31 December 2015

U.S. Citizen International Travel Increased 10 Percent in October 2015

here are the highlights:

October 2015/2014 Comparisons
U.S. travel to overseas markets totaled 2.4 million, up nine percent in October and six percent for the year (27.7 million). Regional results for the month were as follows:

  • Europe, 978,000 travelers, up seven percent
  • Caribbean, 477,000 travelers, up nine percent
  • Asia, 423,000 travelers, up 11 percent
  • Central America, 158,000 travelers, up eight percent
  • Middle East, 154,000 travelers, up 15 percent
  • South America, 139,000 travelers, up 13 percent
  • Oceania, 50,000 travelers, up eight percent
  • Africa, 25,000 travelers, down two percent
For more details and data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) see this link.

Oh yeah, a Happy and Safe New Year to all!

17 December 2015

Assistant Professor of Sustainability & Community Resilience

Assistant Professor of Sustainability & Community Resilience
Tenure Track: Geography & Regional Planning
The Department of Geography and Regional Planning (GARP) at Westfield State University (WSU) is excited to invite applications for a tenure-track position in Sustainability and Community Resilience at the Assistant Professor level beginning September 2016. Academic load is nine (9) hours teaching per semester plus time devoted to building a resilient and sustainable community on and off campus.  Summer responsibilities may be available on a contract basis.
A Ph.D. is required in Geography, Planning or closely related field with a focus on sustainable and resilient communities. The successful candidate will teach courses in an Allied Science area (sustainability or resilience related) and a specialty area such as Disaster Mitigation and Recovery, Health and the Built Environment, or Economic Revitalization.  Additionally, we seek a candidate with strong leadership skills, one who has the ability to engage on a local and global scale, function across multiple disciplines, be an effective communicator, and manage multiple projects. Current sustainable initiatives offered in GARP include housing, food security, urban planning, disaster mitigation, climate change and transportation.  We desire individuals that would complement our current talent. Teaching in the University's Allied Science Core and sustainability courses required. The new faculty member will be expected to coordinate a new initiative, the Alliance for a Resilient Community (ARC), and will receive a quarter time reduction for this responsibility. This role will be reviewed annually and contingent on performance and measurable outcomes.  The successful candidate will facilitate partnerships with the Westfield State community and underserved local communities to:
  • Develop active, safe and thriving communities for future citizens.
  • Enhance student problem-solving skills and respect for diversity.
  • Promote the value of service-learning in the college curriculum.
  • Inspire global citizenship, increase social justice and improve economic viability of the region.
  • Respond to the needs of a changing environment by preserving precious resources.
Job Requirements
Minimum Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. in geography, planning, or closely related field and a desire to teach undergraduates.
  • Experience in addressing challenges facing local communities.
  • GIS experience a plus.
  • Spanish and/or Eastern European Language skills a plus.
Additional Information
Westfield State University understands that persons with specific disabilities may need assistance with the job application process and/or with the interview process. For confidential assistance with the job application process, please contact the human resources office at (413) 572-8809.
Application Instructions
An online application is required. The successful candidate must submit an official transcript at the time of hire. Interested candidates should electronically attach the following documents:
  • Letter of application
  • Vita
  • Statement of teaching philosophy
  • Unofficial copy of transcript
  • Contact information for references
University Description
Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational institution of higher learning in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. A public teaching institution offering quality programs in the liberal arts and sciences with complementing professional studies curricula, we are grounded in our founding principles of academic excellence and educating all in a diverse and welcoming community.
For the first time, Westfield State University is the only Massachusetts state university to be named as one of the top 50 "Best Colleges for Veterans" as reported in the latest US News & World Report 2015 "Best Colleges" edition. Westfield State continues its trend to lead the Massachusetts state university system in the annual overall rankings for Regional Universities-North, officially ranked 115, up from 123 last year. Westfield State is the only Massachusetts school public or private in the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 "Best Online Education Programs" rankings. Westfield State offers six online bachelor's degree completion programs in business management, criminal justice, history, liberal studies, psychology, and sociology.
Westfield State University is ideally situated on the edge of the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts. The area offers a relatively low cost of living and a high quality of life. Hiking, canoeing, and ski areas are minutes away, yet the campus is just a half-hour from the thriving cultural centers of Northampton and Amherst, and about two to three hours from Boston and New York City.
Established in 1983, the Department of Geography and Regional Planning currently offers an undergraduate degree in planning and works closely with the Environmental Science program.
Westfield State University provides equal access to employment opportunities for all applicants, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, age, disability or veteran status in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies.

05 December 2015

Sea, Sun, Sand and …. Selecting Surgery: an Exploration of Health, Medical and Wellness

We recently published an exploratory investigation into travel behavior or health, medical and wellness tourists found in Human Geographies.  It reflects the findings of a sample of actual tourists and the motivations behind the travel to a foreign destination for care. I need to also credit my co-author Wen-Tsann Yang (Feng-Chia University) and fellow Ph.D. graduate of the Geography Department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for his efforts in this research.

