Electronic Kiosks Herald The Death Of The Travel Brochure

Couple travelling by car, man driving, woman reading map
Getty Images, Flickr

Remember when you would walk into a tourist information center or a hotel lobby and collect armfuls of glossy brochures advertising everything from theme parks to wax museums to dinner-and-a-show venues? For a lot of travelers, those brochures are already a thing of the past, thanks to iPads, smart phones and the ease of searching for whatever you need online. But a new electronic kiosk is set to put the final nail in the coffin of the good old travel brochure.

The kiosks, which were developed by tech company City Corridor and are popping up in hotels and businesses across the country, are outfitted with large touch screens. Travelers can view information about attractions, see restaurant menus, print out maps and even make reservations through the kiosks. Some kiosks also are programmed to print out information in several different languages to cater to foreign visitors.The machines also feature a slot for credit cards so you can buy tickets to attractions on the spot. That’s great news for businesses who say they’ve seen their sales increase as a result. Unlike a travel brochure, which a tourist might pick up and then forget about, the kiosks (much like the Internet) let them click the buy now button while their interest in the attraction is still hot.

The creators of the kiosk say the machines also will be helpful for advertisers, who will be able to get feedback about the number of visitors clicking on their ads or downloading their discount coupons. The electronic kiosks will be fitted out with cameras so businesses and advertisers can track the types of people using the machines.

Tourists Invited To Strip Down In South Korea

nude beach
Memphis CVB, Flickr

While South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, might be a big tourist draw card with plenty of Gangnam Style flair to attract visitors, other parts of the country have had to get more creative when it comes to promoting tourism.

Gangwon Province in the country’s northeast figures nudity might be just the ticket to increasing visitor numbers. It’s planning to open South Korea’s first nude beach in the hopes that tourists will set their sights beyond the capital and venture up north for a bit of skinny dipping.The beach primarily will be aimed at foreigners and may even be open to just overseas visitors initially, as many locals balk at the idea of stripping down at the beach. “Koreans actually love nude beaches when they’re traveling abroad, but the problem with having one within Korea is the fact that Korean society is so interconnected. They won’t be able to comfortably go to a nude beach due to the thought that people they know will find out about it quite easily,” a local reporter told CNN.

Korean tourism officials say they hope to eventually create all sorts of different beaches aimed at families, couples and even pets. They plan to have the first nude beach up and running by 2017.

Gangnam Style Tourist Police Dance Up A Storm In Seoul


South Korea has been riding the wave following the global success of “Gangnam Style,” the catchy song made famous by singer Psy’s quirky music video — and the country has just launched another tribute to the song.

The country’s capital, Seoul, unveiled its new tourist police force this week, inspired by performer Psy’s unique sense of style. The same costume designer who outfitted Psy for his Gangnam Style video designed the uniforms for the law enforcers, decking the men and women out in bold blue jackets and a sleek pair of shades.Given the inspiration, it should come as no surprise that the famous song was also the backdrop to the inauguration ceremony held this week in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square. The 101-strong police force even performed a number of famous dance moves from the viral Gangnam Style music video, including the good old horse-riding sequence.

Seoul has seen tourist numbers rise in recent times, but this has also been followed by an increase in complaints from visitors about issues such as being overcharged. The new multilingual police force will assist travelers, crack down on taxis that try to gouge visitors and generally maintain law and order in the tourist hotspots.

Tourists Driven Cuckoo By Chiming Clock

Bishop's Castle UK
Shirokazan, Flickr

A tourist destination in the U.K. has brought new meaning to the term “wake up call” with fears the constant chiming of the local clock tower is driving visitors away.

While thousands of tourists descend upon the small English town of Bishop’s Castle each year, many apparently vow never to return after spending sleepless nights listening to the chime of the city’s clock.

The bells in the clock tower chime not just on the hour, but every 15 minutes — regardless of whether it’s day or night.Debate has erupted recently over whether to quiet the clock for the sake of tourists. For the uninitiated, the constant jingling from the clock is maddening, according to the owner of a local hotel. He says many of his guests love the town but refuse to return because of the incessant chiming. Although the clock has been chiming every 15 minutes since the 18th century, he’s pushing for it to be silenced at night.

However to locals, the musical clock is part of the town’s character and many say they’re lulled to sleep by the reassuring chimes. “I always sleep better when I can hear it. It is definitely part of the town and it would be a real shame to see it go,” argued one resident.

Would a chiming clock drive you bonkers when traveling, or is preserving the character of the destination more important?

Maldives President proposes green tax for tourists

The Maldives, an archipelago of over 1000 islands in the Indian Ocean known for their stunning beauty and expensive, luxurious resorts, aren’t exactly cheap to visit. And they aren’t about to get any cheaper. The President of the Maldives has proposed a $3 per day “green tax” on tourists.

The tax would help fund the President’s plans for fighting climate change and for making the Maldives a carbon-neutral country within the next decade. He has a vested interest in stopping global warming – the Maldives are the lowest-lying islands on the planet, with an average elevation of only 7 feet above sea level, and it is estimated that they could be completely submerged by rising sea levels within the next ten years.

With an average of 700,000 visitors, who each stay around three days, visiting the Maldives annually, the tax could provide the country with over $6 million per year for environmental initiatives. With most resorts in the Maldives costing $500 (or much more) per night, $3 per person, per day is a small price to pay to help protect this vulnerable country from the dangers of climate change.