Trevor Baker of Which? Travel was the winner of the 2021 Breaking Travel News category. We spoke to him about winning a Travel Media Award, covering Covid-19 controversies and what makes a travel news story stand out
Why is working in the travel trade media important to you?
I used to be a freelance travel and food journalist — writing destination guides to Spain in particular, but also other places around the globe. It might be one of the best jobs in the world but in some ways what I do now, working for Which? Travel, is more rewarding. We’re able to make a difference to people’s experiences of travel — putting pressure on the government and regulators, persuading companies to do the right thing and helping individual travellers with problems. I think the pandemic has helped everybody appreciate travel a bit more — and also increased the need for good advice on how to deal with all its new problems.
What does it mean to you win the Travel Media Award?
It’s fantastic — one of those awards where you look at the names of people nominated and are just happy to be included on that list.
What makes a really good travel news story?
The same as any other good news story — telling people something new and important or interesting.
What have been your biggest challenges of the past year?
In about March 2021 we started to see increasing numbers of complaints about some of the Covid-19 testing firms — particularly the new day 2 and day 8 PCR test providers. Companies we’d never heard of before were charging large amounts of money for tests and often not providing the test kits or the results. It’s been a challenge to understand how the system worked, uncover what was going on with the dodgier companies and provide useful advice to travellers. Then as soon as we started to get to grips with it, they largely scrapped PCR tests for most people and replaced them with lateral flows and a whole new set of problems.
Do you think travel reporting will change over the next few years?
Sustainability is going to become even more important. Hopefully Instagrammable as a description of a destination or anything else will disappear.