An interesting travel article has appeared in the Daily Telegraph. They report that visitors to Spain are down in February by over 23% compared to the same period last year. This is all due, of course, to the economic situation and also the falling pound against the Euro. Fewer tourists are travelling to Eurozone countries and instead they are choosing holidays in Turkey and in Egypt.
Tourism officials in Spain, however have come up with the idea that the locals need to be friendlier towards tourists in an attempt to help the tourism industry. The initiative has been launched in the Canary Islands and local taxi drivers, hotel receptionists and shopkeepers have all been asked to attend “friendliness” seminars in a bid to shed their grumpy image !
The friendliness course includes how to be nice to tourists by saying the right words. “Have a nice day” is one of the phrases that they are being taught as well as being told to smile more !
Taxi drivers, who are normally the first point of contact for a visitor and being taught how to make a good impression and be welcoming. They are also being told to make their taxis smell nice and not to drive too fast.
These two hour seminars are aimed at all tourist industry workers.A spokesman at the Lanzarote Chamber of Commerce, which is running the 40,000 euro pilot scheme, said: “We´re aware that Spaniards are not seen as overly friendly by British holidaymakers and we want to change that grumpy image.”If we want British tourists to keep coming back year after year, and encouraging their friends to visit, we must be cheerier and friendlier to them.
“Here are some of the tourist friendly phrases that the grumpy locals will be taught.
“Make yourself at home” “Have a nice day!”
Taxi drivers will be encouraged to: “Learn interesting local facts in English to tell passengers” “Ensure your cabs smell nice and don’t drive too fast”
Workers in shops, bars and restaurants will be told: “A smile costs nothing and is the most effective welcome” “Say to tourists that their visit is appreciated”
I can’t say that I have ever noticed that the Spanish are grumpy towards tourists. I suppose they are only human and they are probably no worse or better than workers in every other country. The most important thing though is that if tourism workers are being taught these skills they actually need to mean it. There is nothing worse than someone saying to you “have a nice day” when you can tell from the tone of their voice that they don’t really mean it !
If you want to test the new Spanish attitude in the Canary Islands by going on a holiday then call Global Holidays on 0845 2994450