Saturday, December 24, 2005

Countries I have Visited

This is a Geography for Travelers podcast related postOOPS! - Forgot to post any show notes on my Maui podcast on Dec 26th. A casualty of vacationing! Anyway, you can download that podcast here

I travel a fair amount internationally, but I have never been one to try and collect as many countries as possible. There are, however, some big gaps in the world that I would like to fill some day, and which you can see in the map below. You can create your own map for pasting into a website form the link below. In fact, my map is quite similar to that of the most visited countries of the world among people who have used the Visited Countries website to create their own "traveled to" maps. The major exception is that I have seen a lot more of Southeast Asia than other users of this web service. Note that I just barely stepped foot on the soil of some of countries listed, but that's all it takes for bragging rights!

create your own visited countries map

The site also has a US States map feature, and here is mine:

create your own visited states map

Thanks to my daughter Lauren for sending me this link!

And check out Douwe Osinga's other mapping and non-mapping tools!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

G4T #21: Malaysia, China and Tourism

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis time period between the Fall and Spring semesters will mostly focus on my travels and perhaps some other miscellaneous items. This week's podcast is a follow-up to my recent trip to Malaysia (see last week's posting). The big tourism-related issue in Malaysia these days surrounds accusations of mistreatment of Chinese visitors to Malaysia. Listen to the podcast for details.

FYI - The online classes that I will be teaching next semester (starting mid-January) at Northern Arizona University include:
* GGR 376 - (World) Regional Geography of Travel and Tourism
* PL 376 - Planning for Sustainable Tourism
* GGR 576 - Geography of Tourism and Recreation (graduate seminar)
* PL 599 - Tourism and Community Planning (graduate class)
-- More information on these classes (except the last one) can be found on my university homepage at:
-- Registration information can be found at the NAU Distance Learning website:

Here are links to items mentioned in the podcast:

* Unsigned Podcast - A podcast about independent artists. In music, or whatever. Bringing you music, news, and ideas from the independent world.
* Chris Doelle - Riding with the Window Down podcast

Some articles about Chinese tourism to Malaysia

* Trailing badly in bid for Chinese tourists (The Star, 2 Oct 2005)
* Malaysia cracks down on illegal Chinese immigrants (Malaysia Today, 23 Nov 2005)
* Malaysia to ease visa policy for China through online initiative (Travel Wire News)
* Click Below to see the latest news items related to this issue though Yahoo!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Update on Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia & UiTM

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postShah Alam is an interesting story, which explains my initial impressions posted in my podcast. Kuala Lumpur used to be the capital of Selangor State. In the early 1990s, Kuala Lumpur was made a separate territory, and Selangor was given funds to create a new capitol. Rather than making the city of Klang, which is the major port city for KL, the new capitol, Selangor chose to build a capitol from scratch on former rubber tree and palm oil plantations. Shah Alam was built about 1995, which explains why it all looks so (relatively) new. In addition, although the downtown area, where I am staying, is quite compact and very walkable, the rest of Shah Alam is sprawling with industries, warehouses, and subdivisions. It is the main industrial region for KL. This explains the middle class aura of downtown Shah Alam.

I walked over to the imposing Selangor Blue Mosque yesterday, but arrived just after 4pm, during which the mosque is closed for prayers for an hour. See the photo below.

After the conference today, several of us got a tour of the UiTM (University Technologi MARA) campus, which sprawls over several hills. The newer science and technology buildings are huge and very modernist! UiTM campus in Shah Alam is a comprehensive university with about 40,000 students,most of whom ar Bumiputra (at least partially of Malay or tribal ethnicity). Together with its satellite campuses found in every Malay state, it has about 100,000 students!

The "i" in UiTM is a holdover from the university's former name: Institute for Technology MARA. Before that (in the 1950s) it was MARA College. MARA stands for the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Act), which I believe translates as "Council of Trust for the Indigenous People." Click Here for an interesting article about UiTM.

Friday, December 02, 2005

G4T #20: First Impressions of Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postAfter an 18+ hour flight from LAX, I am now in Malaysia, with high speed Internet from my hotel room.

This week's podcast is a short, 12 minute, look at Shah Alam -- the capitol of the State of Selangor in Malaysia. Includes of soundscene of the playground and Blue Mosque on the town lake.

