Barcelona is the city in which Britons are most likely to fall victim to pickpockets or holiday scams such as overcharging taxi drivers, new research has suggested.
A survey of 2,000 tourists placed the Catalonian city ahead of Paris, Rome and Amsterdam, while 80 per cent of those questioned said they believed Britons were deliberately targeted for potential scamming opportunities.
Barcelona has long been known as a hot spot for pickpockets, with tourists on Las Ramblas particularly susceptible.
In April Telegraph Travel reported on a growing problem with pickpockets in the French capital. Cash-carrying Chinese and Russian tourists at the Louvre were said to have been targeted by increasingly aggressive thieves, many of them children.
And in May four British tourists paid an extortionate £54 for ice creams in Rome. The incident prompted the city’s mayor to offer them a free holiday by way of apology.
This year the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau warned that British travellers are swindled out of £1.5 million each year, while research by Sainsbury’s Travel recently revealed that seven per cent of Britons who have travelled abroad in the past two years have suffered at the hands of conmen or thieves.
This week’s study estimated that Britons part with even more money thanks to travel scams – around £50 per trip – although its estimate took into account poor airport exchange rates and hotel Wi-Fi charges, among other things. When all of these other factors were taken into account, it suggested that Britons spend more than £6,000 unnecessarily during a lifetime of holidays.
”It’s great to get caught up in a new culture and experience the world from a new perspective, but sometimes that excitement or lack of local knowledge can make us more open to scams or paying too much for things,” said a spokesman for Generator Hostels, an accommodation booking site which commissioned the study.
Some of the most common scams it uncovered were taxi drivers taking detours on the way to a hotel, or insisting that their hotel was closed and offering to take them to another one, and locals encouraging tourist to take a photo and then attempting to charge them for it. Other respondents claimed to have had brushes with fake police or been tricked into buying counterfeit goods.
Top 10 cities where Britons experienced scams