The heroes of travel for 2018 named

Meet our heroes of travel for 2018 – the brave, big-hearted and indomitably determined men and women who work all year around to make the world a better place, with inspiring results.

Their efforts know no bounds, from protecting wildlife to conserving historic city quarters, from championing native foodstuffs to preserving some of the most pristine areas on Earth, from making fine-dining healthy to showing us just how our most daring travel dreams can be realised.

It's an honour roll that features champions from across the globe. There are local heroes, such as our food pioneers David Thompson and Maggie Beer, Everest and Antarctica adventurer Greg Mortimer, mountain man Jon Muir and cruise creator Ann Sherry. And so many more doing amazing work overseas; think world-renowned African wildlife conservation specialists Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who continue their life's work even though Beverly nearly lost her life last year after the pair were attacked by a buffalo.

Then there's yachting entrepreneur Pierre Pringiers, who is passionate about pushing tourism in Sri Lanka to help enrich the locals. And former Australian investment banker Chris Ong, who went back to his hometown of Georgetown in Malaysia's Penang to devote himself to saving and restoring its beautiful heritage buildings.

Sadly, this year has seen the passing of some great names, too. Few will ever forget chef Anthony Bourdain, who pursued culinary adventures around the world and taught us so much about food, and life. Similarly, the achievements of Australian architect Kerry Hill, responsible for some of Asia's most exciting and innovative buildings, will live far beyond his death.

Happily, however, there seems to be an ever-growing number of bold, energetic, creative and visionary travel heroes coming up through the ranks, eager to leave the world in a better state than when they found it – and encouraging the rest of us to do our bit, too.

JULIE MCINTOSH, FOUNDER, CLASSIC SAFARI COMPANY, AUSTRALIA

South African-born Julie McIntosh was just 22 in 1992 when she created the Classic Safari Company. Her big idea was to capture the Africa she knew so well through bespoke safaris, so she pioneered the concept of working with the continent's smaller, owner-operated camps and lodges. Today, clients can also take tailor-made journeys to India and South America. This year, the company launched the Secret Women's Series – escorted small-group journeys for women to destinations such as Morocco, Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. See classicsafaricompany.com.au

PETER MULLER, ARCHITECT, AUSTRALIA

Although the late Kerry Hill is our most lauded hotel and resort architect, it was the lesser-known Adelaide-born Peter Muller, now in his early 90s, who created the prototype for the classic, sensitively-designed south-east Asian luxury resort, in the form of the Oberoi Bali. That resort still flourishes, remarkably little changed after four decades. However, its counterpart Oberoi Lombok, designed by Muller 20 or so years after Oberoi Bali, , was damaged in the earthquakes that struck the island this year. See oberoihotels.com

GREG MORTIMER OAM, FOUNDER, AURORA EXPEDITIONS

He has scaled Mount Everest, K2, Chongtar and Annapurna II – all without oxygen – but it was Greg Mortimer's expeditions to Antarctica to climb the white continent's highest peaks that inspired him to found Aurora Expeditions with his wife, Margaret. The polar expedition company, named after Sir Douglas Mawson's ship Aurora, is now 27 years old. Next year Aurora's first purpose-built expedition ship will make its maiden voyage in Antarctica and in a neat circle, it is named after Greg Mortimer. See auroraexpeditions.com.au

Advertisement

TIM JACOBSON, MANOR HOUSE CONCEPTS, SRI LANKA

In spite of Sri Lanka's bloody and protracted civil war, Briton Tim Jacobson was among the first to recognise the tourism potential in the island nation's generous stock of colonial-era mansions, homes and villas. His first project, two decades ago, was a beachside villa developed in collaboration with Sri Lanka's legendary architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa. It was followed by Kandy's first boutique hotel at a historical mansion in 2004. In 2010, Jacobson settled in Sri Lanka with his Manor House Concepts now totalling eight exquisite small hotels. See manorhouseconcepts.com

