleasant Lake District beats a foreign taverna any day; that Liverpool is better than the Algarve because it has a Tate gallery; and that we should avoid Corfu or Crete because the Olympic Torch won’t be at the Greek Islands.
The Lake District can be stunning, Liverpool is a fine city to visit, and no doubt there’ll be a little thrill in seeing the Olympic Flame. But I wouldn’t swap two sunny weeks in Portugal for a fortnight on Merseyside. Nor do I think a fleeting glimpse of a torch is worth sacrificing some guaranteed sun in the country that invented the Olympics.
I might just risk taking my main annual holiday in the Lakes, but it would be a massive leap of faith in the English weather, which has let me down when I’ve gambled on it previously. So I’m uneasy about the government telling me I’d be mad to leave the country this year.
Will you holiday at home in 2012?
The advert is part of a £4 million campaign to get people holidaying at home, to help both local economies and tax revenues. If I happen to take its advice and the weather and food turns out to be awful, I won’t be getting a tax rebate in return, so I don’t think it’s my patriotic duty to stay at home.
I recognise the government has a duty to promote domestic tourism, but perhaps it could have publicised the delights of England without discouraging people from travelling abroad.
Plenty of outbound travel companies have gone bust over the past few years, and some are no doubt teetering on the brink as we speak. A few lost customers as a result of this campaign might push them over the edge.
What do you think of the ad? Do you think the UK’s holiday spots beat equivalents abroad?
Where will you be holidaying this year?
Both in the UK and abroad (35%, 72 Votes)
In the UK (28%, 57 Votes)
I won't be going away this year (20%, 40 Votes)
Abroad (18%, 36 Votes)
Total Voters: 205