13 August 2017

Eclipse Tourism

Forget Trump Slump, the hottest news in travel and tourism this summer is the Solar Eclipse.  There is a boat load of info on the web, so let me start with some links my colleagues at Westfield State have shared.

The American Astronomical Society has this one.  A commercial site from France has a cool map.

Now if it is a cloudy day, visibility will be poor.  So just like you need to have cloudless days to the Aurora Borealis you will need the same for the eclipse.  So check out the US government site for cloud cover on the day.

Last Sunday (6 August 2017) the New York Times has a special section on the eclipse.  You can probably find a copy in your public library.

Best places to see the eclipse?  Think West, where the skies will be clearer and less pollution.  Casper Wyoming might be a good spot.  SIU at Carbondale (Illinois) will open the stadium and enjoy the longest duration of 2 minutes 41.6 seconds (don't you love the precision mathematics of astronomy).  For us on the eastern seaboard the eclipse will rock the skies at 2:40 pm, while Salem Oregon it will darken the skies at 10:20 am.

Remember your glasses.

Cloudy or too far away?  Watch it on TV.

For a night time video on a lunar eclipse, check my entry here.

11 August 2017

Airshow this Weekend in Westfield Mass.

I wonder how many tons of carbon are dumped into our air this weekend.  Bring your O2!

The EPA reports "EPA Determines that Aircraft Emissions Contribute to Climate Change Endangering Public Health and the Environment."  Add to that the thousands of tourists driving into Whip City, the human impact is deadly.

Now, to be fair, the bulk of aviation is commercial traffic and not the War Games this weekend.

But just  yesterday our NOAA reports that 2016 was the hottest on record!!  Be patient seems everyone on the planet wants to read how we are destroying the planet.  From the report:

For more visuals from the report.

Need information about the airshow?  Otherwise steer clear of Interstate 90 and 91 this weekend.  If you must, use your Waze App or see MassDOT.

10 August 2017

Cultural Resource Monitoring on the AT

Did some field work today on the Appalachian Trail.  We are trying to protect historic resources on the AT and need to create a volunteer cultural resource monitor handbook (a project for the fall).  Today we did some field work in the Lee / Tyringham area of the AT then moved south to Sheffield to do an early assessment of the historic resources there.  Shays'  Rebellion is perhaps one of the more famous sites.

 The AT committee stabilized the monument last summer (2016) and now there is a need to do more.

09 August 2017

Godzilla RIP

Well not exactly Godzilla (ゴジラ or Gojira), but the actor who played the building crunching monster. Haruo Nakjima passed away at age 88.   To learn more about this 60 plus year franchise see the Wikipedia link.

07 August 2017


Watched an interesting documentary last night called Icarus.  Suggested by the NY Times, it is a fascinating expose in cycling doping that moves into perhaps the largest corruption in Olympic sports. Filmmaker Bryan Fogel is fortunate that Netflix picked up the distribution.  Don't have Netflix?  Try a one week free trial and include this title in your binge watching.

04 August 2017

Hurricane Update for Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

Yucatan Peninsula is in for some nasty weather as well as the Lesser Antilles over the next week.  This is where that vacation insurance comes handy.  While you are waiting to make the final call to cancel your trip, use the tracking maps and make this a learning experience.

Keep an eye on the weather in Martinique and the RADAR they provide.  A long range forecast is found here (in French).

03 August 2017

Charlies Bunion

Great hike for this weekend?  Try Charlies Bunion in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

28 July 2017

Trump Slump Update

July 19, 2017 (my highlights in Red)


The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 6.0 million international visitors(1)(2) traveled to the United States in December 2016, down slightly (-294,733 visitors) from December 2015.

In December 2016 the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. Non-resident visits from Canada grew 0.5 percent while visits from Mexico decreased 9.6 percent. The United Kingdom (-5.8%), Japan (-4.4%), and the People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong) (+13.9%) rounded out the top five. Only one of the top inbound overseas regional markets(3) - Asia - posted increases in non-resident visits in December 2016, with Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, South America, Central America, Oceania, the Caribbean, and Africa all posting declines.


U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.

26 July 2017

How do you like your Oysters?


How is that for a cheer.  read about oyster restoration in Maryland here. And I will wait for an "r" month even though oyster farming permits consumption year round.

19 July 2017

Brexit tourism

Educational tourism is nothing new, but consider joining this tour during the fall or next year to learn more about Brexit and this historic vote.  For more into, check out The New York Times Journeys.

18 July 2017

RIP George Romero

A classic figure in horror media passed this past weekend.  George Romero, best known for the living dead series of films died in his home town Toronto.

