Sunday, November 30, 2008

Travelography #137: Bummer Week of Travel News

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 24 November 2008. This podcast is also available at and

  • Budgets Shrink, and Holiday Airfares Follow Suit

    The travel industry is bracing for a painful holiday season as people scale back their discretionary spending. But that is good news for anyone who has yet to book a winter getaway, with hotels, airlines and cruise operators introducing last-minute deals to entice vacationers.
  • Tourism Situation in Thailand - as of November 27, 20:30 hrs. (Bangkok Time)

    TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) is cooperating with the Thai Hotels Association (THA), Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), AoT, and Thai Airways (TG) to set up a Crisis Networking Center on the fourth floor of the Departure Terminal in Suvarnabhumi International Airport in order to facilitate the stranded passengers and tourists until the airport resumes normal operations.
  • Commandos battle room by room to save tourists - Mumbai

    Helicopters buzzed overhead as the commandos, faces blackened, moved into one of the hotels, the Oberoi, where 20 to 30 people were thought to have been taken hostage and more than 100 others were trapped in their rooms. A 15-strong Air France team was among those unable to get out.
  • Thai PM declares emergency at two airports

    Thailand's tourism minister says authorities plan to begin flying thousands of stranded travellers out of one or two military bases in the next 48 hours. Meanwhile, it's the hour of reckoning for thousands of anti-government protesters in Thailand who are trying to force Prime Minister Somchai to resign.
  • In Pictures - Bangkok airport disruption

    Passengers queue in front of check-in desk inside Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Thousands of passengers are stranded after Suvarnabhumi Airport had been ordered closed because of a blockade by anti-government protesters.
  • Nearly 80 killed in multiple Mumbai, India shootings, blasts against tourists

    A group calling itself the "Deccan Mujahedeen" claimed responsibility for the assaults on the landmark Taj Mahal and Trident hotels in the south of the city and a number of shooting and bombing incidents elsewhere, the Press Trust of India said. One report spoke of militants taking hostages and demanding US and British passports.
  • Airport Travelers Caught In Thailand Protests

    The takeover "damaged Thailand's reputation and its economy beyond repair." The airport, the 18th-busiest in the world, handled over 40 million passengers in 2007.
  • Crisis in paradise: Economic meltdown creates ghost resorts in the Caribbean

    ...the sprawling Atlantis resort in the Bahamas laid off about 800 workers, citing low occupancy rates. Baha Mar Resorts Ltd. laid off about 40 employees at its Sheraton Resort in the Bahamas and 40 more at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. The Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union has called a demonstration Thursday to demand government aid.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Travelography #136: Holiday Travel Ups and Downs

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 17 November 2008. This podcast is also available at and

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Travelography #135: Responsible Travel and Tourism around the Globe

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 10 November 2008. This podcast is also available at and

  • Air New Zealand Schedules First Commercial Biofuel Flight

    On December 3rd, Air New Zealand will be the first commercial airline to power one of its jets with a second generation non-food biofuel made from the Jatropha plant. Jatropha is viewed as having a huge potential as a major source of oil for sustainable biofuel production.
  • The Responsible Tourism Awards organised by

    The judges declared New Zealand the overall winner for proving that it is possible to develop a national strategy which uses tourism to help make better places to live and to visit.
  • China’s First Carbon Neutral Hotel wins Accolade

    “By renovating an existing downtown factory, focusing on using recycled and locally sourced materials such as reclaimed hardwoods and old Shanghai bricks, and introducing eco-friendly solutions like passive solar shades, and water based AC systems, URBN hopes to set an example for other businesses and industries in China and around the world,” Mr Krauss said. “We track the total amount of energy (gas, water and electricity) the hotel consumes, including staff commutes, in order to calculate the carbon footprint.
  • Ivory trade thriving in China but signs of decline

    Ivory continues to be smuggled into China despite a ban on imports that dates back to 1991, with the tusks mainly being sourced from Africa, according to the report released by TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring organisation. Nevertheless, it said increased enforcement of regulations in China had led to some improvements, with surveys of markets showing that fewer illegal products were on sale.
  • United environmental flight reduces carbon emissions by nearly 33,000 pounds

    ASPIRE United’ reduced fuel burn and emissions by using up-to-the-minute fuel data, priority takeoff clearance, normally restricted airspace around Sydney’s airport, and new arrival procedures – all of which are possible with new technology.
  • Maldives seek to buy a new homeland

    The Maldives will begin to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue into buying a new homeland - as an insurance policy against climate change that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees,...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Travelography #134: Barack Obama's Travel and Tourism Impact

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 3 November 2008. This podcast is also available at and

  • Will Obama's holiday habits catch on?

