Catchy headlines, World Rabies Day and a pact

Who knew that aside from World Tourism Day, yesterday was also World Rabies Day? I do – but I only found out thanks to a headline that grabbed my attention.

When it comes to keeping up with the world of travel, the first thing I normally do on getting up in the morning is scan all the travel and tourism headlines from as many online sources as possible. Google News, Newsnow, the BBC, Travmedia and now Tnooz all get a look in. Between them, they seem to aggregate stories from a wide enough range of sources – both media and PR – for me to get a decent overview without spending the whole day trawling the web. (Though if anyone has any other travel news source tips, I’d love to hear them).

And there, this morning, among the dozens of articles on what every other country except the UK did to celebrate World Tourism Day were a couple on World Rabies Day. They stood out thanks to the head of the first story I saw reading:

‘Cats deserve special attention on World Rabies Day’.

The obvious question was, from my point of view as a cat fancier, ‘why do they need special attention’ and so I opened the story and found out that incidences of rabies among domestic cats is on the increase in the US. Aside from the fact I can now answer pretty obscure pub quiz questions on American cats turning all Cujo, I didn’t learn that much but – crucially – I did at least read the story.

A few others that piqued my interest over the last few days were:

  • Britain Is ‘Bankruptcy Tourism’ Hotspot – Sky News
  • Crematorium  ‘could hurt tourism’ – BBC
  • Ghosts to give HP tourism a boost – Times Of India

What is bankruptcy tourism? Do they mean more dead means less tourists? And what does brown sauce have to do with ghosts? were all questions flying around my head as I clicked away on the links.

On the less impressive front, I saw

  • The people’s city – The Press and Journal
  • Nautical…But Nice!  – Costa Cruises press release
  • Footie Madness – SportsWorld press release
  • Holiday review: Center Parcs – Wales Online

Now, I’m not asking headline writers, whether PRs or scribes to be all puntastic-Suntastic in their approach and for every headline to be super clever  – but clearly the last four were somewhat lacking in inspiration.

The job of the head is to grab a reader’s attention and make them want to read the story – it’s ‘the sell’. So it’s a crying shame when someone has spent hours carefully crafting copy to undersell the information being made public with a poor head.

We all have an interest in one of the sexiest industries in the world. Travel is about escapism and wonderment and new discoveries… and, for many of us, it’s our living. So let’s make a pact to be passionate when writing about travel from head to tail. Because if you lose someone at the head, you have invariably lost them for good.