I wrote about being a fright tourist when I visited the cemetery where the opening scenes were filmed back in 2010.  If you don't have this film in your video collection, you can watch it on archive.org.  Pretty tame by the standards today, you might even find it on the Disney channel, but back in the sixties it shocked the world.

My sympathy goes out to his family and friends.  I want to thank Mr. Romero for his creative writing, directing and producing in the horror genre.

15 July 2017

Traveling to Caribbean this Hurricane Season?

Be sure to know the emergency shelters available to you when you visit the islands.  For example, if you plan a trip to the Turks and Caicos this season, see this news report for your shelters.  You can also get advice from Tripadvisor.Com.

Plan ahead by checking the National Hurricane Center.

Or better yet, make your travel plans at the last moment.

14 July 2017

Another new island to visit

Earlier I suggested that we all visit the new island in North Carolina.  But what about a new island the size of Delaware!!!

As predicted in the Scientific American, and announced in the mainstream media like Time, this Delaware size iceberg is HUGE.  After all it is a trillion-ton iceberg!

11 July 2017

TCI Crime Update

It has been several weeks since the American tourist was shot in Grace Bay, Providenciales, TCI.  According to one online TCI newspaper (the Turks and Caicos Sun).  There was a lot of misinformation distributed in the initial hours of the shooting. Yet a different view is expressed by the competing news paper, the Turks and Caicos Weekly News who argue that the Government is not doing enough to fight crime.

I am not going to argue one news paper's reporting against the other, but anyone in the States know news is presented differently when Fox or CNN reports on something.

10 July 2017

Spiral Jetty

Read Heidi Julavits' piece titled "The Art at the End of the World" this weekend.  As typical when I learn about some new place, I check it out in Google Earth. This form of virtual tourism is always enhanced when I can "see" the landscape from above, and from the frequent ground images photographers offer for viewing.  There are also several 360 images that let you spin around and look at the land.

If you can't visit it in person at least check it out by searching "Spiral Jetty, Box Elder County, UT" in Google Earth.  Fascinating.

28 June 2017

New Island to visit?

Shelly Island is brand new.  If you have a chance to visit this new island, do so.  You never know how long it might be around.  Imagery from February 2017 in Google Earth shows the sand bar (look for "cape point north carolina").

UPDATE: check out this comparison imagery from the Earth Observatory.

27 June 2017

Robbery and shooting in Providenciales, TCI

I have been following this crime story for a few days to see how it played out. I still get news feeds daily from the Turks and Caicos Islands so it is still in media attention.

Well an American tourist was shot during a robbery in Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.  Not sure where exactly but since I know the area well, I can only suspect his 143 A.M. Friday morning walk was in the commercial area and he was heading back to his hotel. (Google this to get more info)

Long story short, after triage in Provo, he was transferred by air ambulance to the States to get the needed treatment for the gun shot.  He is recovering and will likely be transported to his home in Alabama for his needed rehab.

This sad news is nothing new. Crime and tourism is still common, and despite the relative crime-free TCI, the State Department reports "Crime in TCIS is low but increasing."

The point here is that we shouldn't put our guard down when travelling for vacation.  Some research has even found that domestic tourism and international tourism are rated the same as far as safety is concerned (Floyd et al., 2004).

The second point here is an economic one.  The TCI is not inexpensive.  The average summer price (off-season) for hotels in Grace Bay is probably $500 a night.  Consider that when you pick up a local newspaper and see job advertisements offering $6.50-$7.00 US for general labour or housekeeping positions.  What, don't read the local paper while on vacation?

Let me conclude this by saying I hope the gentleman recovers from the crime and that they capture the individual responsible.  But in order for crime to be reduced, we must adopt a more equitable policy in tourism.  The United Nations World Tourism Organization reports:

"Tourism is one of the strongest drivers of world trade and prosperity. Poverty alleviation is one of the greatest global challenges. Despite turbulent times for the world’s economy, these basic facts are unlikely to change. Focusing the wealth creating power of tourism on people most in need remains an immense task and opportunit(y)."

Source: Floyd, M. F., Gibson, H., Pennington-Gray, L., & Thapa, B. (2004). The effect of risk perceptions on intentions to travel in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 15(2-3), 19-38. 

26 June 2017

Glacier Retreat and Climate Change Evidence

I have travelled to Iceland twice in recents year (2013 and 2015) and plan to return in 2018 for another conference.  During these trips I did the touristy kinds of sightseeing in south Iceland.  We saw some spectacular landscapes including  waterfalls, geysirs, the Northern Lights, seascapes and volcanoes.

