Jeremy Smith in Cornwall

"Most travel writing is really just PR... If a tourism board flies a newspaper journalist out to a destination, puts them up in a couple of hotels, shows them the sights, they expect a favourable piece in return. So does the newspaper, who wants the tourism board (or airline, or hotel chain) to take out adverts in the months to come. So the writer, who wants to carry on with this comfortable arrangement, delivers."

Jeremy Smith (Web, Twitter) is the author of Transforming Travel - realising the potential of sustainable tourism (CABI, 2018). The book calls on the travel industry to move away from an incrementalist approach to sustainability towards delivering transformative positive impact through embedding the principles of the circular economy at its core. Jeremy is the editor of Travindy, the travel industry news site dedicated to sustainable tourism. He also writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market and the monthly newsletter on sustainable tourism for the World Travel and Tourism Council. He provides communications consultancy and services to companies and organisations working towards sustainable tourism - recent clients include The Travel Foundation, Visit Finland, PATA and various independent hotels, lodges and tour companies. He co-wrote (with Richard Hammond of Greentraveller) "Clean Breaks - 500 New Ways to See the World" which was Rough Guides' only book dedicated to responsible tourism. Before that he was editor of The Ecologist, then the world's longest-running environmental magazine.

ECOCLUB.com: What first attracted you to this sector and career and what keeps you going?

Jeremy Smith: I had been working at an environmental magazine for 6 years, and needed a change. I’ve always loved travelling, yet at the magazine, the editorial position had always been very critical about tourism, including what was then mostly known as ecotourism. When I left I got the chance to write a travel guide for Rough Guides about the best in sustainable tourism around the world, which meant travelling for a year seeing for myself what were said to be some of the most inspiring places around. I realised then that there were a lot of great stories to be told, but also that there was a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding, and it seemed to me that I could work to help address this. What keeps me going? The upbeat answer is that I get to work at something I believe in, with people who inspire me. The less optimistic one is that the message hasn’t got through, so I have to keep pushing.