British tourists ask embassies for help on restaurants,romance

Announcing plans to bolster the response by diplomats to emergencies in other countries,Hague disclosed details of the wild demands made to embassies by traveling Britons.

Written by Associated Press | London | Published:April 5, 2012 1:03 am

Troublesome tourists bombard British embassies with bizarre requests for help,seeking assistance booking restaurants,finding directions or making romantic advances toward locals,Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.

Announcing plans to bolster the response by diplomats to emergencies in other countries,Hague disclosed details of the wild demands made to embassies by traveling Britons.

A tourist in the US called diplomats last year after he discovered ants in his Florida rental home,while a visitor to Spain requested help finding a suitable spot for Christmas lunch.

“We are not the people to turn to if you can’t find your false teeth,if your sat nav is broken and you need directions … if you are looking for a dog-minder while you are on holiday,” Hague said,in a speech at Britain’s Foreign Office.

He said a visitor to Greece had requested assistance erecting a chicken coop,while an anxious Briton urged consular staff in Italy to throw a coin into Rome’s Trevi Fountain on his behalf,after forgetting to do so during a holiday. Tossing a coin into the waters apparently guarantees a swift return to the Eternal City.

“Our commitment to good relations with our neighbours does not,I am afraid,extend to translating ‘I love you’ into Hungarian,as we were asked to do by one love-struck British tourist,” Hague said. He warned that some tourists risked wasting “time and scarce resources with ludicrous requests.”

Hague announced plans to open a new crisis centre to enable Britain’s government to better handle emergencies overseas. Britain faced criticism during the Libya crisis last year over its chaotic attempts to evacuate UK citizens.

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