Travel News > November 2009 > Shame-face Brits admit they speak only English on holiday

Shame-face Brits admit they speak only English on holiday


Over half of Britons refuse or are unable to speak the local language when on holiday - and 12 per cent claim there's no point anyway as everyone speaks English.

While two-thirds of us admit to being embarrassed by our lack of local lingo, 16 per cent are quite happy to enter every restaurant, shop and hotel with the question Parlez-vous Anglais?""

According to new research by the travel website, almost half of respondents said locals had reacted negatively towards them because they hadn't made an effort to speak the local language.

Still, that doesn't stop us holidaying abroad as a mere four per cent said their ideal destination would be in an English-speaking country.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at said: Although the survey may appear to show Brits in a disappointing light, there are some encouraging signs that British holidaymakers want to make more of an effort when abroad but simply lack the confidence.

For those who do make the effort the result can prove invaluable when confirming travel plans or asking for directions.

The Welsh are the ones most likely to make an effort, according to travelsupermarket's survey, with 38 per cent saying they learn key phrases and some basics before going abroad.

Eighteen per cent of Londoners said they would take a phrase book and 11 per cent of holidaymakers based in the southwest said they would learn a little of the language before departing.

French is the most widely spoken language, with 27 per cent claiming to be able to hire a car and order a meal in France.

Get a Quote