Monday, April 27, 2009

Travelography #153: Mexico and Thailand's Tourism Challenges, and more...

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 21 to 27 April 2009. This podcast is available at, and

  • Canada is one of the few remaining countries that hasn't been granted "approved destination status," known as ADS, by the Chinese. As a result, the Canadian tourism industry cannot actively market Canada in China, and Chinese travel agents can't advertise and promote Canadian trips. But that may be about to change.
  • Tourism was hit particularly hard by recent street violence in a long battle between royalists, the military and urban Thais who back the current government and supporters of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra whose power base was mainly drawn from the millions of rural poor. "The combination of the impact of the slowdown of the global economy and the social unrest domestically means that we're anticipating tourist arrivals, originally forecast at 14 million, to be something closer to…
  • “With passengers voting overwhelmingly for a ‘fat tax’ we are now asking them to suggest which format the charge should take. The above four points seem to us to be the simplest, fairest and administratively easiest to apply. In all cases we’ve limits at very high levels so that a ‘fat tax’ will only apply to those really large passengers who invade’ the space of the passengers sitting beside them."
  • By a show of hands citizens of the tiny canton (state) of Appenzell Inner Rhodes voted overwhelmingly at their traditional open-air annual assembly to impose a 200 Swiss franc ($176) fine on violators. Only a scattering of people on Sunday opposed the ban on the back-to-nature activity that took off last autumn when naked hikers — primarily Germans — started showing up in eastern Switzerland. RT @markwilliams
  • Given the circumstances (Tijuana's 843 murders last year doubled 2007's), it takes moxie to launch a [tourism] campaign. Number one on the list: "Take a picture with the famous Tijuana zebra donkey." Number 75: Get out of town by "Flying direct to Narita, Japan, from Tijuana Airport." Delusional thinking or marketing optimism?
  • The ID cards are embedded with an image of the traveler's eye that is used to verify his identity. Industry groups say the program will encourage travel to the USA by reducing the hassles of clearing customs.
  • "The revenue from tourism could drop 35 percent... to only 350 billion baht from 540 billion baht in 2008," ... The kingdom's tourist-friendly image was dented by a nine-day seizure of Bangkok's airports at the end of last year that left thousands stranded, and was further affected by rallies held by rival demonstrators last week.

  • Monday, April 20, 2009

    Travelography #152: Green Skeptics, and a Week of Bizarre Travel News

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    Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 14 to 20 April 2009. This podcast is also available at, and

  • It said the 12 places, costing up to $3,700 apiece, have all been booked. However, reports of the offer spurred Poland's Foreign Ministry to warn Poles against unnecessary travel to Afghanistan, where NATO forces are struggling to tame a relentless Taliban insurgency. The ministry said the country "remains a zone especially susceptible to terrorist attacks" and said Poles could be targets for kidnappers due to the presence of some 1,600 Polish troops in the NATO force. #tnt
  • Oh No! ... the Four Corners marker showing the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is about 2.5 miles west of where it should be, According to readings by the National Geodetic Survey... #geog #travel
  • Trade in goods across Zimbabwe will now be conducted in US dollars, euros, British pounds, and probably South African rand, besides accepting currencies of neighboring countries. Ordinary people, however, in villages across the country will find it hard to get hold of foreign money making it arguably even more difficult to access goods and services.
  • Pet Airways, a startup based in Delray Beach, Fla., said in an announcement Thursday it will carry pets (but not their human friends) in the main cabin. The budding airline said it will carry "pawsengers" ...
  • The sailing will follow the Titanic's original route westward and include a memorial service on the morning of April 15, 2012 in the exact location where the Titanic went down. The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912.
  • He described his horror as he and his 15-year-old son were forced to delete all transport-related pictures on their cameras, including images of Vauxhall underground station. "Google Street View is allowed to show any details of our cities on the world wide web," he said. "But a father and his son are not allowed to take pictures of famous London landmarks."
  • Seventy-six percent of travelers sometimes incorporate green choices in their travel plans and 27 percent of respondents intentionally made environmentally-friendly travel choices in the past year. Fifty-two percent regularly find it challenging to incorporate "green" choices into their travel plans and 44 percent of travelers find that environmentally-friendly options are not readily available when traveling.

  • Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Travelography #151: Time for Sustainable Tourism, and The Best of ...

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    Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 7 April to 14 April 2009. This podcast is also available at and

  • "The recession has encouraged many people to volunteer and take some time away from all of the bad news. What we have seen is an increase in shorter volunteer trips in locations that are closer to home for Americans such as Latin America," ... There has been a distinct increase in 22-30 year olds wanting to volunteer abroad - a mixture of recession fear and a new generation of travelers that want to give back when going abroad.
  • In an effort to protect the resort island's natural environment, the Bali provincial administration has decided to stop issuing official recommendations for the construction of new hotels, villas or homestays. "The moratorium for the construction of new hotels is an appropriate measure to secure the island's future." .... The moratorium is temporary, he added.
  • #1. Times Square, New York City: 37.6 million; #2. The Las Vegas Strip, Nev.: 30 Million; #3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.: 25 million ...
  • 1. The Grand Canyon from the South Rim; 2. Hong Kong Island from Kowloon; 3. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand; 4. Manhattan from the top of Rockefeller Plaza; 5. Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus strait, Turkey
  • The restrictions were first announced in October following public debate over whether to extend traffic restrictions that helped keep skies clear during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They were set to expire at the end of this week. The traffic bureau said on its Web site Sunday that the capital will continue to keep a third of government vehicles off the road altogether.
  • ... the state-run Civil Protection Service said it would cost at least $1.7 billion to monitor and upgrade the safety standards of government-owned buildings that are more than 3 centuries old. "The problem is extraordinarily serious in Italy because there are so many ancient structures still being used, probably more than in any other country," ...

  • Monday, April 06, 2009

    Travelography #150: PATA Numbers, Hawaiian MICE, Antarctic Tours, & More Nudes

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    Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 30 March to 6 April 2009. This podcast is also available at and

  • Gov. Linda Lingle, 90 business leaders and Hawaii's four mayors wrote Obama last week urging him to oppose any measure restricting companies that receive federal funds from using business meetings "as a legitimate business tool."
  • The new U.S. proposal contains no specific enforcement mechanism or penalties for limiting tourist operations. But it would require signatories to the pact to ensure that Antarctic tour operators bar ships with more than 500 passengers from landing sites, restrict landings to one vessel at a time per site and limit passengers on shore to 100 at a time. It would mandate a minimum of one guide for every 20 tourists while ashore, according to the documents.
  • Thai authorities have indefinitely closed tourist spots near the Preah Vihear temple as Thai and Cambodian soldiers clashed twice in the vicinity today (Friday), leaving two Thai and two Cambodian soldiers dead and several injured.
  • It used to be the signature sound of gambling: the clacking of coins spilling into metal trays on slot machines. But newer electronic machines that spit paper vouchers or credit winnings to cards now emit only canned noise.
  • The report urges the tourism industry should receive the highest priority in receiving stimulus funding. "Until tourism gets well, the rest of the economy cannot," ... "And the Hawaii tourism industry is in a crisis mode now."
  • Investors plan to set up a hotel catering exclusively to nudists in the picturesque Black Forest town of Freudenstadt, which incidentally translates as Town of Joys. Guests will be required to remove their clothes at the entrance and must be naked at all times while on the premises
  • The PATA (Pacific Asia Tourism Assn) Tourism Forecasts 2009-2011, to be published this month, suggest growth in international arrivals for many destinations across the region - despite the global economic downturn. The Forecasts indicate a very mixed bag of results with significant variations across Asia Pacific.