Anyone who works in the travel business will know about press trips, or "fam trips" as they're known in the travel trade. The idea is to get journalists out to a destination, be it Spain or Stow-on-the-Wold, and show them what that destination wants them to see.
So are they a good thing?
Some travel editors, specially in the US, are so against press trips that they won't take pieces based upon them. They say that being wined and dined by tourist boards is so far from the average punter's experience that it gives an unfair picture of the destination.
There's some truth in this, although in my experience it doesn't make as much difference as you'd think. Nine times out of ten a bad hotel or a lousy destination gives everyone (including journalists) a rotten time because it just doesn't know how to be good.
I'll be writing about particular press trips in future posts. But I'll end this post with a link to my other blog, which is about a book I'm writing on Lewis Carroll). On it, I posted a picture of a magical garden which I saw on a press trip the Portuguese Alentejo. It was like entering another world, and I'd never have discovered it for myself.