The Abstract:

Mass tourism facilities depend on repeat visitors as well as attracting new first time tourists. As these traditional sun and sand holiday destinations mature, tourism promoters are bundling opportunities to attract a different kind of tourist. Since many of these resorts are all-inclusive facilities and include a Spa, one potential expansion may be to market to health, medical or wellness tourists. Geographic research in travel and tourism has found that individuals either repeat visits to the same destination or diversify their choices. This paper highlights the decision-making process of tourists and how it may be related to the niche market of health, wellness, and medical tourism. It uses data from a survey that gathered the travel patterns and motivations, and socio-demographics of medical tourists. Consumers who exhibit different travel behavior rank hospital accreditation and American hospital affiliation more important than those who repeat travel behavior - See more at: http://www.humangeographies.org.ro/volume-9-issue-2-2015/921-abstract#sthash.bJDUFRpD.dpuf

03 December 2015


and always there is the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium (NERR) 2016 to consider.

Check it out quick since Change is on the way....

NERR will be changing its name to the National Environment and Recreation Research Symposium over the next year. This new national focus will better reflect the broad research perspectives of NERR attendees, who travel to the conference from all over the United States and from other countries as well. As part of this change in focus, a new not-for-profit organization will be formed to organize and host the symposium. The mission of the National Environment and Recreation Research Association will be to foster an interdisciplinary scientific understanding of the relationships between humans and the natural environment in outdoor recreation and tourism-related contexts; further the application of social science information in natural resource decision-making; and provide a mechanism for social scientists, resource managers, practitioners, agency personnel, and decision makers to discuss and exchange information and knowledge . Look for updates about these future changes on this website!

02 December 2015


The SERR conference was my first professional meeting as a grad student.  Check it out at http://www.serrconference.org/.

You get access the Proceedings from the site, for example, try this link.

29 November 2015

Appalachian Trail Boundary Bushwhacking

The fall is a great time to get out into the woods, and what better excuse to do so by doing some AT boundary monitoring.  Last weekend, I was in the Tyringham Valley, Massachusetts doing just that.
Here is a video of some work in Tract 246-17 and 246-13.  Enjoy.

23 November 2015

November 26-27, 2015 World Summit on Sustainable Tourism ST+20 - Spain

Happen to be in Europe now?  Check out the World Summit on Sustainable Tourism in Spain.  For details. see the page.   Lots of good resources for educators too.

07 November 2015

RIP Dr. Wolfgang Haider (1953 – 2015)

I was saddened to hear about the unexpected death of Wolfgang Haider.  I first got to know Wolfgang at the early years of the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium and later at the International Symposium of Society and Natural Resources.  He was always pleasant and encouraged me and others in recreation and geography.
There is a nice bio found at this link.

04 November 2015

travel trophies

It always amazes me when the conversation gets around to vacation places and someone announces they have been to 7 islands in the Caribbean or something like that.  Upon closer investigation, I discover they were on a cruise and visited 7 ports.  And if my experience can be the basis, every port in the Caribbean looks, feels, smells the same.  Same trinkets, same food and so on.
This commentary notes this and hopes that after a "taste" the cruise tourist may return to get the real experience.

I wonder about the sample?

02 November 2015

Haymarket ends tipping and raises wages

Another Kudos for a local eatery who is trying to make a difference for their employees.  By raising the hourly wage to 14 bucks (almost $30 k for an annual full time salary), this place only has to raise prices 10 percent in the cafe and 20 percent in the restaurant.
So next time you are in NOHO, check out the Haymarket Cafe.

31 October 2015

Scream ...... TCM and halloween

So today is Halloween and on TCM the day is dedicated to the genre.  Check out these films....
Doctor X, White Zombie, Dementia 13, the Fearless Vampire Killers, Homicidal, The Tingler,, House of Wax, The Devil's Bride, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Curse of the Demon, Dead of Night, Mark of the Vampire and many more this past month.
enjoy....and as Vincent Price suggests ...... SCREAM!

28 October 2015

Kudos to REI

Recreation Equipment Inc (REI) is keeping the 143 stores closed on black Friday and paying employees to be outside!

Is this a cleaver marketing plan or just good plain sense?  I suspect both, since REI will probably gain more online sales this year due to the good publicity.

So, everyone, skip black Friday and finish up the yard work; or better yet, go hiking.

27 October 2015

Fright Tourism thrives in the witch state

DementedFX is a local attraction to scare the bajeebers (is that a word) out of you.  Located in Easthampton in western Mass, about a hundred miles west of the more famous Salem, this indoor attraction is open now. Check out the website for directions and info, and you can buy tickets too.

26 October 2015

winter weather?

For winter 2015-2016 North America (or some of NA), check out this link at weather.gov.

23 October 2015

41 years later

the conditions were right.  Saw the Aurora Borealis last night.

And the Aurora Forecast (Univ. of Alaska) site said it was a good time to see it.

And from the Iceland Meteorological site the clouds were going cooperate.

Specs on the photo above:  Panosonic DMC-ZS40, focus on infinite, wide aperture, 30 second exposure.  Of course on tripod, and 10 second timed release.

Free Maps

Two words I like:


Check it out at this link.

20 October 2015

Bela Lugosi was born on this date

Let's take a moment to reflect on his artistic career.  See his page for more details.  And his IMDB page for his filmography.