The  one thing that blew me away was Sólheimajökull.  Not knowing that I would be returning two years later, I have tried to compare the glacier between the two years using the photos I took during the two trips.  Since I hiked different routes over the two trips, I did not get before and after photos, BUT I did overlap video and pictures taken from the same place.  While the video is not georeferenced like  the  still  camera that has a GPS, I still  believe the images reflect the changes over time.  Here is a comparison.

Next I do have a still from 2015 that you can compare to a video from 2013 from the exact same point.


So what is your take on the glacial retreat?  Maybe 150 meters in 2 years?

25 June 2017

Water Temperatures along the coasts

Summer time means beach time.  So where can you find ocean temperatures that won't freeze your @#$% off?  NOAA to the rescue.  Sixty-eight degrees F at Woods Hole, and a balmy 76 deg F at Ocean City Maryland.  And of course 84 in Miami.  But take that with the air temps and humidity too.

For a global view, see this.  Notice how North Carolina changes the Gulf Stream.

24 June 2017

Google Earth Fun

It is fun to explore the planet from a plane and Google Earth.  Here is a short video on finding the Happy Face on Earth.


21 June 2017

What in the world is this?

I like to explore the planet using Google Earth.  I use it before trips (the anticipation stage, see Clawson and Knetsch 1966).   And I use in the recollection stage as well.

When I fly I also like the window seat to watch the land beneath.

So anyway, I was playing around with Google Earth retracing a flight from Europe where we flew over Eastern Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador and discovered this.

SW of Labrador City, near Fermont

What the heck in the red stuff?  See it for yourself.  Well it is the waste from a mine.

20 June 2017


On my tour of Iceland, how about a video of Seljalandsfoss.


Sorry, but the file limit in the blogger website meant I had to convert to a MPEG2 file from the higher quality original.

18 June 2017


Waterfalls are always an a great tourist attraction.  I think it is essentially just our interest in seeing running water that amazes us so much.  No matter how big, just take a few minutes and watch one.


There are several good websites for Gullfoss, so check this one out.

16 June 2017

Count Arthur Strong

The best comedy on TV (IMHO) is Count Arthur Strong.  Now unless you are in the UK, the only way I know to watch it is to use your Acorn TV account streaming. (get a one week free trial and binge watch it).  Or use Youtube.

The Count has a website too, where you can purchase a t-shirt (I did!).

14 June 2017

NY Times 360

Check out a really cool virtual reality link found at the New York Times. It changes everyday!

In fact view this news report from a Red State.

13 June 2017


If you recognize this statement, you know it is Doomsday Clock.  "2017: For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed set at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s. In its two most recent annual announcements on the Clock, the Science and Security Board warned: “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink."

What does this mean for tourism?  Like last chance tourism, better see it now.

12 June 2017

Greece Earthquake

A 6.3 quake hit the Greek islands today.  Lesbos, close to the coast of Turkey was the site. It was a pretty serious one and at least one person has died.  For technical details see one of the many sites monitoring conditions.  Best to steer clear until an assessment can be made about the damage.

06 June 2017

Hurricane update

So it is still early, but I posted a hurricane update a last year that links to YouTube  video earlier.  Still no activity this year, but it is still early.  Best not to make travel plans, or if you do, do it one week out.

In the meantime, check out  the weather in Europe.  (at the time I wrote  this, there is a serious low over eastern UK.)

05 June 2017

Summer "Official" Forecast

I think we will fire up the wood stove tonight since it is rainy and cool (58 deg F).  And this is June?

Yet for June, July and August, NOAA is predicting warmer than average for the east coast.

And normal precip in the same area.  Who knows?

And what about next year?

04 June 2017

Hurricane Season Prediction 2017

Late summer and early fall is a popular time to travel.  But if you are heading to the Caribbean, you should pay attention to the NOAA prediction.

So pay attention to the weather forecast before travelling into the area.

01 June 2017

Bad weather lately?

Six years ago I wrote about the Western Mass Tornado.  Seems last night we have some serious hail too.  Here are a couple shots to show the pea size hail and damage to our Rhododendron last night.

 Too bad.

31 May 2017

Weather and northern lights

Two things are necessary to see the Northern Lights:

Clear weather and atmospheric activity.

The University of Alaska offers this prediction information.  And for the picture in Iceland, I used the website for Aurora Forecasts.  On that evening, the forecast looked like this:

So the green means the probability of Aurora activity, and the skies were clear.

On the evening this was shot, the skies were clear enough to take this 30 second exposure.  It appeard silver to us on the ground but the photo shows green!

So what will be the chance tonight?  Check out NOAA.

