Sustainability: where to pitch those sustainable stories
Plus, the need-to-know on greenwashing in travel.
This is the third instalment of our sustainability series with Stuart McDonald. Missed the first two? Go to the archive to dig them out.
Look at any travel writer’s website and they’ll have a section full of “other writing.” The alternative title could be “This is the stuff nobody would pay me for, so I’m sticking it here,” and the sad thing is, there’s frequently some great writing here, often that would get pretty close to sustainability-minded travel. So what’s going on?
A few years ago, I pitched a Vietnam piece based around a motorbike trip in a fairly remote area. I warned the publication, a national newspaper, that there wouldn’t be a horizon pool in it, it would be rough-and-ready travel—that’s what I do—and they seemed ok with that. When I filed it though, they baulked, and after some back-and-forward, when they asked for a complete rewrite, I said forget it and ditched the story. While they didn’t say as much, I’m sure part of the reason was it would have been impossible to sell ads against my work. I get it, this is how travel publishing “works.” Mainstream travel publishing, at least from a sustainable tourism point of view, is broken.