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The perils of lying to immigration officials

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes. As this story proves, you should be careful about telling jokes to strangers. Sometimes your most ridiculous fantasies can turn out to be a prophetic glimpse into the future. April 2006. I had just finished business school and, armed with my newly acquired MBA degree, I was taking […]

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A very English breakfast

A shrivelled lady in her seventies, back severely arched and supported in her chair by a pile of cushions, sits just inside the entrance.  There’s a scent that’s hard to place but is reminiscent of a nursing home. “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” We are soon greeted by a lady dressed in an elegant […]

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Do we really need to travel?

According to the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organisation) there are now over 1 billion people travelling internationally each year; a number that is expected to increase sharply as more people in India and China acquire the means to go on foreign holidays. In the world of travel and tourism this travel bonanza is being embraced […]

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Rule 1 of basic customer service: it’s about the customer, not you

I read a recent article written by a hotel receptionist (I’ve searched through my archives to try and find a link, with no success) that had me banging my head on the desk in frustration (metaphorically, of course). The author was scathing about the inventor of rolling luggage (suitcases with wheels), saying that they had […]

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How to make a tourist town

Many British cities look on with envy at places such as York, Bath and Canterbury. These tourist honey pots attract thousands of visitors every day, pouring into town to snap a few photos, eat an expensive meal at a chain restaurant and buy something from a shop they have in their own local high street. The same […]

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Peseta waffles: a nostalgic look at travel before the Euro

In a small box in my living room I have 51 Austrian schillings, 2300 Italian lira, a couple of thousand Yugoslav dinar and a few Danish coins that look like Polo mints (but are probably worth a lot less). There are many other old coins with varied coatings of rust and dirt; one of these […]

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War, what is it good for? Tourism, actually

Take a trip to almost any country in the world and you’ll find war and conflict behind many of the major tourist attractions. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise: war has afflicted every corner of the world and has left a mark, usually both physical and emotional, that is in most cases more […]

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What price a friendly face: who are a country’s local ambassadors?

Tourism officials go to great lengths to promote how friendly their country is to foreign visitors and with good reason: ask someone who has just come back from a holiday to describe their experience and it’s likely that the hospitality they received (or lack of it) will be one of the first things mentioned. It’s […]

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Has the internet taken the fun out of travel?

Is there anything you can’t check on the internet? Research a hotel before you go and you can read hundreds of reviews about it, usually ranging from those singing its praises to others saying that they’d rather have slept in a sewer. Look up an airline and you can get reviews of the size of […]

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$5 and an opportunity missed – a hotel customer service lesson

    It really isn’t a big deal. I didn’t lose any money over the incident and the hotel acted fully within its rights. Yet by a simple action (or inaction) what had been a very pleasant stay ended with us saying that we would stay elsewhere when we next return to the same place. […]

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