According to Andrew Roberts, our leading conservative historian, the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury did not think so. In his magisterial biography of the great man he says after writing of the Cecil family's holiday home in France:

Salisbury was never a believer in tourism per se, perversely thinking that 'the more the faciliteis of travelling bring the two nations into contact the less goodwill is likely to be generated'. Other than the occasional visit to a Swiss spa town for his health, and one diplomatic mission to Constantinople, he never travelled beyond France, Germany and Italy in the last fifty years of his life.
This raises a few questions. Firstly, is that opinion really perverse? We generally assume that if people go from their own to other countries a lot then there will be more friendly feeling between all these countries and peoples. Is that really so? Do we or anybody else feel particularly well-disposed towards hordes of tourists? Do people who endlessly travel round, boasting of the number of places they have been to, know anything of those places or leave happy memories behind them whatever they may carry away?

Secondly, one can't help comparing Salisbury's attitude to the modern insistence that political leaders should always be visiting different countries for vaguely defined puposes. As it happens the young Lord Robert Gascoyne-Cecil had travelled to various parts of the world, such as Australia and did not carry away particularly good impressions. Clearly, he did not consider that it was in any way necessary for the Secretary for India, the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister to visit many other countries though Britain at the time was undoubtedly a world power or, even the world power. Did this attitude and behaviour in any way prevent him from carrying out his tasks well? Can we honestly say that his much-travelled successors are better at their jobs than he was?


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