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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 01 2015 – A group of refugees in Berlin have banded together to map key resources across the city, including counseling, healthcare, German language lessons, accommodation, legal assistance, police and public transport facilities. Jeremy Smith Read more.

Nohbo, a water soluble ball containing shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, is in the final stages of development and is anticipating a launch to major hotel chains.

Founded by a Florida-based 16-year-old entrepreneur named Benjamin Stern, the Nohbo ball can help the hospitality industry significantly reduce the millions of plastic bottled amenities that fill landfills when not recycled. Steven William Read more.

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October 13 2015 – The film ‘Giving Hope to Survivors of Human Trafficking – a short film by YCI’ tells the stories of survivors who are graduating from a six month training programme in hotels around the world, and are embarking on new careers and more promising futures. Siobhan O’Neill Read more.

 

October 15 2015 – The government has pitched the idea of developing the organic village scheme in a move to strengthen local communities and farmers.

The scheme, organised through a partnership with the Organic Agriculture Association of Thailand, will launch in five provinces: Chiang Mai, Surin, Lampang, Phetchabun and Nakhon Pathom. PHUSADEE ARUNMAS Read more.

 

 

October 11 2015 – On the slopes of Mount Meru in northern Tanzania, Fatima Faraji welcomes guests to her 20-acre coffee plantation, where she harvests only the fullest cherry-red arabica berries. Hand-picked by a team of experienced women, the coffee is pulped and processed on site the same day. Hilary Tagg Read more.

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September 3 2015 – The hotel industry will be able to compare energy and water use, as well as carbon footprint, using a new tool from the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research (CHR).

Developed by researchers Howard Chong and Eric Ricaurte, the Hotel Sustainability Tool 2015 is available from the CHR at no charge. Environmental Leader Read more. 

 

October 6 2015 – Ly Man May is busy plucking a chicken. In the pot it goes, boiled whole, bones intact. In 20 minutes lunch will be served: rice, vegetables, chicken, and of course, homemade rice wine.

For breakfast, however, May made pancakes to suit the Western palate. Esha Chhabra Read more.

 

October 05 2015 – Do you know the difference between ecotourism, sustainable travel, responsible travel and volunteer vacationing? While there is a lot of overlap with each of these terms, they all have one common theme – that is to improve lives through travel and tourism. Sucheta Rawal Read more.