As others see us

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I was in Trieste in northern Italy this week and, pasted to a wall, was a poster for an English language school. To advertise English language courses they had chosen an old London red double-decker bus and the Elizabeth Tower which contains Big Ben.

Previously I have written in CD-Traveller about how others portray us. Inevitably it is linked to London and in both the posters I spotted in Vigo and these in Trieste it is the Houses of Parliament and a Routemaster bus that are included. There are no images of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; none of iconic English locations outside London either. They could use Stonehenge, Shakespeare’s birthplace or HMS Victory in England, Edinburgh Castle or the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland could also illustrate our countries. From Wales, Conwy Castle or the Eisteddfod would suffice and in Northern Ireland, the Giants Causeway or the Titanic Experience would make the point.

That point is that the UK is not just London yet that is how many see us. I suppose it is no different from France being seen with images of the Eiffel Tower. Australia isn’t seen via it’s capital, Canberra, but by major cities so today there are shots of Sydney Harbour with the centenary of the Australian navy celebrations. One glance would tell you which country it was. We don’t have iconic animals like they do either. You couldn’t put an image of a badger or an otter and everyone would immediately know it was the UK.

Perhaps when I lambasted Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for saying that Visit England, Scotland and Wales plus Tourism Ireland should spend some of their money supporting London, I was wrong. But if I am it is only because so much promotion of the UK is centred on London.

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