30 May 2017

Timber Line

As you hike up mountains, sometimes it gets high enough that the temperature (and climate) gets cold, as if you traveled poleward away from the equator.  This elevation is called timberline or treeline.  Think Mt Washington, or Baldy Mountain.

Much of the Knife Edge Trail in Baxter State Park is above the treeline.

29 May 2017

Heating Degree Days

Chilly today.  And this is Memorial Day, the unofficial first day of summer.  Well not today.  56 degree F....brrrr.

I know something is wrong when I hear the furnace fire up.


That brings me to the subject of Heating Degree Days, and for normally this time of the year, Cooling Degree Days.  For a formal definition try this link.

28 May 2017


Can't make it to the UK to see the solstice next month at Stonehenge?  Try NYC this year on May 29th at 8:13 PM or May 30th at 8:12 pm according to the NY Times. For more info on this unique opportunity, see the page.

It is all about the earth's tilt with respect to the sun.  Cool stuff.  See Sunpath diagrams to to find how to track sun movement across our skies.

25 May 2017

May is Preservation Month in Massachusetts

Sorry I just found out about this.  But it is now Preservation Month 2017.  Still time to enjoy it though by taking a hike (or drive) to Bascom Lodge on Mt Greylock.  So check out:

Mount Greylock State Reservation, Visitor Center, 30 Rockwell Rd, Lanesboro, 413-499-4262
For information call 413-499-4262. Visitors can drive or hike to the summit of Mount Greylock, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Summit includes the Commonwealth’s official War Memorial Tower, Bascom Lodge, Thunderbolt Shelter and a recreational landscape, all fine examples of the rustic design and craftsmanship of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The 90 foot tall tower is topped with a beacon that shines in remembrance of the state’s fallen soldiers. Visitors can snack, stay or dine at Bascom Lodge (www.bascomlodge.net).

Bascom Lodge Saturday, May 27th, 12pm-6pm. Doors Open

Celebrate the season’s opening weekend with events and programs including live performances and demonstrations. Visit www.bascomlodge.net for more information. Parking fees apply.

Visitor Center at 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough. Open Daily 9am – 4pm

Most Excellent Majesty exhibits and orientation film. Before driving to the Summit, stop at the Visitor Center to enjoy interactive exhibits and a short film highlighting the splendors of Greylock.

War Memorial Tower Sunday, May 28th, 1pm-2pm.

Join DCR staff for a walk around the Greylock Summit to learn about the history of the War Memorial Tower, the Commonwealth’s tribute to veterans of war. A two-year rehabilitation of the Tower will be nearing completion at the end of May--a major effort to preserve its unique architectural character and protect it from the elements. The program will include the reading of excerpts from the original 1933 dedication, and details on some of the innovative aspects of the recent construction work. Meet at the summit. The walk is a 60 minute, easy stroll along paved pathways with frequent stops. Bring water and sunscreen.

22 May 2017

United States projected to lose $1.3 billion in travel-related expenditures in 2017

Well, that is what is reported here.

"Using first quarter ticketing data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), publicly available travel data and GBTA’s economic research and models, GBTA developed an ‘uncertainty forecast’ for 2017 showing the impact this mounting geopolitical uncertainty is having on the economy. There is no question that uncertainty is bad for business travel and bad for the global economy. - See more at: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/united-states-projected-to-lose-13-billion-in-travel-related-expenditures-in-2017#sthash.OXI7MNHH.dpuf"

Time will tell so you might want to check out the info from Global Business Travel Association GBTA.

18 May 2017

Commencement Tourism

If your college commencement is this weekend, good luck trying to find a decent hotel nearby.  For our graduation you can check this link for places to crash.  Or try the local state parks?

14 May 2017

Fun in the Woods

Here is another blog on Blogspot that might be of interest to you hikers that want to know how you can help manage the Appalachian Trail.

The mission?  A blog about volunteer trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts.

11 May 2017


One of my neighbors decided to dine at my neighbors' bird feeder the other night.  (S)he finally ran off when I disturbed the meal.  Oh well.

Oh yeah, the US Postal Food Drive is this Saturday.  Donate to help others (and not bird seed)!

09 May 2017


A fitting close to Travel and Tourism Planning at Westfield State.  Let us all celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week!

Check out the factsheet.

250 Billion for Food?

08 May 2017

Westfield River Fish Ladder

Tour the Westfield River fish ladder Sunday, May 21 this year, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Sponsored by the Westfield River Watershed Association  this annual event is fun for all.

07 May 2017

Connecticut River fish Ladder Open in Holyoke

The annual migration of the Atlantic Salmon can be observed at the Robert E. Barrett Fishway in Holyoke MA.  Open to the public and free the viewing continues until 11 June 2017.  Tours are available weekends at 1:30 PM.  For more info visit the Holyoke GE site.

