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    Exceptionalism and Entitlement

    14th October Dominic Cummings must start to pay council tax on Durham lockdown bolthole Valuation Office Agency ruling also means family will escape 20 years of back taxes on the property. Dominic Cummings’ family must start to pay council tax on the bolthole he escaped to with his wife and child at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, a Government agency has ruled. However, they escaped nearly 20 years of back taxes on the property, on the family’s farm in Durham, which could have left them with a bill running to several thousand pounds. In June, Durham County Council found there had been “historical breaches” of planning and building control regulation…

  • Covid-19

    Never Again – clapping for the NHS is not enough

    The language of Never Again resonates – we should not have to mobilise to Save the NHS – that was only necessary because it has been underfunded and successive governments had failed to prepare for the pandemic – although a pandemic was at the top of the UK’s risk register.  Scientists in one group were surprised to be told that they would not be meeting at all during August despite the ongoing pandemic. From those critical seven days that were wasted before a clearly inevitable national lockdown was imposed in March – a delay that Prof Neil Ferguson, then on the Sage committee, estimates to have cost 20,000 lives – to the multimillion-pound…

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    I am so looking forward to this

    In the UK we have a fine tradition of gallows humour, defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as “jokes or humorous remarks that are made about unpleasant or worrying subjects such as death and illness.”   Spitting Image was a satirical puppet show which ran on UK television from February 1984 to February 1996.  It was adapted and adopted around the world. more  Dark humour suits the national mood as we go from one fiasco to another. The show ran through the later Thatcher years and the much of the John Major period engine a year before Tony Blair became the prime minister. # Now it is to return to BritBox, Britbox…

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    “Baobab” Plane Trees in Faversham

    There are four Plane Trees In Plane Tree Court against the churchyard of St Mary of Charity.  They have  bulbous distortions in the bark of their trunks. William Masters, the Victorian  nurseryman based in Canterbury,  included Platanus orientalis in his catalogues. The Natural History Museum  Identification Service advises that they are a clone of the London Plane (Platanus x hispanica), suffering from a viral infection. The common name is Baobab Plane. Details of the Canterbury trees are here The tree in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral has a plaque and is labelled as an “Oriental plane”. The plaque reads: “This tree was supplied in the 1820s by William Masters, a…

  • Charity,  Philanthropy

    Crisis: local people and wildlife dependent on tourism need your support

    The Covid-19 pandemic has closed international travel. In the source markets governments have been able to provide furlough funding for staff. As Justin Francis has pointed out on LinkedIn : Being dependent on the tourism industry for putting food on the table or sending your kids to school is very different to relying on it for your holiday. #Coronavirus will hit the poorest in tourism destinations hardest. And the poorest will be hardest hit as the governments close the airports to defend against importing Covid-19 and the the originating markets closed. These are the views of Justin Francis, Glynn O’Leary and Richard Vigne about why travellers, accommodation providers, operators and agents should…

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  • India,  Kerala

    Kerala, Responsibility and Covid-19

    Kerala has developed greater resilience in the wake of recent extensive flooding, and they were quick to bring Covid-19 under control. RT has been successful in Kerala in large part due to the strength of state and local government. Kerala has been identified as a model state in reducing the impact of Covid-19 They had a state control room mobilised by 26 January. Two Keralan students returning from Wuhan tested positive and on 30th January were put into isolation. “In order to “break the chain”, the government has been conducting rigorous “contact tracing”, or studying whom the infected person has been in contact with and then whom that person has…

  • Personal

    Covid-19, Resilience and keeping in touch

    Covid-19 is making it more difficult to keep in touch. Please forgive this “round robin” approach. I hope that you and your family and friends are staying safe as we watch this pandemic sweep across the world. When the postmortems begin to be done on the different ways the pandemic was handled in different countries we shall learn a great deal about what works and what doesn’t and about which government systems delivered the right decisions and  implemented the right practises in a sufficiently timely manner. Covid-19 will provide a score card. The first part of my year was very hectic with a long trip to India with visits to Village Ways in the foothills of the Himalayas and to Kerala…

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    Responsible Tourism at WTM Africa 2020

     We very much regret that Covid-19 has led to the cancellation of WTM Africa for 2020 The Awards will go ahead and the winners will be announced on April 6th. The presentations will be made on WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Day in 2021  Thank you for agreeing to speak in the RT programme at WTM Africa, we plan to have a very similar programme ay WTM Africa in 2021 – probably with additional panels on resilience.  On a  personal not I would add that I am extremely disappointed not to be visiting Africa in 2020 WTM Africa’s official announcement is below  Best regards Harold  Reed Exhibitions Africa has confirmed that Africa Travel Week, which comprises of World Travel Market Africa and…

  • Uncategorized

    Responsible Tourism at ATM

    It was way back in 1972 that the UN held the first conference drawing attention to man’s reliance on the natural environment and promoting the concept of Sustainable Development. Every 10 years, the world’s nations have come together and passed more resolutions, fine words followed by too little action. In 2006 the Stern Report costed the action that needed to be taken and clearly demonstrated that the longer we delayed action the more expensive it would be, and the more disruptive it would be of our economies and way of life. We delayed action and now face two crises widely seen as existential: climate change and the loss of biodiversity.…

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