Morning photo: Market goodies

Tis the season …

It’s getting to be that time of year, around the world, and Vienna is no exception. Many city streets are lined with small wooden booths selling Christmas goodies. Sure, there’s plenty of junk, but a few treasures to be found, as well. Call me cheesy, but a snowglobe with the Prater Riesenrad definitely makes me feel warm and fuzzy, a vibe that can be enhanced by a steaming cup of hot, spiced wine, some glowing candles and perhaps a slice of pumpkin cake, or a spicy sandwich topped with grated horseradish — trust me, it’s good!

Can the tourism industry de-carbonize?


Global travel and tourism account for 5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. @bberwyn photo.

Study says modest carbon tax could offset travel industry climate impacts

Staff Report

Offsetting the climate change impacts of tourism and travel won’t be easy — but it might not be as expensive as you think.

According to a new study by the University of Waterloo, the damaging effects of carbon dioxide emissions associated with tourism could be eliminated if travelers paid just $11 per trip, on average. Continue reading

How does ecotourism affect ecosystems?

Researchers urge caution as visitation to wildlife areas booms

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Ecotourism has been hailed as a sustainable economic driver and a force for environmental conservation, but a new report says we also need to account for the possible adverse effects of visitation to relatively wild spaces.

In a new report published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, researchers said all of those interactions between wild animals and friendly ecotourists eager to snap their pictures may inadvertently put some animals at greater risk of being eaten. Continue reading

Study eyes hotel industry ‘greenwashing’

How green is your hotel really?

How green is your hotel really?

Consumers catching on to self-serving industry practices

Staff Report

Environmentally savvy travelers aren’t necessarily buying the hotel industry’s green claims, according to a trio of Washington State University researchers, who said there’s growing skepticism that towel re-use programs and other superficial measures are truly a sign of sustainable hotel operations.

The study, published in the Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, suggests that some of those practices are nothing more than greenwashing, referring to the “deceitful practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs while hiding ulterior motives.” Continue reading

Morning photo: Gorge du Verdon

The Grand Canyon of Europe

During the last few days of this visit to the Provence, I finally had a chance to visit the Gorge du Verdon, where the Verdon River has cut an impressive path through the massive limestone plateau that characterizes much of the Provence region geologically. Along with all sorts of recreation, the gorge, through a trove of fossils and other evidence, has revealed many secrets of the prehistoric people who lived in the region. The canyon walls tower as high as 2,500 feet over the aquamarine water in places, and the winding roads along the rim offer great access to view points and to trailheads leading deep in to the heart of the canyon. Truly, the Grand Canyon of Europe!

National parks visitation sets all-time record in 2014

Park visitors spent more than $15 billion last year


Visitors enjoy the scenery at Colorado National Monument. bberwyn photo

Elk Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  bberwyn photo

Staff Report

FRISCO — As the National Park Service nears its 100th anniversary, the parks it manages are more popular than ever. Visitation to national parks broke a long-standing record last year, with more than 292 million visits. The previous record was set in 1987.

“As the National Park Service strives to share a more inclusive and well-rounded version of the American story through the places we care for, it is gratifying to see more people than ever coming to their national parks to enjoy nature, learn about history, and spend time with their families,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. Continue reading

Antarctica’s ice-free fringe needs more protection

Invasive species a huge threat to sparse ecosystems, scientists report


Tourists on Dundee Island hike past birds and pinnipeds. bberwyn photo


Tourists hiking on Deception Island. bberwyn photo

Staff Report

FRISCO — The tiny ice-free fringes of Antarctica are especially prone to ecosystem disruption, including invasive species, an Australian science team warned earlier this year after taking a close look at how human use is concentrated in those slivers of dry land.

Antarctica has over 40,000 visitors a year, and more and more research facilities are being built in the continent’s tiny ice-free area. Most of the Antarctic wildlife and plants live in the ice-free areas – and this is also where people most visit.

Most tour operators in Antarctica follow strict guidelines set to protect ecosystems, including at least basic decontamination procedures, but those measures might not be enough, especially as global warming makes ice-free zones more susceptible to invasive species. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,956 other followers