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Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

Most pathetic virtual travel romanceNominee

August 30th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

japanese cartoon character

Girl-friend less Japanese men have found companionship on their iphones. Not via a new dating site, but a program called Love Plus that allows them to travel to different locales (yes, actually travel, not just online) to have their photo taken with Rinko, a popular Japanese school girl cartoon character.

At certain spots, they stand beside a two-dimensional barcode that uses “augmented reality” software to make them appear to be standing beside the virtual love of their virtual life.

It may sound lame. You  may wonder why they haven’t just bothered to learn Photoshop. But so far more than 2000 young men have traveled to the once romantic city of Atami for a faux photo op.

Check out the story in SMH here.

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(3 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10)
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Tourism

Briton strips to bikini in Dubai Mall, gets arrested (Editorial)Nominee

August 6th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Displaying an impressive disrepect for local culture, a British woman stripped down to her bikini and walked through the Dubai Mall after a local Emirati woman confronted her about the low-cut shirt she was wearing that, in her mind, violated the local conservative dress code.

Mall security brought both women to a police station where they were detained briefly, then released.

There have now been a string of incidents in Dubai. In March, a British couple spent a month in jail for kissing in public. An Indian couple got three months in jail for exchanging sexy text messages. In 2008, a British couple went to jail for three months for having sex on the beach.

Titanic Editorial: Dubai needs to make a decision. If they want to position themselves as a major tourist destination (especially for charter trips) and business hub for Westerners and the rest of the world, they’re going to need to make some adjustments.  I’m not saying they should change their values or culture or dress differently.  They just need to find a better way of informing visitors about their unique rules and a better way of punishing foreigners who violate them.  If a foreigner commits one of these social crimes (inappropriate dress, inappropriate speech or touching), a fine of perhaps $100 – $500 seems like a more realistic punishment. Months or days in jail is WAY overboard.  And Dubai tourism will continue to pay for it with bad PR as long as they keep it up.   They need to understand that it’s not easy for many Westerners to make the adjustment. A couple on a honeymoon might forget and spontaneously kiss while walking down the beach.  It’s especially difficult because hotels and bars seem to have a different set of rules. If you step into a Western hotel, you can wear a bikini, drink, and kiss without penalty.   Dubai is a fascinating city in many ways (I’ve had the pleasure of visiting it 4 times), but tourists need to be able to relax and walk down the street (or thru a mall) without fear that they’ll be chucked in jail for a crime they didn’t even realize was a crime.

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(8 votes, average: 8.88 out of 10)
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Tourism , , ,

Lonely Planet’s Top 5 Pubishing Mistakes (according to Tony Wheeler)Nominee

August 4th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

tonywheeler
In 1972, Maureen and Tony Wheeler famously road-tripped across Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and, the following year after settling in Sydney, they penned Across Asia on the Cheap.  They turned that one book into a travel publishing empire that now includes 500 titles in 8 languages (100 million copies sold!), TV programs, a TV production company, a magazine, mobile phone applications and a popular website. In 2007, they (together with investor John Singleton) sold 75% of Lonely Planet to BBC Worldwide for an undisclosed sum that several news outlets reported was in the neighborhood of £90 million.  Now that the founders have a little more distance between themselves and the day-to-day of running a publishing company, they were able to comment on some of the publishing gaffes they’ve made over the years. “Any book has mistakes,” said Tony, “whether it’s a typo, a misspelling or something factual. Packed with facts, figures and names, guidebooks can be a recipe for disaster. I’m amazed we manage to get everything right 99.99% of the time.”  Keep reading as Tony recalls five of LP’s most memorable mistakes.

1. Wrong Numbers
One wrong digit can be disastrous. We do a lot of double checking, but every now and then a “1″ becomes a “2″ and all those young travelers arriving at the bus station at midnight phone a popular backpacking hostel and wake up an innocent bystander instead. We did it to Mrs O’Something in Ireland and, apart from changing her phone number, informing everybody she knew, and paying her damages, her lawyer suggested a family trip to EuroDisney would be a good idea.

2. Wrong Title
Sometimes it’s not even the fine print. We managed to turn “Western Europe” into “Westen Europe” on the two-inch-thick spine of one edition, the 72-point typo snuck by designers, typesetters, proofreaders and printers before a packer in the warehouse found it.