JAMIE BROOKES, NITMILUK TOURS

Jawoyn man Jamie Brookes beautifully conjures his people's country in the Northern Territory: when the escarpment is compacted, he says, "It cracks on sharp angles, like a mango chopped in criss-crosses and turned out on its skin." A guide at the Indigenous-owned and operated Nitmiluk Tours, Brookes escorts visitors along the Katherine River as it weaves through the sheer-walled Nitmiluk Gorge (also known as Katherine Gorge), revealing the history of landscape and people as he goes. See nitmiluktours.com.au

PRAVEEN MOMAN, VOLCANOES SAFARIS, UGANDA AND RWANDA

Expelled from his Ugandan homeland by dictator Idi Amin, visionary conservationist Praveen Moman later returned and in 1997 founded a company to revive gorilla tourism in Uganda and post-conflict Rwanda. He built four luxury lodges in the gorilla parks, training locals to run them, and pioneered sustainable programs to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of the great apes. "We must keep giving back to the community, so they have a stake in the survival of the gorillas too," he says. See volcanoessafaris.com

TIM HARVEY, CO-FOUNDER, SEA TURTLE FOUNDATION, AUSTRALIA

Alarmed by the fall in the number of green turtles from an estimated 60 million 300 years ago to about 60,000 adults now, around the world, Kimberley naturalist Tim Harvey co-founded an organisation that would lobby to save all seven species, undertake research and educate people about turtles' plight. "They've been a precious part of our eco-system for an estimated 100 million years but they're declining rapidly," he says. The non-profit teaches people how to help stranded turtles, protect them and help rebuild the population. See seaturtlefoundation.org

DAVID THOMPSON, CONSULTING CHEF, AQUA MEKONG

The much-lauded chef – he's earned Michelin stars, features regularly on The World's 50 Best list and received the 2016 Diners Club International's Lifetime Achievement Award for Asia – draws inspiration from the fertile riverbanks passing by on Aqua Expeditions' Mekong cruises. Fresh ingredients sourced at riverside markets – river prawns, catfish, lemongrass, betel leaves, palm sugar – are refined into the elegant Khmer and Vietnamese dishes featured on Thompson's menus. In 2019 the chef will host two Aqua Mekong cruises. See aquaexpeditions.com

BEKS NDLOVU, AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS, ZIMBABWE AND BOTSWANA

The award-winning Zimbabwean guide founded his company in 2006 to run a series of luxury tented camps with a light, environmentally-sustainable footprint, and programs to make sure local communities benefit from the tourism dollar. "We need to preserve culture as part of the safari experience," says the man who developed his love of wildlife through travels with his nurse mother, and is now acclaimed as one of the continent's best guides and operators – and one of its few black CEOs. See africanbushcamps.com

CHRIS ONG, GEORGETOWN HERITAGE & HOTELS, PENANG, MALAYSIA

Sydney investment banker Chris Ong, who won the 2007 UNESCO Award of Distinction for creating the Galle Fort Hotel in Sri Lanka, returned to his hometown of Georgetown to contribute to its heritage renaissance. He began preserving and restoring a series of old shophouses and mansions, giving them a new lease on life as boutique hotels. "This is my passion," says Ong, 59,  who has now crafted five hotels and three residences. "I want this to be my legacy." See georgetownheritage.com

IAN CRAIG, LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY, KENYA

Craig  co-founded one of the most successful conservation initiatives in East Africa –  a refuge for critically endangered black rhino and endangered Grevy's zebra, as well as other famous species – and was awarded an OBE in 2016 for his achievements. He has set up world-class anti-poaching operations in partnership with locals, and supports 21 schools in the area. "We're a family that's passionate about wildlife," he says. "We started with 13 rhinos on 5000 acres and we now have 70 black rhinos and 73 white rhinos." See lewa.org

CLAUDI SULT, FOUNDER, GREENME BERLIN AND GREENME MELBOURNE

A native of Germany, Sult has seized the global zeitgeist and created eco-savvy travel guides  to the "green scenes" in Berlin and Melbourne, with more to come.   The guides encourage ethical choices, from transport and food to fashion and waste reduction, and use a mix of podcasts, maps, events and immersive tours  to highlight sustainable businesses and attractions. See greenmeberlin.com and greenme.melbourne

