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This is what I was told in 1998. I had been working for a couple of years with the author of the "Towns and Villages" series of guide-books to distribute hard copies of his work throughout Cumbria, Derbyshire and Yorkshire. They had been very popular, giving travel information to most of the towns and villages in these English counties.
However, the author, Alan Bryant, was not a well man and was retiring, sadly soon to pass away. The Internet was in its relative infancy but I had been working with Prestel and the travel industry since the late seventies and knew the potential for this medium of giving information to travellers to great tourism locations.
I was able to acquire the data in digital form and used it to start a site then known as beginning with the existing counties, developing into others. The new pages were mainly those which had tourism facilities for the public which, unlike France for example, were somewhat limited.
I was currently working in the travel industry, visiting many locations, taking thousands of photos. But I was also travelling abroad as coach driver and tour guide. As a result, I began to include places I had visited and, behold, UK Travelguides became
Although I have since retired from regular work, I still add towns and villages to the site, using information from my network of Tourist Information Centres (Offices du Tourisme) throughout most countries of Europe. They regularly send me updates and photos and I use them to promote places of interest.
Not all European countries present their areas in the same way. Britain has Tourist Information Centres in the main towns and cities but few of them actively promote themselves as places worth visiting. North Yorkshire does well, as do Devon and Cornwall. My home county of Cumbria does practically nothing whereas Northumbria does a great Job.
In France, Offices du Tourisme are like British corner shops - they are everywhere - France goes out of its way to promote tourism and welcome visitors.
Austria is not bad. especially in promoting winter resorts.
Italy relies on private individuals to inform us of events and locations.
Spanish promotion is good but limited to a few popular resorts. The exception is the resort at Roses in Caatluya.
Croatia spends a fortune promoting virtually all its places of interest.
Scotland is weird - with so much to do and see, they give the impression that they resent tourists visiting and daring to take photos.
The Czech Republic promotes just one bridge at Prague, as does Bosnia when promoting Mostar.
Germany promotes two places - Cologne and Rothenburg ob der Tauber - everywhere else is pretty-much ignored.
Portugal wants you to love Lisbon but nowhere else.
Greece relies on package holiday companies to promote its many excellent resorts.
Scandinavia clearly does not want visitors with the exception of Iceland.
Tallin is the only Baltic country which invites tourists.
Hungary only promotes the capital, Budapest, and then only with photos of a castle in Buda, a chain bridge connecting the two parts of the city and some incredibly dingy rail stations. The entire city comes over as worn out and forgotten in history.
Turkey only promotes a couple of seaside resorts, failing to mention that most of the best places to see are actually inland.
I try to be impartial because there are fantastic places to visit in every European country.
So, come on, Europe, put your hand in your pocket and make sure we know what you have to offer and I will do what I can to make sure everyone is aware.
Feel free to Email me any additions or corrections
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