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Most French, Germans and Spanish prefer British and American tourists to stay away, poll suggests

A majority of French, Spanish and Germans would prefer it if British and American tourists stayed away this summer, according to a new poll.

Most French, Germans and Spanish prefer British and American tourists to stay away, poll suggests
Tourists arrive at the Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca on July 8, 2020. AFP

The survey carried out by YouGov sheds lights on the the views of Europeans after borders have opened up again and tourists are beginning to travel at the start of the summer holidays.

“People in France, Spain, Italy and Germany are all more likely to oppose British tourists coming for this summer than they are tourists from other European countries,” the YouGov polls says.

“For instance, while 40-54 percent of Spaniards oppose tourists coming from a clutch of European nations, this figure rises to 61 percent for British tourists.

“Likewise, in France the figure is 55 percent compared to 32-46 percent for other European countries’ tourists. In Italy it is 44 percent vs 29-38 percent, and in Germany it is 58 percent vs 34-52 percent.”

The reluctance to see British tourists descend on their country is likely to do with the virus rates in the UK. The country has Europe's highest death toll for Covid-19 and the second-highest rate if deaths after Belgium.

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From Friday July 10th England and Scotland will allow travellers coming from a list of “safe countries” to enter the territory without having to go into obligatory quarantine.

That means British tourists will head abroad to countries like Spain, France and Italy knowing they don't need to enter quarantine on return.

If British visitors are not exactly wanted in Europe right now there is even greater reticence among the part of Europeans to see tourists from the US and China return.

Controversially China was included in the EU's safe list of countries (as long as Beijing took a reciprocal approach and allowed entry to Europeans) but the US was not included.

That was due mainly to the surge in new Covid-19 cases in many US states and the fact the EU doesn't believe authorities across the US have the epidemic under control.

“People across Europe tend to be most worried by American and Chinese tourists,” the study says.

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“American tourists are the most opposed in all countries surveyed (except Sweden where they come second to Chinese tourists, and Finland where they come second to Swedes). Overall 61-79 percent of people in each country oppose allowing American tourists spending time in their country this summer.

“Chinese tourists are similarly unpopular, with an opposition rate of 57-77 percent. They are the most opposed group of tourists in America and Sweden, and second most opposed in most of the other countries.”

The poll is based on the views of the general population rather than those working in the tourism industry, many of whom rely on the influx of visitors from the UK, the US and elsewhere in Europe.

In 2016, some 12 million Americans travelled to Europe with Italy, France, Germany and Spain among the most popular destinations.

One study in Italy said the loss of American tourists would mean a loss of €1.8 billion in revenue.

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Member comments

  1. Nothing to do with the virus. It’s the unruly rugrats and the attitude of the parents that think they know everything about France and have the cheek to bring their own food.

  2. A friend of a friend arrived in Paris from the states last week, no questions asked. She also “doesn’t think the virus is all that bad” so hasn’t been practicing safety measures.

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?

Signage 

One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”

Connections

One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”

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