ROD AND TAMARA CASSIDY, FOUNDERS, SANGHA LODGE, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The South African couple are working determinedly deep inside the Central African Republic's lowland tropical rainforest  to save pangolins, one of the world's most commonly trafficked  animals, prized in Asia and Africa for its meat and scales.   The conservation program at Sangha Lodge – founded by the Cassidys in Dzanga-Sangha National Park in 2009 – began as a rescue-and-release project for pangolins otherwise destined for bush meat markets, and has expanded to include research. The lodge also contributes to the growth of tourism in this remote region, and the ongoing conservation of endangered lowland gorillas and forest elephants. See sanghalodge.com

DERECK AND BEVERLY JOUBERT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE AND FOUNDERS OF GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION

For 25 years this formidable couple has raised awareness about conservation by researching, filming, photographing and writing about wildlife. Their luxury camps in Botswana and Kenya have an ulterior purpose: securing and protecting land and corridors, thereby protecting critical species. Guests, they hope, will in turn become ambassadors for conservation. Most recently, Great Plains Conservation has partnered with AndBeyond to establish Rhinos Without Borders, which translocates rhinos from high-risk poaching zones to safer habitats. See greatplainsconservation.com and rhinoswithoutborders.com

PAULA TAGLE SAAD, EXPEDITION LEADER, LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS

Tagle, born and bred in   the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil, has been promoting the Galapagos Islands since being lured there by the region's volcanoes in 1992. Initially interested in volcanic minerals, the geologist was enchanted by the islands' other riches and became a naturalist guide in Galapagos National Park. Today she leads expeditions for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic and promotes the region's conservation through her book, Galapagos Bedtime Stories, and her regular column in Ecuador's El Universo newspaper. See au.expeditions.com

JAISAL AND ANJALI SINGH, SUJAN, INDIA

The Singhs are the owners and founders of the Sujan brand and have  developed five-star safari-style camps and palaces that are run with a commitment to the protection and preservation of India's wildlife, heritage and culture. Sujan's exemplary leopard-focused  tented camp in Jawai, a three-hour or so drive from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, also  works with the local Rabari people, one of the world's most endangered tribal groups. The camp provides vital employment for the Rabari and income generated by the low-impact tourism venture is also poured back into the local community  to support education, sanitation and other needs. See sujanluxury.com and classicsafaricompany.com.au

MATIN LASHKARI, CO-FOUNDER, PERSIAN FOOD TOURS

This Tehrani resident is so passionate about her country's cuisine she's presented a TED talk (in Farsi) titled "How to conquer the world with Persian food". Concerned that the region's sublime gastronomy hasn't been marketed with the vigour of Thai, Japanese and Indian cuisine, she co-founded (with Shirin Tahanan) a company that corrects this error by whetting visitors' appetites on food and cookery tours. Lakshari's company also partners with Intrepid Travel on its Real Food Adventure itinerary. See persianfoodtours.com and intrepidtravel.com/au

THE FALZON FAMILY, FOUNDERS, EARTH SANCTUARY

 The Falzons have led the local eco-tourism charge by establishing their Alice Springs business as one of Australia's first 100 per cent carbon neutral venues. Specialising in outback astronomy tours, Earth Sanctuary has won multiple awards and accreditations, and actively uses tourism as a platform in the fight against climate change. Their outback tours demonstrate how ecology and culture can be preserved through sustainable technologies such as wind and solar energy, water catchment and eco-domes. See earth-sanctuary.com.au

LISA VITARIS, FOUNDER, 10 PIECES

Take only photographs – and 10 pieces of litter – and leave only footprints: this is the mantra of Vitaris' environmental tourism initiative, which encourages travellers to pick up 10 pieces of litter during their travels and to make – collectively – a big difference, especially in destinations littered with tourists. The long-time Clean Up Australia volunteer has partnered with World Expeditions on selected itineraries and is hoping to grow her company's presence with other tour companies. See 10pieces.com.au and worldexpeditions.com