02 May 2017

Abraj Kudai, the largest hotel in the World?

With 10,000 rooms (yes 10k), this hotel is expected to open this year and will have 70 restaurants and five helipads.  Ten of the towers are intended to provide four-star accommodation while the remaining two will offer luxurious five-star amenities. Catering to the needs of tourists, the city receives around 2 million pilgrims for the annual Hajj. And another 20 million the rest of the year.

Seems since these tourists are not permitted to enter the US, tourism in Saudi Arabia will boom!

30 April 2017

Leave No Trace

There are many reasons to Leave No Trace and as folks prepare for the hiking season, besides ticks, we should be reminded about minimizing our impact.  See the LNT website for an EXTENSIVE bibliography of related information.

26 April 2017

Travel and Tourism Videos

Since everyone has a video camera, or at least a smart phone, travel videos are widely available on the web.  So besides Youtube and Vimeo, this site looks promising.  I also like the GoPro videos.



18 April 2017

Overbooked Flights

Seems this topic has been the topic around the water cooler lately?  What, no water cooler, well then what about the coffee maker?

Well anyway, PBS republished report last week just for you and me.

Further, a quick little google search will find tons of sites discussing this very common hassle at teh airports.  See this one for instance.

The only time we had to deal with this was on a flight to Orlando for vacation.  Instead of the 6 am flight, we flew a 10 am flight, first class and started our vacation a bit later.  No big deal.

Open Air Airport.  Our flight from Puerto Plata got cancelled since New England was snowed in.  So we flew to San Juan, PR and spent the night there.  Our return home trip took 48 hours!

17 April 2017

Paper accepted in Leisure/Loisir

Here is the abstract of our paper accepted in Leisure/Loisir.  Leisure / Loisir is the official publication of the Canadian Association for Leisure Studies/Association canadienne d’études en loisir ( CALS). While Leisure / Loisir is based in Canada and offers a primary outlet for individuals affiliated with Canadian institutions, the journal encourages international submissions.

Travel behaviour substitution for a white-water canoe race influenced by climate induced stream flow

The World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO, 2008) have identified one of the consequences of climate change is an interference of normal precipitation.  This research investigates the changes in travel patterns by participants and spectators at an annual canoe race as influenced by variable stream flow.   Given that stream flow varies seasonally, one might hypothesize that should a permanent reduction of water flow take place in the future, a decline or shift in water-based recreation might be expected.  Using data collected over two years at the Annual Westfield River Wildwater Races, interviews were conducted at the staging area as participants waited in the queue.  Observers of the race were also interviewed.   The two sampling years represent a low flow season and a normal flow season and yield a sample of 142 parties. During the low flow season, one that is projected to become the norm under climate change models, expert paddlers travelled a greater distance characteristic of destination substitutability while spectators decreased travel distance and this suggests a reduction of interest in observing the race.

Keywords:  Climate change, water-based recreation, substitution, travel behaviour, streamflow

14 April 2017

Annual Westfield River Races

Saturday, April 15th 2017 will be the running of the annual Westfield River Wildwater Race.

Nice weather is planned and while the water temps will be chilly, the race will go on.  For more info see the race website.

For stream gauge data, click here for the USGS.

12 April 2017

North by Northwest

This is one of my favorite films.  Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, this classic thriller was a remarkable event to see on the big screen.  North by Northwest is more than just the airplane scene or Mount Rushmore, it is a fast paced adventure following Grant (RoT) as he is chased and chases the bad guys.

Thanks to TCM and Fanthom Entertainment for getting this film on the big screen.

03 April 2017

AAG in Boston

Just check out some of the session titles sponsored by the Recreation, Tourism and Sport Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers this week:

Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group
An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism
Engagements with nature-based tourism
Geopolitics of Tourism I
Geopolitics of Tourism II
lifestyle mobilities and local communities
New moral natures in tourism 1
New moral natures in tourism 2
Our National Parks: 100 Years and Beyond
Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group Business Meeting
Rural Geographies and Tourism
Sports Geography
Staging the Nation: Tourism and the Geopolitical Gaze
Sustainable Tourism - Resilient Destinations: Future Governance Strategies in Tourism Development?
The Call of the Wild: Writing and Walking in American Landscapes
Tourism and the Politics of Wilderness Management and Governance
Tourism Geographies and Evolutionary Economic Geographies: New Perspectives on Change in Tourism Regions
Tourism Geographies: Examining the Past and Charting the Future
Tourism Geographies: Systems, Space and Sustainability
Tourism Geographies: Urban Tourism
Transnational Cultural and Natural Heritage in Asia: Contours of Boundary-Transgressing Memoryscapes (I)
Transnational Cultural and Natural Heritage in Asia: Contours of Boundary-Transgressing Memoryscapes (II)
Urban parks and green space: Working for the city (2 of 3)
Visitors, Art, Food and Creativity on the edge: Overcoming Path Dependency and other Challenges

If you are in Boston, this week, check out one of these sessions!

