by Richard Hammond
I'd like to pay tribute to Roger Diski, ethical travel entrepreneur, who died recently.
When I first started out writing about sustainable tourism over a decade ago, Roger provided invaluable information about grass roots community tourism, and when I subsequently began researching for a book on the subject, Roger was the first person I turned to. In 2007, when he was made Chair of the Sustainable Tourism Committee of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, he invited me to become their advisor, which I accepted with honour. Roger was also a supporter of Green Traveller and over the last few years, he'd meet me every few months to give me advice over a pint.
Roger was an extraordinary person. Many people who knew him might not have known just how much he had done in his life. I have written an obituary of Roger in today's Times, page 51 (commissioned by Kate Quill). Those who have subscription to Timesonline can also view it on the website of The Times. There is also an extensive obituary for Roger in the Guardian, expertly written by the Guardian's deputy editor Kath Viner, who recently travelled with Roger in Rwanda. There is also an obituary for Roger in The Independent.
I had huge respect for Roger. He was a decent, energetic, forthright, no-nonsense person who had a brilliant sense of humour. As Kath Viner wrote: "Beneath a shambolic, laidback appearance, he was a man who got things done".
He was a neighbour of mine and a friend. I, like a great many other journalists, tour operators, and other colleagues in the industry, will miss him dearly.