Monday, November 28, 2005

G4T #19: Social Impacts of Travel and Tourism

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis week I discuss updates to my show notes page, and the social impacts of tourism and travel on destinations, including both from tourists and from the tourism industry. (Total Length: 29 min, 55 sec)

In the podcast I commented on the Responsible Tourism awards, and I quoted a remark made at those awards about the fact that although consumers are more aware of sustainable (social and environmental) issues today, this is not yet seen as a major marketing advantage by tour companies. Related to this, Scott McCabe of the Sheffield Hallam University in the UK posted this interesting item on an email list today:

From: McCabe, Scott
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 3:29 AM
To: trinet-l@HAWAII.EDU
Subject: RE: Tourism and Local Transportation

Dear all,

just a brief contribution to this debate, i read a brief article in a UK free newspaper the other day that UK consumers are not interested in sustainability issues when thinking about or taking holidays, and that whilst many people do worry about the environment and engage in recycling, energy saving etc in daily life - whilst they are on holiday they want to forget about these issues (i only read it briefly so apologies if i misquote). however - it raises a number of issues pertinent to this discussion:
- perhaps consumers see environmental sustainability as an obligation and holidays are still valid as a means to escape everyday duties like these therefore sustainability should be the preserve of governments and industry to implement and it is wrong to assume that consumers will eventually demand sustainable tourism products
- perhaps what is more important is making consumers aware of unfair/unethical/immoral practices - which is much more likely to effect a more responsible attitude from consumers, and then industry and governments alike?

Here are the links to sites mentioned in this week's podcast:

* Responsible tourism is the way forward (Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market)
* Responsible Travel Forum (online; Feb 21-22, 2006)
* Peace Corp finds renewed passion in volunteerism (full article now requires purchase!)
* World Citizens Guide
* Nude act of foreign tourist at holy place angers residents of Pushkar
** NEW: Inserted on 8 Dec 2005: Guidelines issued to facilitate foreigners’ stay in Indian holy town
* World Tourism Organization - Global Code of Ethics

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

G4T #18: Space Tourism and the Geography of Brazil

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis week's podcast covers Geographic Literacy, The Great Escape/Scavenger Hunt, Space Tourism, and the Geography of Brazil. Quite a mashing of topics! and I am not sure if I pull them all together as well as I had hoped.

My students are studying South America this week, and so my goal was to talk about South America -- in some way. However, in looking through my travel and tourism news sources, I found very little about tourism and travel in South America. For some reason South America does not appear as frequently in the international news travel news as does much of the rest of the world, including Cetral America/Caribbean. While I admit that I have my own personal bias toward events related to Asia, my sources are more general than that. If anyone knows a good sources for travel and tourism news about South America, please let me know.

Getting this week's podcast up was quite a challenge. I have a new condensor microphone. And even know people say it's supposed to be a very good one, I find it tended to pick up the "S" sound very prominently. This is known as "sibilance", and is supposed to be fixed by using a pop filter. Well, I have a pop filter but it does not seem to really help that much. So I went through the entire podcast and I reduced the level of the "S" sound every time it appeared in and annoying manner. This took a couple more hours of postprocessing than I would normally have done. Hopefully I can get this figured out for the next week's podcast.

Please take a few minutes to take my listener survey. The link is on the right side of this webpage.

Here are links to the items mentioned on today's this week's podcasts:

* Geography skills or the lack there of
* AAA travel high school challenge contest offers students more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes
* AAA travel challenge
* Great escape 2005
* Great escapes travel humor
* Space adventures
* Brazil gears up for commercial spaceport

* Brics: the changing face of global power -- a four-part series by BBC News
- New players challenge world order
- Boom times await new powers
- New muscles in the marketplace
- Causes for concern for new hours

Here are a few other Space Tourism news items that may be of interest to potential space travelers:

* BBC: The Space Race: Space Tourism (audio)
* BBC: Space tourist returns to Earth
* BBC: Firm offers $100m orbit of moon
* Virgin Galactic - space flight reservations website (f0r 2008)
* New Voyager News - source for space tourism news

Monday, November 14, 2005

G4T #17: Travel and Tourism In China

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis week's podcast is focused exclusively on China, including all of the news items, and a discussion of the history of the Great Wall of China. [Click on the title above to download the podcast mp3 file.]