02 April 2017

Real Coal Mine Tourism

yes, of course, the blog from yesterday is my annual April Fools report.  Appropriate,  Right?

Anyway, you can tour coal mines.  Most abandoned mines are probably not safe for visitors, but like a cave, if you have lights and are safe, it can be fun.

01 April 2017

Dark Tourism?

Since Mr. Trump has decided to open up "clean" coal mines again so we get cheap energy for people and provide jobs for the out-of-work coal miners, a new tourism business is frantically trying to get started before the mines open for digging.

Yes, the ultimate Dark Tourism will provide tours underground in the dark, damp mines that have been out of commission since the coal industry was declared unsafe for humans and failed to keep prices below those for natural gas.

The 3 day adventure begins with a standard tour of the mine including a chance to drive one of those short digging machines.  The last night is spent in the mine so the dark tourist can experience the complete darkness during a simulated coal mine disaster.  Similar to the survival classes, the tourists must survive the night with nothing but a bottle of Perrier and a Clif Bar.

What fun!

30 March 2017

Appalachian Trail Database

Even though we got snow on the ground (and more expected tomorrow), springtime gets me thinking about hiking and such.  I cam across this website for information on the Appalachian Trail that you might want to check out.

It includes some pretty useful information for the long distances hikers.  For instance, back in 1974, I slept on this porch!

25 March 2017

Sustainable Travel

One of my weekly news feeds showcased this website.  All good stuff and the one I practice on a daily basis is to carry a cloth bag when I shop so I don't need that bad plastic bag. Yes, we can all become a better traveler.

To learn more, also visit Tourism Geography Today.

Good stuff!

15 March 2017

Belize 2017

A bunch of our students are travelling in Belize this springbreak, hitting many of the famous ecotourism sites.  After all Belize is probably one of the first ecotourism destinations in the world, up there with Costa Rica, Ecuador, Dominica and even Mexico.   See the early work by Boo.

Boo, E. (1990). Ecotourism: the potentials and pitfalls: country case studies. WWF.

Belize is pretty neat, easy to get around, and has lots of neat places to visit.  Trouble is, like Costa Rica, it is being "loved to death" by American Tourists.

View north from Xunantunich.

Visit Belize soon, before it becomes Florida.

14 March 2017

Who is Stella?

So here we go again with all the weather hype.  I am not saying a snow storm dumping 3 inches of white stuff an hour is nothing to sneeze about, but I still need to ask

Who is Stella?

Seems Stella is a commercial name of this latest nor'easter as an attempt to personalize a weather event.  Now, we do name hurricanes, but that is a function of the government.  Stella comes directly from a for-profit cable channel.  So to get a commercial free and accurate assessment of weather, go to the weather.gov (not the dot com one).

Here is what we got as of 12 noon.

Oh yeah, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.

10 March 2017

Robert Osborne RIP (May 3, 1932 – March 5, 2017)

This name may not ring a bell for many of you, but since the start of Turner Classic Movies, the cable commercial free channel, his wisdom on movie and everything about the art form was highly cherished.  In reading his obits this past week I was surprised about his small acting role in the pilot of Beverly Hillbillies, a class comedy from a a past era.  Further it was neat to read that Lucille Ball encourage Mr. Osborne that Hollywood needed more writers that actors.  How true is that!

If you get a chance to watch TCM for the classic films, I think you will be pleased.  It is only a $5 add on for those of you who stream TV, or $10 for those still depending on cable.

06 March 2017

Learning by Doing: Spring Break

Here is a neat paper on service learning trips during Spring Break.  Heck you can drink beer and lay of the beach anytime.  The Abstract:

This is a case study based on the Hospitality and Restaurant Management program at a
comprehensive Midwest university in the United States of America (n = 164). The sample
selection for this study was a convenience sample of the students enrolled in a meetings and
events management course. The purpose of the study was to investigate how the incorporation of
service learning/hands-on experience in a meetings and events management class influences
student learning and interest in community service. The results indicated that participants’
involvement in service learning/hands-on experience in a meetings and events management class
significantly influences student learning and interest in community service.

04 March 2017


Way too early to consider Trump Slump (yesterday's Blog), but still shows the volatility of tourism in a global market.  The full summary:

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 8.0 million international visitors(1)(2)traveled to the United States in August 2016, down two percent (-2.1%) from August 2015.

