Spain ‘no longer foreign enough’

Many thanks to Raquel for passing on this classic read in the Times: “British tourists avoid Spain because it’s ‘no longer foreign enough’”

…which says a lot more about the Brits (who aren’t aware of strange out-of-the-way places like, say Madrid) than Spain, obviously.

I love this line about a recent survey on British holiday choices:

The survey showed that the US was the most popular destination measured by the growth of bookings, with some British tourists attracted by the prospect of “meeting a celebrity”.

[Head falls into hands in desperation…]

25 thoughts on “Spain ‘no longer foreign enough’

  1. Tom

    Ha! They should go to La Mancha – practically unvisited by foreign tourists, lots of ‘old charm’, castles, funny-looking old people etc. My parents loved it.

    Not that many celebrities around, though, except for that time I saw Julián Muñoz at a road-side restaurant.

      1. Tom

        The notorious former mayor of Marbella, instantly recognisable if you ever saw 5 minutes of Diario de Patricia back in 2003. I’ve not really watched Spanish TV since then, so I don’t know if he’s still famous.

  2. Robin

    I know tourism has helped a lot of formerly poor areas in Andalucia but it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I’ve seen some pretty crass behaviour by Brits in Spain over the years.

    Like the guy in Seville who was haranging the barman because his cana had a head on it and “he wasn’t paying for foam”, a family visiting the famous seafood restaurant Romerijo in El Puerto de Santa Maria moaning because they didn’t want fish.

    In a (totally selfish) way I’d be glad if Spain was just left to those of us who love it – warts and all – and just “get it”.

  3. azahar

    They should come to Sevilla and take one of my tapas tours.

    Seriously, who goes to the Costa del Sol looking for “authentic” Spain?

    1. Robin

      Actually, there’s plenty of the “authentic” Spain to be found on the Costas, you just need to make a little effort to find it.

  4. BrianA

    This year so far I’ve walked in the snow, read many articles about corrupt politicians, just bought a bottle of HP sauce – maybe they’re right, it’s just like the UK. I’d stay at home if I were you. Please!!!

  5. Nicole

    Haha! So the US is foreign enough? Where we speak the same language, listen to the same music, etc? Wow. Also, I’ve lived in the States my whole life and have never met a celebrity. Go figure.

    1. Pippa

      Surely if you want to meet celebrities, just stay in the UK. I was once in a restaurant in the next table to Mick Jagger for well over an hour.

  6. Lee

    As a native New Yorker who has lived in Madrid for 20 years, I can assure you that tourists are pretty much jerks all over. (I’ll never forget the evening some tourists peered in our kitchen window as we were having dinner and bellowed, “oh, no, this house isn’t nice at all”. ) I’ve seen people of all nationalities act like morons. Perhaps the low-rent dweebs are a bit put out because Spain is no longer dirt-cheap, or they may run into Senagalese or Romanian waiters, but who wants to base their tourism in fatheads anyway?

  7. ValenciaSon

    I would love to visit the US in an alternate reality where it is one huge Hollywood set. In my current reality, I’ve met and seen a few celebrities but I don’t think it should trump exotic locales when planning one’s vacation trip. But that’s just me.

  8. Chuckles

    I think there is not much to say but am shocked how they consider Spain not to be “foreign”- how about go to Castilla, la Mancha or even Northern Andalucia not to mention parts of the Atlantic costas and you ARE in a foreign place. But then people do have different tastes and to me seeing cultural things and indulging in local custom is much more important than getting an autograph from a celeb.

  9. luke

    It’s good to know that Brits are looking for somewhere foreign, I thought they wanted Spain to be Britain in the sun. For the foreign experience, it would be cheaper to visit London. I hardly every meet anyone who was born in the UK here in London. On my bus from my studio in Shoreditch to Harringay you go from Vietnam(Shoreditch) to Turkey/Africa (Dalston) to Israel(Stamford Hill) to Kurdistan (Harringay). Haringey has the most languages in any one urban zone in Europe.

  10. Anton

    I am delighted to say that the main reason I came to Tarragona is because there are very few ‘tourist’ foreigners. And long may it stay that way. Thankfully they all go to Salou down the coast and avoid this beautiful Catalan historical gem of a City. There are of course many ‘immigrants’ as the Catalans call them which means other non-Catalan Spaniards who have moved here (as well as proper immigrants such as South Americans etc). I was quite shocked to hear locals call other Spaniards immigrants with a hint of ‘them and us syndrome’ but it is how they feel.

  11. Hollis

    Ben I thought you would appreciate this. I was getting my haircut yesterday and seated next to me was a British guy who had this starter conversation with his hairdresser:

    Hairdresser: How can I help you?

    Brit: You can help me by removing most of my hair.

    I almost fell out of my chair; I wonder why Brits are so dry when it comes to humor: is it learned, are they raised that way or is it just contagious?

  12. usopened

    I agree that that last part about travelers going to the USA in the hope seeing a celebrity is a sign of the apocolypse. Sad.

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