– complete with the usual BBC celebs partaking of their own paid jaunts, at licence payers expense, natch (but “it’s such hard work”, as they never fail to point out when interviewed!).
Yesterday’s programme featured the various attractions of holidaying in Muscat, the capital of Oman – enticing and fascinating it was indeed – “fabled home of Sinbad the sailor and the Queen of Sheba, and a place where bottled water costs more than petrol”. Apart from the fact that the UK, in common with Oman (and many other lands), is also “a place where bottled water costs more than petrol”, the BBC omitted to mention that, whilst safer than the likes of Iraq or neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Oman is nonetheless a country where the UK Foreign Office advises caution on the part of British and western visitors, including:
- “There is a high threat from terrorism against western, including British, interests. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets, as they have been elsewhere in the region”;
- “You should review your security arrangements carefully. You should remain vigilant, particularly in public places”;
- “Small-scale demonstrations took place in April 2003, but were carefully controlled by the authorities, and there was no damage to people or property. You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations”;
- “In public, general modesty of behaviour and dress is expected. Women who wear shorts or tight-fitting clothes, in particular in downtown areas, are likely to attract unwelcome attention. There have been some reported cases of sexual harassment”;
This last one in particular wasn’t much heeded by the programme’s winsome presenter. Come on BBC, it wouldn’t have taken much to suggest that your customers at least check out the FCO’s advice before visiting a potentially volatile area would it? Even the BBC web page about the Oman jaunt, whilst helpfully asking “If you liked Oman, why not try Dubai?”, omits to mention the FCO or even provide a link to their Oman page!
Whilst we’re on the subject of the Holiday programme, the show also featured northern Cyprus – which, we are informed, “has been a divided island since 1974”. Time is spared for a ‘two-way’ with a ‘political analyst’ who informs us about the ‘green line’ and ‘UN troops’ and how “the military presence is more of a relic and has no real effect on its growing tourism”.
That’s as may be, and northern Cyprus does appear enchanting, but, amidst all this ‘political analysis’, would it have taken much to mention what the historical event that divided the island in 1974 actually was? Or would that be outwith the BBC’s mission to entertain, educate and inform?
And hey, let’s be careful out there folks!