My are an online travel website which specialises in comprehensive travel information by local community experts from across the world; the website offers travel articles, guides, insider tips, videos and panoramic virtual tours.

They have just launched a competition to win a 6 month all expenses paid worldwide trip to 25+ destinations and at the end of it a lump sum payment of US$50,000.

They are encouraging students to enter so click here to find out more!

Learn the Mystique of Belly Dancing

Register now for classes in beginner or intermediate belly dancing at the Humphrey Calder Community Center, 414 N. Thompson Street, starting February 5.

     The beginner classes will teach students the basic steps and etiquette of American Cabaret Style Belly Dance as well as provide an introduction to Richmond’s belly dancing community. Along with teaching the basic steps, the class is

World Travel & Tourism Council

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) aims to raise awareness of travel and tourism as one of the world's largest industries. Its members include Chief Executives from a hundred of the world's largest companies in the tourism industry, making it a leading authority in the field.

The WTTC website has a wealth of resources, which include events, research, activities, news and media. The Research hub has reports which measure the economic impact of tourism in countries and regions worldwide, illustrated with tables of statistics and graphs; the site also gives monthly tourism updates.

Not entirely reliable omens

Work in progress

Always the last to get it,
our warmer city waits on sightings,
news from Mendips and Quantocks,
the snow's disruptions
closing in from coast and moor,
first gusts reported
from ring road embankments.

 And you might detect it coming
in behaviour of seabirds
or office workers hurrying home,
a thicker kind of rain
and the children going to bed
in high hopes of a holiday snuck in
just after Christmas.

 But then, showing our age,
we're more concerned 
with finding shovels, gumboots, grit,
seasonal implements long left beneath the stairs.

Because of these rumours, these rumours
that solidify into the night,
we're going to be ready,
ready for what they throw at us.

 Tom Phillips

    "Think off the beaten path walking tours guided by locals, nature hikes with wild cavemen and cooking classes hosted by professional chefs" is a new website offering a 'marketplace of authentic experiences' around the world. Tourists are given the opportunity to meet locals to try something new, from a cooking masterclass with a top chef to a street art graffiti tour. The business is in its early stages and they are encouraging more people to get involved. Read more about the start-up here.

Early Closings, Cancellations for Today, Weekend

Due to the forecast for inclement weather, the department has canceled its After School Programs for today, Friday, January 25. The department has also cancelled all of its youth basketball games for today and throughout the weekend.

      In addition, the department’s community centers will close today at 6 p.m., and the Pine Camp Arts and Community Center will close at 6 p.m. today and remain

Art Opening, Panel Discussion Celebrate Black History

In celebration of Black History Month, the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities will host an art exhibit featuring the works of several local African-American artists. Titled Dark Waters,” the exhibit will open with a reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, February 8 at the Spotlight Gallery located within the department’s Pine Camp Arts and Community Center at 4901

Extreme Sport Tourism

A recent article in Leisure Opportunities reports that Manx tourism officials are looking to diversify the economy of the Isle of Man by pushing extreme sport tourism. Director of, Simon Crellin, is working with tourism officials to push sports such as sea kayaking, mountain biking, open-water swimming and coasteering, making the most of the island’s natural resources such as mountains, coastline and mountain bike trails.
The island already has a busy calendar of events, including the Sleepwell end2end mountain bike race – a 75km cycle across the island’s natural trails and the Manx Mountain Marathon, a 31 mile fell race. As well as maximising these existing competitions, others will be organised too. This June, a triathlon is being organised to coincide with the TT races. It will include an open-water swim, the equivalent of three laps of the TT course on a bike and a full marathon. The end will be at the TT Grandstand.

The Three-Day Melt (via Google Translate)

The poem below translated into Albanian and then re-translated back into English mechanically. After waiting a week it begins to beat an old tattoo. And we are among the few, digging out our slush neighborly provided at the expense of metal smelting, and thinking himself heroic. Glossed by the sun-suffering snow path reaches a glaze, as a hotel lobby magazine, before stronger, Grays, cover stained newsprint. Here are the furrows have done, footfalls disappear. Now we are forgetting claustrophobic days, beating around the bush to clear the roads negotiable back to the usual rush. From suspension now, acceleration hours push on; clouds clear and we can not mark time, appreciate, at least not to watch every step.

Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, 
which one is right for you?

The Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT) has launched a series of Masterclasses which aim to teach participants all they need to know about Social Media. The first in the series will take place on Friday 8 February at TTG's offices, London. Register and find out more here.


A message from the VisitEngland Team:
VisitEngland manages an extensive programme of research and insights, measuring the volume and value of tourism in England, assessing business performance and observing consumer trends.

In addition to the team’s core work programme, there are many other areas of research that are relevant to the organisation and to the Strategic Framework for Tourism in England, which we are not in a position to address by ourselves. We believe that some of these may well align with academic research programmes and so we are keen to explore opportunities to work with Universities to bridge the gaps we have identified. Our research interests are published online here (follow the “work programme” link). If you would be interested in working with us across any of these areas, please contact Sharon Orrell, Head of Research and Insights at VisitEngland ( to discuss.