In August 2016 the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. Non-resident visits from Canada declined five percent while visits from Mexico increased five percent. The United Kingdom (-6.6%), the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong) (+9.9%), and Japan (-4.0%) rounded out the top five. Four of the top inbound overseas regional markets(3) posted increases in non-resident visits in August 2016, with Western Europe, South America, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa posting declines.

For the eight months of 2016, international visits (50.8 million) were down two percent
(-2.3%) when compared to the same period in 2015.

Country of Residence
% Change August
2016 vs. 2015
% Change
YTD August
2016 vs. 2015
United Kingdom
People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong)
South Korea

Source:  The National Travel and Tourism Office.

03 March 2017

Trump Slump

Trump Slump is the term that travel expert Arthur Frommer has coined to reflect the potential decline in tourism in the states due to the new president's actions.

"Experts across the travel industry are warning that masses of tourists are being scared away from visiting the United States, and the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating."

Well, we will see when I report the stats from The National Travel and Tourism Office at a later date.

Stay tuned.

01 March 2017

Cannibal Tours

Cannibal Tours is a great video for Tourism classes.  While it is a bit dated, it does provide a reality TV show view of the tourists interacting with the locals in a region of Papua New Guinea.  What is remarkable however, are the exchanges between the two groups, each trying to hold onto what they value and for the tourists they are totaly oblivious!

It is a jaw-dropping video and can be viewed on YouTube.

27 February 2017

Tornado Chasing and Bill Paxton RIP

It is sort of ironic that Bill Paxton, star of Twister died this weekend AND we had a tornado in Conway, Massachusetts.  It was the movie that prompted me and students in Recreation Geography to study storm chasing and deliver a paper at the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium.

The paper abstract is "Tours devoted to tornado storm chasing have become popular in recent years, especially with the emergence of many profit and non-profit storm chasing organizations. While most literature in risk recreation has been directed toward rock climbing or other high-risk outdoor recreation activities, tours devoted to storm chasing are quite unlike these traditional activities. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of these organizations from information collected in a mailed survey. Areas to be discussed are specific tour details for each company, basic demographics of tour attendees, and other areas of tour requirements."

25 February 2017

In like a lion, out like a lamb, February??

With temps in the 70s at the end of February and the month starting with two hefty snow storms, is the second month of the year going to be the new March?

Is it climate change?

Oh yeah, today is International Sword Swallowers Day!

22 February 2017

U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports Total $21 Billion in December

Sounds like a big economic impact right?

"The National Travel and Tourism Office today announced that international visitors spent more than $21.2 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in December, an increase of nearly three percent ($564 million) when compared to December 2015 - setting a new record for monthly U.S. travel and tourism exports.

International visitors spent a record-setting $247.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services in 2016, an ever-so-slight increase (0.4%) when compared to record levels of spending in 2015; conversely, Americans have spent an estimated $158.9 billion abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of more than $88.2 billion for the year."

For more details see The National Travel and Tourism Office.

21 February 2017

Is eco-tourism the future of science funding?

This is the news heading on CBS tonight.  So it seems since there is a decline of funding for climate change research, the only way scientists can explore the world is to join the world of a tourist.

For example, I had a chance to visit Solheim in Iceland in 2013 and again in 2015 and can report a retreat of 100 meters.

Check out this picture taken in 2015 that shows the glacier location in 2010.  Is there are any doubt about climate change??

19 February 2017

An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism

This is the name of the session we organized for the American Association Geographers meeting in Boston later this spring.

Paper Session:

4112 An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism

is scheduled on Saturday, 4/8/2017, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in Room 201, Hynes, Second Level

Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group

Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University

Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University


8:00 AM   Author(s): *Nitasha Sharma - Indiana University Bloomington

 Abstract Title: Liminality, ethics and perceptions towards death

8:20 AM   Author(s): *Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University
Ian S. Jenkins, Ph.D. - University of Iceland, Háskóli Íslands

 Abstract Title: Dark liminal spaces in fright tourism

8:40 AM   Author(s): Marion Karl - LMU Munich

 Abstract Title: The role of risk perception in travel decision-making and destination choice

9:00 AM   Author(s): *Maggie Christine Miller - University of Waterloo

 Abstract Title: Exploring Climbing Sherpas' stories of death and disaster as moments of liminality

9:20 AM   Author(s): *Velvet Nelson - Sam Houston State University

 Abstract Title: Objectivity or Empathy? Representing the Enslaved at Heritage Museums

Session Description: This session seeks papers that explore the liminal nature of tourism travel behavior.  Dark(er) tourist attractions may range from the lighter end (e.g., Fright Tourism for entertainment) to the darker side (e.g., sites of genocide). Further some sites may have "darker" reputation due to one's perception of fear and safety. So people can be expected to have different motivations or reasons to visit (educational, pilgrimage, entertainment).  Studies should pertain to the transition in liminal space from one's ordinary life into a spatial and temporal one found at the destination, from either the tourist's viewpoint and/or the site's management.  International destinations are encouraged.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities has invited manuscripts from this session.