RAYLEEN BROWN, OWNER AND CO-FOUNDER, KUNGKAS CAN COOK

Brown inherited her passion for cooking from her parents and was inspired by a nomadic Northern Territory childhood during which bush tucker was often on the menu. In 2001, she brought this singular outback dining experience into town when she co-founded her bushfood-inspired catering company, shop and cafe in Alice Springs. Brown sources wild-harvested ingredients such as wattleseed, quandongs, bush tomatoes and native pepperberry directly from women foragers in the Central Desert, and uses them to revolutionise everyday dishes. See kungkascancook.business.site

VERONICA POBLETE, LANDSCAPE ARTIST AND BOTANIST

The Atacama Desert was Poblete's palette as she created the Antiplano-style garden at the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. She spent six months scouring the parched, crenelated landscape for inspiration, endemic flora and objects to use in the garden; she climbed massifs and descended into ravines, hauling volcanic boulders from valleys and gathering heritage seeds from villagers. Today, the garden blooms with endemic species. See altoatacama.com

MAREE AND PATRICK BURTSCHER, FOUNDERS, AUSTRIAN ALPS ACTIVE

This Austrian-Australian couple bridges the divide between their respective home countries while showing active holidaymakers a unique pocket of Austria. During the European summer, they decamp from their Melbourne base for the magnificent Grosses Walstertal, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where Patrick grew up; where they guide walking tours through the pristine alpine environment. Patrick's family still lives in the tiny village of Fontanella – a connection that guarantees guests an intimate, personalised experience. See austrianalpsactive.com.au

KIT KEMP, CO-OWNER FIRMDALE HOTELS, BRITAIN

There's no mistaking the work of interior designer Kit Kemp. Step into any of the 10 London and New York hotels she owns with husband Tim Kemp, and you'll immediately recognise her whimsical style. Her hotel beds demand attention, with upholstered mega-headboards featuring applique, embroidery and eye-catching fabrics. The signature beds are also quite high off the ground and   turning in for the night might require a Fosbury Flop. Kemp's singular vision has also resulted in collaborations with luxury brands such as Wedgwood. See firmdalehotels.com

EMMA LESLIE, APT EXPEDITION LEADER, FRANCE

Wrangling travellers isn't easy and   Emma Leslie excels at it. Her humour, charisma and intelligence provide the glue that binds a journey. An APT small-ships expedition leader and European rivers cruise director since 2010, Leslie was born in England, is based in France and has run a restaurant in Spain with her amiable APT expedition team member husband, John. Leslie, who has worked and travelled extensively, is passionate about culture, food, history and languages. If  Leslie is your director, you've won the lottery. See aptouring.com.au/

PETER WESTON, BOTANICAL GUIDE AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

When botanist Dr Peter Weston was three, he pointed to a pine cone high in a tree and instructed his octogenarian relative to "get it!". The lifelong passion of the former senior principal research scientist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney now inspires others. Weston, a Churchill Fellow, has led Friends of the Gardens botanical tours to Madagascar, South Africa, Namibia, New Caledonia, Vietnam and Cambodia, with an upcoming Western Australian spring flower tour. He specialises in proteaceae, orchids and legumes, and is a fount of knowledge on the sex lives of orchids. See rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

SALAH SHOLOK, EGYPTOLOGIST GUIDE, SCENIC TREASURES OF EGYPT TOUR, EGYPT

It pays to have a guide in Egypt who can interpret hieroglyphics, explain the history and culture of the ancient pharaohs, and give tourist tips on how to negotiate this incredible country. Never say "see you later" to touts – or you will see them, and never accept a "free" gift, nothing is free. A Nubian Egyptian who seems to know everyone, Sholok has been in the guiding business for 27 years. His talents lie in his humour, profound knowledge of antiquities and love for Egypt. See scenic.com.au/tours/egypt-jordan

SIMON BLACKBURN, LODGE OWNER AND WAR HISTORIAN, THREE TREES AT SPIOENKOP, KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA

Simon Blackburn is co-owner, with his wife Cheryl, of the luxury eco-lodge, Three Trees at the foot of Spioenkop, site of the bloodiest battleground of the three-year Anglo-Boer War. He's an experienced safari guide, convivial lodge host and evocative battlefields raconteur. To stand on Spioenkop's "acre of massacre" among trenches and memorial crosses and hear his account of the horror and futility of Britain's worst single Anglo-Boer battle, when troops tried to relieve besieged Ladysmith, is almost to be present at this terrible battle. See threetreehill.co.za