Special Thanks to Tek at the 3Minutes in Shanghai podcast, whose podcast on the China National Day 2005 "Golden Week" is included at the end of my podcast (it takes up the last 4 minutes of this week's 33 minute podcast).

Here are links to items mentioned on today's podcast:

* Satellite data reveals Beijing as air pollution capital of world - Guardian Unlimited,12188,1605147,00.html
* China's building boom becomes a frenzy - International Herald Tribune (New York Times)
* China sees substantial increment in its tourism industry during National Day holidays - Travel News Wire
* China witnesses surge in tourism revnue, officials says - Travel News Wire
* Chinese airlines eye nonstop flights between China and Las Vegas - Travel News Wire
* Firm expects outbound Chinese tourists to top 115m - Travel News Wire
* Shanghai Living - photo archive for photographer Hu Yang;jsessionid=418B9141949D5C13447A8014441C570D

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

California #1 for Tourism in the US

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postTourists Love the Sun/Beach/Coast/Ocean

According to the most recent data (for 2003), that was just released, "California ranked number one overall in terms of total spending by domestic and international travelers , earning nearly $72 billion in expenditures," followed by Florida in a distant second and New York in a far distant third place. Most of the expenditures were from domestic travelers, as 2003 was a down year for international arrivals.

The top 10 were:

$71.56 billion - California
$56.30 billion - Florida
$35.43 billion - New York
$34.60 billion - Texas
$23.00 billion - Illinois
$21.34 billion - Nevada
$16.42 billion - Pennsylvania
$15.65 billion - Georgia
$15.42 billion - New Jersey
$14.30 billion - Virginia

With the major exception of Nevada, these rankings roughly parallel the overall population rank of US states.

Consider that the US $ was worth quite a lot more in 2003 than it is worth today!

"The top five states in terms of travel-generated employment in 2003 were California (818,700 jobs); Florida (734,600 jobs); Texas (518,500 jobs); New York (378,500 jobs); and Nevada (342,700 jobs)."

"Overall, the travel and tourism industry ranks as the first-, second-, or third-largest employer in 29 of the 50 states." Michigan has the most tourism jobs per capita than any other state.

Be sure to see my September 25, 2005 podcast on Tourism Statistics before taking all these numbers as absolute.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

G4T #16: Travel, Tourism and the Environment

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post-- Click on the title above to listen to this podcast --

Today's podcast focuses on the natural environment: how tourists relate to the natural environment, the impacts of tourism on the natural environment, and closing with a few words on ecotourism.

Ecotourism -- Personally, I prefer to pronounce ecotourism as 'ee-co-tourism' - with a long 'e', which I derive from the world "ecology." Some people (maybe the majority?) prefer to say 'e-co-tourism' - with a short 'e', as in 'elephant'. I assume they are basing this on the word 'ecosystem', which is sometimes (often?) pronounced with a short 'e'. uses the long 'e' pronunciation, so perhaps I am in the majority.

Total Length: 30 minutes, 19 seconds. If you have any thoughts on this feel free to leave a comment, or email me at

Here are the links to items mentioned in today's podcast:

* Australia Garners Friendliest Nation in the World Award - Travel News Wire
* Grand Canyon to Get Glass Bridge - National Geographic News
* City OKs Subsidies for Downtown Hotel - Los Angeles Times
* Cruise Ship Repels Somali Pirates - BBC News (also has a link to a video news clip)
* The Amateur Traveler Podcast

Friday, November 04, 2005

Items Seized at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postProhibited items consfiscated at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport since June 1, 2005

• Lighters: 92,000
• Sharp objects (including ice picks): 23,000
• Knives/blades less than 3 inches long: 14,000
• Tools: 10,500
• Clubs/bats/bludgeons: 368
• Knives/blades greater than 3 inches long: 350
• Plastic or fake guns: 190
• Box cutters: 185
• Ammunition/gunpowder: 169
• Fireworks: 66

Source: Transportation Security Administration

Monday, October 31, 2005

G4T #14: Hurricane Wilma and Tourism in Cozumel, Mexico

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis was my first interview podcast! I recorded it using Gizmo Project -- which is like Skype, but includes a built-in record function. I also interviewed my sister, who has a vacation rental in Cozumel, Mexico, and was there when hurricane Wilma made landfall over Cozumel and Cancun on October 21, 2005. Hurricane Wilma was the strongest low pressure air system (lowest atmospheric pressure) ever recorded in the Caribbean, though it had weakened some by the time it reached Cozumel. (Note that stronger low pressure systems exist in the form of Tornados, but their air pressure has never been measured because they tend to tear the instruments apart.)