Many Thanks!
VisitEngland Research & Insights Team

The Three-Day Melt

After waiting the week
for a damaged gutter’s steady drip,
it starts to beat an old tattoo.
And we are amongst the few,
digging out our neighbourly slush,
metal offered to the melting ridge,
and thinking ourselves heroic.

Glossed by sun-tormented snow,
the street achieves a sheen,
like a hotel foyer magazine,
before it hardens, greys,
maculate as newsprint.
Here are the furrows we made,
footfalls disappearing.

Already we are forgetting
the claustrophobic days,
beating around the bush
to clear negotiable ways
back to the ordinary rush.

Out of suspension now,
the accelerating hours
push on; clouds clear;
and we can no longer mark time –
grateful, at least, for not
having to watch every step.

Tom Phillips
'The Three-Day Melt' appears in Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2012):

2013 Adventure Conference

Registration is now open for the 2013 Adventure Conference will take place from 21-23 May in Scotland. Papers to include:
  •  Celebrating natural capital - covering issues of ecosophy, back-to-basics adventure, being and not necessarily doing, traditional adventure, friluftsliv and making the most of our natural capital.
  •  Inclusive adventure - exploring the issue of accessibility to outdoor sport, leisure and tourism (in any of its guises) which pertain to adventure, including: who are the missing populations in the adventure world (eg. genders, ages, races, mobilities, socio-economic status)? How might they be enabled to experience the outdoors?
  • Supporting the adventure experience: infrastructure and integration - investigations into the supporting elements that go to make the holistic adventure experience, from food, accommodation (in whatever form these may take), service quality, transportation, the promotion and marketing of experiences and strategies for stretching the season.
  • Adventure responsibilities - is outdoor leisure and tourism really such a light-touch, groovy phenomenon? What is the real legacy of the ‘taming’ of adventure?
  •  Creating / branding adventure destinations and sports venues - encompassing a range of elements such as resort development, product and destination management and marketing.

Youth Basketball Games Cancelled

The department has cancelled all of its youth basketball games for Friday night, January 18, and Saturday, January 19.

The latest edition of the UNWTO newsletter is now available online; this month, we're informed of upcoming events and details of new reports as well as a special story on tourism in the Gambia.

Here's a tourism fact from UNWTO:
Africa has been one of the fastest growing tourism regions in the world. In the first eight months of 2012, international tourists to Africa increased by 6%, way above the global average of 4%. UNWTO expects international tourist arrivals to the region to more than double by 2030 to reach 134 million up from the current 50 million.

Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

 JTCT are offering free online access to three archived issues of the Journal. Two special issues cover Mountain Tourism and Event Tourism; contents in the third issue are:

  • Thematic Routes - Tourist Destinations in Romania
  • Basic Service Quality Dimensions in Tourist Destination Planning
  • Adapting the TDM-Model in the Devt of Tourism in Harghita County
  • An Analysis of Sport Event Tourism Research
  • Development of Water Tourism –the  Hungarian Tisza River Basin
  • The Determination of Sea Tourism Season According to the Climatic Conditions in Marmaris - Alanya Coastal Belt (SW of Turkey)
  • Influencing Tourist Behaviour through Relationships Marketing
  • Strategic Management of Ecotourism: An Australian Perspective
  • A Longitudinal Study of Lithuania: German Travel Consumers
  • Internationalisation of Menus: the Case of Lebanese Restaurants
  • The Possibilities of GIS in Tourism Education 

    Leisure Opportunities

    The contents in the latest edition of Leisure Opportunities magazine cover spa, hotels, attractions, museums, arts and culture news. Stories on the Tourism page discuss outlook for UK inbound tourism and the Midlothian tourism village.

    The Dream Library and other poems

    Various Artists have just published an e-book of poems written since the publication of Recreation Ground: copies are available by directing an email here:
    Recreation Ground, the hard-copy book, meanwhile, continues to be available from Two Rivers Press by going here:

    Plan your next holiday

    Traditional European natural areas and landscapes are highly popular tourist destinations, making these resources an important consideration in tourism development. However, data about preferences for landscape features have so far been missing but is crucial to develop a successful tourism policy. 

    Now, you can help with collection of this data and plan your next holiday at the same time, in three very easy steps. Alterra have developed an interactive website,, which allows visitors to use the Landscape Holiday Planner to input their holiday preferences and then receive a personalised map of destinations in Europe to suit. The map can then also guide to local hotels in the area. Have a go!

    The Dream Library and other poems

    A small selection of poems written since Recreation Ground is now available by emailing this address:

    ABTA Travel Trends Report

    A new report by ABTA gives the top trends in destinations for 2013. Other contents include: 
    1. Tailor-Made Holidays      
    2. In Search of Adventure         
    3. Value                                 
    4. Package Vs DIY
    5. Luxury – Return of the “Big Holiday”      
    6. Train, Coach and Cruise 
    7. Age Group Trends 
    8. Space Tourism
                      Click here to view the report