Posted on May 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
“The bottom line is that the scale of the proposed development, more than 20,000 hotel rooms, is completely disconnected from the ecology of this desert region”
The last resort? Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A proposed 20,000-room resort development in Baja California Sur threatens a high value conservation area that’s important for hundreds of plants and animals, including 42 birds recognized as endangered species under Mexican law.
Government officials are slated to make a decision on the Cabo Dorado development proposal next month, and the scientists who recently surveyed the area said there’s no way the project should be built in anywhere near its present configuration.
“Until recently, the biological value of the lands adjacent to the coral reef of Cabo Pulmo had remained a mystery,” said University of California, Riverside’s Benjamin Wilder, referring to the Cabo Pulmo reef, which has rebounded from over-fishing in recent years. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Baja California Sur, Cabo Dorado, Cabo Pulmo, Environment, Tourism | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Government dysfunction hurts gateway towns near parks
The Grand Canyon, bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Visits to National Parks in the U.S. fell slightly in 2013, mainly due to the government shutdown in October, when the National Park Service turned away millions of visitors.
In total, 273.6 million total visits were recorded during the year at the 401 parks, down 9.1 million visits from 2012. The shutdown also resulted in an estimated loss of $414 million in visitor spending in gateway and local communities across the country when comparing October 2013 to a three-year average (October 2010-12). Continue reading
Filed under: national parks, tourism, Travel | Tagged: Government shutdown, national parks, Tourism, Travel | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘The San Antonio Missions represents a vital part of our nation’s Latino heritage …’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — It’s been nearly 20 years since a new World Heritage site has been designated in the U.S. but that could soon change. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell last week said the San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, will be nominated for the international list, which recognizes the most significant cultural and natural sites on the planet.
The most recent U.S. addition to the World Heritage register was the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (administered jointly with Canada) in 1995.
“World Heritage Sites represent an incredible opportunity for the United States to tell the world the whole story of America and the remarkable diversity of our people and beauty of our land,” Jewell said. “The San Antonio Missions represents a vital part of our nation’s Latino heritage and the contributions of Latinos to the building of our country.” Continue reading
Filed under: tourism, Travel | Tagged: San Antonio missions, Texas, The Alamo, Tourism, Travel, World Heritage | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows how human food affects rare rock iguanas
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — There are plenty of good reasons to follow the old adage about not feeding wild animals, and a recent study of endangered Bahamian rock iguanas provides even more proof.
According to the findings, tourist-fed iguanas are suffering physiological problems as a result of eating human food. In the study, led by Charles Knapp of the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, the scientists compared blood and faecal samples from iguanas that were fed by tourists to samples from iguanas that did not have any interactions with humans.
The body condition of the two groups of iguanas was similar, but indicators for dietary indicators showed the effects of feeding by humans. Both male and female iguanas from the islands frequently visited by tourists showed notably different levels of glucose, potassium, and uric acid, as well as levels of other minerals. The female iguanas from tourist areas differed significantly in ionized calcium. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, iguanas, Tourism, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
wolf population across the 6 million acre park and preserve declined from 143 in fall 2007 to just 55 in spring 2013
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — An arbitrary decision by the Alaska Board of Game to allow wolf hunting and trapping near Denali National Park has cut the regional wolf population by nearly two-thirds and significantly reduced opportunities for park visitors to see wolves in the wild — one of the main reasons people go to Denali in the first place.
This year, fewer than 5 percent of park visitors were able to see wolves, down from about 45 percent back in 2000, according to National Park Service statistics obtained by a federal government watchdog group.
“This precipitous decline in wildlife viewing success appears to be unprecedented in the history of the national park system,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and a Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility board member. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Denali National Park, public lands, Tourism, Travel, wildlife, wolves | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Emerging economies lead the way
Europe reported strong tourism growth during the first eight months of 2013.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Global tourism continued to grow steadily during the first eight months of 2013, according to the World Tourism Organization, which tallied an increase of 5 percent from January to August 2013 compared to the same period last year.
