mfioretti: tourism*

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  1. The U.S. Supreme Court made history today by ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, effectively legalizing it in all 50 states.

    Many travel brands quickly took to social media to voice their support (see below) and other tourism boards across the country also reflected on what the ruling means to them.

    “This is the icing on the cake for us,” said Richard Gray, the LGBTQ Managing Director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We made a commitment in 1996 to be LGBTQ friendly and we launched #LoveIsLove in February when we got marriage equality in Florida. We’re thankful to corporate America for their help with this over the years.”

    “I don’t think the ruling » will change what we do. Last year we had 1.5 million LGBT visitors come to Fort Lauderdale who spent $1.5 billion dollars and I’m sure that will go up next year. But this is an opportunity for other destinations to really sit down and really be a little bit more strategic than they’ve been and focus more on LGBT tourism.
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  2. As many as 30 percent of the available apartments in neighborhoods like the Mission have been taken off the market and used for short-terms rentals through platforms like Airbnb, a city study shows.

    There’s also a close correlation between then number of Airbnb rentals and the number of evictions, the report shows.

    The study by the Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst confirms what nearly every tenant advocate in the city has been saying for months: The regulatory legislation by then-Sup. David Chiu, which passed last year with the support of Mayor Ed Lee, has been a complete failure.

    The report makes a key distinction between “casual” short-term rentals – places where existing residents occasionally rent out a room in their home to visitors – and “commercial” rentals – apartments or houses that have been converted almost entirely to hotel rooms.

    If an entire place is listed on Airbnb for more than 59 nights a year, the Budget Analyst defined it as a commercial operation. For private and shared rooms in a place where a resident lives, the threshold was 89 nights a year.

    It’s impossible to know exactly how many units are rented out through Airbnb, VRBO, Flipkey or other services, since those hosting platforms refuse to release that date.
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  3. This isn’t a regional failure; it’s a national one. Tourism ought to be to southern Italy what oil is to Norway: a blessing and a source of wealth.

    And the south could certainly use it. Annual gross domestic product in the south is just over $21,000 per capita, compared with $43,000 in the center and north. Nearly two out of three young southerners have no job. Across Europe 64 percent of women work; in Campania, only 28 percent do.
    Continue reading the main story
    Continue reading the main story

    What does this sorry tale say about Italy as a whole? Across the country, tourism is going from being a given to being a missed opportunity. In the 1970s, Italy was the world’s No. 1 tourist destination. Today, it has slid to fifth place behind France, America, China and Spain. As late as the early 2000s, 6 percent of the world’s tourists came here. Now only 4 percent do.

    It also highlights Italy’s poor state of coordination across sectors of society. Despite still being a major destination for vacationers, Italy doesn’t even have a minister for tourism, as other European countries do. Infighting is the norm. Hotel owners argue with vacation rental agencies. Public enterprises and the private sector wage war. Neighboring regions don’t speak to one another. Do you know why flights and trains to Calabria fail to hook up with the ferries that cross the Strait of Messina? Because Calabria doesn’t want to see tourists siphoned off to Sicily.

    Finally, the story of southern Italy’s tourism-fail illustrates the country’s inability to grasp how scattershot public funding means waste, not investment
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  4. Aside from the digital professionals present, the audience was mainly Italian and European boutique hoteliers. I think they have a much better chance of adapting to this new reality than chain hotels. I shared a few ideas with them like turning their hotel's business centers into coworking spaces, teaching skills that are regional specialties (beer making, glass blowing, fashion design), and connecting travelers to the local community through local causes. In general, the idea is to view a hotel as a community center that links travelers directly with locals for learning, community contribution, and cultural exchange.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2014-01-11)
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  5. Holidaying in Europe has never been more popular, with the increase in tourism driven by budget airline competition, rising incomes and relaxed visa requirements over the past 50 years. Last year Europe was the destination for more than half of all the world’s tourists. Tourism and recreation are big business, with Europe accounting for nearly 25% of the US$6.6 trillion that these industries contribute to global GDP.

    Such success means many millions more people visiting the continent, more pollution and carbon emissions from air travel, transport, and construction, and more changing land use and habitat destruction. These are all threats to Europe’s biodiversity, which extends to more than 20,000 species of native plants, from dragon trees to carnivorous sundews, from bee orchids to wild kale.

