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Press releases


20th Feb 2008


- Two thirds of Southerners say the North is 'Bleak and Unsophisticated'
- Half of Northerners dub the South 'Unfriendly, Arrogant and Snobbish'

The warfare between the whippet-walking Northerners and soft Southerners is thriving in today-s liberal culture according to a new report released today by Travelodge. Shocking findings have revealed almost three quarters of Britons (72%) are harbouring prejudiced views of their Northerly and Southerly neighbours, preventing them from exploring the UK beyond their own back yards.

Liverpool may be the 2008 European Capital of Culture yet a staggering 61% of Southerners will write off the North as being cold, bleak and unsophisticated. In addition to believing Jack Duckworth and Roy's Rolls are accurate representations of life in the North. Meanwhile, Northerners are succumbing to stereotypes of Chelsea socialites and 'Sloane Rangers', with over half claiming that Southerners are 'snobbish' (59%) and 'arrogant' (52%).

Travelodge conducted the study amongst 2000 British adults to investigate the prejudices and misconceptions that exist in today society towards holidaying on British shores.

Further findings revealed that a surprising 4.9 million Southerners (15%) have never visited the North at all, while 2.3 million Northerners - one in ten - have never ventured South in their entire lives*.

Listed below are some of the North v South prejudice research findings Britons are harbouring in today's liberal culture:

- Over half of respondents (59%) believe characters in soaps like Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders are most responsible for perceptions of life and people in the North and South
- Almost two thirds of Northerners (59%) take a broad view that Southerners are snobs, and just over half (51%) believe they are arrogant
- Almost one in three Northerners (30%) say they are given the cold shoulder in the South, claiming people are unfriendly and prejudiced towards those from the North
- Leeds may be dubbed the 'Knightsbridge of the North' but more than one in ten Southerners (13%) believe Northerners are unfashionable and lacking a sense of style - and two thirds (61%) are put off from venturing North because they believe it is 'bleak' and 'unsophisticated'
- Despite their 1980s connotations, 50% most readily associate the South with wide boys and pinstripe suited businessmen, while one in five Southerners (19%) most associate the North with mining villages and chip shops
- The Northern city most visited by Southerners is Manchester (30%), however, just 17% of Southerners have visited Newcastle, and only one in five visited Liverpool (22%). While three quarters of Northerners have travelled to London, less than one in five have visited Southern cities such as Brighton (15%), Cambridge (16%), Bristol (18%) and Bath (20%)

Guy Parsons, Chief Operating Officer, Travelodge, said, "The research shows a worrying trend towards parochialism and this seems largely down to Britons simply not having travelled far beyond their own region. Cheap air travel means we are travelling abroad more frequently than ever before - but at the cost of abandoning what's on our own doorsteps.

"In response to these findings Travelodge wants to 'Unite the Kingdom' by making a commitment of offering over two million rooms throughout 2008 for just 29 per night. We want to enable Brits to sample culture, life and people across the length and breadth of the country, and help overcome these out-dated social stereotypes."

Commenting on the findings and supporting Travelodge's aim to encourage Britons to discover more of what's on their own doorsteps, Tom Wright, Chief Executive of national tourism agency VisitBritain said: "This is a fascinating survey, not least because it illustrates a number of misconceptions that Brits have about their own country. Four-fifths of our 85 billion industry is generated by domestic tourism, which faces the challenges of increasing competition from destinations abroad that are ever more accessible to British travellers.

"British destinations have been revitalised in recent years and I'd urge everyone to take a short break or holiday at home."

Richard Sharpley, Professor of Tourism, University of Central Lancashire commented on the report and said: "Although the findings in the research are very broad generalisations of regional stereotypes, these distinctions, whether factual or perceptual, do exist. They are also undoubtedly amplified by the stereotypes portrayed in the media, particularly by TV soaps. However, these are differences that should be celebrated by Brits and I would urge people to travel further afield in the UK to enjoy them - Vive la difference!"

Notes to editors:
- Visuals to support the research findings are available on request
- Comments on the findings from VisitBritain and tourist boards in the North and South are available on request
- Research breakdown showing common prejudices and perceptions of Scotland and Wales is available
- The poll was conducted by Onepoll in January 2008 on behalf of Travelodge among 2,000 British adults
- *Northern population figures based on ONS statistics
-Total population for Northern regions (North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, Scotland): 19.2 million x 10% who have never travelled to the South = 2.3 million
-Total population for Southern regions (South East, South West, East, London, Wales): 32.8 million x 15% who have never travelled to the North = 4.9 million
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