His experience of running a hugely successful (and eco-friendly) travel publishing company, combined with his commitment to the environment, make him a knowledgeable and motivational speaker. His engaging and charismatic style ensures a warm reception from many types of audience from the large commercial to smaller associations and societies.
Before leading to publishing, Alastair's path has taken some fascinating turns. He headed a VSO programme in Papua New Guinea, ran a disaster relief team for Oxfam in Turkey, taught French, and ran a travel company conducting tours through Europe, which inspired his first travel guide French Bed & Breakfast. He is now most famous for his Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay series and Fragile Earth collection.
The 20 titles in the best-selling Special Places series range from the forthcoming Green Europe and new Go Slow England, through guides to the UK, Europe and to more exotic destinations such as India and Morocco. The guides were founded on Alastair's philosophy that "Life is too short to be wasted in the wrong place" and their success has grown upon the high standards he and his writers maintain of accuracy and honesty. Alastair has now created a certification within the guides of hoteliers' ethical acumen in the shape of the Fine Breakfast Scheme and the showcase 'green' properties. This year will see the introduction of the Ethical Collection.
The Fragile Earth range is made up of hard-hitting environmental titles such as The Big Earth Book and What About China? The books embrace Alastair's commitment to environmental change and compound his business approach as one that tries to reduce its footprint as far as possible; one which has won him a Business Commitment to the Environment Award, a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category and the Independent Publishing Awards Environmental Award.
Alastair's passion for green ethics has taken his career in other directions. He ran as parliamentary candidate for the Green Party, was Vice-Chair of the Soil Association, and was founder, Chairman and Director of Avon Friends of the Earth. He contributes regularly to The Guardian and has written pieces for The Telegraph, The Observer, The Times, Daily Mail, Observer Food Monthly as well as many other magazines. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4's Open Country and Today Programme, Channel 4 TV's No Going Back and Hotel Inspector for channel five.
With a growing worldwide reputation as travel connoisseur and green spokesman, Alastair enjoys giving talks and presentations to stimulate and inspire people to change their perspective on their lives - especially if they run a business: "With climate change and peak oil, let alone high food prices, about to change our lives irretrievably, we must learn to think differently. And there's no reason why we shouldn't enjoy the process." Alastair makes a consummate lunch and after dinner speaker, as well as an excellent host for launches, conferences, and many types of function, great or small.