Tenerife has been polishing her best profile this week to entertain, educate and enthral the British Guild of Travel Writers (BGTW) who’ve been enjoying their Annual General Meeting on the island.
On Thursday night Tenerife Magazine was lucky enough to be invited to the Guild’s Gala Dinner at the ultra-chic BahÃa Del Duque Hotel in Costa Adeje.
So, wearing my poshest outfit, fresh lipstick and stilettos I arrived at the El Duque and walked what felt like a half marathon through its grounds wishing I’d opted for hiking boots instead.
As luck would have it, I passed through a convention of Spanish surgeons en route to the Beach Club and a glass of something delicious was gracefully thrust into my hands to keep me going until I finally reached the venue and caught up with Sarah Monaghan, editor/travel writer/photographer and press and PR co-ordinator for the BGTW.
I asked Sarah what had impressed her so far about Tenerife.
Sarah: “Well I was completely wowed by Teide National Park; the light, the landscape and the colours were extraordinary and the way that you could see the lava from eruptions so clearly.
I’m looking forward to walking in the rainforest in the Anaga Mountains tomorrow and to discovering more about the wines on Tenerife; the history of wine growing, which grapes are used and how they cultivate the vines in this climate.”
A strong supporter of ecotourism, Sarah wasn’t too keen on the amount of development taking place on the Tenerife south coast but found the general environment to be surprisingly good.
Sarah: “I think the standards of accommodation here are excellent and I’m extremely impressed with the cleanliness of the whole area and the quality of lifestyle that visitors can enjoy.”
The Cabildo (Island Government) have arranged a whole series of trips for the BGTW to show them a different side to Tenerife and one which the Cabildo hope will result in some features that encourage more people to get out and about on the island and discover some of the “˜real’ Tenerife.
Sarah: “We’ll be taking a look at Canarian cookery, we’re going to the Anagas and we’ve been to banana plantations and a small rural hotel. These are things that many visitors to the island wouldn’t normally do and it’s shown us a very different face to Tenerife.”
With a distinguished and varied publishing and editorial career already under her belt, I was keen to know how Sarah felt that the travel writing industry was changing in the light of the explosion of Internet-based travel information.
Sarah: “There have been meteoric changes in the freelance travel writing sector as a result of the growth of the Internet and we are all blogging and tweeting now. But it’s important to realise that very little of the information which we see on the Web is impartial. I believe there is still a place for properly researched, impartial travel writing, particularly when if focuses on a specialist area. The availability of so much information is forcing those within the industry to specialize more which is not a bad thing.”
After a night of fine food, excellent wine, Carnaval-themed entertainment and a spectacular laser show, the journey back to the exit of the Bahia Del Duque Hotel proved challenging. And I wasn’t the only one failing to rise to the challenge. By the time we finally found the exit we were quite a gathering, including John Carter. It seems travel writers can find their way around the World but give us a complicated hotel layout and we might as well be in an episode of “˜Lost’.
If the BGTW finds that’s it’s missing a few members when it gets back to Blighty, can I suggest that they start the search at the Bahia Del Duque?