03 October 2015

30 September 2015

Lunar Eclipse the other night

tried out my new camera to capture the eclipse.  Think I left it on auto focus so that is the reason for the blur.  Open aperture, 15 second exposure on tripod after a timed shutter release.

28 September 2015


One of my hobbies is collecting 16mm movie prints.  I like B Movie style films and currently have about 30 titles in my collection.  Most of the titles I buy from eBay, but I have been more successful with titles from film libraries, direct from other collectors and even companies that sell DVD's.  In fact, I think I will stay away from eBay now since there have been several unpleasant sales and buys recently, and quite frankly it is not as enjoyable as it used to be.

I joined 16 mm Film Talk a few years ago and thoroughly enjoy the forum.  If you are a collector, check it out (16mmFilmtalk.com).

Tonight I checked out my copy of Santo contra los zombies.

13 September 2015

24th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality

Iceland next month for the 24th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality.  This is my second visit to the country and I can't wait.  I am presenting a paper titled Acceptance of Sustainable Practices for Local Food: An International Example, with Ian Jenkins (University of Iceland).  I'll post pics.

10 September 2015

Our Stanley Park

The public is invited to a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony with Mayor Dan Knapik for the Anderson Bridge in the Frank Stanley Beveridge Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, September 26 at 10:00AM. All are invited for an optional post-dedication Walk, Run, or Bike ride in honor of Doug Anderson. Since 2013, Stanley Park has been raising funds to replace Wildlife Sanctuary trail bridges damaged and washed away in recent storms by hosting the annual Run Stanley 5K, seeking sponsorship, and obtaining grants. Thanks to a generous donation by the Anderson family and public support of the fundraising effort, a first removable floating dock bridge has been installed at the site of the former damaged bridge. This is now accessible from the boardwalk area. An additional bridge farther along the River Trail loop is needed to cross a marshy site where a second bridge was washed away. Raising the remaining funds needed for the second bridge is the goal of the third annual Run Stanley 5k trail run/walk, dog run, and Munchkin Run, to be held on Sunday, October 4 at Stanley Park. Register by September 15 to guarantee a race t-shirt at www.runstanley.com

29 August 2015

Another Wx Site

Seems there are a million different sites to get weather information.  This one was shared by a friend and I submit it here (instead of bookmarking it).  It might be interesting to see how it covers the tropical storms.


26 August 2015

this is why you don't plan too far ahead for vacations

A tropical storm alert has been issued for islands in the Caribbean.  For more details check out the National Hurricane Center for maps and such.

So short story, don't plan a vacation anywhere in the Caribbean, Southeast US too far out.  Wait a week out to make the summer plans.

19 August 2015

Aurora Forecast

Heading to Iceland for a conference in October and can't wait.  We last traveled for the Nordic Geographers Meeting in 2013 and explored the island a bit.  We want to revisit some places and also see other sights after this conference.  We are hoping to see the Aurora and have been monitoring this forecast.

18 August 2015

Should we worry about Danny

This is the time of the year that I would not plan far in advance a trip to the Caribbean.
I recall one season, the NRPA hosted a fall conference in Miami.  Not too smart and boy oh boy did the hurricane hit during the conference.

See this site for info on Danny.

15 August 2015

Census dot Gov

Hadn't been to the US Census Bureau website for a while so today, when I need to get some population figures, I discover the population clock.

So click on the image and note that this blog was posted at about 11:30 a.m. eastern on this date.  How many more people are on the planet when you read this?

14 August 2015

AHS Releases Hiking Trails in America Report

The American Hiking Society has published Hiking Trails in America is available to the public as a free download! It is a really nice summary of hiking.  Check it out on a rainy day, before or after your next hike!

12 August 2015

Meteor Shower tonight!

Check out the natural fireworks tonight.

See this link for details to best see the show.

06 August 2015

No federal funding for bottled water bans?

So the Washington Post reported the battle between the National Park Service (the good guys) and the bottled water companies (the bad guys).  Since the bad guys have tons of money, from selling water at $10 a gallon (when you buy a pint), they are pressuring our elected officials:

"Now, Congress — under pressure from the powerful bottled water industry — is threatening to cut off the federal money the Park Service is using to replace the disposable plastic water bottles with refilling stations." and...

"The bottled water association has spent about $510,000 to lobby members of Congress since 2011, records show, and the national parks are one of its top targets this year."

Just goes to show you that business runs America.

04 August 2015

27 July 2015

Antarctica: a Year on Ice

After a dentist appointment, I decided to watch this film on Netflix.  Highly recommended.
Spectacular photography! A great story and well edited.  Check it out.

14 July 2015


Should be some exciting imagery coming our way from the "dwarf" planet.

See the BBC report.  And the images from NASA.

22 June 2015

Glacier Bay National Park and Last Chance Tourism

Perhaps one of the easiest places to get to do "last chance tourism" since a regular fleet of cruise ships pass through the area every summer. Pretty soon you will be able to sail into Canada!

Margerie Glacier above, and the map below:

See a short video on YouTube that I just got around to producing at this link.

21 June 2015

NERR joined SORP this past Spring

Like the alphabet soup?  Conference highlights and such are found on their website.  Previous SORP conferences are also found at this site.  The Northeastern Recreation and Research Symposium has been around since 1989!