The interview is in two parts, which I put together through editing the original interview. In Part 1 she describes what she personally experienced as the hurricane approached and passed over Cozumel. In Part 2 she discusses the impacts of the hurricane on other tourists and the town of Cozumel, as well as her struggle to get back to the US after the hurricane. She arrived back in the US on Sunday, October 30, and the interview was recorded on Monday, October 31.

Click Here to download Part 1
Click Here to download Part 2

About Hurricane Wilma:
* Wilma dumped up to 5 feet of rain in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula; One station recorded 64 inches of rain in a 24 hour period -- a record amount for Mexico, if confirmed
* With 145 mph winds (category 4 storm) and gusts up to 170 mph, Wilma was the worst storm that anyone in this hurricane region could remember, mostly because it lasted so long (36 hours, at least)
* Playa del Carmen, on the mainland across from Cozumel, suffered the worst destruction, with ate least 1,000 homes seriously destroyed
* In Cancun, 1,800 people hid from Wilma in a 9 screen multiplex theater, but were eventually cramped into 3 of the screens as the other 6 became too dangerous -- none of the bathrooms were in working order
* Many beaches were washed away by the strong waves
* Wilma confounded meteorologists, because the hurricane did not follow the paths and characteristics of standard hurricane forecasting models
* Hot on the heals of Wilma, tropical storm Alpha reached the Dominican Republic on Sunday, October 22nd.
* Caribbean countries fear that the record number of hurricanes in 2005 could reduce the number of visitors to the region in the coming year -- Americans have a tendency to perceive a natural disaster in any one part of the Caribbean as affecting all of the Caribbean
* The Caribbean receive 22 million cruise ships and air visitors in 2004 - just over half of whom come from the US

* Wilma Lashes Mexico Resorts (TravelNewsWire)
* Caribbean Fears Storms Will Hurt Tourism (Yahoo/AP)
* Photo of Tourists Evacuees in Cancun (BBC)
* Wilma bamboozles hurricane experts (BBC)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Living Landscapes or Living Museums?

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postThe link above is to the following article in the International Herald Tribune about French resistance to international trade liberalization efforts because they threaten its highly subsidized
agricultural industry. And, of course, the French "have a relationship with food that is not the same in other European Union countries. We have a culture of good eating, which we treasure" (from the article). Although the article does not mention tourism, this is just as much a tourism/leisure/recreation story as is the NPR item I posted here recently on similar resistance to agricultural trade talks in Switzerland.

The bigger question, as I see it is, one of tourism/leisure/recreation (through cultural museumization) vs rural poverty in the world's developing economies. By locking out agricultural products from developing countries, the developed world (1) has created a lopsided agricultural economy in which governments pay farmers to produce products that are sold below the actual cost of their production; (2) has prevented farmers in less developed economies from gaining access to markets in which they could receive a fair price for the products they produce, thereby keeping many of them impoverished.

Tourism is a subtext through both of these impacts. The subsidized rural landscape, especially in Europe, is a major domestic and international tourist destination, as are the penalized rural landscapes of the developing world.

I would guess that these are major consideration in the trade talks, though I think they are sometimes less than explicitely stated for most casual new readers. It creates a situation of comparing apples (tourism) and oranges (agriculture) -- or maybe tangerines and tangelos: how to separate the two is not clear. (A colleague commented on my Switzerland post that Europe has taken the approach in global trade talks that agriculture in Europe is as much tourism as it is agricultural economics. )

Here is the link, and the opening paragraphs to the IHT article:

In France, the power of 'terroir'
By Thomas Fuller International Herald TribuneSUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2005

(PARIS) Blame it on the cheese, the wine and foie gras. Blame it on the country homes that so many people in France travel to on weekends.

To hear it from Claude Soudé, an official of France's National Farmers' Union, the French fondness for the "terroir," the mythical landscape of farms and the men and women who tend to them, is one reason that French politicians are putting up such a big fight in the global trade talks.

The position of France and its allies - Italy, Poland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, among them - could sink the World Trade Organization negotiations that are scheduled for December in Hong Kong.

