I wrote in June about how Prague was seeing fewer stag (bachelor) weekend parties from the UK, which was proving a mixed blessing.
Now I read that another popular haunt for pre-wedding tour groups – the Latvian capital, Riga – has lost patience with the drunken revelry and is considering introducing a special tourist police force.
The arrival of low-budget airlines and the prospect of cheap beer have made Riga, like Prague, an attractive destination. Both cities have been torn between welcoming this boost to their troubled economies and fearing that the British visitors could ruin their image.
The main complaint in Latvia is over tourists who urinate on Riga’s central Freedom Monument, a 138-ft high memorial topped with the figure of Liberty honouring soldiers who died fighting for the country’s independence. Visitors are often arrested for relieving themselves on it or for clambering on to it naked to have their pictures taken.
Last year, Latvia’s then interior minister, Mareks Seglins, lashed out at ‘English pigs’ for being a ‘dirty, hoggish people’.
Figures from the UK Foreign Office suggest that badly-behaved Britons are causing an increasing nuisance in other countries. The annual ‘British Behaviour Abroad’ report, a study of fifteen popular destinations, showed that the number of Britons arrested had risen by almost 16 per cent. “Many arrests are due to behaviour caused by drinking,” the report said.
by Andy Moreton