Ha ha – not quite. But almost. Ran across this article today:

Bad Service and Grumpy Britons Put Tourism Jobs at Risk


So its not quite the case that the British people are so bad, they’re driving away tourists (though I know some Brit expats who seem to have been driven away themselves by dislike of their own countrymen) it’s that British service and tourist industry people are so bad they’re driving away tourists.

From the article:

In an interview with The Independent, Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, warned that 50,000 jobs could be lost this year as a result of the recession and poor service would be responsible for some of them. Indicating that the likes of Basil Fawlty were still patrolling some hotel check-in desks, Mr Rodrigues, who represents the tourism boards for England, Scotland and Wales, said some hotels were still blighted by grumpiness and a failure to offer basic services such as fresh soap.

“We’ve had a period in which people could get away with not being of the highest quality. We’re now in an environment where you have to do quality. Poor value for money and poor service costs jobs and will cost more jobs in a recession,” he said.

I can’t see the UK adopting and American-style obsession with customer service, and frankly wouldn’t wish them too, there’s something really neurotic about the ever-smiling waitresses asking you every 46 seconds if you’re ok and making obviously forced small chat. But yes, clean towels and fresh soap is always nice.