With five million Brits taking flight this festive season, research by Dubai Tourism into Britain’s holiday food habits exposes British travellers as reluctant tasters of foreign foods.
The study shows over half (59%) of holidaymakers either rarely or never sample local foods, with over a third (35%) admitting they actively seek out restaurant brands from home over local eateries.
Of cuisines from around the world, Brits are least likely to be found sampling Japanese food this Christmas with UK holidaymakers finding it the most daunting cuisine (18%). This is closely followed by food from the Middle East which 16% of Brits struggle to understand and enjoy. A further 35% of respondents confessed they would never try their destination’s food delicacies.
It seems Brits prefer to stay firmly in their comfort zone sunbathing by the pool rather than experiencing the local culture as 1 in 10 holidaymakers admit they’ll not take part in anything new when they go away.
The research showed that Brits cannot live without home comforts whilst on holiday as almost two thirds (65%) of Brits admit they visit familiar fast food chains such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC. Furthermore, almost half (48%) admit to spending time in British or Irish style pubs rather than spending time sampling drinks at local bars.
Paying over the odds
It seems us Brits are so reluctant to try local cuisine that we would rather knowingly pay through the nose for home comforts. Over a third (35%) of holidaymakers actively seek out restaurants they are familiar with from home, despite almost three quarters (74%) admitting local restaurants offer much better value for money.
Ian Scott, director UK and Ireland for Dubai Tourism, comments; “We understand it can feel overwhelming to try new food but it’s such a shame Brits are not branching out, as it means they’re missing out on delicious culinary delights, as well as experiencing interesting local culture. For the five million holidaymakers heading off this Christmas they should use this as the perfect opportunity to sample the different culinary sensations on offer in their destination.”
This Christmas, British holidaymakers are filling their suitcases not with bikinis and sun cream but instead are stockpiling foods from home with a quarter (25%) of holidaymakers admitting to taking their favourite food or drink abroad in case they can’t find what they like on holiday. First on the packing list for Brits as the number one item they can’t do without is the humble tea bag with over two thirds (67%) admitting to stowing tea bags in their suitcases. Other essential foodie items to be taken abroad include British chocolate (36%) and biscuits (32%), with 23% also taking condiments such as tomato ketchup and Marmite.
The Wary Welsh
Those living in Wales are the most cautious when it comes to experiencing new foods whilst abroad, taking the crown as the most unadventurous region in Britain. The North East and South East complete the top three spots when it comes to exposing us as a nation of cautious gastronomic holidaymakers.
Despite London’s well renowned eclectic cultural and gastronomic diversity, Londoners are surprisingly placed middle of the regional rankings, with East Anglia coming up top for being the most open minded and daring for trying delicious delicacies whilst taking a break away.
From the study, over half (51%) of Brits admitted they would be more adventurous if they could get advice on how to go about sampling local food safely and easily. With this in mind, Dubai Tourism has created the Foodie’s Guide to Dubai offering travellers the chance to explore some of the fantastic culinary experiences and recipes on offer in the emirate.
Scott continues: “We know it can be intimidating to branch out and experience new cuisine so to help nervous foodies, Dubai Tourism has created the ‘Foodie’s Guide to Dubai’ to help ease people into the destination’s fantastic foodie scene and show there’s nothing to fear apart from missing out on some of the world’s best gastronomic experiences. As we look ahead to 2012 – we want to make it holidaymakers’ New Year’s resolution to make 2012 the year they start trying and enjoying the gastronomic delights of their holiday destination.”