    President-elect and body-surfing fan Barack Obama could break the [previous] trend of White House incumbents by travelling overseas for his holidays. As well as trips to Hawaii to catch a few waves and take walks along the beach with his wife and children,
  • Officials Aim To Use Inaugural To Promote Hawaii

    ...national media already are generating interest in Hawaii sites connected to Obama. It likely won't be long before local tour companies are offering tours of Obama's childhood neighborhood, his grandparents' apartment and where he went to school.
  • For Inaugural, Obama Faithful Say It's Washington or Bust

    Despite some rates surpassing the $1,000 per night mark, rooms are also booking, on average, three times faster than for the last inauguration, according to the travel Web site Many hotels have imposed two- and three-night minimum stays.
  • Thousands clamour to see realisation of dream

    Officials said the crowd could surpass the 1.2 million who attended Lyndon Johnson's inauguration in 1965. Senator Obama's election set off an instant desire to see his inauguration and frenetic efforts last week to be present for what will be a milestone in American history.
  • Barack Obama factor boosts US tourism

    A [UK] Telegraph poll shows that 80 per cent of readers are more likely to visit the US now than they were before the presidential election. Until now many Telegraph readers have said they have been put off the US by its draconian border security arrangements and the foreign policy decisions made by George Bush.
  • Some Truth To An Irish O'Bama?

    Moneygall, a town of 300 on the road between Dublin and Limerick, says that Barack Obama's great, great, great grandfather was born there and hopes for an onslaught of American tourism.
  • Illinois Banks on Obama Buzz to Boost Tourism

    "experience the city the Obamas enjoy." The Illinois Bureau of Tourism plans to launch a three-day getaway promotion featuring Barack Obama sites.
  • Hotel prices, bookings soar for inauguration

    ...a $20,000 "Live Like a President" package. It includes tickets to an inaugural event, replica of an inauguration ball meal prepared by a personal chef, in-room massage and $1,000 shopping spree. There's a sanitizer (to combat germy glad-handing) and lip balm to aid in baby-kissing.
  • Jamaica may suffer ... If US lifts Cuban embargo

    On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted to lift the American trade embargo on Cuba. The vote in the 192-member world body was 185 to three, with two abstentions. The US, Israel and Palau voted no, while Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained.
  • Japan’s hottest new tourist destination: Obama

    “We started this as a joke,” said Yasunori Maeno of the “Obama for Obama” campaign he helped organize. “But as we came to know more about him … and his emphasis on community, the more we liked him. It is important to love the place you are from and to work to promote it.”
  • Obama may mean higher airline labor costs, fewer route auctions

    Obama's mediation board may take steps such as granting quicker releases from mediation, which would let unions start countdowns to possible strikes sooner, said Andrew Steinberg, former transportation assistant secretary under President George W. Bush.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Travelography #133: Crocs, Scales and Greenhouse Gasses

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 27 October 2008. This podcast is also available at and

  • 25 Non-Cliché Travel Songs (With Videos)

    Forget the tired tracks you’re used to hearing. Here are 25 inspiring songs that will have you hitting the road. - from the BraveNewTraveler blog
  • Croc terrorises north Queensland, Australia, tourist mecca

    A major north Queensland tourist island is demanding compensation from the state government for dumping a croc on its beach. The government research program that unleashed the crocodile on Magnetic Island will be reconsidered,...
  • Weak Australian dollar not enough to tempt tourists

    Rivals such as Cathay Pacific have been boosting flights into Australia to reduce the impact of falling demand, especially for corporate travel, on other routes....a 34 per cent fall in the Australian dollar against the greenback since July had also offset most of the benefits to Qantas of a recent fall in jet fuel prices.
  • Reach for the sky: aviation emissions in UK Climate Bill

    The UK government has backed down on aviation and shipping, agreeing to include both in the Climate Change Bill's 80% emissions reduction targets. They had planned to let the industry grow as much as it liked while cracking down on other sectors, but changed their mind when faced with a major backbench rebellion. So in theory aviation emissions will have to reduce by 80% - and, as there are no sustainable fuels in the pipeline, that should mean a lot fewer flights.
  • TSA likely to ease restrictions on liquids in 2009

    By the end of 2010, passengers should be able to keep liquids as they go through checkpoints... The restrictions are also likely to be eased in airports of other countries that adopted similar liquid restrictions two years ago after authorities disrupted an alleged plot to bomb trans-Atlantic flights with liquid-based explosives,...
  • Inspections show inaccurate airline scales may cost travelers money

    Some airlines, including Miramar-based Spirit Airlines — whose scales at Fort Lauderdale passed inspection only 53 percent of the time and therefore ranked among the worst performers — allow their ticket agents to waive the fee for passengers with baggage weighing 1 or 2 pounds over the limit.