Travel promotes freedom and understanding -- but human beings being what they are, all too often politics and conflict can get in the way. What do you think about the relationship between politics and travel, and how to reconcile them?

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How should travelers/travel industry respond to Brunei's barbarism against gays?

Many voices in the civilized world have been speaking out in horrified outrage at Brunei's new edict  decreeing death by stoning for gay sex, and numerous individuals and institutions joining a boycott. Should travelers and the travel industry/media join as well by not traveling to, working with, or covering Brunei, nor other entities associated with it such as the nine luxury hotels in the West owned by its sultan, such as London's Dorchester, the Plaza Athénée in Paris, and the Beverly Hills…

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Cross-border migration and tourism

All across the world - Europe, the United States, Australia, Asia, and elsewhere - immigration and refugees are hot topics. But little attention has been paid to how this issue meshes with the other great mass movement of our era: tourism. An integral part of tourism is the exchange of cultures and the appreciation of the “other”, and the industry is often dependent on "importing” guest workers from abroad, who provide needed services and often also give a sense of the exotic…

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What is 'conflict tourism'?

These days we hear about a few Westerners (mostly young men) who have been going to Syria to get a closer look at the war, and it reminds me of several years when I was working as a guide in Palestine. My clients were, for the main part, politically engaged people of diverse backgrounds, mainly from Europe and the USA, who had been involved with Palestinian solidarity campaigning back home and wanted to see the situation for themselves... keep reading

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  • The Daily Beast recently published a frightening look at the gay/lesbian predicament in Hungary under the authoritarian régime of Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party - this past weekend re-elected for a fourth term. A longtime fan of Vladimir Putin, like Putin Orbán introduced several laws that intensified the pressure on the LGBT+ community and considers homosexuality incompatible with "Christian" values. This pressure is likely to get even stronger going forward, and as much as I enjoyed visiting Hungay many years ago, I couldn't see going back as long as this illiberal régime is in power:
    LGBT+ Rights Are Big Issue in Hungary Elections as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Erodes Gay Protectio…
  • Over the years there has of course been unending debate about the nexus of politics and travel, but never in memory has there been such a drastic and sudden realignment of the travel industry as what is going on today with regard to Russia as fallout from its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, including closure of North American and Western European airspace to Aeroflot and other Russian aviation as well as cancellation of cruise line calls in St. Petersburg and river cruises in Russia and the Ukraine. More details at:
    More cruise lines cancel Russia calls in wake of Ukraine invasion
    Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises have joined the growing number of cruise lines canceling Russia calls in the wake of the cou…
  • Cruise ship disaster in the Mediterranean, tourists killed Ethiopia, higher prices for airline tickets -- but now, some good news for the travel biz: Jihadi tourism is thriving in Somalia. Think they'll build a new W Hotel? 

  • One week after the government of the Maldives shut down all spas at high-end resorts in order to conform with Sharia, the government has beaten a hasty retreat and allowed the spas to reopen. But how much p.r. damage has been done? 

  • Will it, or will wiser heads convince the hard-liners that this is self-destructive?  (On a related note, I will drink alcohol tonight, God help me.)

  • I hope it hits them hard.

  • The government of the Maldives has shut down spas at high-end resorts because their practices do not conform to sharia. How badly will this hit Maldives tourism?

  • It would seem the marijuana ban would drive it back underground, which is why I thought pot was tolerated there in the first place.

  • No more marijuana in Holland!? "Foreign visitors will be banned from cannabis-selling coffee shops in southern Netherlands from January 1 to combat anti-social behaviour among tourists," reports the Daily Mail (UK).

    "The Dutch justice ministry announced the ban after a consultation period and despite opposition from some MPs who branded the move 'tourism suicide'."

    How much will this change tourism -- especially in Amsterdam?

  • All those with an honest interest in learning about Cuba can find a legal path, either by signing up for an appropriate open enrollment trip or by putting together their own group. (Let me know if I can help you do that:


    Religious organizations and higher education students can easily go now under a general license without any notification to or permission from bureaucrats in Washington.


     Overview of legal travel:


    Links to travel providers


    We continue to await OFAC's disposition on people to people licenses, emphasizing how much better it would have been if the President had authorized general licenses for all authorized travel.


    John McAuliff

    Cuba/US People to People Partnership

    Fund for Reconciliation and Development

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