As we move through the week, coffee dates, happy hours, and water-cooler chatter are bound to pile up. Looking for some fresh material? Here are few headlines in the travel industry to bring up and discuss in conversation.
Mauna Kea Protests Continue; Mountain Closed to Tourism
The complex situation at Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii continues, with advocacy groups blocking access to the summit road. I encourage you to read up on the situation to understand it’s deep, intertwined nature, and to digest the viewpoints on both sides. The following is not meant to gloss over or make light of the situation, though I would like to provide an update on how it is affecting tourism.
The visitor center and summit of Mauna Kea has historically been a popular place for visitors to experience not only a different side of Hawaii (high altitude and snow!) but to participate in stargazing demonstrations and tours. Currently, the access road is being blocked, and no vehicles can access the visitor center or summit.
But, that would probably be the situation anyway. On its website, the Mauna Kea Visitor Center says that the road is closed due to the construction of the controversial telescope – aka, even if there were not protests, the road would be closed to accommodate large construction vehicles.
There was no real sense of when the road might reopen if the telescope project had gone on as planned. Now, of course, the situation is even more unclear.
Russia, China to be Connected by First International Cable Car
Russia and China announced that it will be cooperating on the world’s first international cable car that will link the cities of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe, respectively. A swarm of media coverage reported that the cable car will offer a unique, bird’s eye view of the two cities, crossing over the Amur River in a journey that lasts seven and a half minutes, with three and a half of those minutes being actual ride time.
I had to dig through many news articles before finding one that addressed the idea of security. It sounds like the cable car stations will work just like airports, with security separating the “land side” and “air side.”
Curiously, none of the articles discuss the immigration process that is surely to take place on either side – unless, of course, the ride will be restricted to round-trip journeys only. It stands to reason that a lengthy security and immigration process would take much of the magic away from the experience, prompting potential riders to question whether or not the three and a half minute experience is “worth” the hassle. For now, we’ll await more details…
Travel is good for … everything except your bank account.
When I first read the report on how travel can improve your mental health, that travel can help you avoid depression, the word that came to mind was, “Duh!”
But one thing that caught my attention was the study’s finding that just anticipating a trip can make you happy – aka, looking forward to something fun in the future can have a positive impact on our present, make us feel better about our current situation.
What’s that old saying, hope is a good thing, the best of things?
This is, again, not exactly breaking news, but it does drive home a point I always try to make to people – get your trips on the calendar early and often. They don’t have to be massive plans, just a simple weekend getaway or day trip to somewhere new will do the trick, giving you something to look forward to and, ultimately, a new experience that will enrich your life.
Instagram is inspiring people to travel… then ruining the experience.
Surveys are showing that social media is a driving force behind inspiring people to travel, which is great. But there’s a dark side that emerges, once people are actually on the trip: They become so obsessed with getting that perfect photo, of showing off their trip to others, that they miss the moment in real life.
An article from the Philadelphia Inquirer said it perfectly:
“This is what it means to travel the world in the age of social media, where it’s more about sharing a stunning virtual postcard and less about the wonder and adventure of the journey.”
Which is, of course, the saddest thing a traveler can imagine.