Originally published in Travel Trade Gazette on 29 October 2010 (to view the print version click here and flick to page 68)
The Secret Tourist’s Matt Allwright reveals why there’s nothing quite like Japan, the Lakes, airline meals and home
What's your favourite thing about travelling?
Air travel. I love everything about it and I still find it quite glamorous. I love the terrible meals eaten on the back of somebody else’s seat. It’s tragic, to the point where finally arriving at my destination is a bit of a disappointment.
Because of The Secret Tourist you’re more associated with terrible holidays than fantastic ones. So what’s the worst holiday you’ve ever been on?
My wife got really ill in Portugal and had to go to hospital. We were also there during a train strike and had terrible delays on both flights.
And the best?
You have to go a long way to beat a cottage in the Lake District, so we did – we lived in Japan for three years. On Sadogashima, a small island off the coast of Niigata in Japan – it's awesome. It’s like Cornwall but with sushi and Taiko drummers.
Of the places covered on The Secret Tourist, which one horrified you the most and why?
Do you know, it wasn’t the places that horrified me at all. They all seemed really lovely. What was really disturbing was when, faced with evidence that their resorts were putting guests at risk, the management failed to do anything about it, even when we gave them several weeks’ notice and told them we were coming.
What would you do if you went on holiday somewhere that turned out to be like that?
I would point it out to the management and if it wasn’t possible to fix it, I would demand to be relocated by the tour operator. If that wasn’t possible, I would leave. Life’s too short to catch Legionnaire’s.
What's your favourite destination?
Home. Going away only makes me realise that fact more.
What’s your favourite holiday tipple?
For some reason rose wine from a tumbler never tastes the same when you’re not wearing flip flops.
What sort of things do you like to read on holiday?
Crime fiction. Iain Rankin and George Pelecanos. Stick in an Anthony Beevor history as well, as long as you don’t have to comply with a Ryanair baggage allowance.
Is there anywhere you’ve never been that you’d really love to go?
I wish that I had travelled to Hokkaido in northern Japan while my knees were still good enough to ski there. Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina looks amazing and if you had asked me for a third, stick me on a horse in Montana.