Riots damaging Britain's tourism, countries warning against UK travel

Ruth Doherty
London riots damaging Britain's tourism
London riots damaging Britain's tourism

PA


The image of Britain as a safe tourist destination is being ruined by an outbreak of riots across the country, particularly in London.

Countries across the world are warning their citizens not to travel to Britain.

As a third night of violence saw rioting spread from London to Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, governments have started issuing advice to those thinking about visiting the UK.

Germany, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have all urged tourists to be vigilant, keep checking the media for updates and to make sure they are insured.

India has gone one step further with the editor of the country's Lonely Planet magazine telling his Twitter followers to avoid coming to the UK at all.

Vardhan Kondvikar said: 'Violence has now spread to Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool.

'Try not to travel to the UK this week if possible.'

UK tourist officials, who recently happily launched the countdown to the 2012 Olympics, now face the rather more unpleasant prospect of overcoming damage done by the riots.

Mary Rance, CEO UKInbound, told travelmole.com: 'The riots of the past few days, particularly in London, are most unfortunate for the global image of the UK – and not just ahead of the Olympics but for the country's short term and long term inbound tourism industry.

'With scenes of looting, violence and lawlessness flashing across TV screens across the globe it is absolutely vital that the Government and its agencies, as well as the UK tourism industry, work hard to put things in context.'

London riots damaging Britain's tourism
London riots damaging Britain's tourism

PA


International press has been dominated by the shameful scenes of burnt-out shops, buildings and buses, and of police in riot gear under attack.

One paper, USA Today, has called it the worst unrest since race riots swept through the capital in the 1980s - and said it could be a sign of possible violence at the Olympics next year: 'The spreading disorder was an unwelcome warning of the possibility of violence during London's 2012 Summer Olympics, less than a year away.'

The violence first erupted on Saturday after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police.

Since then, rioting has spread across London, and 'copycat' violence has kicked off in other parts of the UK, including Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.

Prime Minister David Cameron has returned early from his holiday in Tuscany to deal with the escalating situation.

In a speech outside No. 10 this morning, he said rioters would face the 'full force of the law', whilst an unprecedented 16,000 policer officers will be on the streets of the capital tonight.

Theresa May, meanwhile, has ruled out the use of the Army and water cannons to quell the disorder sweeping the streets.