Today I went to Leeds to take part in the first 'World Responsible Tourism Day', which was happening in Leeds Metropolitan University, School of Tourism, Hospitality and Events. I had been invited by them as I had previously presented talks on the downside of tourism with first-year tourism students visiting York on a day's fieldtrip. Students often hear the good things about tourism, so I was invited to talk about pollution from planes, the transmission of disease organisms, the overuse of finite resources in developing countries by rich tourists, and other issues.
I cycled to the station and got a train soon after 10am, and then got a taxi from Leeds station to the Civic Quarter Campus. After getting changed into Professor Fiddlesticks costume, my first job was to look at the posters that had been made by some primary school children about responsible tourism. I chatted to the children about the posters and some of the issues they raised. I decided which were my favourite, as I was one of the judging panel of 3. They were one about Bridlington, which mentioned that it was easy o get to by bus and train and didn't need a plane to get there, one about tourism in Britain, and one on wildlife! Then we went for lunch, and soon after that the other two judges came with me to view the posters and decide which were the three winners. We all had different ones, so I suggested we had one which promoted local tourism, one which was a really good poster and one which said something about an issue. The winners were The Yorkshire Dales, a beautifully designed poster of Jamaica, and one about recycling litter, which I really liked too.
I then did my show, a shortened version condensed into 30 minutes, not easy but got most of the skills in. Then was the prize giving ceremony. The children had made mortar-board hats and underwent a sort of 'graduation', followed by the 3 winners. Ronnie the Rhino came, the mascot of the Leeds Rhinos Rugby team, and there were lots of photos taken.
I got changed again and walked down to the station, getting back to York at 3pm. Cycled home via Martin's Country Fresh and got in before the children and Gill got back from school.
A fairly quiet evening, tried to ignore the loud behaviour from the boys and not get involved.
Researched responsible tourism on the web, found an interesting 'irresponsible tourism' site, and will write a paid blog over the weekend about this subject.