Do punters give a toss about responsible tourism?

‘Responsible tourism? Oh please. Does that mean not dropping your litter as you walk through the rainforest?’ was the scathing reaction of a colleague when I told her that I was taking on an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management over a decade ago. I tried somewhat pathetically to defend my tiny corner. Then, a few years later, an award-winning travel writer said loudly in my direction at the ABTA convention,”I am so tired all of this f***king eco shit” which was met with a round of back patting and communal cackling from his peers. By then, I had learned to smile politely and walk on. But oh, how they laughed.

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Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Northern Ireland

Words fail me right now as I visit the newly opened Seamus Heaney Homeplace in his homeland of Bellaghy, Northern Ireland. A moving experience that captures not only the great Irish poet’s work, but also his extraordinary life as a family man. Here is his daughter, Catherine Heaney, talking about how she feels about its opening, the details of which were run by the family meticulously and with great sensitivity. And it shows. If you love poetry, and Heaney, don’t come to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland without coming here.

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Watching Jersey grow, the green way

I smiled at the irony of a man in a Panama hat, accompanied by a woman swathed in silk scarves, stopping their convertible vintage sports car to give way to our Number 1 bus as it left Liberation Station in St. Helier. I was taking the green way across Jersey,  travelling by bus, bike and boot power,  not only to discover its eco-friendliness, but also to allow myself a holiday where I truly slowed down. Some might say this is also a vintage approach to travelling, but  with the emphasis on green rather than glam in my case.

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HF Holidays – fine fellows celebrate a hundred years of outdoor holidays

Long before the words ethical or eco started creeping into the tourism industry’s boardrooms, there was one man who was quietly laying the foundations of fairness in travel. Thomas Arthur Leonard (or TA as he was known) founded HF Holidays in the UK a hundred years ago and it is still one of the leading providers of walking holidays in the UK and Europe. Although TA’s achievements have been relatively uncelebrated to date, the centenary of an organisation which still remains the only UK holiday provider that is a truly co-operative society, gives us a good opportunity to take stock of this pioneering philanthropist’s achievements.

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