MUNICIPAL police in Bratislava will start to learn English from August 15. The courses will focus on special vocabulary that should help the police, as they attempt to prevent hooliganism, with their communications with British and other foreign tourists. Young tourists who are coming to Bratislava for their stagparties and are here only because of cheap beer prices, are the most frequent troublemakers in the city.
The British Ambassador Judith Anne MacGregor and the Mayor of the Bratislava Old Town, Peter Čiernik, agreed that the British Embassy in Slovakia would pay for the language courses, the daily SME wrote.
Leaflets informing tourists of activities that qualify as crimes in Slovakia and the penalties that can be imposed for hooliganism will also be listed. These leaflets will be available on airplanes as well as in bars and hotels around Bratislava.
"We are for the prevention [of crimes]. It is better than solving already existing situations," MacGregor told SME. According to the Ambassador, the hooligans are a minority of British tourists. The majority of tourists are visitors who are most interested in the history of Bratislava or the many tourist attractions the city has to offer.
Since July, state and municipal police patrols that guard the public order on the streets of the Old Town in Bratislava has been strengthened. The regional government administration decided to adopt these measures after a group of English speaking tourists broke the arm and knocked down a well-known Bratislava statue Schöner Náci at the end of May. According to Mayor Čiernik, the tour operators and organisers of these parties are also willing to cooperate with the embassy and the police in curtailing the instances of hooliganism.
Jana Kozubová, the head of the tourism department in Bratislava city, added that the behaviour of the British stagparties tourists in Bratislava is unpleasant for the restaurants and the city however it is not possible to eliminate it altogether. "This kind of damage can be done by a domestic guest or a local inhabitant as well."
Michaela Grančičová, director of Hotel Dukla in Bratislava, thinks it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the fine line between a tourist who we want to have in a hotel and a tourist who brings more losses than profits.
"A concrete example is the British tourists who mainly come during the weekend period, occupy almost all the hotels in Bratislava, including the most expensive ones but their behaviour is not in line with good manners.
"Additionally, it is always negative when a distinguished manager or a businessman, who is a regular guest and knows the hotel as a decent place with a high quality level, observe these [unruly] tourists or they have a chance meeting in the hotel lounge. I think that currently all the Bratislava hotels have problems with such tourists and are trying to decrease their numbers as much as they are able or they accommodate them only under certain conditions or in some cases they do not accommodate them at all," Grančičová told The Slovak Spectator.
Last year, about 60,000 British tourists came to Bratislava to have their stagparties here.
- Marta Ďurianová