Tourists - a blessing or a curse? My tips for north Norfolk visitors
- Credit: denise Bradley
A couple of years ago, Berlin locals put out a handy set of tips to tourists, including advice such as 'don't walk in the bike lanes...' and 'at least try some German before going straight into English...'.
Berlin has been a victim of its own success. A vibrant, cosmopolitan city, overflowing with history and culture that has proven to be a magnet for visitors.
Now, insensitive tourists find themselves unwelcome in the German capital. Basically, people there are sick of rude visitors showing no regard for local customs, cultures, or even just displaying straightforward manners.
Ring any bells?
Here in north Norfolk, we might not have the giant boulevards and monuments of Berlin, but we have our own singular, spectacular natural beauty and charm.
Not to mention wonderful shops, pubs and an array of accommodation from cheap and cheerful, to storied and sophisticated.
It's made us a tourism hotspot, and in turn, our businesses have thrived when the crowds are in town.
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There is no doubt of the positive impact of tourism, and I do not wish to deter any visitor to the area, or take away any custom from local traders.
But we must also address the uglier side effects of tourism that we all see.
Traffic. Chaotic parking. Litter. Absent-minded queuing/walking/dawdling (that always seems to be right in your way...).
These problems are, of course, the price we all must pay to have our towns heaving in the summer months, and to allow businesses to get through the lean winter.
However, we can also do more to live in harmony.
For our part, we can maintain our good humour, and be polite and kind, even in the face of thoughtlessness. In the most part, we are amazing in that department.
In terms of our local authorities, they can supply proper parking, police the streets, and keep them clean. There's debate to be had around improvements in these areas, but in the most part, I think our local police and councils strike a good balance for what is an impossible job.
As such, I would like to offer my tips to tourists, in the hopes that some may read this and take them on board. They are also worth remembering when you go on your holidays, dear reader (to Berlin or anywhere else...).
Five tips for visitors to north Norfolk
- Cars are to be parked in parking spaces. This should not be a revelation. Verges, in front of driveways, down private lanes, and narrow tracks are all off limits - even if technically you won't get a ticket. If a homeowner can't get out of their driveway, or a pedestrian has to step into the road to avoid your car, you are in the wrong place. If you have to pay, that's just the way it is.
- Keep your head up. This isn't a plea to stay optimistic - literally, keep your head up. Watching people almost bump into each other on a busy day in Cromer is almost a spectator sport. Look where you are going and you will avoid having someone drop their ice cream on your shoes.
- Shhhh! We know you are on holiday and enjoying yourself, but after a certain time, the volume needs to drop. That means your 'amazing' drunken singing isn't welcome at 10pm when you walk past houses containing locals trying to get an early night. The same goes for your blaring car stereo.
- Be patient and polite. This goes for locals too, but hot days and queues can lead to ruffled tempers. You're on holiday - be friendly to the person serving you, and remember they are just doing their job.
- Pick up your litter. It's 2021 and we live in a civilised society. This should go without saying. And yet, some people feel that it is okay to drop everything from sweet wrappers to cigarettes on the floor. Do what you like in your own home, but when you visit us, put it in the bin. There are plenty around and if there isn't one, put the rubbish in your pocket until you see one. That goes for your dog's deposits too (just use a bag before putting that in your pocket).
- What would you add to my list? Write to us at email@example.com