Great Britain’s coast – huge jewels in our crown

Cornwall - with thanks to Andreas Øverland, http://www.andreasoverland.no/

Britain has spectacular coastlines, gentle downward gradients to the sea, crumbling coasts into the sea and phenomenally dangerous rocks waiting for the unfortunate and the foolish.  Our coastline is one of our jewels in the crown of this scepter’d isle And, in this glorious travel and tourism industry of ours, we actively encourage people to stay in the UK for their holidays and to visit our seaside towns and villages.

Beachy Head - with thanks to Simon Falvo http://www.wildabouttravel.com

Visit Britain is currently running an impressive international ad campaign to entice travellers in other countries to visit us. Great for us to show off how lucky we are to live in such a gorgeous place, on this wondrous planet of ours.

Land's End - with thanks to Bruna Zanelli http://www.brunazanelli.com

When I was young (many moons ago), we always went to the seaside in the school summer holidays.  And, as far as I can remember, we always had a fabulous time. Caravanning in East Runton, near Cromer, Norfolk; staying on a dairy farm in Seaton, South Devon; exploring along the Lincolnshire coast; going across to the Isle of Wight (I can remember writing England on my postcards ‘cos we had gone across the sea!) so many wonderful memories.

Land's End - with thanks to Walks Britain http://www.walksaroundbritain.co.uk

And when my children were young, we went to these wonderful places again, and many more, Tintagel to visit King Arthur’s castle and Merlin’s cave; St. Michael’s Mount to beat the tide back to the mainland; Lynton and Lynmouth to catch crabs and chase the waves; Hunstanton to run free with kites along the coloured cliffs; Cromer to walk along the planks of the pier and keep a watch for pirates, Happisburg to climb the red and white lighthouse for a better view of the sea pirates; so much fun, so much happiness and such wonderful places.

Exmouth Beach, thanks to Serena FitzGerald, Facebook

The wonder of social networks, is that people respond to questions and pleas for help that you post. I got these wonderful photographs through Facebook and Twitter. Lucky me, all the above were sent. A huge thank you. Co-incidentally, today is St. George’s Day and all these pics are of gorgeous places along the English coast.

Advertisements

The future of tourism #FUTourism

I have so many posts I want to get onto the blog, that it is diffficult to know where to start, so here goes. Recently I spent an evening at The Future of Tourism event, held at The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, Mayfair in London. The big bonus was that I sat next to Andy Jarosz of 501 Places fame. I have immense respect for Andy, he’s well versed in travel and tourism, writes extremely interesting and informative posts and, to top it all, is a very, very nice man!

“G Adventures invites you to join us at the Future of Tourism, an evening of lively discussion about the future of the travel industry and sustainable travel, with visionaries from across the tourism spectrum.  We’ll be exploring the future of travel and how sustainable tourism plays such a vital role in giving back to the places we visit.

RSVP to join us and enjoy a top line-up of speakers:  Bruce Poon Tip – Founder, G Adventures  :::  Richard Hammond – Chief Executive and Founder, Greentraveller  :::  Gary Arndt – Travel Blogger, Everything Everywhere  ::: Paula Vlamings – Associate Director, Planeterra

While there is no official charge for the event, we are suggesting a donation of £5 which will benefit the Planeterra Foundation. Founded by G Adventures, Planeterra is a non-profit foundation supporting social and environmental solutions in the destinations our travellers visit.
We look forward to seeing you there!   

The team at G Adventures”

The evening was introduced by the delightful Lyn Hughes, co-founder of Wanderlust. Hardly any seats were empty and the audience was in sparkling form.  Behind the presentation podium was a large screen showing the presentations, etc.  Either side of this was a smaller screen with live tweets being shown with the hashtag #futourism, or, as Lyn said, easier to remember if you say FU Tourism!

The tweet screens were well used during the evening and there were some very witty people attending and participating. They were very amusing and chuckles abounded, but sometimes to the detriment of the speakers as they could not see them and when they did look round, the screens were on the next tweet.