20 June 2015

Summer Solstice and my final Dead show

About twenty years ago, I saw my final Grateful Dead show over in Albany, NY at the Knickerbocker.  Like all the shows, it was tremendously entertaining and proved to be a wonderful day.  I won't make the final shows this year, but I am reminded about my 20 years of shows.  Jerry, RIP passed away later that summer.

To relive the shows, try archive.org for soundboard (streaming) and audience tapes (downloadable).

19 June 2015

NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day

Always good to see what NASA is doing, and the Image of the Day is usually spectacular.

Click here for the current image.

16 June 2015


I just caught this documentary on streaming Netflix.  All I can say is WATCH IT!

It is inspirational.

It is important.

It is required.

My friend Dr. Jo Beth Mullens (Keene State) has done research on dam removal. So I do know a bit about the subject.  You can too, by watching the film and reading her research.

14 June 2015

another cool hike

Becket Quarry is managed by the Becket Land Trust.  It is a remarkable resource for hiking, but also for a historic view of an abandoned granite quarry operation.  The Hudson-Chester Granite Company operated from the 1850's and closed in the 1960's.

We visited the area yesterday and hiked around a bit.  The area has plenty of trails to check out, are well marked with signs and blazing and the routes are varied enough for multiple trips.

Check out my YouTube video.

13 June 2015


Early spring, past the mud season is a great time to hike.  While the recent film "Wild" and "A Walk in the Woods" may encourage (motivate) a herd of novices on long distance trails, why not check out a local hike first.

Here is a short video of the H. Newman Marsh Trail in Chester-Blandford State Forest for starters.

12 June 2015

RIP Draclula

Sort of combining dark or fright tourism with film tourism, we lost one of the greats this week.

Christopher Lee dies at age 93.

His many Hammer films in the 1950s and 60s, renewed interest in horror films during a period of weakening censorship.  Mr. Lee went on to star in comedies, a Bond movie and more recently The Lord of the Rings.

See Sir Lee's extensive filmography at imdb.com

10 June 2015

FIFA part two

Back on 3 June 2015 I reported on the FIFA scandal.  Seems this is nothing new (surprise!) and in fact a recent paper has been written titled "The Mega-Event Syndrome: Why So Much Goes Wrong in Mega-Event Planning and What to Do About It" and published in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Free access too!

04 June 2015


Let me just list some cool weather websites for you.


So when you travel, just google "location" weather websites to find really good local weather info.

03 June 2015

Blatter announced his resignation as FIFA president

See the news report on YouTube.

"Sepp Blatter says he will resign as president of football's governing body Fifa amid a corruption scandal. In announcing his exit, the 79-year-old Swiss has called an extraordinary Fifa congress "as soon as possible" to elect a new president."

02 June 2015

Bald Knob Cross

A religious attraction in Southern Illinois, seek and you shall find .... the Bald Knob Cross.

01 June 2015

Guide to presentations

The International Association for Society and Natural Resources has a great page on preparing presentations and posters. In particular I like the suggestions of an awful PPT presentation!

We all need to be reminded!

29 May 2015

Un-welcome to Turks and Caicos

Un-welcome to Turks and Caicos.  Here is the heading for the Turks and Caicos Island' Sun newspaper:


And I quote:  "In fact, if Misick has his way expatriates who come to the Turks and Caicos Islands to live and work would have to leave their native customs and practices behind."

So I guess it is ok to visit, just not stay and hold onto your heritage!

28 May 2015

Local food in Restaurants attract customers

According to the 2015 Restaurant Industry Pocket Factbook (National Restaurant Association), 69% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally produced food items.  See their video at this link.  And 60% want a place that offers items grown or raised in an eco-friendly way.

Teens are typically starter employees, yet the modal age of employees, accounting for 25 percent are workers in the 25-34 age bracket.

And what foods are hot?  Gluten Free!

27 May 2015

Rachel Carson and Vincent Price

What do these two have in common?  Well, both have a birthday today May 27!

When one thinks of Rachel Carson, we think of her contribution to the environmental movement.  She was not the first, think John Muir and others, and she is not the last, think May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, but she did bring awareness to human's exploitation of our environment.

But where does Vincent Price fit into this.  Perhaps not for the environment, but instead entertainment on the fringe.  Think House on Haunted Hill, or The Tingler.

What a pair to celebrate a birthday!

26 May 2015

Summer air travel expected to be high

US airlines are expected to carry 222 million passengers this summer beating the pre-recession record of 217 million in 2007.  On average 2.4 million passengers will fly each day, and it will seem that they are all in front of you waiting to go through security and not willing to take off those smelly shoes.

Oh yeah, don't take pictures in airport (or be real discrete about it).

25 May 2015

Memorial Day 2015

American's claim today to be the first day of summer, but geographers know it actually is a few weeks later in June and is called the solstice.

But for today, let's honor all military who served their home lands.  According to Wikipedia:

"Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end."

08 May 2015

Last Dead show drives up hotel rooms

If you want to see the "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 years of the Grateful Dead" shows at Chicago's Soldier Field 3, 4, or 5 July 2015, I hope you got your tickets.

Likewise try to book a hotel in the area.  Many are booked and if not, charging an arm and a leg for a room during the hottest show in town.

