UK stag-do hotspot slammed for reminding adults in guide ‘to not wee in public’

A UK city visitors' guide has been slammed for reminding adults not to urinate in public.

Visit York has come under fire for its tips for large groups of holidaymakers, including checking whether hotels can accommodate large bookings and that York is a "family destination".

"York city centre has been attracting visitors since Roman times. As a city, we are proud of how safe and welcoming our city is to those who live, work, study and visit here, in the day as well as in the evening and night-time," the guide reads before reeling off bullet-pointed advice for groups visiting Yorkshire's capital.

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"Use your venue’s loos but check where the public toilets are and their opening times. City of York Council prosecutes people who urinate in public," read one.

The advice continued: "Check your preferred hotel accepts groups. Some prefer to welcome a limited number, so check with the hotel itself well ahead – especially if you’re planning to book through a booking website.

"Check your favourite bar will let in your size of group and will let you book ahead. Check its dress code in advance – they are often published on the establishment's web page – to help ensure you’re let in.

"Remember that bars and pubs in the city sit alongside family attractions and people’s homes."

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But the tips were slammed as "pointless" by critics, including stag and hen firm Last Night of Freedom founder Matt Mavir, who said advice on navigating the city was already readily available.

"Be it a guide like ours, or a website like TripAdvisor, there are plenty of places to get that information," he said.

"As well-intentioned as it might be, I’m not sure that creating this council guide will add much to what’s already out there."

York is a popular destination for visitors, drawing in 8.4m visitors annually according to Make It York.

The city is also a popular spot for stag and hen dos and is Last Night of Freedom's sixth-most popular destination.

Manvir estimates the parties bring between £5-10m into York's economy each year, with the number only set to increase.

"We take more bookings there than Barcelona, Budapest, Amsterdam – everywhere outside the UK bar Dublin. In the space of a few years, it has well and truly cemented itself as one of Europe’s hen party capitals," he said.

But stag and hen dos can be divisive, with many in the city calling for tighter rules around the pre-wedding celebrations, with York MP Rachael Maskell recently proposing "stag and hen do zones" to keep them away from the city centre.

Another historic UK party town, Edinburgh, recently proposed a similar policy and the council even voted to ban adult entertainment venues, such as strip clubs, from the city's famous Old Town in a bid to deter stag and hen parties from visiting.

Edinburgh Old Town Association (EOTA) member Eric Drake told the Edinburgh Evening News : "Without wanting to sound snobbish, some types of tourist are better for the city."

But Mavir says the city's economy would be in jeopardy if the EOTA's proposals are put into action.

“We estimate stags and hens alone are easily worth tens of millions of pounds to Edinburgh’s economy each year," he added.

"To even suggest they won’t be welcome will just push them into the arms of a city that will gladly accept what they bring.

“And this cold front from officials, in which they are effectively calling people visiting for a night out a ‘second class tourist’, undoes the decades of good work Edinburgh’s done over the years to attract people from every background and it merely paints it as a city where you’re only welcome if your face fits.”

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