Richard Hammond was the first speaker on and, as one of the tweets said, ‘he didn’t mention TopGear once!’. Richard is the Chief Executive and Founder of award-winning website Greentraveller, the travel editor of GREEN magazine (distributed by The Guardian) and writer of the ‘Go Green’ column in National Geographic Traveller magazine.

Richard was an eloquent and very interesting speaker and was not distracted by tweets or chuckles once – a credible feat!  I’d not heard him before and learnt a lot, mainly from the passionate way he was speaking, I was definitely engaged!

Gary Ardnt spoke next. Gary is the creator of one of the most popular travel blogs in the world, everything-everywhere, and one of TIME’s “Top 25 Best Blogs of 2010”. He has been travelling the world since 2007. An amusing speaker, Gary has a wealth of travel experiences and stories to share and spoke about the joys or otherwise of communication whilst travelling. He ended his talk by saying ‘Travel is a right.’

And that is where I disagree entirely; I believe travel to be an absolute privilege. Travel as a right can be destructive- conscious travel, eco travel, local travel, is what we should all be doing.  There are some inspirational pioneers in this field, but that subject is for another post :-)  Suffice to say there is a very small number of countries that is virtually unspoilt. Bhutan is right up there in cherishing its place on our wondrous planet. Bhutan limits its tourist numbers and looks after every living thing.  The gross national happiness that the kingdom measures, is a clear indication that happy people are caring people, lucky country!

The third speaker was Paula Vlamings, Co-Executive Director, Planeterra. Through her work at the environmentally focused Institute at the Golden Gate, Paula became involved in sustainable tourism and the power tourism has as an economic development tool. At Planeterra, Paula works to create lasting benefits in the communities G Adventures travels to.  An admirable organisation, working with the local communities towards sustainable tourism.

The final speaker, and the finale, was the man himself, Bruce Poon Tip. A true pioneer in the travel and tourism industry and a confident & competent presenter. Bruce founded G Adventures in 1990 with the belief that other travellers would share his desire to experience authentic adventures in a responsible and sustainable manner. He was right, it’s grown from a one-man show to a company of over 1350 world wide.

The next event in the series is in Melbourne on the 18th April, it sold out ages ago!  G Adventures is to be applauded for these events and all that it does in the field of sustainable and responsible travel and tourism, long may the company carry on!

Happiness is a place ~ Bhutan

Taktsang

For as long as I can remember, the magical kingdom of Bhutan has been one of the countries I’ve most wanted to visit. One of the world’s leaders in the future of tourism, Anna Pollock, gave the opening keynote speech there last month at the PATA Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism Conference, Anna is the founder of ConsciousTravel and is very highly respected in the travel and tourism industry.  After the conference, she wrote a post entitled, Why Bhutan IS the First Conscious Travel Destination. One sentence stands out for me –

Pull not Push: the hallmark of a Conscious Travel Destination is its ability to attract the right customer – the visitor whose values match those of the host. Bhutan isn’t for everybody. Bhutan is for the visitor seeking a unique, and some would say, exotic experience of a vibrant culture expressed in a pristine setting.

Blue Poppy

At the World Travel Market (WTM) last year, Zoe Dawes (The QuirkyTraveller) and I were fortunate enough to talk to one of the tourism ministers and some of the tour operators on the Bhutanese stand. Both of us have Bhutan right up there at the top of our bucket lists! In fact, after WTM, Zoe was asked by First Choice to respond with her choice for ‘The End of the World Bucket List’ and, naturally, she chose Bhutan.

This Monday, representatives of the UN attended a high-level event in the UN General Assembly hosted by the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to look at the happiest countries in the world and discuss how to put happiness on the global agenda. It is all the rage at the moment, countries trying to measure happiness and not just economic growth. Bhutan has been doing this for nearly forty years now, when the grandfather of the current constitutional monarch, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, initiated the idea of an alternate model to gross national product as a measurement of national progress. How refreshing, how wonderful to be the country that started it all, that had the foresight and understanding to give birth to such a valuable concept.