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If you are offered a sycophantic welcome next time you touch down in Tenerife, it could be explained by an official attempt to be nicer to visitors.
The Tenerife Tourism Corporation has launched a campaign including tips for locals, business owners and the tourism industry on how to be a “nicer person”.
Given that tourism is the main source of Tenerife’s income, the aim is to impress the five million tourists who visit the island each year, of which 1.5 million are British, and turn them into repeat visitors.
The campaign, “Tenerife Buena Gente,” which translates as “Tenerife Nice People” is encouraging locals to “go the extra mile and impress visitors with their innate kindness.” Ashotel, Tenerife’s Hotel Association, has also created specific courses for its staff and members.
Andrea Montgomery, Telegraph Travel’s Tenerife expert, writes in her destination guide that the weather is the main reason people head to Tenerife, “to enjoy almost guaranteed sunshine all year. Devoid of the prospect of civil unrest, family-friendly and just a four-hour flight away, it is consistently one of Britain’s top winter sun destinations.”
Tourists boards have often used the supposed friendliness of locals to attract visitors.
Tourism Australia, however, dropped a 2006 campaign that, after showing the country’s tourist attractions, finished with the slogan “So where the b****y hell are you?” The AUS $180 million (£99m) campaign was pulled and broadcast of the television version was banned by British regulators because of the use of a mild swear word.
Tourist boards’ attempts to lure more visitors have also attracted criticism. Earlier this year the Singapore Tourist Board removed from its Facebook page and Youtube channel a video whose aim was to lure more Filipino visitors, after it conceded the awful script and dreadful soundtrack “was not resonating well with audiences.”
Other campaigns have suffered from bad timing: a tourism campaign launched with posters bearing the message “Hong Kong will take your breath away” came shortly before an outbreak of SARS.