THIS WEEK IN TRAVEL (ISSUE NO. 13)


Today is Earth Day and we are called to action to help protect our fond world (See Leo’s Before the Flood Docu about Climate Change). This year’s campaign is as important as ever aiming to educate individuals on the concepts of climate change and empower those to defend our environment. Climate Change is no joke and as we detailed in the last 'Week in Travel', the Great Barrier Reef is just one of the coral reefs in danger of extinction. A global initiative called 50 Reefs is battling the snowballing effects of climate change, which at this rate will contribute to 90% of coral reefs extinction by 2050. 50 Reefs plans to work with top scientists to support and protect 50 identifiable, optimal reefs with a higher probability of survival.

The Great Barrier Reef untouched by coral bleaching. Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet. 

As parts of the world flood due to rising sea levels, the Kvarken Archipelago—Finland’s Natural World Heritage Site—is rising up from the sea. Sunken by heavy glaciers, the islands in the Kvarken region raise around 1 sq.km every year exposing new land. Due to climate change, the gulf susceptible to freezing in winter in the past no longer freezes, but more islands are popping up eventually connecting Finland and Sweden, according to geologists. 

By now, travellers have most likely heard of the worthy capital Reykjavik. With this sudden tourism boom, Iceland begs us to expand our interests to other less-traveled parts of the country. According to Adweek, the boost of tourists has become too much of a good thing a cause for concern challenging Iceland to find solutions on how to manage tourism effectively. Icelandic Tourist Board has curated marketing strategies developing a program to promote where travellers go, how they travel and when. A proposed tourist tax and the addition of direct flights to Akureyri are apart of the plan in redirecting tourists. In this case, venturing outside the capital will have its’ benefits, opening travellers up to cultural experiences without the crowds.

The looming threat earlier this week proposing the ban of street food vendors in Bangkok by the end of 2017 sent us backpackers in a spiral. Luckily, we can rejoice as officials have announced street food is here!—At least for another year. Among travellers’ cries of dismay, concerns arose from locals in the community for workers who rely on street vendors for more affordable food. Areas such as Khao San Road and Yaowarat were on the list to be cleared, but thankfully Thailand’s Minister for Tourism reversed the ban. New regulations for vendors will be implemented and sellers must abide by these conditions in order to stay. Phew!

Thailand. From the KOSAN archives.

Most of us dream of destinations, and curate lists of places to see, but apprehensive of when to actually head out to such places. A new map too, created by Ryan Whitaker, allows you to discover your ideal destination by selecting your preferred temperature and desired week of travel. Ten years of weather data accumulated from over 10,000 weather stations around the world have contributed to the map tool. As we know, predicting the weather is never easy, but if it can alleviate the chances of rainfall ruining your holiday, it’s worth the try

And in the spirit of perfecting our travel choices the New York Times reviews travel-booking sites that best suit your needs. At face value these all appear to be kind of similar but this article breaks down just how much your goals play into which O.T.A you should use.

Yep, we’ve come a long way since the “Ruck” (German for Sack) to make travel a little easier on us. National Geographic recently highlighted a few obvious, but brilliant ideas that changed travel forever! Spoiler: The Backpack and suitcase made the cut!

Speaking on things that changed travel forever, Instagram is so Saturated with amazing travel photos it’s pretty damn hard to stand out— that is until we stumbled upon this: a long-distance relationship captured like no other! Two photographers, Becca Siegel and Dan Gold connect in new ways while spending the year apart. This unique Instagram account highlights the spirit of the couple’s collaborative creativity. The idea behind the Half Half Travel Project is to simply merge their complimentary travel photos together, which have been taken separately from afar from one another. The photos range showcasing shocking similarities between places at opposite ends of the world while others juxtaposed with night and day snaps offers a peak into the glaring distance between the two travellers.

Becca & Dan "(together in) Guatapé, Colombia & Lisbon, Portugal" @halfhalftravel

One of Mexico’s most inclusive destinations, and place Team Kosan just visited, Puerto Vallarta, La Zona Romantica, has announced its’ recent initiatives for LGBT travellers. The major, Arturo Davalos Pena, stated new ways to ensure the city remains friendly and hospitable to its visitors dedicating its’ efforts towards issues affected both LGBTQ travellers and locals including an Office of Gender Equality. The town’s tourism board has also informed local hotels and tour agencies of their sensitivity training being offered. Puerto Vallarta intentions, according to the mayor, are to strengthen respect, understanding of differences and equal treatment for all no matter your nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity—An admirable feat! Rightfully, the town benefits from their welcoming and inclusive attitudes towards all who travel to Mexico or reside there and inspire positive change.

Puerto Vallarta's Zone Romantica. Photo courtesy of Greg Vaughn via Lonely Planet 

And before we say good bye we’ll end off where we started on Earth Day by sharing a place that clearly deserves to be celebrated: Azores Islands:

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s nine volcanic islands are a trailblazer in sustainable tourism and are considered one of the greenest destinations in the world. Yes, this means you should go there!

The more we celebrate green destinations, sustainable tourism and work with countries, like Iceland, when they raise concern over the impacts of mass tourism the better we influence others to be conscious travelers. The more conscious we are about the footprints we leave the more everyone can enjoy. It’s like that old “Eagle Scout” Mantra; Leave the campground better than you found it!

 

Happy Travels!

The Kosan Team