There’s been a 1225% jump in people wanting to climb Kilimanjaro in the last fortnight, according to travel company ResponsibleTravel.com – presumably thanks to a group of celebrities dragging themselves up the mountain in aid of Comic Relief. The likes of Cheryl Cole, Gary Barlow and Denise van Outen seemingly made the 5,000m climb look so attractive that hundreds of suggestible viewers now want to follow in their hallowed footsteps. Some celebrities can sell anything, it seems…
Responsible Travel was actually even more specific, ascribing the huge jump in enquiries to the ‘Cheryl Cole Effect’ – even in a gang of tabloid-friendly celebs, there’s no doubt who the star of the show was (which was no doubt encouraged by the antics of her ever-loveable husband Ashley back in London). Much though we love Cheryl, it’s a bit hard to see why her credentials as member of pop band/ reality TV show judge/ clothes horse/ footballer’s wife make her an obvious ambassador for global trekking holidays. But we’re sure the Tanzanian tourist board isn’t complaining about the British public’s sheep-like tendencies.
In fact, last week’s Comic Relief documentary has clearly provided some brilliant free publicity for this beautiful (but very poor) part of the world, and if hordes of Heat readers do go on to march up the mountain in their designer sunglasses just to be a bit more like Cheryl, at least it should pump some much-needed tourist revenue into the local economy (well, assuming they don’t go with some unscrupulous foreign firm that sucks all the money out of the country, as Responsible Travel was quick to point out).
Naturally we thoroughly approve of celebs raising £1.5m for charity by enduring such hardships (though in the bit we saw, they had a fully functioning toilet in their camp and someone to carry all their bags, so it could have been a lot worse), particularly if they end up boosting tourism to one of the most spectacular places in the natural world. Though at a time when Kilimanjaro’s ice cap is disappearing, we fear that Barlow’s decision to fly all the celebs home on a private jet sends a slightly mixed message on the whole global warming front...
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