The premise of these negotiations is that rich countries like the United States, France and Germany should lower their trade barriers in agriculture if poorer countries like Brazil, Nigeria and China further open their markets for goods and services.

The deal is in jeopardy because of fierce resistance by France to any more concessions in agriculture.

Monday, October 24, 2005

G4T #13: Understanding Tourist Attractions

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postNEW - Click the Title Link for This Entry to Listen to This Week's Podcast - NEW

This week's podcast covered tourism news items for the first 10 minutes or so, then delved into the topic of Tourist Attractions. Much of what I discussed actually comes from my Ph.D. dissertation, which I completed in 1986 -- though it did not make it into my Ph.D. I wrote this whole chapter about tourist attractions, and presented my own theory of different ways that tourism researchers approach tourist attractions. Well, my committee felt that it just wasn't that relevant to the rest of my dissertation, so I sent it off the a journal, instead. It came out in the Annals of Tourism Research in 1986, and was later republished in a major compendium (large book) about tourism research.

Here are links to the items mentioned in today's podcast:

* Commission on Tourism and Global Change of the International Geographical Union <>
* Recreation, Tourism and Sport Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers <>
* Asia Tourism Research <>
* InfoUSA - US State Department -
-- Geography and Travel <>
-- Facts about the USA <>
* Quebec premier joins calls for U.S. government to abandon border passport plan <click here>
* The World Island Project, Dubai <>
* The Haunted Times <>
* Barry Kantz' Home Based Travel Agent podcast <>

Monday, October 17, 2005

G4T #12: Sub-Saharan Africa Geography, Travel and Tourism

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis week's podcast discusses several news items and then focuses on the geography of sub-Saharan Africa. I have switched from trying to get my podcast up by Sunday night to doing it on Monday morning. The last two weeks I was up until 2:30 in the morning (which really was Monday morning!) getting the podcast in order. This time, I got the material together on Sunday and then did the podcast on Monday.

You can download the MP3 file directly here:

And here are the links to items mentioned on today's podcast:

* After Katrina and Rita: How to rebuild the South's essential tourism business with free new publishing and Internet tools
* Tourists warned not to "argue" with Floridians (Travel Wire News)
* Book Review: The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
* World leaders: Use tourism in war on poverty; WTO praised (Travel Wire News)
* Protest over Serengeti National Park hotel project (E-Gnu)
* The Ten Important World Tourism Issues for 2006 (Trinet-l)
* Most Americans are clueless about Africa (Travel Wire News)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ramadan as a Tourism Event

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postIn Singapore (where I have twice lived for a period of time) the Fall through mid-Winter season is when all the great festival events take place. These include the Hindu Festival of Lights (Deepavali in the Tamil language, also known as the Hindu New Year), the Christian Christmas (which was the most commercial and least ethnic/religious of them all, in my opinion), and Chinese New Year. Starting off this festival season was Ramadan, which was originally a Muslim month of fasting and tithing, but also included delicious feasting, and now much more ... see the link below ...

The new Ramadan: It's beginning to look a lot like...
By Hassan M. Fattah
The New York Times/International Heral Tribune

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates The decorations are hanging, the cash registers are clanging and the air of holiday cheer is everywhere. For a holy month, Ramadan, circa 2005, is nothing like it used to be...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Switzerland - Is It Real?

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postThere was a story this morning on NPR's morning edition that struck me as the essence of a Geographic Sense of Place story. If you go to NPR's Morning Edition website, the story is listed with this description:

Farm Subsidies Debated in Global Trade Talks - by Kathleen Schalch - Morning Edition, October 11, 2005 · U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman is in Switzerland Tuesday to revive stalled global trade talks deadlocked over demands that wealthy countries limit protections for their own farmers. The Bush administration says it is ready to slash U.S. farm subsidies if others do the same, but many countries are reluctant.

The URL is: -- Note that if you cannot open the Listen link, you need to go to help to change your default audio player for NPR program

However, this is really a story about the cultural landscape of Switzerland and how it is heavily subsidized by the Swiss government (covering up to 90% of the annual incomes of some farmers) for the purposes of tourism and museumization. Museumization is a term coined by geographer Ed Relph in his 1976 book, Place and Placelessness. It refers to efforts to keep some landscapes from naturally changing and evolving over time -- that is, to freeze them, as if they were in a museum. Relph argues that museumization is an example of inauthenticity and placelessness.

