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 – inspiring examples of Responsible Tourism in action. I spent a week in Malta learning just how acute the aviation agenda is becoming and frustrated by the continued reliance on the  sticking plaster of carbon offsetting. All my travel for the remainder of the year is cancelled. **  WTM London is still expected to take place 2-4 November.

On 12th March I woke with a temperature and the telltale dry hacking cough. I have been in self-isolation ever since. No tests are available in the UK to determine whether or not you have had the virus, so whilst I am 99.9% sure that I have had it, I can not be 100% sure, nor can I prove it. I am now in recovery and for the first time today (25th) enjoying a cup of coffee. That’s 14 days in isolation. As many of you know despite being together for 34 years Kate and I continue to live in different houses, self-isolated, apart. Kate is fine and has been delivering food parcels. Kate’s family are also fine as is my sister.  I expect to remain infectious until the end of March but will work to catch up on email.

Covid-19 is an urgent challenge and different states are dealing with it more or less successfully  It is important that we don’t lose sight of the two  other existential challenges confronting us: climate change and biodiversity loss. With COP 26 due to take place in Scotland in November it is time to redouble our effort on decarbonisation.

The 2020 Africa Responsible Tourism  Awards will be announced on April 6th as they would have been on WTM Africa’s Responsible Tourism day. The World Awards categories will be announced on April 30th and close on July 31st. In these difficult times we must continue to recognise and celebrate those taking responsibility and using tourism to make better places for people to live in. If you have suggestions for categories for the 2020 World RT Awards please do send them in.

Similarly if you see examples of businesses or destinations using tourism to address the challenge of Covid-19 please do email them to me. I have blogged on Covid-19 and resilience 

 “These are tough times for communities around the world, in the midst of a public health emergency. Our sector should recognise the primacy of the risk to life, think about what we can do to help, avoid making the situation worse and avoid special pleading.”

In Faversham we have had to close the Faversham Society, governance is continued through online meetings as is our campaign against dirty solar. This is now a national issue – the proposed batteries are very dangerous. Please consider supporting us and signing the petition – details  of our campaign are here.

This a time to put health, family, friends and community at the top of our agendas. But we must too begin to think about how we tackle those important major issues which will return to the fore post this pandemic. Will we have understood the importance of government and the public sector and why everything cannot be left to the consumer and the market? We are citizens as well as consumers.

Years ago when I worked in the voluntary adult education sector in the UK, before it was destroyed by government cuts, the Chair of the Folkestone Branch, old enough to have lived through WWII, had on his desk a wooden sign

“This time too shall pass.” 

It will. So far no one I know has died, but so many have lost friends and relatives and more will.  Some of you will know Excel in London, on Monday it will open as an emergency hospital  Each of the halls will have capacity for around 2,000 people each and will be run by the NHS and the army. Hopefully by November the Nightingale Hospital at Excel will have closed and WTM will be in full swing, there will be much to discuss.

Take care, I can testify to this being a very nasty virus, stay safe and prepare for the future.


** for details go to and scroll down

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