3. Wrong Direction
“The next time this author researches a book, tattoo ‘RIGHT’ on his right hand and ‘LEFT’ on his left,” suggested the editor after one book was completed. Getting right and left or east and west mixed up can cause horrendous problems. We got the east and west exits from a major railway station crossed up in one book and sent countless visitors on a wild goose chase for a popular budget hotel.

4 Wrong Correction
Don’t let your editors – the profession seems to have a penchant for political correctness – make too many corrections.They’ll turn classic John Wayne cowboy and Indian flicks into something about cowpersons and native Americans. I wrote about one of my own experiences with overzealous correcting in The Lonely Planet Story:

In 1954 baseball hero Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe and, after the wedding, the happy couple was photographed outside the church of Sts Peter and Paul, a noted landmark in San Francisco’s North Beach district. It’s a famous photograph outside a famous church, but I was careful not to say it was taken after their wedding in the church. Because it wasn’t. Joe was a staunch Catholic and it was his second marriage (Marilyn’s too), so there was no way he could get married in a church. The wedding took place at San Francisco City Hall, only the photographs were taken outside the church. A careful editor checked the facts and found out, just as I had, that Joe and Marilyn weren’t married in the church, but then dug further. Fifteen years earlier Joe DiMaggio had indeed been married in the Sts Peter and Paul Church, to his first wife. So Marilyn Monroe got axed and replaced with Dorothy Arnold. Fortunately, I read the edited copy and caught this very accurate, but rather less interesting, correction and reinstated Marilyn.

[reprinted with permission from TW]

5 Wrong Translation
Translate your guidebook into a different language and a whole new field of error possibilities opens up. Like the German translation which declared that a red light district bar was the very best, the most superlative, the absolutely unbeatable, the incomparable. In fact, in English it was  “topless.”

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(4 votes, average: 9.75 out of 10)
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Three naked German tourists get lost in Swedish forestNominee

August 3rd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Swedish police called off a search when three naked German women (aged 40, 50, and 56) managed to find their holiday home after being lost in the woods.

The naturists set off for a walk in the woods near Karlshamn at around 4pm then failed to return after several hours.  Their waiting friends called the police, who deployed tracking dogs and a helicopter. The women managed to find their way back in the dark by 10:30 pm.

Source: The Local

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(3 votes, average: 8.67 out of 10)
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Embarrassing insurance claim: Doctor falls 30 feet off cliff while peeing in VietnamNominee

August 3rd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

A travel insurance firm is doing the legwork of sorting through some of the world’s worst travel insurance claims.  Here’s a classic about a doctor from California who was urinating off the edge of a cliff in Vietnam when the ground beneath his feet gave way and sent him plunging 30 feet down.  Talk about landing in an awkward position…  Got a travel nightmare? Send it in to Travel Guard’s World’s Unluckiest Traveler contest. According to the website, they’re handing out a $10,000 grand prize.

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(4 votes, average: 9.50 out of 10)
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Marriott Hotels accused of spying and filming ESPN host in the nudeNominee

July 18th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

marriott

Sports  reporter Erin Andrews has filed a lawsuit against Marriott International Inc. and several hotels affiliated with it, for negligence, emotional distress and an invasion of privacy.

The lawsuit states refers to incidents in 2008 in which a 32-year-old man named Michael David Barrett (who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison) videotaped Andrews naked through hotel room peepholes in several US states and posted the footage on the internet.

Where does Mariott come in? According to Andrews’s lawyers, when Barrett called the hotels to find out which rooms she was staying in, the hotel confirmed she was a guest, told him the room number and provided him a room just beside.

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(3 votes, average: 4.00 out of 10)
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Tourism ,

Worst “no-fly list” delay: Two Months!Nominee

July 17th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Yahya Wehelie, a 26-year-old man from Virginia, was stuck in Egypt for more than two months when his name popped-up on a no-fly list.  He  spent the two months of delay living in a ramshackle Cairo hotel and subsisting on fast food coupons provided to him by the US embassy. He is now allowed to return to the US.

Why the delay? FBI agents questioned him about his time in Yemen, Wehelie said. He had gone to Yemen  two years ago at his parents’ request so he could learn Arabic and find some guidance in his life.  Wehelie is of Somali descent, but many Somalis live in Yemen, where educational opportunities are cheaper than in other parts of the Middle East.  Wehelie was studying information technology at the Lebanese International University.