Gone are the days (get it), when deadheads would camp out in the VW Microbus for a show.  Deadheads are now middle aged and have comfortable incomes.  So the hotel amenities are just one of the things people want.

Almost 2,000 seats are still available for the Saturday show, starting at a couple hundred bucks for the nose bleed section of the 70,000 seat stadium.  The first seat that has a few goes for $500.  Upgrade to a suite if you care.

My first Dead show was in 1976 and I paid $10.

06 May 2015

Graduation Tourism

Across the country, college graduations are celebrating the latest bunch of students finishing higher education.  And with the ceremony, come mom and pop, grand parents, spouses girl friends or boy friends as all of the people descend into the towns that host an institution of higher learning.

What kind of impact does that have on hotels restaurants, campus bookstores selling t-shirts?  And what about traffic jams.

This is an example of impacts of short term tourism.  The best thing for people living in college towns may be the quiet the summer brings.  The shot is from last year's WSU Graduation.

05 May 2015

Casino Wars!

MGM is building a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts and the Connecticut Casinos are sweating "arrows" (get it?).  Anyway, a satellite casino is an option for northern Connecticut in the Hartford area or north.  Some sites are concerned about traffic (no kidding), but the chance of having two casinos 30 miles apart will certainly be exciting.

Place your bets.

03 May 2015

Trends in Tourism

There is a cool graphic site found at the World Travel and Tourism Council at this link, that illustrates the trends in visitor exports (foreign spending ) as a percentage of exports. The green circles have different shades of green to represent growth or decline of this spending.  For example here is the one for the British Virgin Islands.

Seems my visit to the Islands of the World XII Conference 2012, “Globalisation: Islands Adapting To Change”, The Virgin Islands (British), 29 May – 1 June, 2012 was during the upswing?

Here is the key for the graphic.

29 April 2015

West Springfield Open Space and Recreation Plan

Residents are invited to provide input on open space and recreation in West Springfield, Massachusetts and can complete an online survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WestSpringfieldOSRP

28 April 2015

Wisdom found on a road trip

When you do d road trip, there is a lot of time to ponder life.  I really like this quote from Emily Post who recommended to avoid making snap judgments.

“Unless you can stay in a city long enough to know some of its people, to learn something about its atmosphere and personality, your opinion of it is as valueless as your opinion of a play would be, after seeing only the posters on the outside of the theater.” (Post)

Read more in her bookBy Motor to the Golden Gate.

27 April 2015

Quake in Nepal

For a different take on the current quake, see this site from France.  It is also in English.

25 April 2015

April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak

Today is the anniversary date of one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in recent times.  This also means that the highways in the great plains, also known as "tornado alley" will be jammed packed with storm chasers, both professional and amateurs, as they seek the opportunity to see one of these remarkable weather events.

We wrote about storm chasing a while back.  And a google search will find more on the subject.

23 April 2015

China to accept US Credit Cards

China has announced that foreign companies like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express can bring their payment processing operation in that country starting 1 June 2015.  Should be a boom for tourism!

21 April 2015


MAY IS WETLANDS MONTH, and JUNE IS RIVERS MONTH! This calendar, covering river-and wetlandrelated events in Massachusetts from Saturday, April 25 to Sunday, July 5, has been compiled by the Mass. Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) to provide you with the opportunity to participate in events in, on, along or about the rivers and wetlands of the Commonwealth. Take this opportunity to invite your friends, family, local leaders, legislators, and/or a favorite reporter to clean up, paddle, protect, enjoy and celebrate your favorite rivers, streams, salt marshes and freshwater wetlands, or experience new ones. Get some healthful exercise and spend time in nature in and/or along the Commonwealth’s many scenic waterways and marshes.

20 April 2015

24th Nordic Symposium of Tourism and Hospitality Research

I have two abstracts submitted to this conference.  And we are looking forward to our second visit to this wonderful land.  Surreal is one word that comes to mind.  People are wonderful, landscape is just incredible and it ain't too far from Boston.  Here is a shot from our last visit two years ago for the Nordic Geographers Meeting.

Þingvellir (Thingvellir), That's America to the right (west) and the rest of Europe to the left (east).

19 April 2015

Today's Hike along Scantic River

Hiked a short loop trail in Scantic River State Park in Connecticut.  No signs direct you there, but using google maps on my Android phone we were able to find the trail head.  Check it out.

I composed a brief video on the hike and posted on YouTube for your pleasure.

18 April 2015

Westfield Dog Bark Grand Opening today!

I shot some video today of our four legged companions.  A couple shots are their 2 legged friends!


16 April 2015

Spring Cleaning on the Mt Washington Auto Road

There are some great shots of the work done along the road to Mt Washington, NH.  Check them out.

15 April 2015

More community presentations for Tourism

The Hilltowns of Massachusetts are highlighted in this video.  I am really proud of my Travel and Tourism students.  Remember, this is not a videography course.

14 April 2015

Community Tourism Presentations

So, I am having my students prepare a "informational video" highlighting tourist attractions in local communities.  Here is the link for 

Welcome to Southampton and Easthampton Massachusetts

That was produced two years ago!  Here is an alternative link 

11 April 2015

Airport Information is always good

Some Airports are good, and others, shall we say stink.

