Normally we get it so wrong - if we're not scoring disastrously badly in international surveys finding us the rudest, worst dressed, least respectful and worst tipping nation on earth, then the Foreign Office is giving us a ticking off: we get hospitalised in Spain, arrested in Cyprus and we're constantly having motorbike accidents in Thailand. And enough already about how we can't stop drinking. So I was rather pleased to read the latest survey which said thar British travellers were good at something. And that's complaining.
According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) complaints by British tourists are up 15% on last year - and considering most surveys at the moment focus on things going down (the economy, the ice fields, etc) I find any upward trend quite cheering. But what's really great is what we complain about: the loo paper isn't folded properly, the sea is too noisy, "a passing (excited) elephant came to drink from the river and made me feel very inadequate". My favourite is the woman at the Roxeburghe Hotel in Edinburgh who complained hotel staff had locked her in her room. Apparently she had taken the "do not disturb" sign on the back of her door rather too literally.
But Abta - and presumably the people it represents - are taking it on the chin: "We should complain more," a spokesperson told The Times. "If you don't complain, the tour operator doesn't get the chance to put things right." Hear hear.more blog posts