Holidays are always popular and we are travelling to ever more exotic and faraway places. In the last two decades, a globetrotting trip in the ‘gap year’ between school and university has become traditional. We like to think that travel is good for us, not just because we relax and soak up the sun, but also because it widens our intellectual horizons. We encounter different cultures, experience new languages and absorb the local history. Or so we like to believe. But does travel really broaden the mind? Tourism is one of the biggest and fastest growing industries in the global economy. It has a massive impact – both positive and negative – on the environment, national economies and indigenous culture. At its current rate of growth, it is consuming natural resources and creating pollution (chiefly in the form of carbon dioxide) at an unsustainable rate. Are we destroying the planet while we are enjoying our holidays?
It has become traditional to take a 'gap year' before going to university, just as, centuries ago, young men travelled across Europe on the Grand Tour. Are these excursions educational or simply an excuse for drinking and bed-hopping? > more
The package-tour industry has widened people’s horizons and provided affordable holidays for nearly everyone. Has the experience of foreign travel broadened our minds or do we simply take our prejudices with us? > more
The idea that responsible tourism can help to save the environment began in the 1950s. But even eco-tourists have to fly to their resorts and tourism has a big impact on indigenous communities. Is our planet at risk from tourists? > more