Politicians Will Do Just About Anything To Promote Tourism

bloomberg and cuomo in the adirondacksWhy 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.

The World Rafting Championship is underway in Costa Rica

The World Rafting Championships in Costa Rica The World Rafting Championship begins tomorrow in Turrialba, Costa Rica, where teams from 35 countries are already busy preparing to compete against one another in a variety of races. Both male and female competitors will challenge each other, not to mention some of the wildest whitewater on the planet, over four days of events that will culminate with a new champion being crowned next Monday.

Over the past few days the teams have been arriving in Turrialba, a small jungle town located not far from San Jose that is a popular destination for whitewater adventures. They’ll spend some time getting acquainted with the course, and tomorrow’s opening ceremony will officially kick-off the event, with the races beginning on Friday. Those races consist of the Sprint, Head-to-Head, the Slalom, and the Downriver, with each team earning points based on their placement in those individual competitions. At the end of the Championship, the team with the highest score will take home the trophy.

The rafting competition takes place on the Pacuare River, a fast-running and pristine waterway that has its origins on nearby Mt. Chirripo. The stretch of river that the teams will be running includes Class IV+ rapids that pass through a lush jungle environment that is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys and jaguars, as well as an amazing array of colorful birds.

By all accounts, Turrialba and the Pacuare are an adventure traveler’s paradise, with plenty to offer visitors. I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself, as I’ll be attending the Rafting Championship for a few days, and will get the opportunity to experience it first hand. Look for updates not only on the event, but also the amazing destination that is hosting it, very soon.

Raft for the Cure in Moab this June

The Raft for the Cure event will take place in Moab this JuneThis June, the Moab Adventure Center, located in Moab, Utah will play host to the fifth annual Raft for the Cure. This fun and unique event that will offer visitors a unique blend of outdoor adventure, live music, and great food, while also raising funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

The Raft for the Cure event begins with a full day of rafting along the famous Colorado River, one of the top whitewater destinations in the entire American west. Participants will get the opportunity to experience some of the most well known sections of that iconic waterway, including the popular Onion Creek, Cloudburst, Ida Gulch, and White’s Rapid. This is medium level whitewater (think Class II or III) that wanders through spectacular canyons and scenic bluffs, offering plenty of adrenaline rushes to go along with the natural wonders. The on-the-river activities will run from 8AM to 4PM and are followed by dinner and live music in town that evening.

Organizers for the event have noticed a sharp increase in interest for this year’s Raft for the Cure, which is why they are spreading the word a bit earlier. In 2010, there were 330 participants that helped raise $20,000 for beast cancer research. This year, that number is expected to climb to 500 with six local rafting companies joining forces to help accommodate everyone.
The cost of the event is $100 for adults and $85 for kids 5-15. That includes lunch and dinner, a full day of rafting, commemorative T-shirt, and more. For more details check out the Raft for the Cure website and to register click here.

A hundred bucks for a full day of rafting is an excellent deal to begin with. Throw in some food and a concert and this is a real bargain for a weekend’s worth of entertainment. The fact that the proceeds are going to a great cause is just icing on the cake if you ask me.

[Photo credit: Sascha Grabow via WikiMedia Commons]

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – White Water Rafting (part 2)!

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 28 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Ready for part two of Travel Talk’s White Water Rafting adventure?! We’re taking you on the rest of our white water rafting down California’s mighty Tuolumne River on an action packed 2-day adventure. We’ll show you what it takes to navigate Class IV+ rapids and teach you all of the vocabulary that you’ll need in order to stay dry.

In this episode’s couch talk, we’ll explain some of the jargon that rafting guides use to describe the river’s obstacles and give a short run down of some of the world’s best rivers for thill-seeking and white water adventure.

So take a deep breath and get ready for more action!

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

Subscribe via iTunes:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Show directly in iTunes (M4V).
[RSS M4V] Add the Travel Talk feed (M4V) to your RSS aggregator and have it delivered automatically.

Links
Appetite wet for a real rafting trip? Then check out Oars.com for some of the best guided expeditions around the world.
Tuolumn-what? Get familiar with the mighty T!
Want the full rafting glossary? Check out a sample here.

All images used under a Creative Commons license. All music used courtesy of Nonstop Music.

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – White Water Rafting on the Tuolumne!

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 27 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Suit up, strap in, and get ready for this week’s Travel Talk! We’re going white water rafting down California’s mighty Tuolumne River on an action packed 2-day adventure. We’ll show you what it takes to navigate Class IV+ rapids and teach you all of the vocabulary that you’ll need in order to stay dry.

In this episode’s couch talk, we’ll delve into a little bit of the history behind America’s National Park System; what the first established park was, what the most frequently visited park is, and what terms the NPS uses to classify our many protected lands.

Think you’re ready? Click the link below to watch.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

Subscribe via iTunes:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Show directly in iTunes (M4V).
[RSS M4V] Add the Travel Talk feed (M4V) to your RSS aggregator and have it delivered automatically.

Links
Appetite wet for a real rafting trip? Then check out Oars.com for some of the best guided expeditions around the world.
Tuolumn-what? Get familiar with the mighty T!
Want more info on a National Park near you? Check out NPS.gov for information.

All images used under a Creative Commons license. All music used courtesy of Nonstop Music.