The backwaters of Kerala maintain their lurid greenness despite the overhanging grey, Soviet sky of monsoon season. They are deathly still, like a bath that has been run and then forgotten. Our boat - a sort of floating Family Robinson tree house - leaves little trace behind it as it ambles down river.
London is a city facing big challenges. Population growth is putting huge strain on our housing, transport and infrastructure. The increasingly globalised economy means that our businesses are no longer compete just with those in Birmingham or Manchester, but with firms in Shanghai, New York and Berlin. And most worryingly, rather that sharing in our city's successes, rising numbers of Londoners are being left behind, as inequality widens and poverty grows.
Few tourists are familiar with the name, but Ras Al Khaimah is being widely touted as the next Dubai. RAK, as it's known locally, is one of the "other" emirates, along with oil-rich Abu Dhabi, that make up the United Arab Emirates.Few tourists are familiar with the name, but Ras Al Khaimah is being widely touted as the next Dubai. RAK, as it's known locally, is one of the "other" emirates, along with oil-rich Abu Dhabi, that make up the United Arab Emirates.
There is an emerging trend on the horizon that is being cited at the fastest growing sector in the whole travel business. They call it "spiritual tourism" and it is starting to be taken very seriously by governments, state tourism authorities, even the United Nations agency responsible for global tourism - the UNWTO.
Theatre is not unfamiliar with playing understudy to football or shopping as a popular activity for tourists, but its appeal and contribution is strong regardless... More of our holiday visitors from overseas are going to the theatre, musicals, the opera or ballet (2.8 million) than to a live sporting event (1.3 million) across Britain.
A jolt of excitement ran through the house as it was announced that the butcher Ahmad Najjar had arrived. Ahmad was in the El Azba area of Barat, a village on the West Bank of Luxor, Egypt, to slaughter a sheep for twenty-two year old Mohammed Sakkar's family on Eid al-Adha, one of the most important Muslim festivals of the year...
Britain's built heritage is a huge asset and one of our major strengths as a tourism destination. Looking forward, we are capitalising on this forte by upping our promotional activity in key markets around the world, using images that highlight the drama of our castles and romantic appeal of historic houses.
A couple of weeks ago I was congratulated (yes, personally congratulated) on the birth of 'the new royal prince'. I wasn't sure at first how to respond. After all, I don't believe I put much personal effort into the affair, unlike the births of my own children. But I realised I was being congratulated as a citizen and subject and I managed a gracious 'thanks'.