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    Rachel’s volunteering experience in Nepal was bad, very bad.

    It takes a rare kind of honesty to admit even to one’s closest friends that you did not enjoy a trip intended to change your life. Rachel has had the guts to say it and to write about it on her blog. I admire her for it. Few are able to write with such honesty. I am full of admiration. I don’t know Rachelrtw. She describes herself in the third person “Rachel is a twenty-something travel blogger in waiting, reminiscing about old adventures while saving up for new ones. She is also faintly uncomfortable with writing about herself in the third person.” Rachel’s volunteering experience in Nepal was bad, very…

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    The British government is paying for unqualified teenagers to travel the world?

    There is a report in today's Daily Telegraph, by Andrew Gilligan, that the Department for International Development  has committed almost ?9 million to send 1,250 British teenagers and young people overseas for ?projects of development value?. But from internal DFID evaluations seen by The Sunday Telegraph, the main beneficiaries of Cameron's flagship International Citizen Service appear to be the British youngsters themselves, rather than the people of the developing world. This is the kind of thing that gets gap years and volunteering abroad a bad name: “The day was spent swimming, sunbathing and eating? As the sun set over the sea, we headed back to San Salvador for a pizza,?…

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    Ten Years of ASSET

    In The Gambia to teach the Managing Tourism and Conservation in Protected Areas module of our ICRT Masters in Responsible Tourism Management course at the University of The Gambia for our Gambian cohort of students I was asked by the Board of ASSET to lead their review of the last three years and to help them to develop their strategy for the next three years. It is the third strategic reviews which I have chaired for ASSET and a privilege. ASSET is the home of Responsible Tourism in The Gambia, it has been advocating and demonstrating the importance of Responsible Tourism principles since 2000 when it emerged from a workshop…

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    Master Class in Responsible Tourism in The Gambia

    It is just over 10 years since Adama Bah invited me to The Gambia for the workshop he had organised at the Bungalow Beach Hotel to find a way forward for the informal sector in a period when the conflict between the taxi drivers and guides, the craft sellers and the juice pressers was boiling over. The conference in October 1999 resulted in the development of ASSET (the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism) and the DFID funded project which resulted in significant increases in living standards for many of the economically poor producers who are now part of ASSET, a trade association for small producers which has representation…

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    Pushing at the Boundaries – Save Valley Conservancy

    I met Clive Stockil in 1995 when I was in Zimbabwe for the Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Development research project which I was leading for ODA/DFID. Clive was, and is, the driving force behind the Save Valley Conservancy in the lowveld. A former commercial hunter Clive was the driving force behind the creation of the Save Valley Conservancy  3,200 km2 it is the largest private game conservancy in the world, formed from the merger of 24 former cattle ranches. Clive Stockil has always been a radical thinker about conservation ? see for example his advocacy of Conservation through Commerce  in 1998.   In recent years the conservancy has come under…

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    A Reflection from The Gambia

    In The Gambia as part of an ICRT Leeds Met Africa initiative with our West Africa sister organisation ICRT-WA for a series of workshops with ASSET, the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism, the Gambian Tourism Authority and the Kartong Association for Responsible Tourism – it is now a rare privilege to work at the village level. The ICRT has two alumni completing their Masters from The Gambia and a marketing officer planning to start at Leeds Met in September; and we have one of our centenary PhD students, Louise Dixey, researching ASSET. It is an active and enriching partnership.  The partnership began with an encounter with Adama Bah…

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