Now I have been to Switzerland and I found the rural landscape, with its high mountain farms, both fascinating and beautiful. However, is it real? If the government needs to use tax dollars to provide 60% to 90% of the income to those who are living that rural lifestyle, then I personally think it is more of a museum than a living landscape. And the Swiss tax payers, andlong with tourists, are paying for the museum to stay open, which may not be a bad thing at all. But at least now you know.

In the context of the NPR description, above, perhaps if Switzerland were to argue that this is not an agricultural subsidy, but a salary for workers in a "living museum," then perhaps it would shift a good part of the global trade discussions. -- Probably not, but a thought.

What do you think? Listen to the story above, and post your comments to this blog, or direclty to me at

Happy Trails

Sunday, October 09, 2005

G4T #11: Middle East Geography and Tourism

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis week's podcast looks at a recent report from the Economist on tourism and terrorism in Bali. I then discuss a few other travel and tourism news items and transition into a discussion of the Middle East, which I extend to include the geographic regions of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and even Central Asia. Note that the inclusion of Central Asia as part of the broader Middle East is not widely accepted -- yet. But there are some good reasons, which I outline in the pocast.

I want to mention that countries the Middle East (Southwest Asia and the eastern part of North Africa) receives about 3% of all international tourist arrivals in the world, with Egypt reciving a quarter of those. see: InfoPlease - World Tourist Arrivals by Region and Country.

Here are links to websites mentioned in the podcast:

Indonesia industry: Tourism takes another hit -- EIU (Economist Intellgence Unit) ViewsWire

Travel News Wire


Dubai - The Palm Islands

Wiki Travel

- Download this MP3 file by clicking on the title above
- Podcast Homepage
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for Travelers Newletter

Sunday, October 02, 2005

G4T #10: Tourist Travel Motivations

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post (click on the title above to download the .mp3 file)

My Thanks to the group Turban Jones for the use of their song in my podcast. I hope you enjoy their song, Crazy Ways.

Tourist Motivation is the maint topic of this week's discussion, although I only spend the last 10 minutes on it. These news items were presented to show the importance of people's desire to travel (or perceived inability to not to). The travel public is a major source of income for destinations, and spawns entire sub-industries that employ large numbers of people. Understanding why people travel is important to a tourism destination's success...

* Firm Expects outbound Chinese tourists to top 115m [Travel News Wire]
* New era in Indian leisure crusing begins [Travel News Wire]
* TIA’s Overall Traveler Sentiment Index Remains Weak: Consumers Lack Time not Money for Travel [Travel Industry Association, 27 Sept 05]

- To subscribe to the RSS Feed - use this URL in your podcather:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

G4T #9:Travel and Tourism Statistics

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post (click on the title above to download the .mp3 file)

In this week's podcast I discuss international travel arrivals statistics, including which countries get the most visitors and just how trustworthy such statistics are. I also mention a few news items related to geography and travel.

There is some microphone noise for about 10 minutes of this 25 minute podcast -- my apolgies. I finally figured out how to place my microphone to minimize the an excessive 's' noise when I speak. I pushed the mict down below might chin (this is a headset side mic). However, that position tends to get rubbed up against my shirt collar which, I believe, caused the intrusive noise in the podcast. Next week I will reach number 10 in my podcast he life, which some say is the magic number for getting this medium down. No promises, but hopefully that will work for me as well!

Here are the web sites that I mentioned in today's podcast: - Travel and Transportation
- Travel Statistics: Most-visited countries, U.S. states, and U.S. cities;top destinations for American travelers, and more
- Travel Resources: Travel warnings, tipping, passport and customs info, state tourism offices, and other resources for travelers
- ( - World Atlas - not mentioned, but worth visiting)

Travel News Wire:
- Exec says Las Vegas's tourism model should be emulated elsewhere
- Singapore tourism figures see a 20% boost, but minister warns of increasing global competition
- Billions drop off tourism forecast
- Lonely Planet - Hot Spots: LP Staffers' Top Destinations for 2005

- Click on the title above to download this podcast
- Podcast Homepage
- To subscribe to the RSS Feed - use this URL in your podcather:
- .MP3 File was updated on 9/24/06

My Odeo Channel (odeo/c999d1834d25cb33)
- just claiming my odeo channel, please ignore this link

