A cruise is ideal for viewing the chasm ’twixt tourists and locals

The choice of pounds 1.25 St Valentine’s Day cocktails on board Fred Olsen’s Black Watch was between Cupid’s Kiss, Wild Heart, True Love and Lover’s Delight, which shook up Cointreau, brandy and tequila with passionfruit.

The choice of pounds 1.25 St Valentine’s Day cocktails on board

Fred Olsen’s Black Watch was between Cupid’s Kiss, Wild Heart, True Love

and Lover’s Delight, which shook up Cointreau, brandy and tequila with

passionfruit.



Outside, in the 95 degrees of noonday sun, Mombasa baked under a crust

of decay, rubble and rubbish.



It was, I fear, a similar story all the way from Cape Town, which is

itself pockmarked by shanty towns. La Reunion, Mauritius, Nosy Be

(Madagascar) and Zanzibar conjure up a cocktail of exotic sun-kissed

delights. Nature still works for them from the volcanic heights of

Reunion and Mauritius to the sugar and spice of Zanzibar. Only man is

vile. And his vile nature set me thinking about the PR problem

underlying world cruises as I sought the shade of Mombasa’s Fort

Jesus.



Cocooned in Western luxury on rolling, sun-drenched ocean has much to

commend it. The trouble starts once you think of going ashore with

ritual warnings to hide away rather than flaunt your jewellery. The joys

of tourism are blighted by the ripe slums en route, not to mention the

spectacularly unhygienic and assorted animal cruelties of, for example,

the town centre market in Nosy Be’s aptly-named capital, Hell-Ville.



This raises the PR question as to how much pleasure a tour operator

gives showing his passengers how the other half lives when they are

sinking in filth. Of course, you can console yourself with the thought

that your ship’s visit is pouring cash into the local economy, although

it would be nice to hear of some benefit for the people in education and

health provision. You can comfortingly reflect that nobody is going to

freeze to death and that you shouldn’t judge their living conditions by

the more demanding requirements of our temperate climate.



And, sadly, you know that it is simply hypocritical these days for

Britons to look down their noses at other countries’ rubbish. Parts of

Croydon can compete with Zanzibar’s blue-flecked (from plastic bags)

coating of litter - and Croydon has much less excuse. The difference on

the Richter scale between developed and developing is not fundamental

but a matter of degree and extent, especially in the way rubbish is

allowed to accumulate.



When our plantation guide in Zanzibar despaired of the damage being done

to the island’s image and, he feared, its tourist economy, I saw an

international global challenge before the PR industry: how to persuade

the world that Yorkshiremen have got it badly wrong when they say where

there’s muck there’s brass.



’What did you do in the litter war, granddad?’ could be an awkward

question if we are content to sip our First Love cocktails on board our

liners several leagues distant from the onshore reality, rather than try

to rescue these once-enchanting places from self-inflicted doom.



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