UK

Tour Company Sparks Outrage After Taking Tourists To Photograph Grenfell Tower

'Go there to pay your respects - not to take photos.'

29/09/2017 11:34 BST
PA Wire/PA Images
Tourists were spotted taking photos outside the blacked remains of Grenfell Tower 

A tour company has sparked outrage among Londoners after it took a group of visitors to the charred remains of Grenfell Tower to take photos. 

Locals were left furious after the group were spotted taking snaps at the site, where around 80 people died in a huge fire in June. 

According to a witness, when questioned about the tourists’ actions, the coach driver claimed the group were “health and safety experts from China”. 

The tour company responsible for the visit has yet to be named. 

According to BM Coaches, which supplied the tour bus, the tour guide has now been sent back to China in disgrace, while the driver is facing disciplinary action. 

The coach company claims the stop was an unauthorised visit which was not included on the tour’s itinerary. 

The incident comes after nearby residents implored visitors not to take part in “grief tourism” by snapping selfies at the site of the tragedy

John Gregory, who noticed the tourists posing outside the tower, told The Times: “Surely there are enough photographs on the internet of the tower that they don’t have to come in busloads to take photos of it?”

According to the newspaper, another woman commented on Facebook: “I can’t understand the morbidity of wanting a photo. If you go there it’s to pay your respects and reflect on the tragedy, not to take photos.” 

In a statement, BM Coaches operations director James Buckingham said he wanted to “apologise most sincerely” on behalf of the company for the “insensitive actions of the group we were contracted to supply transportation to”, saying it was “completely against” the firm’s philosophy.

PA Wire/PA Images
Local residents implored visitors not to take part in 'grief tourism' 

“I have checked thoroughly through the itinerary provided by the tour company and this was an unauthorised visit and as such the company will take the strongest possible action against the driver concerned.

“The tour company concerned have apologised unreservedly for the actions of there guide and he is returning to China this evening.

“They also will be making a donation to the official Grenfell fund.” 

BM Coaches has yet to respond to HuffPost UK requests asking which fund the tour company will be donating to, or how much money will be given.