There are some airports I will avoid whenever possible and if I cannot avoid it, I at least have some good idea what to expect.  This site http://www.ifly.com/ is pretty useful since there is an active log with information for travelers. In particular, there is information about connecting flights.

While I don't need to go to the site, for example, I know from experience you need at least 2 hours to clear immigration in Miami Airport, and more if during "rush hour."  If I don't know an airport, I do want to leave enough time to make connections since the airlines do not take that into consideration when they offer multiple leg trips.

05 April 2015

Green Energy but still paying for Oil in Turks and Caicos

Seems funny that in a region of the world that has abundant sunlight, many Caribbean islands still depend on fossil fuels.  In a recent report, by NREL, National Renewable Energy Lab, they write

"Turks and Caicos has few policies related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Historically, the territory has not implemented policy mechanisms to aid in the development of clean and energy-efficient technologies. In fact, some policies inhibit their implementation; a ban on new electricity generators, self-generation, and feed-in tariffs is currently in place, minimizing the opportunities for clean energy development regardless of technical and economic potential."

So tourists might want to know:

"Turks and Caicos has the highest reported greenhouse gas emissions in the region—the reduction in fuel imports seen from energy efficiency and renewable energy implementation will greatly help to reduce those emissions and improve air and water quality."

04 April 2015

Annual April Fools Blog

I need to come clean...there will be no 24/7 Cheers TV channel.

Now, what about Law and Order?

Hollywood, waddya' think?

01 April 2015

24/7 Cheers Channel to Premier

Gov. Baker (R-Massachusetts) has announced the film tax credits will be removed and this may discourage Hollywood from filming in the Bay State.  Massachusetts has been the setting for several several recent films like  “The Judge” to “American Hustle,” “Labor Day,” “Ted,” “The Town,” “The Social Network,” and “The Fighter” and such TV shows as “Wahlburgers” and “Top Chef: Boston”.

A spokesperson for Baker counters however, by announcing the new streaming channel devoted to the hit TV series Cheers. When asked if the series could fill a 24/7 slot of entertainment, Spokesperson Sam Danson replied "sure, we plan to fill in gaps with live camera feeds of local bars."  People sitting around bars for hours on end, and drinking beer have lots of things to talk about.  We expect it to be more popular than the local news; and certainly a lot more entertaining."

Time will tell.

31 March 2015

Annual Westfield River Watershed River Symposium

Spring time means a lot of things here in western Mass. And one of the highlights is the Annual Westfield River Symposium.  The day looks pretty interesting and I have copied the current agenda here fyi:

2015 Westfield River Symposium

Outdoor Fun
in Your Watershed

Saturday, April 11, 2015
Westfield State University - Scanlon Banquet Hall

8:00-8:30 RegistrationExhibits available for viewing from 8:00 to 12:15
8:30-9:35 WelcomeBrian Conz, WRWA President
  Keynote AddressJoe Giffune (President, Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail)The Green Evolution: A History of the Columbia Greenway

9:45-10:30 Concurrent
Sessions I
Creation and Re-creation: Finding and Naming Birds: Seth Kellogg (Allen Bird Club)

Westfield River Watershed: Fishing a Gem of the West: Leanda Fontaine-Gagnon (MA Division of Fish & Wildlife)

The Trustees of Reservations in the Upper Watershed: Jim Caffrey (The Trustees of Reservations)
10:40-11:25 Concurrent
Sessions II
The AMC Berkshire Chapter: Your Connection to the Outdoors: Wayne Rodrigues (Chair, Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club)

Recreational Opportunities in MassParks: Domenick Sacco (District Manager, CT River Valley District of MassParks)
11:30-12:15 Viewing of ExhibitsConfirmed Exhibitors:

Appalachian Mtn Club
Connecticut River Watershed Council
Friends of the Columbia Greenway
Friends of the Keystone Arches
Friends of Robinson State Park
MA Div. of Ecological Restoration
MA Div. of Fisheries and Wildlife
Naturalists' Club
New England Forestry Foundation
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Silvio O. Conte National Fish
     & Wildlife Refuge
The Nature Conservancy
Western MA Fly Fishing Association
Westfield River Invasive Species
Westfield River Watershed Association
Westfield River Wild & Scenic Advisory
WSU Environmental Planning Club
WSU Outing Club/Wilderness Leadership
Winding River Land Conservancy

12:00 Raffle Drawing
1:15- ? Field TripsThe Columbia Greenway: Marijoan Bull (WSU Dept. of Geography and Regional Planning, and Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail)

Birding in Stanley Park: Seth Kellogg (Allen Bird Club)

The 2015 Westfield River Symposium is sponsored by:

Westfield River Watershed Association
Westfield State University

29 March 2015

Maple Syrup Time

It is that time of the year in New England when the sap starts a  runnin'.  Temps above freezing during the day and below at night.  So we headed up to Worthington to our favorite sugar shack called High Hopes Farm Sugar.  Always a good time and today was especially nice with a sunny blue sky!  See the Tripadvisor review at this link.

23 March 2015

Virtual Tourism

It is now the time during my Travel and Tourism Planning course where the students plan a vacation trip following graduation.  I have them read this paper for starters since they will all be using the web to get flights, hotels and other information about their destination.