The best-performing regions were Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East. For the year to-date, tourist arrivals totaled 747 million worldwide, up 38 million from last year, when global tourist arrivals topped 1 billion for the first time ever.
International arrivals topped 125 million in both July and August, while in June the 100 million arrivals mark was exceeded for the first time. Continue reading
Filed under: tourism, Travel | Tagged: business, economy, Europe, global tourism, Taleb Rifai, Tourism, Travel, World Tourism Organization | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A crowd of tourists watches a BMX bike demo in Breckenridge. Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.
World travel up more than 4 percent through April
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Global tourism continues to grow at a rate outpacing nearly all other economic sectors. During the first four months of 2013, international tourist arrivals and departures increased by 4.3 percent over the same period in 2012, according to a mid season update from the UN’s World Tourism Organization.
The WTO tallied 298 million international tourists traveling worldwide between January and April, 12 million more than last year. Prospects for the current tourism peak season remain positive with some 435 million tourists expected to travel abroad in the May-August period. Continue reading
Filed under: tourism, Travel | Tagged: business, Tourism, Travel, world economy, World Tourism Organization | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Fiji and Qatar get first-ever designation; Mt. Fuji, Mt. Etna also added
Fujisan is one of the newest World Heritage sites. Photo courtesy UNESCO and Policy Planning Office, Minobu Town.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The fact that the world’s cultural and natural heritage transcends national boundaries is perhaps best reflected each year when UNESCO designates new World Heritage sites, and this year was no exception.
At its recent meeting in Cambodia, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee added volcanoes in Asia and Europe, historic forts in Ukraine and Qatar and a Basque whaling station in Canada.
There was one new area added in North America — El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, with its distinctive dormant volcanic Pinacate Shield of black and red lava flows and desert pavements to the east, and, in the west, the Gran Altar Desert with its ever changing and varied sand dunes that can reach a height of 200 meters. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, tourism, Travel, world news | Tagged: 2013 world heritage designations, Fujisan, Mt. Etna, Pinacate Peaks, Tourism, Travel, UNESCO | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Tourists from Asia exploring Hallstatt, Austria.
Travel and tourism a key driver in world economy
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The global tourism economy hummed along at a record pace in 2012, growing by 4 percent and generating a total of $1.3 trillion when international passenger transit revenues are included in the equation.
“It is encouraging to see that the growth in international tourist arrivals was equalled by a comparable increase in spending in spite of continued economic challenges,” said United Nations World Tourism Organization secretary-general Taleb Rifai. “Considering that tourism is a key export for many economies around the world, this result is good news as it provides foreign reserves to destinations, and contributes to job creation in tourism as well as in related economic sectors,” he added.
By regions, the Americas recorded the largest increase in receipts, plus 7 percent, followed by Asia and the Pacific ( plus 6 percent), Africa ( plus 5 percent) and Europe (plus 2 percent). Receipts in the Middle East were down about 2 percent but improving compared to the double-digit decline recorded in 2011. Continue reading
Filed under: tourism, transportation, Travel | Tagged: Taleb Rifai, Tourism, Travel, world economy, World Tourism Organization | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
National Park Service touts expanded parking, better visitor service
The Bright Angel trailhead at the Grand Canyon has had a big makeover, with more parking and an expanded seating area.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the most storied trails in the country has seen a partial makeover, and the National Park Service will celebrate the new look of Grand Canyon National Park’s Bright Angel Trail with a May 18 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The renovation encompasses a 3.5 acre area at and surrounding the Bright Angel Trailhead. The work focused on creating an accessible and comfortable area for visitors that complements existing historic buildings including the Bright Angel Lodge and Rim Cabins designed by Grand Canyon architect Mary E. J. Colter.
With little work on the trailhead in the past 100 years, the National Park Service said visitors were having a hard time finding the trailhead, and there was no convenient or comfortable place for people to sit to either enjoy the view or prepare for hikes. The renovation will greatly improve conditions at and around the trailhead, providing a much better experience for park visitors. Continue reading
Filed under: hiking, national parks, public lands, recreation, tourism, Travel | Tagged: Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, National Park Service, public lands, Tourism, Travel | Leave a comment »