Showing posts with label tourism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tourism. Show all posts

Thursday, June 02, 2011

poverty porn

Last year Socialist Courier posted about The Scheme now the Onthank housing scheme in Kilmarnock, featured in the BBC Scotland's documentary series The Scheme has become a tourist destination.

At one point residents erected a sign charging "all scheme tourists £1 entry" - with a view to erecting a children's playground with the proceeds (only for East Ayrshire Council to haul it down within hours as illegal "fly-tipping" and as one resident said the fastest response to dumping "rubbish" ever recorded in the scheme.)

"The reason we put up the first sign is you will pay to go into a zoo or safari park, and they are coming here likes it's a safari park but with human beings on show. That's why we put up the sign, as a joke," said Karen McLean

Author and social commentator Peter York said it was understandable that the television programme would draw in spectators: "...the white working class has become the one group that can be baited and no-one complains as they would any other social class, and you have a situation where people want to see these people as they would animals in a zoo."

The Scotsman commentator Mark Smith writes "The characters in The Scheme are the alter ego of the filthy rich. They are the casualties of our capitalist society, the flawed consumers, those who, through little fault of their own, cannot step up to the plate at the altar of the free market. Yet still we deride them for reaching out to grasp some of the spoils from the rich man's table: the mobile phones, the 40in televisions, the designer gear." He goes on to say "To identify the human misery apparent in The Scheme as a symptom of the unequal nature of society is uncomfortable. It requires that we look at ourselves and at our positioning within that unequal society. It is far easier to cast judgments, to bemoan the depravity of the poor."

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Russians are coming !!

Thanks to big-spending wealthy Russians visitors Scotland's tourism industry is withstanding the economic downturn.

Hotel bills of around £20,000 for a 10-day stay for two are said to be commonplace while some small family groups are reported to have spent £100,000.

The Scotsman has learned of guests hiring a castle for £7,000 a night and shopping sprees lasting just half an hour have notched up the same bill. Two Russian guests were said to have hired out the Royal Yacht Britannia, in Leith.

Moscow is home to the world's second-largest concentration of billionaires after New York.

Denise Hill, head of international marketing of VisitScotland, said:"We are getting a lot of oligarchs visiting, for whom money is no object, as well as growing numbers on incentive trips through their businesses. Some groups will spend £20,000 on whiskies in a hotel without even thinking about it."

David Tobin, founder of Dream Escape, which provides tailor-made luxury holiday packages in Scotland, said many Russian clients arrived in their own private jets and travelled around Scotland by helicopter. "Many of them will own property in London and come up to Scotland on holiday when they are in the UK," he said. "They are used to spending several thousand pounds on hotel suites around the world, so they think nothing of spending the same on a private hire of a castle...I know of four guests popping into the House of Bruar in Perthshire for half an hour and spending around £7,000."

Dorothy Welsh, director of sales and marketing at Gleneagles, said: "A stay of 10 nights in one of our best suites is certainly not unusual and some guests will spend as much as £20,000 here."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Young people would be better off travelling the world than taking part in "spurious" overseas gap-year aid projects said Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

" Young people want to make a difference but they would be better off travelling and experiencing different cultures, rather than wasting time on projects that have no impact and can leave a big hole in their wallet." - Judith Brodie , Director of VSO

"voluntourism" often cost students thousands of pounds and did nothing to help developing countries. The gap-year industry catered for the needs of participants rather than those they claimed to help . VSO said projects offered to students taking a year off were often badly planned and could have a negative impact on participants and the communities they worked with.

"...we are increasingly concerned about the number of badly planned and supported schemes that are spurious - ultimately benefiting no one apart from the travel companies that organise them," said Judith Brodie.

In June, VSO warned "consumer-driven volunteer tourism" was jeopardising the charity's development work in countries most in need. People were increasingly approaching the organisation about volunteering "as if it was a holiday" .
And last year VSO said gap-year programmes risked becoming "outdated and colonial" by focusing on how UK youngsters could help poor communities, rather than what they could learn from them.