The citation for the paper is:

Bristow, R. S. (1999). Commentary: Virtual tourism—the ultimate ecotourism?. Tourism Geographies, 1(2), 219-225.

The assignment is this:

GARP0213             Travel and Tourism Planning                                                             Lab 5: Travel Itinerary

Principle:  The purpose of this lab is to learn how to plan an itinerary for a tourist vacation.  You are to prepare an itinerary for a two person vacation between (or within) 17 May and 31 May 2015 for the country you explored in Lab 4.  The travel dates must be adhered to and you will be flying coach.  You are to prepare two different costs; with at least a 20% difference.

Procedure:  Start your lab by describing the destination geographically.  That is, describe the human (e.g., social, economic, political etc.) and environmental (e.g., climate, terrain, vegetation etc.) characteristics of the region.  Base this information from the material from Lab 4 although you may wish to embellish on the previous work. A detailed map of the country will be needed for the details of the trip.  That is, if the trip is confined to the international airport city, that city’s map is needed, if you plan to visit areas in the country, a more regional map is needed.   Included in the adventure are to be the travel info to and from the airport and parking, flight information from Boston (BOS) or Bradley (BDL) (round trip airline flight numbers, cost and flight times), ground transportation (how are you going to getting around and not by hitchhiking), lodging (hotels, hostels, B&Bs, camping, etc.) and several specific destinations you plan to visit.  Plan your trip to visit at least two destinations. 

Also include information necessary in advance of the trip that is passport and/or visa requirements, medical interests and other related advance details.  Costs for a pair of travelers should be determined.  These costs must be broken down for air, transfers, lodging (no all-inclusive’s!), ground transport, food, admissions and incidentals.  While the total cost is needed, you must not use a package deal.  Comparison shop.  Orbitz may not provide the cost that American Airlines quotes.  Finally, offer some travel tips that TripAdvisor or VirtualTourist may suggest

Outcome: Arrange a 5-7 page portfolio as is you were a travel agent preparing this for a client.  Remember, you are to prepare two costs and that will mean the itinerary may change as well as lodging.  A comparison table will simplify this.

Assessment:  This lab is worth 50 points.   Presentation is all important here since you are trying to convince the client to purchase this tour from you. 

22 March 2015

Lufthansa Strike

Lufthansa Strike?

"German airline Lufthansa said Sunday that its services were more or less back to normal after a four-day walkout by pilots, but unions warned of further disruptions, possibly over the Easter holidays."
"In all, around 220,000 passengers were hit by the four-day walkout, Lufthansa said."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-lufthansa-says-services-back-to-normal-after-pilots-strike-2015-3

Seems the European airlines go on strike more than American airlines.  I remember a few years back when Alitalia was threatening a strike, much to my displeasure on a planned trip to Rome!

Ahhhh, the joys of flight travel.

13 March 2015

CIRET http://www.ciret-tourism.com/

This a wonderful website for tourism research.  Hosted for decades by Mr. René BARETJE-KELLER, it provides access to "to the 841 research centers currently identified in 111 countries and to the 5,402 individual researchers currently identified in 119 countries and specialized in tourism and travel, and networking between researchers working on a given subject by e-mail or otherwise."

03 March 2015

Waze Rocks

I can't imagine anyone buying a GPS for the car anymore.  Waze is a free smart phone app that will take over GPSing for cars.

Opps, there is a cop spotted on Routes 10/202 in Granby Connecticut.  Slow down.

27 February 2015

26 February 2015

Spring Break Tourism

The beginning of the Spring Break Season is upon us.  The annual ritual brings the crowds to destinations both hot and cold and we can expect the same to happen this spring.  This year in particular with snow covering much of the country, we may find crowds along the beaches.

This also may bode well for ski vacations!  Especially since the water temperatures are chilly in the south.

Are you vacationing this spring break?

23 February 2015

Overcrowding on the Appalachian Trail

Like the cycle created following every winter Olympics, when hoards of people take up ice skating for a few months, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is expecting a mad influx of inexperienced and ill prepared hikers to descend on Springer Mountain in northern Georgia.  Hundreds of hikers will begin the march northward, crowding every campsite or shelter in the southern states.

Many will drop out after a few days, but there will be a tremendous impact on the environment includes soil erosion, litter, fouling water sources and other humans.

Why this made rush to hike the world's premier long distance hiking trail?  Well, blame it partially on media and the recent release of Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon and "(a) chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe."  And soon, coming to your neighborhood movie theatre (remember those) will be A Walk in the Woods and starring Robert Redford!

For more info on the AT, see this link.

20 February 2015

Bad Maps

we have all seen 'em....you know the maps that make no sense or cause you to wonder what was going on.  So check out another list of bad maps.

19 February 2015

White House Fact Sheet

FACT SHEET: Supporting Travel and Tourism to Grow Our Economy by Improving the Arrivals Experience for International Travelers to the US.

I hope this works, since I feel the arrival experience is terrible for our visitors!

