By Humphrey Carter THE President of ABTA, John Harding, personally called on Sir Max Hastings to lead the campaign for a more responsible media in the United Kingdom. Harding threw down the gauntlet on Sunday after Sir Max addressed the convention on the threat poised by terrorism to travel and how it can be defeated. However, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard suggested that perhaps that media and government could be more helpful by being more open and less sensational about certain news stories. Sir Max stressed the need for the government to be more forthcoming with information, while John Harding said that certain parts of the media do little to help, in fact only make the situation worse with alarmist and exaggerated headlines, and called on Sir Max to launch a campaign. However, the highly respected writer and broadcaster, who brought up the issue of the media in his speech and interview with the Bulletin, appeared reluctant to take up the challenge. John Harding also called on the British government to “dumb down” their travel advice, make it more available and in a language people understand and relate to. Harding said that if the travelling public was provided with enough information which they understood, then they would be able to make up their own minds about the risks involved in going to any given destinations. The convention as whole agreed that tourism is vital for the global economy and the developing world, so should therefore be given all the help it needs. ABTA kicked off with the launch of the British-government backed Travel Foundation, set up to help the UK holiday industry manage tourism more sustainably and care for the places Britons like to visit. The convention drew to a close on Sunday with a round table discussion on the uncertain future and the challenges. Through tourism, the west can not only help developing countries prosper, it can also help bring about a more peaceful world by creating environments people are happy and comfortable living in.