Grumpy British hotel staff scaring away tourists

Thu Jan 8, 2009 7:38am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Grumpy staff and poor value for money blight British hotels, deterring foreign visitors when the economy needs them most, the government's tourism boss was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Tourists have to put up with a failure to provide basics such as soft towels and fresh bars of soap, said Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain.

"We're now in an environment where you have to do quality. Poor value for money and poor service costs jobs and will cost more jobs in a recession," he told the Independent.

"Threadbare towels, a previously owned bar of soap and a grumpy person who says: 'We don't do breakfast before 8am and we don't do it after 8:12 a.m.' -- you don't get a lot of happy customers," he added.

The decline in the value of the British pound against the euro and U.S. dollar should make holidays in Britain attractive to foreigners.

However, earnings could fall by 4 billion pounds ($6.03 billion) leading to the loss of up to 50,000 jobs this year unless standards are raised, Rodrigues added.

(Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Keith Weir and Paul Casciato)