UK holiday chief’s extraordinary spray against ‘bloody tourists’

An outgoing tourism chief in the UK has launched a broadside against some of the very people he has been trying to entice.

Malcolm Bell is leaving his job as Visit Cornwall chief executive next month and he is not going quietly, hitting out at certain types of ‘f…… emmets’, a local derogatory term for tourists.

He told Cornwall Live 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…… emmets. You can quote me on that,” said Bell.

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“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?’ It’s about targeting the right people at the right time of the year.”

Cornwall has had two very busy summers thanks to British tourists staying local due to the pandemic, and Bell said the success had come at a price.

Picturesque St Ives is a popular seaside in Cornwall.


Picturesque St Ives is a popular seaside in Cornwall.

Once you stopped them going abroad, we ended up with people here who didn’t want to be here.

“People don’t like me saying this, but the rise in tourism has helped with Cornwall’s identity, not necessarily always for the good, I’ll admit that, but people know about Cornwall now. We’re not just part of the Westcountry. We’re not tagged to a strange place called Devon. I always say Devon is the nearest place to Heaven… keep going and you’ll find it, and Devon is short for Drive On.

“But now we have to tackle the problems of success. That’s why we have to learn from those two years.”

His comments have raised eyebrows with one Conservative councillor, Barry Jordan, telling The Telegraph that the region “welcomes all tourists. Cornwall relies on tourism.”

Bell did soften his tone following the interview.

“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 reported The Independent.

The subject of discerning tourists was also raised earlier this year in New Zealand by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

He has made no secret about attracting more high value travelers to the country.

In August, he told the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand annual conference that New Zealand’s marketing spin should aim for “high-quality tourists”.

We are going to welcome backpackers… [but] we are not going to target the people who put on Facebook how they can travel around our country on $10 a day eating two-minute noodles.”