PHILIP HURST, GUEST LECTURER, PONANT AND SILVERSEA CRUISES, SPAIN

 Hurst's evocative maxim is  "in my dreams the wind always smells of cardamom ..."  and it refers perhaps to the 100-plus countries he's visited.  The distinguished Anglo-Australian lawyer skilfully  incorporates his knowledge of ancient history, art, music, world affairs and geopolitics, along with his passion for the remote and exotic, into his shipboard lectures. Now living in Spain, Hurst will lecture aboard Ponant's La Perouse next year as she sails from Hong Kong to Osaka. The theme will be: In the Wake of General MacArthur: The Legacy of World War II. See au.ponant.com

JON MUIR, ADVENTURER & SUSTAINABILITY ADVOCATE, WORLD EXPEDITIONS

After 30 years on the cutting edge of adventure – climbing Everest solo, trekking to the North and South Poles, and across Australia, epic sea kayaking expeditions – Australia's greatest modern-day adventurer is now sharing his love  for the simple life. Muir and his permaculture-guru wife Suzy recently launched an off-grid farmstay experience on their property in western Victoria, offering workshops on organic farming, bush tucker and other skills – with a few adventure yarns, too, no doubt. See worldexpeditions.com

STEPHANIE WOOLLARD, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR, SEVEN WOMEN, NEPAL

Melbourne social entrepreneur Stephanie Woollard was just a 22-year-old backpacker in Kathmandu when she used her last $200 to help seven women with disabilities retrain to make felt and knitted products they could sell in Australia. That was 2006 and since then Seven Women has educated, trained and employed more than 5500 disadvantaged women in Nepal, empowering single mothers, those affected by domestic violence and women with disabilities through "trade not aid". See sevenwomen.org

PIERRE PRINGIERS, FOUNDER OF SAIL LANKA, SRI LANKA

Pringiers, a Belgian engineer, was based in Sri Lanka when the 2004 tsunami hit and set up the Building a Future Foundation to help rebuild the southern  parts of the country and its fishing communities. He then started the country's first yacht-building industry and, in 2014, its first yacht charter company. Today Sail Lanka builds and charters luxury catamarans,  generating employment and offering low-impact sailing expeditions on the south, east and north coasts of the magical island nation. See sail-lanka-charter.com

ADAM LIAW, TV PRESENTER AND AUTHOR, AUSTRALIA

When Adam Liaw, born in Malaysia to an English Singaporean mother and Hainanese Chinese father, found himself working in Tokyo as a lawyer, his obsession with food blossomed. In 2010, millions tuned in to watch him win the second series of MasterChef Australia. Since then, he's provided warm, engaging and poetic insights into the cuisine of countries including his beloved Japan on the SBS series Destination Flavour. The latest instalment, on China, premieres on November 28. See sbs.com.au

MIKE WAKEFORD, MOUNTAIN MAN AND CULTURAL GUIDE, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Nelson Mandela, imprisoned on Robben Island, thought of Table Mountain as "a sacred and precious place". Visitors to Cape Town should consider hiking into the mountain's magic kingdom of switchback ravines and rare botanical species to fully experience Mandela's "gift to the earth". However, you need an experienced mountain guide  such as Mike Wakeford to do so safely. Table Mountain has been his backyard since birth and Wakeford imparts his quiet passion and intimate knowledge of the world-heritage wonder to those he guides. See guidedbymike.co.za/

MATT EDWARDS, ADVENTURE GUIDE, EXPEDITION ENGINEERING

An Australian based in British Columbia, Matt Edwards runs skiing, kayaking and surfing trips in some of the world's wildest places – and helps protect them. His company, Expedition Engineering, is a member of the 1% For The Planet initiative set up by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in 2002, donates 5 per cent of sales to organisations such as the Plastic Ocean Project, and runs beach clean-ups on sea kayaking trips in remote Raja Ampat, West Papua. See expeditionengineering.com

