Official spin from the World Travel Market: “Hot Seat: Writer Leo Hickman talks to Stephen Sackur following the release of his controversial new book The Final Call.”
Some background: this is the first year that those not attending the London-based World Travel Market could see some of the happenings in real-time and I was particularly pleased to see a conversation with Leo Hickman, a UK journalist with whom I’ve been in contact for many years.
So I tuned into the live webcast delivered via Facebook.com and watched the hour-long conversation that covered a wide range of topics: golf courses, all-inclusives, trickle-down benefits. #Buzzwordbingo players, have a listen!
In this conversation, Leo comes across as the sane and sensible voice, capable of examining travel’s pros and cons, particularly the impacts on local communities. This warts and all examination is a welcome addition to travel events and WTM deserves special kudos for creating an atmosphere welcoming substantive debate and discussion. Let’s call this a benchmark and ask that other trade events match this effort in bringing critical voices to the forefront of such gatherings.
Reflecting … I found it a bit odd for BBC’s Stephen_Sackur to call Leo’s a ‘lone voice’ … odder still that the WTM event talked up the ‘release’ of the book four years after publication. Leo’s voice is not alone in critiquing the abuses of the tourism sector, but rarely are these problems communicated by travel journalists. He (and later Cathy Mack) point out that one of the culprits is travel journalism. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. We need to focus some attention on the story of how we generate the stories about travel.
The only portion in which the ‘hot seat’ delivered a searing question was at the very end when Stephen asked if the WTTC and UNWTO were useless. Leo’s response was on the mark.
The conversation ends with Q&A, including cringe-worthy expositions from the audience that weren’t questions. Cathy Mack wins points for being the first to ask a question, something one enjoys in a Q&A session.
Kudos to Greentravelguides.tv for putting this online www.greentravelguides.tv/news/leo_hickman_interview_at_wt…
If there’s a video on YouTube, let me know so I can embed this properly.