16 February 2015

Turks and Caicos Islands is the fastest-growing destination in region

So sez the Caribbean Journal.  The journal cites Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, but I can't find the data, so maybe it is a press release or something.  While TCI may have a percentage growth, the number of beds found in Cuba, Jamaica or the Dominican Republics probably still out shadow the actual numbers of tourists. In fact, just a few days ago, One Caribbean posted these arrival numbers:

15 February 2015

Expedia to buy Orbitz for $1,300,000,000.13

Again I threw in the thirteen cents for fun.  This report follows the blog I wrote last month.
 And makes it more likely a monopoly will develop in travel reservations.  This future merge includes cheaptickets and hotelclub, hotels.com, hotwire, trivago and so on.  So while the tourist may think they are shopping around, they really will not.  And it is quite possible, due to the search engines protocols and such, that pricing will likely be different making the consumer think htey are getting a good deal.

Buyer beware.

12 February 2015

Cruising part 2?

Remember the Costa Concordia? Well, BBC News reported last year about the salvage operation. and it was reported today that "The captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison."

While justice may been served, how might this impact future cruise ship tourism?  I don't know.

10 February 2015

Snow Cover Map

One of the many sites out there that illustrate the spatial expansiveness of snow in the US is Intellicast.  I am in the Pink area for 24 inch plus!

Less exciting is the NOAA's representation.

09 February 2015


Once only the rich could cruise (on a ship)!  Now with the average cost only (?!) $222 USD PPPD, it is a lot more affordable (Cruise Market Watch).  And CruiseCompete.com can find you cruises under $300 USD!

And we find the bulk or cruisers from North America.  That makes sense with the Caribbean so close. But the world is becoming a cruise destination as some geography research has found.

Not counting canoe trips in my college days, I have only been on one cruise and that was the inside passage from Whittier Alaska to Vancouver, Canada.  A great time and one that I hope to revisit as a form of last chance tourism.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

02 February 2015

snow storm thoughts

This morning with my coffee I was watching some rock concerts on YouTube and was reminded about something that bugs me.  Light shows have become as important as the music at shows, but I really hate the bright flashing lights into my eyes.  I am temporarily blinded.

So artists.....chill with the lights a bit please.

01 February 2015

Annual Bowl Game Today

Yes, it is that time of the year for the Puppy Bowl.  There you can see the champs and even the pregame show.

Since there is nothing on TV tonight, you might as well enjoy some good entertainment.  Oh, break away at 9 PM for Downton Abbey!

26 January 2015

Air Travel

With the pending nor'easter heading our way tonight, airlines are taking a precautionary plans by not flying into the northeast.  That way, the morning flights will not be stuck and we can expect most air traffic in the region to be canceled.  Nothing coming in and nothing going out.  But for some other news:

TI News: An information service from the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)
January 26, 2015

U.S.-International Air Passenger Traffic a Record 197.3 Million in 2014

Total U.S.-International Traffic up Four Percent in December, Seven Percent for the Year
U.S. Citizens Accounted for 44 Percent; U.S. Airlines Carried 52 Percent of All Traffic
U.S.-China Traffic up 17 Percent

Top 10 Foreign Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From U.S.):
77.2 million Passengers, 39% of Total International Air Traffic
Passengers (mlns)% Change y-o-y
1.London Heathrow (LHR)14.5171.1%
2.Toronto (YYZ)11.6717.3%
3.Tokyo Narita (NRT)9.413-1.9%
4.Cancun (CUN)7.07214.5%
5.Frankfurt (FRT)6.677-0.3%
6.Paris/de Gaulle (CDG)6.6223.7%
7.Mexico City (MEX)6.3567.0%
8.Incheon (ICN)5.2865.0%
9.Vancouver (YVR)4.8689.6%
10.Amsterdam (AMS)4.6972.1%
Top 10 Countries (Passenger Traffic to/From U.S.):
120.1 million Passengers, 61% of Total International Air Traffic
Passengers (mlns)% Change y-o-y% U.S. Citizen
3.United Kingdom17.8812.0%37%
7.Dominican Republic6.26213.8%73%
8.South Korea5.3474.9%32%
10.China (PRC)5.13716.6%31%
Top 10 U.S. Airports (Passenger Traffic to/from Foreign Airports):
137.9 million Passengers, 69% of Total Air Traffic
Passengers (mlns)% Change y-o-y
1.New York (JFK)28.4366.7%
2.Miami (MIA)20.3551.2%
3.Los Angeles (LAX)19.3639.1%
4.Newark (EWR)12.0624.1%
5.Chicago (ORD)12.0517.8%
6.Atlanta (ATL)10.8776.2%
7.San Francisco (SFO)10.3306.5%
8.Houston (IAH)9.93110.0%
9.Dallas-Ft Worth (DFW)7.2538.5%
10.Washington Dulles (IAD)7.2064.0%
Top 10 Airlines (3) Serving U.S. International Non-Stop Markets:
114.5 million Passengers, 58% of Total Air Traffic
Passengers (mlns)% Change y-o-y
1.United Airlines30.5343.2%
2.Delta Air Lines23.0906.9%
3.American Airlines22.235-0.4%
4.US Airways8.162-0.2%
5.British Airways7.1904.0%
6.JetBlue Airways5.76423.2%
8.Air Canada (mainline)4.288-28.2%
9.West Jet4.2819.6%
10.Air France3.4570.7%

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 10003
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140
Website: http://travel.trade.gov/
Email: ntto@trade.gov