ANN SHERRY, CARNIVAL AUSTRALIA EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AUSTRALIA

Cruising is now a boom industry in Australia but that wasn't the case in 2007 when banking executive Ann Sherry joined Carnival Australia, the country's largest cruise operator and the Australasian arm of the world's biggest cruise company. She set about changing the industry's image by implementing new security, reporting and behaviour standards on ships, as well as opening up new ports around Australia and throughout the Pacific, upgrading ships and focusing on family, short-break and special-event cruises. See carnival.com.au

LINDSAY HARTLEY-BACKHOUSE, WILDLIFE EXPERT, WORLD ANIMAL PROTECTION

"If you can ride, hug, swim with or have a selfie with a wild animal, please don't, and don't visit venues offering these activities." This was one recommendation of an investigation into wildlife tourism in Bali and Lombok late last year, led by animal advocate Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse who is inspiring travel companies to establish animal welfare policies, take tourists only to animal-friendly sanctuaries and encourage people to see wild animals in the wild, where they belong. See worldanimalprotection.org.au

WAJIRA GAMAGE, EXECUTIVE CHEF, SANTANI WELLNESS RESORT, SRI LANKA

Before joining Sri Lanka's first purpose-built luxury wellness resort, classically trained French chef Wajira Gamage had a distinguished 40-year career, split between the top hotels in France and Taj and Relais & Chateaux properties in his native Sri Lanka. Now he is pioneering "healthy fine dining", offering Santani guests a fresh take on ancient Ayurvedic ("science of life") culinary principles and ensuring every meal not only tastes incredible but promotes a long, healthy life. See santani.lk

CHESTER OSBORN, D'ARENBERG CHIEF WINEMAKER, AUSTRALIA

Some people thought colourful winemaker Chester Osborn was crazy when he first proposed building the d'Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale south of Adelaide. Since the striking $15 million, five-level landmark opened in late 2017, people now think of Osborn, a one-time Cleo Bachelor of the Year finalist, as a genius. Visitors are flocking from around the world to experience the Cube's playful Alternate Realities Museum, fine-diner and top-floor tasting room with views over those illustrious vines. See darenberg.com.au

GAGGAN ANAND, CHEF, THAILAND

When Kolkata-born Gaggan Anand applied imagination and Japanese refinement to the flavours of his childhood, he created haute Indian fare. His eponymous Bangkok restaurant, ranked No. 5 on the 2018 World's 50 Best Restaurants list, is set to close in 2020 so he can focus on a new venture in Fukuoka, Japan. Bangkok is also home to his more casual eatery, Meatlicious. Despite the acclaim, Anand remains perhaps the planet's nicest star chef, even urging his Instagram followers to DM him if they ever need help. See eatatgaggan.com

JACKIE CHARLTON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CAPTAIN COOK CRUISES FIJI, AUSTRALIA

At age eight, Jackie Charlton was washing up cups and plates aboard her parents' pioneering cruises that tootled around Sydney Harbour. In 2011, Captain Cook Cruises' Australian arm was sold to SeaLink. Today, Charlton helms the Fiji operation that employs 150 staff. Innovations include the opening of new routes, including one to the rarely visited Lau Islands between Viti Levu and Tonga. Charlton, who shuttles between Australia and Fiji, says visitor interest ensures remote communities continue to practise their age-old traditions. See captaincookcruisesfiji.com

MAGGIE BEER, TV COOK, AUTHOR AND FOOD MANUFACTURER, AUSTRALIA

South Australia's much-loved foodie, Maggie Beer, put the Barossa's produce on the map. Since moving to the valley in 1973 to breed pheasants and grow grapes, she's become known for her pates, fruit pastes and ice-creams, as well as cookbooks and TV appearances. Visitors flock to her Farm Shop to pick up gourmet items for their pantry or to construct a picnic to enjoy in the grounds. Guests staying in her nearby rental cottage, Orchard House, can also self-cater with her products. See maggiebeer.com.au

MARIUS ELS, JOINT CEO OF CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE, AUSTRALIA

