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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 08 2015 – Long before I arrive in Haiti I get a sense of what the name itself conjures up. There are no direct flights from the UK, so I’ve flown in via the Dominican Republic, Haiti’s conjoined twin on the island of Hispaniola. Kevin Rushby 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 2015 – Can the travel industry have an impact on saving Asia Pacific’s shark population from extinction? Dr. Andy Cornish, shark & ray initiative leader at WWF International, draws the connection between tourism and marine conservation. PATA Conversations Read more.

November 02 2015 – What can one do, except feel powerless and fume and wonder what is wrong with some people? And find another dentist besides Walter Palmer in Minneapolis? Palmer, of course, wounded Cecil, leaving him to suffer in death throes for 40 hours before killing him with a rifle shot. Michael Markarian Read more.

November 03 2015 – As always, the annual reopening of the Icehotel is a big deal. Each winter, visionary Swedish entrepreneur Yngve Bergqvist’s nippy and never-the-same hostelry reemerges from the frozen tundra more than 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle in a completely unique form. Matt Hickman 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.

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November 2015 – The economic benefits of travel can be tremendous, but what about the environmental impact? Chloë Harvey, a marine biologist and international coordinator of Green Fins at The Reef-World Foundation, explains why the diving industry could be the key to many ecotourism solutions. PATA ConversationsRead 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.