Now that the dust has settled...and aircraft seem to be ruling the skies again, the cost of the volcano eruption is being counted. The economic impact of the natural disaster is discussed in this article, including the winners and losers in tourism; the direct impact on tourism is considered here.

The Economist gives its view and believe we should be better prepared for natural disasters and also asks whether our flight is absolutely necessary? As passengers agonised on how to get back home, cruise ships have been busy as they step in to help. Ironically, as most of the airports around Europe resume flights, Iceland shut down flights for the first time last Friday, due to winds dropping and the ash cloud becoming static above the island.

The question of how much responsibility airlines have towards passengers in such a situation, has been asked here and there is also a guide on how to protect your holiday through tour operators.

Were Ryannair right to back down on paying reasonable expenses for their stranded passengers? Take a vote in the poll on the right...

See the funny side...

Blog for Birmingham!

As I've previously posted, Birmingham's been shortlisted for the title of UK City of Culture 2013. Birmingham now needs YOU to help us win by taking part in a Blogging Day. As many people as possible who live or work in, or visit Birmingham, are asked to write a blog post between 12 noon on Friday 23rd April and 12 noon on Saturday 24th April to talk about cultural activities they are enjoying in the city. This will map 24 hours in the cultural life of Birmingham to form part of the bid; it will show just how much goes on in the city and how important culture is to people.

All you have to do is include any activities you will be taking part in, whether it's arts and crafts workshops, book clubs, rehearsals and performances by professional and amateur companies, visual arts, museums, festivals and events, college projects, nights out at the theatre, comedy or live music and dance. It's easy – as simple as sending an email - and it will only take a minute or two to contribute. Just send your email to

Stuck for things to do? Try What's On for ideas...

Calling all UCB Tourism Students!

Would you like to get involved in an exciting tourism opportunity and give your CV that extra edge?

Digital Visitor are a marketing company that specialises in providing video production and social media solutions to the tourism industry. They are the largest producer of online video for the tourism industry in the UK and provide social media solutions to many attractions and destinations across Britain.

They are currently collaborating with VisitBritain on a national initiative to collate a library of user generated photos, videos and text reviews of tourism-related products, services and destinations to help encourage more visits to Britain.

And how can you play a part?
As part of this initiative, VisitBritain are keen to involve students to help gather regional content which will go towards the national marketing strategy - full support will be provided. So far Bournemouth and Bath Spa Universities are participating in this project and their sites are due to go live shortly. Here's an example of how your site could potentially look. Please email Melvyn Pryer initially to register your interest...

Upcoming Events

Wildlife Tourism in Britain - 12 May 2010, Bournemouth University

World heritage and tourism - 2-4 June 2010, Canada

Mass tourism v. Niche tourism - 3-5 Nov 2010, Cyprus

The following are some of the events featured on the CTCC website :
  • Travelling Languages: culture, communication and translation in a mobile world
  • Tourism and Seductions of Difference: 1st tourism-contact-culture research network conference
  • Journeys of Expression VIII: prospects and potentials for tourism, festivals and cultural events
  • World Heritage and Tourism: managing for the global and the local

More obscure moments in the life of a home counties teenager

Thanks, then, to YouTube, here are some more links which might help to explain what has gone before...!v=_q3TiwBBDmc&feature=related Orange Juice from the days when it was possible to make videos involving both dansette-style record players and the hammer & sickle Possibly the only pop song ever written about post-structuralism - Scritti Politti are in love with Jacques Derrida Slightly disturbing interpretation possibly by Japanese film-makers and definitely unofficial video to go with the Violent Femmes's 'Add It Up'. This one's a slightly (but not much) less disturbing version:!v=xmo6qyhdav8&feature=related Arguably the reason the hideous distortion afforded the word 'indie' by the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol is such a thorn in the side of anyone born before about 1985. And Roddy Frame in his finest form. God knows where they filmed this but it's definitely a snippet of one of punk's most underrated bands in full flow Magazine sing 'Model Worker' in Los Angeles. No irony required. "I need a holiday, I've not been well..."

Poem: War and Concrete

War and concrete

Stories, cupolas bulge in these fields
we're passing through: these infamous
bunkers ranked across strategic slopes
refuse to let history disperse.
Stubborn, they endure at roadsides,
in vineyards, gardens, the city’s asphalt brink.
Goats graze along their silted mouths
and, garishly painted, one would draw
in clients for a rash and hasty tattoo.

Just when you think you’ve forgotten
the landscape’s overlaid again
with a grid of war and concrete
giants might use for stepping stones.
Too solid ruins outdo grey crags
where beech woods sheltered partisans.
Sunk shafts and gun-slits mark
a whole world gone. Count fifty
and you’ve barely even started.

It took an old Chinese tank to drag
one clear of sodden sand at Vlora,
and 800 Euros to dismantle it.
Elsewhere, too, you might have read
of how, to turn a dictator’s scheme
into this geometric, defensive terrain,
the architect became the first test case,
emerging from the shelled prototype,
deafened, unspeakably loyal, triumphant.

City of Culture 2013 Bid

There are now just 28 days left to share your ideas and thoughts on what you would like to see happen if Birmingham becomes the City of Culture in 2013. You can join the 'Big Conversation' on Facebook, or here. The best ideas will be included in the final bid with the winning city to be announced in June this year.

Here are some interesting facts about Birmingham...

Celebrate Earth Day Richmond April 25

April 14, 2010
This year’s Earth Day Celebration in Richmond promises to be bigger and better than ever.