Wehelie has no ill will toward the US or the FBI.  “I’m not angry at all. I know who I am and I knew eventually I would go home,” he said. “They’re trying to find the bad people, so more power to them.”

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Air Travel, Tourism

Italy imposes harsh new laws — no kissing in a moving car, no sandcastles, no wooden clogs,Nominee

July 6th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

During the reign of Silvio Berlusconi, over 150 laws to crack down on anti-social behavior have become a part of daily life.

A young couple sitting on a monument in a piazza in Vigevano, a town near Milan, had to pay a fine of €160 .  Another couple was caught kissing in a moving car in the town of Eboli and had to pay a €500 fine.  In the coastal town of Eraclea, it is forbidden to build sandcastles, as they “obstruct the passage” of those strolling along the beach.  And don’t even think of wearing wooden clogs on the island of Capri — they’re too noisy and have thus been banned.  In Venice, it’s a €500 penalty to feed the pigeons.

Kissing a pigeon in a moving car while wearing clogs? Probably a life sentence.

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(8 votes, average: 8.25 out of 10)
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Worst “cure” for tourist afraid of monkeysNominee

June 21st, 2010 by Doug Lansky

monkey island

Dee Darwell, a 56-year-old tourist from England, was bitten by several monkeys on a tour to Monkey Island (in Thailand, near Phuket) while trying to overcome her phobia of monkeys.

Thai fisherman pulled the monkeys off of her as she collapsed with blood coming out of a deep wound in her arm.

Here’s Ms Darwell’s account of what happened: “The monkey took my wrist and pounced on my right arm, sinking his teeth in and hung off it. He wouldn’t let go;  he was locked on. I was absolutely petrified. I was shaking from head to foot and I froze. There was one man, a tourist, and when he saw the monkey bite me, he screamed and ran off. … Then another, bigger monkey bit my arm, just next to the other one biting me, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by monkeys.”

Why did they attack?  Ms. Darwell’s tour leader, Yongyut Buasod, said that some people were teasing the monkeys that day and they don’t necessarily attack the specific person teasing them.

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(8 votes, average: 9.75 out of 10)
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Tourism

Most expensive fake purse ever purchased by touristNominee

June 14th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

The province of Venice, Italy is trying to send a message to tourists: “don’t even think about buying knock-off products here.” Jursula Corel, a 65-year-old Austrian tourist found out the hard way when was fined $1,195 for buying a fake Louis Vuitton purse from a street seller.

“We have a duty to combat this phenomenon, which is becoming unmanageable,” said Francesca Calzavara, head of the province of Venice.  That’s one way to crack down on the problem. No word on what happened to the person who was actually selling the fake purses.

Source:  Venice newspaper Corriere del Veneto

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(9 votes, average: 7.33 out of 10)
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Tourism

Ultimate Travel Fail Compilation VideoNominee

June 7th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

The Repeat Offenders: Worst Hotel Rip-OffsNominee

June 7th, 2010 by Doug Lansky
PrintExcepted from the book

1. RESORT FEE. Think of it as a hotel charge for using the hotel.
This can typically be found at independent, higher-end resorts.
It’s essentially a huge money grab. For around $10, the resort fee
provides you with what they should be providing you with anyway:
beach towels, access to the fitness room.
2. DELIVERY FEES. Someone sends you a fax while you’re at the hotel. That
will be $5 please (plus tip if a staff person brings it to your room). Someone
sends you a package and the hotel might hit you with a $20 fee. No
real infrastructure or supply costs here—just plain rip-off .
3. PHONE/INTERNET USAGE. The phones—a classic hotel rip-off —used to
constitute between 1 and 2 percent of a hotel’s income. With cell phones,
that has dropped, but this doesn’t stop them from gouging you with
high fees to make a cheap (or free) call. Likewise, installing WiFi is not
a huge expense compared with the $15 daily charge each guest gets hit
with to use it. Ironically, at many cheaper hotels you get WiFi for free.
For most business hotel guests, using the phone and Internet are not
optional services. It would be like the hotel charging extra to use the
toilet.
4. NOT-SO-COMPLIMENTARY WATER. It looks like the hotel has given you a
little gift: a free bottle of water. And it’s often not until you’ve swallowed
half the water that you notice the words on the coaster it was sitting on,
explaining that it’s $6 a bottle.
5. MINIBAR. They know you get the munchies. And they know you’re lazy.
Which is why your typical hotel minibar has prices jacked up 250 to 500
percent.
6. PARKING FEE. You’ve arrived by car? Too bad. It’s $40 a night to give your
car room in the parking garage. “Sure you could leave it on the street,”
the hotel staff will say, “but we can’t take responsibility for any vandalism
in this part of the city.”
7. BREAKFAST. This depends on the other available options. If you’re downtown
and there’s a Starbucks around the corner, that’s one thing, but if
you’re at a hotel in a remote part of Alaska or on some desolate island,
they’ve got you. You may not want the $30 all-you-can eat buffet breakfast
or the $14 bowl of cornflakes with fruit sprinkled on top, but it’s that
or starve.