Marius Els' job of signing artists for music-themed cruises became much easier from the moment he snaffled John Farnham to headline a 2016 cruise. With a background in finance and music touring, Els, also CEO of Artist Network Australia, was the perfect person to join forces with Adelaide-based Mick Manov for Choose Your Cruise – a venture that's filled 32 cruise ships, sailing from Australia and Britain, with fans and artists from the worlds of rock, country and classical music. See chooseyourcruise.com.au and cruising.com.au

SISTO MALASPINA, CO-OWNER, PELLEGRINI'S ESPRESSO BAR, MELBOURNE

Pellegrini's, a Melbourne institution since 1954, has counted Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire among its patrons but the old-school Italian cafe has always been better known for the characters behind its long counter. This month, Australia grieved when co-owner Sisto Malaspina was killed. Malaspina was the embodiment of hospitality: stories continue to flow that detail his generosity, kindness and extraordinary ability to connect with people in the time it took to fill their coffee order.

KERRY HILL, ARCHITECT, SINGAPORE

The Singapore-based Australian architect Kerry Hill, who died in August, was renowned for designing elegant Asian hotels and resorts. His East-meets-West vernacular drew on modernist principles while incorporating Asian traditions, producing a style labelled "tropical modernism". His ryokan-inspired Amanemu resort in Shima, Japan won the Australian Institute of Architects' 2017 Jorn Utzon Award for International Architecture. Other portfolio highlights include Amankora, Bhutan and The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia, which reopens in December following a $US60 million year-long renovation. See aman.com and thedatai.com

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, TV PRESENTER, US

Through his edgy, boundary-pushing TV series No Reservations and Parts Unknown, American chef, writer and presenter Anthony Bourdain reminded travellers of the joy of making delicious discoveries in unexpected places. While he often explored the culinary world's haute side, his most memorable episodes featured unpretentious experiences such as dining with a family in their jungle hut or chowing down on food-truck fare. Bourdain died in June while filming in France. See sbs.com.au

10 WAYS YOU CAN BE A TRAVEL HERO

1. Ever thought of combining a trip with a spot of volunteer work for a good cause? There are so many organisations that now offer a mix of helping – such as childcare in South Africa, tending elephants in Thailand and construction work in Nepal – with cultural and adventure excursions. See gviaustralia.com.au   projects-abroad.com.au  twac.com.au

2. Check that your tour company gives back to the local community in some way, perhaps by employing locals or buying supplies from neighbourhood businesses, and that it works to protect and preserve the environment and any wildlife.  This information will be on the website.

3. Leave no trace of your visit – apart from smiles, memories and photos. Don't remove shells from beaches or keepsakes from mountains, and always use existing trails, dispose of litter carefully, and make sure campfires are out before leaving. See lnt.org/learn/7-principles

4. Leave a space in your luggage to pack supplies needed by community projects around the world. They might be for education, health, child welfare, animal welfare or for community development. Check the website to see what's needed where. See packforapurpose.org

5. Resist giving to child beggars. It's hard but the statistics on gangs and begging are terrifying. The Indian Human Rights Commission says up to 40,000 children are abducted each year and forced to beg. Far better to give money to official charities that work to improve children's lives. See savethechildren.org and worldvision.com.au

6. Do some homework before you get on the plane and learn something about the culture, beliefs and language of the place you're about to visit. A little knowledge can mean avoiding offending anyone with your dress or behaviour, and having a few phrases ready will instantly endear you to locals. See au.reachout.com

7. Carry a drink container with you to avoid buying plastic water bottles to help cut down on the 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the oceans every year. See biome.com.au/221-water-bottle

8. If you must use a straw, take your own stainless steel or bamboo re-usable one; plastic straws cause all sorts of environmental damage, particularly in the ocean where they wind up being ingested by and injuring marine life. See letsgonatureal.com.au

9. Don't buy anything made from parts of endangered animals or any items that are precious to the country you've visited. And when bargaining, don't try to crush people to get the best possible price. They have to make a living, too.

10. If you befriended locals on your travels, make sure you keep any promises you made about sending them a photo, a note, a gift or a packet of Tim Tams when you arrive back home.

Comments