Ben Friberg is a 35 year old musician from Chattanooga, Tennessee who recently became the first person to paddleboard from Cuba to Florida. According to a Reuters interview, Friberg’s almost entirely stand-up feat last week was an endeavor to “promote peace and understanding between Cuba and the United States and to promote a healthy lifestyle.” The journey between Cuba and Key West, Florida is 110 miles. Friberg completed the trip in 28 hours, sitting only for snacks. He was followed by a support boat that included a navigator as well as a medic.
Why would New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a 71-year-old with a net worth of at least $27 billion, agree to compete in a whitewater-rafting race against the governor of New York? Andrew Cuomo and Bloomberg haven’t always seen eye-to-eye but tourism promotion can make for strange bedfellows. The pair found themselves squaring off in six-man rafts in a race down the Indian River on Monday in an effort to boost tourism in New York state’s Adirondack region. Cuomo’s team smoked the New York City mayor and his crew by 18 seconds but the PR for the Adirondacks was unbeatable.
Bloomberg and Cuomo aren’t the first politicians to take part in a publicity stunt to promote tourism and they surely won’t be the last. President Obama took a swim in the Gulf of Mexico with daughter Sasha, then 9, in the wake of the BP oil spill in 2010 and got whipped by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in an arcade football game while on a post-Hurricane Sandy visit to the Jersey Shore designed to promote tourism in May. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled all over the world to promote California as a tourist destination, even posing for hokey photos with clusters of grapes or with his mouth stuffed with oranges.
Other tourism promotion efforts haven’t been as successful. For example, in 2010, Virginia’s Governor, Bob McDonnell, had to apologize after declaring October “Confederate History Month” to promote tourism while failing to mention slavery in the proclamation.
Local and national tourism boards and private companies have also used peculiar promotions to boost destinations: South Korea is using pop star Psy of Gangnam style fame as an unofficial tourism ambassador, Chinese authorities had dozens of bikini clad beauties square off in a Gangnam style dance competition for the honor of promoting Chinese tourism, regional tourism boards in Australia have used “best job in the world” contests to promote tourism and the hotel chain Travelodge offered a free Christmas time stay to married couples named Mary and Joseph. By comparison, the brief race river race in the Adirondacks seems downright old school.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is lined with beaches along Lake Superior to the north and Lake Michigan to the south. The Keweenaw Peninsula in the greater U.P. is also lined with Lake Superior beaches to the east and west. Views from each side vary, but are beautiful across the board. I spent the afternoon at a small beach on Lake Superior called Betsy Beach. Aside from a kayaking pair, we had the sandstone beach to ourselves and I did what anyone with a camera in the summer on a beautiful beach would do: took photos of pretty flowers. Enjoy.
If you happen to be in the area of Dorset, England, in the near future, you might want to check out the giant dragon skull that is currently sitting on its Jurassic Coast. Blinkbox oversaw the skull-building project, which is, at its core, a celebration of the release of “Games of Thrones” season three through the service. But more important than “Game of Thrones” is that there is a giant dragon skull sitting on the beach. If that’s not enough to lure you to the coast this summer, I don’t know what is.
Warm days, balmy nights and time off. Summer is prime time for getting outdoors and exploring. Backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, walking, running; whatever your sport of choice, this is the season to be doing it.
Need some inspiration? This photo taken on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters by Flickr user Adam Baker should do it. Sunset on still water from your seat in a boat – what could be better?