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(8 votes, average: 9.38 out of 10)
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Tourism

Worst place to be bitten by spider when skinny dippingNominee

May 15th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

skinny dip

A Canadian tourist is still recovering from a spider bite he received on his penis while swimming naked in New Zealand.  He had fallen asleep naked on the  sand dunes following his swim in Northland, Wellington and awoke to find his Johnson had swollen and the shaft was adorned with a red mark.

The culprit was determined to be a katipo spider.

Dr Nigel Harrison confirmed that it  was a “rather nasty, ill-placed bite.”

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(11 votes, average: 6.91 out of 10)
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Tourism , , , ,

Titanic Awards book spotted in the wild (just released)Nominee

May 5th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Anti-graffiti workers paint over famous street art in MelbourneNominee

April 27th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

rat

One of the last remaining works (perhaps the only remaining work) of street art in Melbourne by Banksy, the famous British  artist, was accidentally painted over by an anti-graffiti crew, according to the Melbourne Leader newspaper.

It was the image of a rat descending in a parachute.

In London, street art by Banksy on a London wall has sold for several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Officials are currently contemplating having an anti-anti-graffiti artist restore the work.

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(8 votes, average: 5.88 out of 10)
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Tourism , , ,

Worst place to get gored by a bull [watch]Nominee

April 26th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

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(4 votes, average: 5.50 out of 10)
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Creepy Nazi museum opensNominee

April 23rd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

nazi museum

The Wewelburg Castle has now opened a museum celebrating the Nazi’s SS in Heinrich Himmler’s headquarters where he masterminded atrocities against Jews and other persecuted minorities.

But how, you ask, is this possible?  There’s a simple formula:  Creepy Nazi hangout + $10.7 million = Tourist Attraction

Museum officials say they don’t want it to become a pilgrimage for far right neo-fascists. Good luck with that.

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(17 votes, average: 4.88 out of 10)
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Disney fail: Princess booted out of Disneyland ParisNominee

April 22nd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

princess

Okay, it may be a touch weird to want to dress up as a princess to visit Disneyland, but it’s no different from the zillions of people who dress up like Gene Simmons at a KISS concert or like Spock at a Star Trek convention.  The mother from England (who was visiting Disneyland Paris with her eight-year-old daughter) had even called Disney before hand to ask if it was okay and was given permission.  Disney, concerned that kids would think she was an official princess and want to have their photo taken with her, refused to let her stay inside the theme park.  Minor consolation: At least she wasn’t tarred and feathered.

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(4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 10)
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Festival celebrates creativity, lack of skillNominee

April 22nd, 2010 by Doug Lansky

air guitar

Can’t play an instrument to save your life?  No problem.  Channel your inner Van Halen at Finland’s Air Guitar Festival.   Air guitar may not be particularly Finnish, but they were the first to try to turn a profit from it.

www.airguitarworldchampionships.com

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(4 votes, average: 3.50 out of 10)
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Tourism , ,

French create new tourism job: Suntan lotion “creamer”Nominee

April 14th, 2010 by Doug Lansky

Les Sables d’Olonne, a beach resort in France has two job openings for “creamers” — a man and women who can rub lotion on guests all summer.  All applicants must, according to the website, be interested in sun protection. (C’mon who doesn’t have that as a hobby?)  In addition to creaming the guests they can also give out sun lotion advice to those in need of SPF consultation.

Not exactly clearing landmines in Iraq, but there may be some demanding elements.

The gig pays 5000 euros  for six weeks work.

They’re narrowing things down with internet voting and already have a cast of potential creamers.

Apply at lejobdelete.com/

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(3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 10)
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