29 Apr 2016

Regional Airports

The article in this month's Airport Focus magazine takes a look at UK's regional airports and the issues they face in today's market. It highlights that although these airports handled just 7% of international passengers in 2014, their share of domestic passengers was 22%, reflecting their role in connecting all parts of the UK. They are now working on strategies to increase their non-aviation revenues and to promote local tourism and attractions in order to promote the airport itself as an attraction, as many of the larger airports are successfully doing. Gatwick’s South Terminal IDL capacity project is given as a case study for this strategy.

27 Apr 2016

Focus on...Railway Stations

The Untouchables (1987), 
Chicago Union Station 
What do King's Cross, St Pancras, Grand Central Station and Chicago Union Station have in common? They have all appeared in famous movie scenes - Harry Potter's Platform 9¾ was filmed at King's Cross, London.

Moving on then from the most famous stations to little-known ones ... more than 150 of Britain’s railway stations are request stops ie. you have to put out your arm to get the train to stop at the platform.
St Keyne Wishing Well Halt,
A new TV series will explore these 'request stop' stations, looking into their history and the people who live and work around them. The first episode will be shown on Sunday 1 May at 8pm on Channel 4. 

St Pancras, London
There are many railway stations across the world that deserve to be tourist attractions in their own right, for both their architecture and design. Here are some award-winning designs, including our very own New Street Station. This article unravels the story behind Britain's railway stations. This article talks about the architecture of some of Britain's stations. 

25 Apr 2016

Technology: Chatbots

Chatbots are a new technology which will use personal data to provide instantaneous information. This could potentially be very beneficial to travellers and the tourism industry. It is envisaged that by using a mix of personal travel data and destination content at each stage of the traveller’s journey, a travel bot could provide relevant and contextualized information to its user. For example, a bot would retrieve all the boarding information when it matters: time of the flight, boarding gate, terminal and even information about the airport. Beyond this, it could inform travellers of flight delays. 
Amadeus has started to experiment with bots as a way to support both travellers and the businesses serving them.  More about chatbots

20 Apr 2016

To Brexit or not to Brexit?

The TTG reports on the first of their series of debates held last week, focussing on Brexit and the pros and cons for travel and business in general. 

Read all about how the debate unfolded in today's issue.

14 Apr 2016

Responsible Tourism

Photo: Northwest Florida Outdoor Adventure
Outdoor adventure travel is
increasing in popularity.
“The encouraging thing is that sustainable tourism is becoming more widely accepted – so much so that UNESCO now believes it will go from ‘alternative’ to ‘mainstream’ within a decade.” 
Alex Blackburne, Editor, Blue & Green Tomorrow

The latest issue of Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends investigated the complex relationships between tourism and responsibility. Here are the contents from the issue:
  • The supply of sustainable tourism in Ireland 
  • National heritages, global capital accumulation & collective socioeconomic impact: A critique of tourism industry in Kenya 
  • International volunteer tourism and landscape restaurantion in New Zeeland
  • In the news: an investigation into Australian print media reports on Bali 
Amongst the findings in a recent report by CREST (The Centre for Responsible Travel), it was found that a variety of market studies in recent years have documented sustained interest among consumers in tourism products and services that protect the environment and respect local cultures.

13 Apr 2016

Access to Research

I spoke about the Access to Research initiative a while ago when it was in its pilot phase at Birmingham Central Library. The service allows free access to over 1.5 million academic articles, at participating public libraries across the UK. Well, here's some good news - following a successful start, it is now set to continue permanently. Remember, you must become a library member and it's worth searching the database before you go.

11 Apr 2016

Is ‘Wanderlust’ in our genes?

“We jump borders. We push into new territory....There’s a kind of madness to it. Sailing out into the ocean, you have no idea what’s on the other side. 
And now we go to Mars. We never stop ..... Why?” 
Svante Pääbo, director of Evolutionary Anthropology at Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany

... Researchers have long since pondered over what is responsible for making some of us daydream of distant shores, wanting to grab that half-packed suitcase and go travelling; some believe that there is indeed a gene that is responsible for giving us itchy feet. 

Apparently, it's all to do with DRD4 (the dopamine gene); the long and short of it is that those with a longer version of the dopamine gene require more stimulation from external sources and from their environment in order to register that happy feeling, than someone with the shorter version of the gene. It's all explained in more detail here.
However, Richard P. Ebstein, professor of psychology at the National University in Singapore, points out that genes can only explain up to 50 percent of why people are the way they are. This article takes a look back at the age of exploration and then discusses the arguments for and against the claim.