Food in focus

Times they are changing, and no more so than on cruise ships where huge buffets were once the order of the day, and night. The midnight buffet was as much a sculpture gallery as a food source with its magnificent array of ice carvings, some life-size.

Today’s cruise passengers tastes have changed. Some are vegan, or vegetarian, or gluten- free, or fishetarian, or whatever.  They prefer a menu that tells them exactly what is included in a dish. Cruise lines have latched on quickly to offer all manner of menus to suit those different tastes.

Recently, executive chefs from Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas fleets, spent a week in Thailand to learn more about plant-based food from Christophe Berg at Blue Lotus culinary school in Hua Hin.  And right now, plant-based dishes are being introduced to menus across both cruise fleets.

Here is my interview with Chef Christophe Berg, a world expert on plant-based food.

Crowded house

Tourism is booming internationally. Latest annual figures show 1.32 billion tourists roaming the globe – 84 million more travellers than the previous year.

Those travellers are boosting local economies everywhere, but they are also creating problems with too many tourists visiting too many places at the same time.

Australian Chris Flynn is head of the newly formed World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage, which aims to protect local cultures, heritage and historical sites that are now at risk from over tourism.

A major concern is the impact the cruise ship boom is having on remote island communities, as well as on major cruise ports where thousands of passengers disembark daily for land tours.

Here Chris, who has spent 40 years working in tourism and aviation, most recently as director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, voices his concerns to Veronica Matheson.

 

 

Best of the best

AS the year closes, family and friends ask “Where was the best place you visited this year?”

Invariably, that place is where I have just been.

As I was in India this month, it remains fresh in my mind as a great place to be.

I saw the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, and that took my breath away. So did other sights around India.

But the place that stays in my heart is the holy city of Varanasi where many Hindu head to their final resting place beside Mother Ganga (the River Ganges).

On Travel Writers Radio, I talked to Scenic Tour Director Sanjay Nepal about that memorable experience.

FOOTNOTE: I took malaria tablets while travelling through India, but did not come across a mosquito. Back in Australia, and I get my first bite of the summer!