Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Travelography 145: Slumdog, Foreclosure and Oil Rig Tourisms

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 16 to 23 February 2009. This podcast is also available at and

  • Nearly 100 tourists have been robbed, many by armed gangs, raising questions over whether Rio is safe enough to win a bid to host the 2016 Olympics.
  • Recreational activities – kayaking, sailboarding, windsurfing, jet skiing, scuba diving operations, etc. – seem to be in full swing. The very good network of hiking trails remains open. The outstanding beaches are as inviting as ever, and the little cafes that line some of them remain open and serving excellent grilled chicken, ribs, fish, etc. As things now stand, people outside of Fort-de-France, where most visitors to Martinique stay, should experience little or no problem
  • “It’s a whole new market,” she said. “Tourism comes on the heels of trade. A lot of (Americans) have started to travel to China, and now we are seeing the reverse, because they’ve loosened all travel restrictions. Within five years, we think they will be as big as the U.K. or Germany in number of tourists here {to Georgia}.”
  • Passengers would still be able to leave their luggage at a baggage drop but everything else could be done over the Web ... "Ultimately, we want just one in five people to check in luggage,"...
  • A new kind of tourist package is being offered in China. Call it the "U.S. Real Estate Bottom-Fishing Tour." The first of 40 Chinese real estate shoppers are looking in the U.S. this week to buy for foreclosure properties and other housing bargains.
  • Travelers often complain that the world is becoming homogenized, but India is an exception, its crumbling infrastructure, constant chaos and in-your-face poverty co-existing with trendy nightclubs and Bollywood glitz. Tourism here has fallen off precipitously, and airfares and hotel rates have plummeted. But among the trickle of international tourists are a striking number eager to see Mumbai's now-famous slums, home to an estimated 10 million of the city's 18 million residents.
  • Unemployment on Guadeloupe hit 22.7 percent in 2007, according to the most recent data available from France's national statistics bureau. That compares with 8.3 percent in mainland France in 2007. Some 12.5 percent of Guadeloupe's residents live in poverty, compared with 6.5 percent in mainland France,
  • "There are approximately 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico varying in size, depth and mobility that will be decommissioned within the next century. If a deck on one of these rigs is about 20,000 square feet, then there is potentially 80 million square feet of programmable space just off the coast of the United States. The current method for rig removal is explosion, which costs millions of dollars and destroys massive amounts of aquatic life. What if these rigs were recommissioned as exclusive…
  • "Tourism is fragile," she said. "People are not only canceling this week, but also for all the months of February, March and April. We have a huge deficit of tourists ahead of us." At least 10,000 tourists have canceled vacations in Martinique and Guadeloupe, according to the National Travel Agencies organization.
  • India has seen its tourist arrivals drop in recent months for the first time since 2002 when it launched its hugely successful "Incredible India" campaign that enticed millions of well-heeled tourists from around the world to explore the wonders of India. Winter is peak season, but this year business has been slow and hotels are struggling to fill empty rooms due to mass cancellations by foreign tourists. All sectors have been hit, from pricey tours of Rajasthan, to budget beach holidays in Goa.