“With new sponsors and the booming development taking place in Manchester, the planning committee is full of new and exciting plans for this year’s event,” said Noel McKenzie, director of the Enrichmond Foundation and co-chair of the planning committee along with Foundation board member


SHAPING 24 (Strategies for Heritage Access Pathways) is a new cultural tourism initiative that will link together the 12 heritage sites in Norwich with 12 heritage sites in the Belgian city of Ghent. The project will aim to support and promote these sites.

Twelve short films have been produced highlighting the 12 heritage sites in Norwich and can be viewed here.

South Asian Journal for Tourism & Heritage

This journal aims to explore the various facets of tourism, with a particular focus on heritage tourism; it's published annually and all issues are currently available in fulltext online. Examples of topics covered are:
  • The prospects of developing Kashmir as an adventure tourism destination
  • Challenges and future strategies for heritage conservation in Macao
  • Cave tourism in Kerala : Edakkal Caves
  • Sustainable tourism: a case of destination competitiveness in South Asia
  • Customer satisfaction with low cost airlines in India
  • Transition of human resources in the hospitality industry: heritage hotels in Rajasthan
  • Dimensions of Indian culture, values and event marketing implications

Six A's Framework - Buhalis

This model, developed by Buhalis, is frequently referred to when discussing destination marketing competitiveness. There are two articles which cover this topic and are both available in Sciencedirect (via Athens):

Modelling perceived quality, visitor satisfaction and behavioural intentions at the destination level, Tourism Management, Volume 31, Issue 4 (2010), p. 537-546
Visitor perceptions of the quality of a tourist destination, satisfaction with their experience and the resulting behavioural intentions are vital for successful destination management and marketing. The purpose of our research is to explore the complex relationships between these constructs using structural equation modelling, whereby both formative and reflective constructs are included. The structural model was tested on a sample of 1056 visitors at four tourist destinations in Slovenia. The empirical validation of the conceptual model supports the research hypotheses. Destination attributes affect the perceived quality of tourist offerings, which positively relates to satisfaction as well as visitors' behavioural intentions. The link between satisfaction and behavioural intentions was also confirmed. These research findings contribute to a better understanding of which behavioural mechanisms and factors represent a viable basis for increasing customer retention at the level of individual providers as well as a destination as a whole.

Marketing the competitive destination of the future (or click the title to access from the Web)
Dr Dimitrios Buhalis* Tourism Management 21 (2000) p. 97-116
Destination marketing is increasingly becoming extremely competitive worldwide. This paper explains the destination concept and attempts to synthesise several models for strategic marketing and management of destinations. It provides an overview of several techniques widely used and illustrates examples from around the world. The paper also explains that marketing of destinations should balance the strategic objectives of all stakeholders as well the sustainability of local resources. Destinations need to differentiate their products and develop partnerships between the public and private sector locally in order to co-ordinate delivery. Taking advantage of new technologies and the Internet also enables destinations to enhance their competitiveness by increasing their visibility, reducing costs and enhancing local co-operation. Destination marketing must lead to the optimisation of tourism impacts and the achievement of the strategic objectives for all stakeholders.

Grass Roots Football LIVE - Launch event

If you can make it, an event organised by Marketing Birmingham and Grass Roots Live will take place this Wednesday, 14 April, at Brindleyplace from 1-2.30pm. The Grass Roots Football Live launch event will include activities such as a soccerena with skills coaching by Coerver Coaching and professional freestyle demonstrations. As well as launching The Grass Roots Football LIVE show which takes place on the 4–6 June at The NEC, the launch will aim to raise awareness of England’s 2018 World Cup bid. Find out more


VisitBritain have now set up their very own website dedicated to the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games. As well as a section on Facts and Figures, the Resource Centre provides a number of downloadable documents related to the 2012 games, including Brand Protection Guidelines for Tourism.

Sign up for the Enewsletter.

Living with Tourists

The first in a 2 part documentary series entitled Living with Tourists was aired yesterday on BBC World Service radio station; Ros Atkins travelled back to the three places where he grew up, to explore the relationship between tourist and host. If you missed this, it can be heard again here. Part 2 airs at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 8pm on Wednesday 14 April.

There's also an article which discusses the documentary ...

City to Kick Off Summer Camp Registration April 14

April 7, 2010Richmond's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities will offer summer day camps for area children ages 6 through 12 at the department’s community centers from June 21 through Aug. 20. Called the “Great Summer Escape,” the camps will meet on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will provide a variety of educational, cultural, artistic, athletic, and fun social

Please Don't Feed the Geese

April 1, 2010Now that spring is here and so many people are out enjoying Richmond's parks, the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities is once again asking the public not to feed the geese in Byrd Park. “While the Canada geese are beautiful and feeding them may be fun, it is not healthy for our parks or for the geese,” said J.R. Pope, director of the department.

This be the book

Whatever your interest, whether it be French beaches, critical theory or military history, architecture, anthropology or poetry, you should probably spend at least one rain-drenched day sitting in a layby reading Paul Virilio's Bunker Archaeology - almost certainly the finest book about WW2 bunkers ever written and possibly one of the best books about war, culture and concrete as well.

Quotation: Hugh of St Victor

"The person who finds his homeland sweet is a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign place."
From Hugh of St Victor's 'Didascalicon', a philosophical text from the 12th century - and a favourite quotation of Edward Said.

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VisitBritain's Business Plan

VisitBritain have launched their business plan which lays out their agenda of activities intended over the next three years. The 24 page document includes their vision and four-point strategy and also illustrates the environment within which the tourism industry operates. Financial information as well as KPIs are also included.

Find out more about VisitBritain in this video...