    Many are only found in Europe, and some are the original ancestors of today’s vital, staple crops. With the disappearance of traditional agriculture in many parts of the continent and rapid urbanisation, there has been a large decline in the populations of many native plant species, with 462 facing imminent extinction. The tourism industry in Europe, and everything that stems from it, is exacerbating the problem.
    Tourism’s ecological footprint in Europe

    In our latest study, Ballantyne and Pickering 2013, we systematically reviewed the IUCN Red List, the most comprehensive data on threatened species worldwide, and found that 194 (42%) of the 462 threatened plant species in Europe are at risk of extinction as a result of tourism and recreation. Some groups are more at risk than others, such as low-growing annual and perennial flowering plants like orchids, asters and sandworts.

    The damage of tourism in Europe is not spread equally. Mark Ballantyne
    Click to enlarge

    Those species endangered by tourism and recreation are concentrated within just a few regions of Europe. Around 80% are found around the Mediterranean, with almost half in Spain and the Canary Islands alone. This is likely to reflect both the regions' high biodiversity, but also its popularity as a holiday destination. Up to 246 million tourists visit the beautiful, affordable Mediterranean countries each year, most notably Greece, Spain and Portugal.

    We also assessed which particular aspects of tourism and recreation threatened these species. Is it hotels and infrastructure built for tourists that causes the damage, or the activities tourists engage in at the destination? Well, the answer is both.
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  6. A Dutch historian has used a unique 1,700 year old map of Roman roads to create an online journey planner giving the destinations, distances and timings of routes used by ancient travellers in the days of empire.
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  7. Despite what many commentators on The Conversation have said, conserving biodiversity in our national parks isn’t the way to save them. Parks need visitors to get vital community and political support.

    Parks, like every other institution on this planet, are a social construction. Those reserved in the 19th century reflect the values of those times – health and pleasure for humans. In recent decades, social values have led to a strong focus instead on conserving biodiversity.

    New moves to include grazing, logging and recreational shooting are a reflection of current efforts of some groups to re-construct the purpose of parks.

    If park managers and other advocates don’t like these moves to change national parks into resource extraction reserves, they have to enlist the support of visitors.
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  8. The tiny republic is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse places in the world. More than 30 languages are spoken in an area smaller than Scotland. Ethnic identity remains paramount, but it is combined with a strong sense of regional belonging, partly as a result of external assumptions. One woman I speak to, an art historian specialising in woven carpets, says: “You never forget about your people, but once you’re outside Dagestan, you’re Dagestani.”
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2013-08-06)
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  9. The resolution, which legally is more of a goal than a guarantee from attendees of The U.S. Conference of Mayors, acknowledges that the sharing economy serves a purpose, and says cities should encourage such behavior. More specifically, it states that the 15 co-sponsoring US mayors involved will focus on:

    creating local task forces to review and address regulations that may hinder participants in the Sharing Economy and proposing revisions that ensure public protection as well; and
    playing an active role in making appropriate publicly owned assets available for maximum utilization by the general public through proven sharing mechanisms.

    Resolution No. 87 is certainly the best news Airbnb’s heard since being legalized in Amsterdam…

    Again, this doesn’t mean it’s clear seas from now on for every sharing economy startup, but it’s a milestone of a blessing compared to what’s happened lately.
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  10. if our aim is to limit global warming to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels by 2050, the average person on Earth should emit no more than 2.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Ride your bike to the brew pub all you want, but one round trip from Seattle to New York will set you back 2.3 tons of CO2.

    I’d always thought of airline travel as a form of public transportation — like a bus, except bigger. And if you look at aviation only in terms of gross CO2 production, it can certainly seem better than driving an SUV solo cross-country. But calculations that focus only on fuel miss some important science. It turns out that plane emissions exert a particularly large greenhouse effect because they’re injected straight into the upper atmosphere. Scientists call this “radiative forcing,” and according to researchers at Atmosfair, it means that the effects of CO2, contrails, ozone, and other plane emissions drive global warming two to five times more than if calculated based on CO2 alone.
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