Free tickets up for grabs for travel show and motivational talks
THERE’S a touch of old-fashioned adventurer about Monty Halls. Even the name has a heroic dash to it. So his recent Channel 4 series WWII’s Great Escapes: The Freedom Trails – tracing the routes escaped prisoners of war took across Europe to escape the Nazis – was a perfect fit.
Viewers captivated by The Freedom Trails will be able to discover the stories behind the series when former Royal Marine Monty appears at Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show on Sunday 21 January at EventCity. No doubt he’ll also reveal what he and his Seadog Productions team have been up to in the Galapagos Islands filming a new TV project to coincide with the 40th anniversary of this unique ecosystem gaining World Heritage Status.
A trained marine biologist and president of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, he said: “Our oceans face so many threats – global warming, pollution, plastics, acidification of the water, over-fishing – it’s hard to credit what President Trump is doing in denying climate change. I am right there with all right-minded, informed, sane people on this planet in believing the environment is threatened by a man with no knowledge of the issues; a man in denial perhaps to help commercial gain for big business. Happily, the way the US legislature process works, they can’t pull out [of the Paris Agreement] for three years and by that time Trump will be deposed as President. Hopefully sanity will prevail.”
And his thoughts on David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II prediction that coral reefs will all but have disappeared in 80 years? “Nearer 50. When I did my series on the Great Barrier Beef, the consensus was nearly 50 years before it is destroyed.”
He is more sanguine about China’s future effect on the environment after this week’s revelations the country is responsible for 25 per cent of plastics pollution in our seas. “I believe under a new leader, China is waking up to environmental concerns. They are taking steps. I am sympathetic. They’ve lagged behind for so long so – when the opportunity came to create genuine wealth as an industrial nation, who can blame them? The problem there is is the real volume of pollution thanks to the sheer size of the country.”
Talking to Monty, it’s easy to see how he has progressed from TV action man, notably as a competitor in the flagship Channel 4 show Superhumans, and leader of arduous global expeditions to motivational speaker and leadership guru with his Leaderbox training campaign.
“Now I’ve turned 50, I’m likely to take more of a backseat role – less presenting, more setting up projects,” he said. “Getting older, you become more risk averse. There are different ways of flexing muscles. I can leave the action stuff to 20- and 30somethings. I have a young family to spend time with.”
Monty lives in Devon with his wife Tamsyn and their two children aged five and three, and his big plans for 2018 are to extend the scope of Leaderbox, particularly in steering young people towards Leaderbox Blue, enabling them to set up their own conservation campaigns.
“It’s a philanthropic exercise. We crowdfunded to set up Seadog and we asked shareholders to OK the Leaderbox project, which they did overwhelmingly. I was lucky enough to go to a good school, then enter the services, getting real leadership training. But most kids in this country don’t get the opportunity to acquire such important skills. We want to help them. Every kid deserves a shot.”
Hear more from Monty at Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, the North’s biggest travel exhibition, which takes place 18-21 January 2018 at Manchester’s EventCity. In its seventh year, the show is offering the most exhibitors ever, with leading tour operators and specialist brands such as Trailfinders, Discover the World, Viking Cruises, Great Rail Journeys, G Adventures, Exodus, Royal Caribbean and Explore, tourist boards from around the world including Barbados, Cuba, Cyprus, Morocco, Thailand and the US, and over 25 hours of free talks in the Meet the Experts Theatre, with Monty and fellow TV travel celebs Steve Leonard and Julia Bradbury gracing The Food & Travel Stage.
Win free tickets to Destinations
ManCon has six prize packages up for grabs – one lucky winner will receive a pair of tickets to Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show and a selection of four Footprint Handbooks for free. Five runners-up will receive a pair of tickets to the show worth £19.90 and a Southeast Asia Handbook, worth £16.99. For your chance to win, click here.