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.
  • Monday, February 16, 2009

    Travelography #144: Business or Pleasure in Vegas, and Fleeing Tibet

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    Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 9 to 16 February 2009. This podcast is also available at and

    • Sin City worries its image hurts business travel : NPR

      Born of carefully crafted slogans — "What happens here stays here" — and smiling, sequined showgirls, the image of a 24-hour adult Disneyland with free-flowing booze and casino chips is making the tourist destination seem radioactive to companies keen on not appearing frivolous as they seek government bailouts.
    • Tower Rising in Las Vegas but Now, Not So High

      But because of what it is billing as structural defects, MGM Mirage announced recently it has decided to shorten a hotel-condominium project it is building on the Strip to 28 stories instead of the planned 49. Architectural experts say they cannot recall such a drastic midconstruction downscaling,
    • Canadian passenger bill of rights will make airfares soar

      "The last thing, in this economic context, that airlines want to do is pass on that cost to passengers but they will have no choice. There is no way airlines could absorb that," said George Petsikas, president of the National Airlines Council of Canada.
    • US airlines face sharp drop in international demand

      he now expects U.S. airline revenue to fall 11% for the year, compared to his prior outlook of an 8% decline. Hardest hit would be the lucrative international routes, particularly those of American parent AMR Corp. and Continental. Mainline international revenue could fall 12% for 2009, versus a prior forecast of a 6% decline,
    • Tibetan Areas Closed to Foreigners

      Large swathes of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces — home to large ethnic Tibetan communities — are now off limits to foreign travelers, local officials confirmed Thursday. Last year, protests to mark the anniversary spun out of control, with deadly riots breaking out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.
    • Chinese migrants may flee Tibet as tourism stalls

      Many workers and traders from other ethnic groups who moved to the remote region in search of a better living said they were considering leaving for good, driven away by the tourism slump and icy anger of local Tibetans.
    • Nepal seeks way to promote tourism between Nepal and China

      "China would tide over this phase of financial turmoil and come up as a much bigger player in the world economy, we, very close neighbor of China, hope that Nepal will also benefit from the strength of the Chinese economy,"
    • Travel Industry: This Is No Time to Check Out

      "We've got to get away from the symbolism of corporate fat cats smoking a big cigar on a golf course and instead think about the symbolism of people meeting and thinking together and creating ideas and building their cultures,"
    • Mayor to Obama: Your comments are harmful to Las Vegas

      Obama said during a town hall meeting this week in Indiana that companies shouldn't take trips to Las Vegas or go to the Super Bowl at taxpayers' expense.
    • Downturn hits international travel; flights from USA cut

      With demand for international trips in free fall, most U.S. and foreign airlines are cutting international service to and from the USA. They're reducing the number of scheduled flights or parking big jets and putting passengers on smaller ones to avoid flying money-losing, half-empty flights.
    • TwisitorCenter - your one-stop shop for finding visitor information on

      Going somewhere? Get the insider information from those who know, the local tourism authority. Connect here with your final destination for all your traveling needs.

    Monday, February 09, 2009

    Travelography #143: Fire Tourists and Tweet My Spring Break

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    Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 2 to 9 February 2009. This podcast is also available at and

    • Police warn 'fire tourists' to stay away - Australia

      People have died in their cars trying to escape the Gippsland fires and there are reports of a busload of Japanese tourists heading towards the Yarra Valley. Police say they will be blocking people who are driving towards dangerous areas and people could be charged with hindering police if they are caught sightseeing in "stupid" areas.
    • Australia's forest fire toll climbs - 166 dead - Summary : Environment

      The body count reached 166 on Tuesday, more than doubling the death toll from Australia's previous worst forest fires in 1983. Authorities in the south-coast city of Melbourne warned the death toll would continue to climb as army bulldozers cleared a path for forensic teams to enter hamlets cut off by Saturday's inferno.
    • Future Tech May Reduce Bird-Plane Collisions

      Most of today's anti-bird-strike efforts are ground-based, focusing on making airports less inviting to birds by removing ponds, exterminating the bugs birds eat, firing noise cannons, installing artificial owls, and so on. But the next frontier in bird-strike prevention is the sky. Bird-disturbing radar, pulsing lights, and reflective coatings may someday make aircraft more visible to birds, so they have time to dodge oncoming planes
    • Travel firms respond to events, share news via Twitter

      Hotels, airlines, airports and other travel companies are joining the Twitter community, too, to pitch services, update travel conditions and respond directly to the individual needs of customers. They're finding the mobile nature of the technology is ideal for talking to travelers. "We consider our Twitter account akin to an information booth,"
    • Economy won't stop the spring break party

      Bookings to popular beach destinations are strong, according to travel companies, and volunteering vacations continue to gain momentum. "Typically the student business is more resilient to the economy because it's like a once in a lifetime trip,"
    • $50,000 to stay in a house shaped like a toilet?

      Traveling to Suwon, South Korea anytime soon? Feeling flush with cash and feel like staying in a house shaped like a toilet?