Sunday, September 11, 2005

G4T #7: Leisure and Tourism

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post (click on the title above to download the .mp3 file)

Today's podcast focused on some general definitions of leisure, and how these give us some insight into the tourist experience. In addition to what I mentioned in the podcast, I wanted to point out that religion is often considered a leisure-form of activity. This is, I think, directly related to the definition of leisure as a state of mind. Furthermore, there is a concept that has gained in popularity in recent years known as work, or volunteer, tourism. It is also know as working holidays, or working vacations. Last year I had students in my class examine web sites that promoted working vacations, and then answer some questions about them. Would you want to go on a working vacation? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Well, I think I have finally hit my stride with this podcast thing. My daughter commented, after listening to my last podcast, that I had a problem with the S sound. My S's tended to be quite loud and a bit annoying. So this evening I played around for a couple of hours with my microphone in different locations, and with different ways of editing my podcast files, to see if I could reduce the S sound. I think I did manage to do that by moving my microphone to a certain location. On the other hand, I have an implant that replaced a tooth and I had damaged when I was in the third grade, playing kickball. That implant is right in front of my mouth, and is larger than my regular teeth, causing me to have a bit of a lisp, especially with the letter S. Anyway, I think today's podcast went very well, and I don't think it will be such an annoyance in the future.


Download this podcast: Click on the title above
Podcast Homepage:
Subscribe to the RSS Feed using:

This podcast was edited, renamed and reposted on 25 Sept 2006

Sunday, September 04, 2005

G4T #6: Geography of New Orleans

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postThis week's podcast was somewhat of a departure from my focus on the relationship between geography and tourism. In response to the tragedy brought by Hurricane Katrina to the U.S. Gulf Coast, I have instead provided a brief background to the physical and human geography of New Orleans. Hopefully, this will bring some context to the swirling news stories that have dominated radio, television and newspapers this past week. At the same time, however, the basic geographic knowledge provided in this podcast is the kind of information that can greatly enhance the tourist experience of a place.

The following link is to my online New Orleans photo field trip that I mentioned in the podcast:

Podcast Homepage:
Subscribe to the RSS Feed using:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Very Spatial Podcast

This is a Travel Geographer Blog only post

I received an e-mail from Jesse at introducing himself and his web site/blog/podcast on all things geography. He has a great web site and does an outstanding job with his co-anchor Sue in presenting news and other topics of geographical interest in a half hour weekly rss feed. It is all a bit more sophisticated than what I'm doing, and I think that's great. They tend to focus more on GIS and mapping technology aspects of geography, though they acknowledge the broader areas of interest among geographers, and hope to bring some of those other aspects to the show, as well. I wish them all the best and encourage my students and other listeners to check them out.

If anyone knows of other geography and travel podcast that are particularly interesting and insightful, let me know what I will share them on these pages and in my weekly podcast.

Monday, August 29, 2005

G4T #5: Geography and Tourism

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post

My podcast for August 29 (click on title above) is on the relationship between geography and tourism, and how I came to make the connection as a college student and made it the focus of my life's work. I thought I might add here in the blog that you can access the syllabus for the class I'm teaching this semester at:

The class itself is taught in Blackboard-Vista, and is not available for anyone who is not fully registered as a student.

NEW: I have made a major edit of the original MP3 file, which was posted on 24 Sept 2006 and replaced the old file.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

G4T #4: Catching Up

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post- NEW Podcast Homepage:

- Click Here
to Download the MP3 Podcast

- Subscribe to the NEW RSS Feed:

Starting next week I intend to podcast on a weekly basis as part of an online class that I will be teaching on the world geography of tourism and recreation. The class is only open to students who have registered for it at Northern Arizona University. However, you can take a look at the syllabus and class schedule Here.


Monday, August 01, 2005

G4T #3: Daylight Saving Time

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post- NEW Podcast Homepage:

- Click Here
to Download the MP3 Podcast

- Subscribe to the NEW RSS Feed:

In this podcast, my third attempt at podcasting, I discuss the airline industry's opposition to proposal in the US Congree to extend Daylight Saving Time by four weeks. Here are links to the the articles discussed in the podcast:

Daylight-saving plan has critics burning: Lawmakers having second thoughts after extending period by two months By DAVID IVANOVICH, July 20, 2005, Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

Airlines fear daylight-saving plan, Thursday, July 28, 2005; Posted: 7:33 a.m. EDT (11:33 GMT) Copyright 2005 Reuters - CNN website

I should also mention that the practice of Daylight Saving Time has major impacts on leisure and recreation opportunities in the summer months. With more daylight hours, people are able to participate and enjoy outdoor recreation more than would otherwise be possible.