17 February 2017

My AT Story

For some great stories, check out this web link.  For those who have hiked, or hiked the AT in particular, this site will sing to you.

Mount Moosilauke

13 February 2017

NCAA Concussion Injury Litigation Information

In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation,
Case No. 1:13-cv-09116
(United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois)
If You Are a Current or Former Student-Athlete Who Played An NCAA-Sanctioned Sport at an NCAA School At Any Time Through July 15, 2016,
Your Rights May Be Affected by a Class Action Lawsuit
A Settlement, subject to court approval, has been reached in a class action lawsuit called In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, Case No. 1:13-cv-09116 (N.D. Ill.).  It is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The lawsuit claims that the NCAA was negligent and breached its duty to protect all current and former student-athletes by failing to adopt appropriate rules regarding concussions.  The lawsuit seeks medical monitoring relief to diagnose possible long-term effects of concussions or the accumulation of sub‑concussive hits for all current and former student-athletes. The lawsuit also seeks changes to the NCAA’s concussion management and return-to-play guidelines.
The NCAA denies these allegations and denies it did anything wrong.  If the Court does not approve the Settlement, the NCAA will argue, among other things, that the case should not be a class action.  The Court has not decided whether or not Defendant did anything wrong.
You are a Class Member and included in the Settlement if you played an NCAA-sanctioned sport at an NCAA school at any time up to July 15, 2016.
The NCAA has agreed to a Medical Monitoring Fund of $70,000,000, which, after deducting administrative costs, and attorneys’ fees and expenses, will fund the screening of Class Members as well as medical evaluations for those Class Members who qualify as a result of the screening during the 50-year Medical Monitoring Program. The medical evaluations will be designed to assess symptoms related to persistent post‑concussion syndrome, as well as cognitive, mood, behavioral, and motor problems that may be associated with mid- to late-life onset diseases that may be linked to concussions and/or subconcussive hits, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and related disorders. In addition, the NCAA has committed $5,000,000 to fund research regarding the prevention, diagnosis, care, and management of concussions and mid- to late-life neurodegenerative disease.  The NCAA has also agreed to chang e its policies and procedures for concussion management and return to play. You can download the Second Amended Settlement Agreement from www.collegeathleteconcussionsettlement.com or call the toll-free number listed below and request one.
The Court appointed the law firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Siprut PC to represent you.  You do not have to pay these attorneys or anyone else to participate.  They will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and costs, which would be paid from the Medical Monitoring Fund. You may hire your own lawyer to appear in Court for you; if you do, you have to pay that lawyer.
Do Nothing and Remain in the Settlement.  If you do nothing, you are considered a participant in the Settlement.  You will be bound by all Court orders.  If the Settlement is approved, certain potential legal claims you may have against the NCAA will be resolved and forever released. Also, if the Settlement is approved, you will have the opportunity to complete a screening questionnaire to determine whether you qualify for up to two medical evaluations during the 50‑year medical monitoring period.
Opt Out (“Exclude Yourself”) from the Settlement.  You must submit a written request to Opt Out of the Class and the Settlement to the Notice Administrator. The complete, signed Opt-Out request must be mailed to the Notice Administrator postmarked no later thanMarch 10, 2017. However, if you are a current NCAA student-athlete on or after 6 months after the Effective Date and your school fails to put in place a concussion management plan within six months of the Effective Date, you will have a second opportunity to opt-out so long as you do so within 12 months of the Effective Date.
Object or Comment on the Settlement.  Written objections must be filed and served no later than March 10, 2017.  You give up your right to sue and are bound by Court orders even if your objection is rejected. If you file an objection, you may appear at the Fairness Hearing to explain your objection, but you are not required to attend.
The Court will determine whether to approve the Settlement and attorneys’ fees and expenses at a Fairness Hearing to be held on May 5, 2017, at 10 a.m., at the Everett M. Dirksen United States Courthouse for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois.  You may attend this hearing if you wish, but you do not have to attend in order to participate in the proposed Settlement.
If you have questions or want to complete a Screening Questionnaire:
Write:  In re: NCAA Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, PO Box 43414, Providence, RI 02940-3414