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As predicted earlier, the buzzword “du jour” in tourism is fast becoming transformation. Its predecessor, sustainability, has through over and mis-use become meaningless and ineffective lacking the capacity to lift hearts, inspire hope and, ironically, sustain action. I am delighted but also very concerned.. Here’s why.

New buzzwords are favoured by a sector that, by its very nature, has to focus on quick fixes to short-term problems and thrives on novelty. Tourism is a phenomenon run by marketers and there is a good reason for that. Its suppliers sell dreams and fulfill fantasies. The customer cannot experience the “product” prior to its consumption. Hosts must defy gravity and inertia to lift their customers from their armchairs to a place far from home by stimulating desire and imagination. Hosts must paint pictures that trigger a desire strong enough to generate a “click,” then a booking and sustain interest and enthusiasm through the rigours and unpleasantries of passage to the source of the anticipated experience.

In my forty-four year career, I have observed first-hand how marketers have progressed from one promise to another as their customers became more sophisticated in their needs and demands. While I like to look forward, sometimes an understanding of context and history can be helpful.

Read the full article here.

 

By Anna Pollock from Conscious Travel

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Backpacker, Go Home

One billion tourists now roam the planet—and the world’s most pristine spots are showing the strain. In the new film ‘Gringo Trails,’ the consequences of unchecked global wanderlust.
Twenty years ago, when I first visited the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, it was already one of Mexico’s most popular attractions. No Senor Frogs? By Lewis BealeRead more..

More and more travelers are heading for cities that promote environmentally friendly transport, renewable energy, and restaurants that serve food from sustainable sources. We take you to Hamburg, Neumarkt, and Freiburg. DW Read more.

Drought-hit central western Queensland communities look to build resilient future

November 24 2015 – Despite unprecedented drought across a vast area of outback Queensland, a group of local councils has embarked on a long-term planning project aimed at building resilient communities to withstand future dry times and economic challenges. Chrissy Arthur Read more.

Panamanian Jungle

It’s 10 am on a Tuesday in the Tres Brazos jungle, a jagged two-hour trek outside Panama City, where a handful of American twentysomethings have been awake and working since sunrise.

Aaron Prairie leads a group of biology students on a nature hike, using a machete to hack his way through an overgrown trail. Max Cooper cuts long strips of plywood with an electric saw powered by a solar generator, the beginnings of an open-air thatch hut he’ll eventually build by hand.

Jake Cardoza is on his hands and knees in the adjacent permaculture farm, planting a baby banana tree. A few yards away in the kitchen, also fashioned as an open-air thatch hut, Brigitte Desvaux chops onions. Later, she’ll saute them for dinner along with with fresh katuk, a tropical green with a nutty taste, harvested from the farm that morning. By Carly Schwartz. Read more.

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Can a Trip Ever Be ‘Authentic’?

Indonesian tourists pose in front of members of the Stone Age Dani tribe in West Papua, New Guinea. The tribe maintains many of its costumes and traditions — and charges visitors for the honor of observing them. Credit Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

In a globalized age — when a McAloo Tikki is just as Indian as the Taj Mahal — has the very word lost its meaning?

I once spent an unforgettable day in the traveler’s treasure-house that is Sana’a, capital of Yemen. Stained-glass windows glittered from thickets of high tower-houses as night began to fall, and khat-chewing men with daggers at their sides haggled furiously in the Salt Market. Clay walls surrounded one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on the planet, where groups of turbaned shopkeepers headed toward 1,400-year-old mosques as the call to prayer echoed through the dusk. It wasn’t hard to feel, amid the dusty lanes of a large section of town that’s now a Unesco World Heritage Site, that nothing had changed since the Prophet’s time; here, I decided, was the Old World, all slowness and prayer and tribal custom, in stark opposition to the fast-forward, hyperconnected, young society I know in California. By Pico Iyer. Read more.

 

November 05 2015 – The incomparable Transcaucasian Trail, a hiking route across the Caucasus Mountains from the Black Sea to the Caspian, was launched on Responsible Travel Day of the World Travel Market. Katie Ruth Davies Read more.

 

November 02 2015 – The Indonesian government wants to reclaim land in Benoa Bay to develop international tourism. Locals say it will destroy their villages and way of life, forcing fishermen to give up their livelihoods and instead become souvenir sellers. Jeremy Smith Read more.

November 03 2015 – “Hold it.” Hasri’s upheld hand tells us. He takes two soundless steps on the dried leaves of the lowland Borneo rainforest and listens. We pause for the strange sound to repeat itself among the jungle cicadas and morning calls of birds. David McGuire Read more.

November 02 2015 – “Pain?” asks Jorge Molina, my hiking guide. Yes, there is a little pain, but it’s too late for cold feet. Or, more accurately, it’s too late not to get cold feet, because we’re already shin-deep in a swift icy river. Graeme Greene Read more.