Hope you are enjoying the daylight!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

G4T #2: Sharm El Sheik News & Comments

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related post- NEW Podcast Homepage:

- Click Here
to Download the MP3 Podcast

- Subscribe to the NEW RSS Feed:

In this posting, my second attempt at podcasting, I reviews a couple of news and commentary items related to the Sharm El Sheik (Egypt) terrorist attack on July 23, 2005. Here are links to the the articles discussed in the podcast:

Filling the Flights out of Egypt

Attackers had Aimed at Tourists, Egypt says

Scared Out of Our Minds

There were a couple of other articles that I wanted to discuss that were related to perceptions of tourism threats, but not related to Sharm El Sheik. However, the length of the podcast was getting much longer than I had thought it would, so I will hold those off for the time being. Hopefully I will get back to them soon, and to topics that more specifically geography-related.

Cheers - Alan

Friday, July 22, 2005

G4T #1: Getting Started with Blogs and Podcasts

This is a Geography for Travelers Podcast related postClick on the title above to download this podcast.

RSS Feed:

I have been listening to podcasts now for several months, starting well before Apple I-tunes added podcasting to its features. I first connected with podcasting when I purchased a Linksys Wireless Media Link for myself at Christmas this past year, which allows me to play music from my computer and Internet radio stations anywhere in my house. One of the radio stations was a technology broadcast, which was also part of the techpodcast network. I went to the techpodcast web site and found quite a few different podcast that I found very interesting. One of those was the Geek News Central podcast, which is posted twice a week by Todd Cochrane from Hawaii.

I only started blogging about a month ago. My daughter was getting ready to go to Ghana and started a blog about her trip. She has been blogging for at least 1.5 to two years. She suggested that I start a blog about my forthcoming trip to Southeast Asia and China. I did that, and I liked it a lot.

A third component to my getting started with this blog/podcast is that this past year, also starting around November or December of 2004, I purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking and have been using it off and on to enter text into my computer. More specifically, I've been using it to write up old lecture notes for students in my web classes. At the same time I have a pretty bad case of repetitive stress syndrome caused by typing on computer keyboards. Dragon NaturallySpeaking has helped tremendously with that.

Since podcasting is simply a form of verbal blogging, I figured that I can bring all of these components together and start a regular podcast, with a supporting blog, of my own. The only thing was to figure out what it was that I wanted to talk about once a week, more or less. In a July 12th special program, Todd Cochrane posted a public lecture that he gave on how to get started with podcasting. In it he mentioned the importance of being passionate about the podcast topic, otherwise podcasting, and blogging, is more work and fun.

Anyone who's been to my web site knows that I have several “professional” passion's. These are geography, tourism studies, and East and Southeast Asia. Because I also teach classes on tourism topics, I figured that a tourism related podcast/blog is what I wanted to do. I wrote up a number of ideas while flying back from Asia and fighting jet lag this past weekend. One possibility was to briefly read and discuss one or two, or more, tourism and travel industry related news items in each podcasts/blog. Another idea was to discuss my views on the relationship between geography and tourism and how geography makes for better travel experiences.

Thus I started this blog/podcast on Geography for Travelers. In it I will mostly focus on how knowledge of basic geography concepts can improve the travel experience. However, I will also comment on tourism related news items catch my eye.

Since this is a new endeavor for me, I'm not sure just how regularly I will be able to maintain this site. This will become especially challenging once the fall semester starts and my department chair duties kick into high gear. However, I think this is going to be fun, and I hope some readers and listeners, at least, will think so also.

Note that I'm still trying to figure out the best way to post the podcasts, and I still need to set up an rss feed. The blog portion however, will remain on, unless this becomes so big that I have to move it to its own web site.

So thanks for visiting, and listening, and I hope you'll return for more informative postings in the future.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


This is a Travel Geographer Blog only postWelcome --

The purpose of this blog is to share my geographer's view on the world of travel and tourism. I need to go eat dinner now (it is on the table!), but I hope to be adding more to this blog, and possibly podcasting it, soon.

- Cheers, Alan