While enjoying exotic locales and luxury hotels, I learn a lot about the countries I’m in, the people working in the tourism industry and the people living in the middle of tourist destinations.
From the traveller’s perspective, tourism is usually about happy vacations, and I contribute to that by providing advice and stories about cool things to see, eat and do, and lovely places to stay.
But tourism is one of the most important industries in the world, particularly for many developing countries, and is critical to helping them become prosperous nations with citizens who thrive.
Linking my new life of travel with my previous life as a policy executive with the Government of Canada, I sometimes write about responsible tourism and I provide advice to tourism commissions and partners in the tourism industry about how to enhance tourism, for example how to enhance their destination’s appeal to western travellers and by advising westerners on how to travel without damaging a local economy and culture.
Tourism commissions and travel partners: please contact me at TravelEater [at] gmail.com to discuss how I can help.
My responsible tourism-related articles:
- How to travel respectfully in a Buddhist country.
- The respectful tourist’s guide to Tak Bat, the Buddhist alms-giving ceremony.
- On behalf of all tourists, I apologize Luang Prabang.
- Need to know — the culture of Bali (for LuxuryAndBoutiqueHotels.com).
- Shopping sustainability — how you spend your money can make a big difference.
- Giving back — when westerns travel to developing countries, it reminds us how lucky we are to live in strong economies with strong democracies, and prompts us to want to give back. There are many ways to to this. However, there are more ways to cause damage than good.
- Promoting literacy is a great way to give back when you travel. Ideally you will buy books at your destination (to ensure you get them in the language of need / education and to support the local economy). Please don’t mail books, though — the cost of postage alone would buy so much more if just donated in cash to the library or school you wish to support, and that way educators can select books based on their highest needs. The Medina Children’s Library in Fès, Morocco needs books in Arabic as well as cash donations to help pay for librarian salaries and rent. For more info, scroll down in this article I wrote about dining and other things to do in Fès (for LuxuryAndBoutiqueHotels.com)
- Human trafficking: as westerners, we rarely have cause to think about human trafficking, but many people in the world aren’t so lucky. Read more about The Human, Earth Project, the story of M and the documentary film Sisters for Sale.
- Forthcoming article on the most inspiring monk you could ever imagine (for Silkwinds, the in-flight magazine for SilkAir, May 2016).
- Forthcoming article related to giving back in Southeast Asia (for Silkwinds, 2016).
I also occasionally dip a toe back into my old life of public service, aiming to help Canada become an even better place. Here’s an op-ed I wrote for the daily newspaper of Canada’s capital city, The Ottawa Citizen. It’s about the state of my old employer, the Public Service of Canada, and its lack of readiness to take on the challenges of the new Justin Trudeau government, elected October 2015: Trudeau is ready, but the public service isn’t (online version). Print version published October 31, 2015.