At the end of the summer, I did something out of character. I went on holiday. Usually if I get time off I go and climb a mountain and come back more tired and haggard than I was before, but this was a proper break in Namibia. It gave me the unusual privilege of seeing the safari business from a tourist's perspective.
My half term holiday has taught me that refugees are people just like you and I, a simple fact often over looked. These people do not want to leave their communities; they are living in sub-human conditions and are coming to the UK in search of a humane, dignified life and to live without fear of death or persecution...
I started out feeling scared - of the foreboding mountainous landscape and the dark drive from the airport through it; of the inevitable street hassle one gets as a European walking past Egyptian shops. On my first trip I even had a panic attack because a guy offered me tea in the back of the shop and I suddenly had visions of him bundling me off in to the desert.
Pity the Greeks. Today as they commemorate their 'OHI' to Italy's fascist regime and their joining the Allies in World War II, instead of enjoying the traditional military parade as it snakes through the plateies festooned with white and blue ribbons and flags, they will be contemplating a far grimmer scenario...
When planning a trip, one of the first things that we usually do is make an itinerary of the museums to visit, the best beaches to stroll on, the historical sites that we want to discover or even a list of the shopping we intend to do. But an important part of the tourist experience is related to food and drink, including deciding where to eat out.
Tourism Conference in Madrid - featuredLast week I was invited to Madrid by the huge national Spanish Charity, Once. They are funded from the sales of lottery tickets, and run many projects for disabled people. Their staff and board of trustees are heavily represented by disabled people which I applaud.
As World Tourism Day approaches, yes there is a designated day a year to celebrate tourism! it might be the right time to consider the other side of tourism. Mass tourism, travel in general, and being mobile are often considered as a vehicle towards enlightenment, an educational experience, or as an activity which can 'open our minds'.
Gastronomy and pugilism. One, it seems, begets the other when you're standing outside the Rajadamnern Stadium in modern Bangkok, the beating heart of old Siam. You drink a glass of pennywort and hand over your baht. You sidestep to the next stall and buy some glutinous rice and pork cooked in banana leaves. Then your mind begins to drift.
The death of Cecil the lion has caused global public outrage, the like of which has never been seen before. On World Lion Day it is also important to remember the many thousands of lions whose welfare, and perhaps very existence, remain under threat from the unethical tourism taking place in Africa today.
Those criticising the FCO need to think about this first attack and maybe even change their discourse. Whilst I am sure Tunisia will find the coming year financially difficult, I am less sure that the help they need would ever arrive with its bags packed of suntan lotion, swimming costumes and flip flops.