Travel promotes freedom and understanding -- but human beings being what they are, all too often politics and conflict can get in the way. What do you think about the relationship between politics and travel, and how to reconcile them?

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How should travelers/travel industry respond to Brunei's barbarism against gays?

Many voices in the civilized world have been speaking out in horrified outrage at Brunei's new edict  decreeing death by stoning for gay sex, and numerous individuals and institutions joining a boycott. Should travelers and the travel industry/media join as well by not traveling to, working with, or covering Brunei, nor other entities associated with it such as the nine luxury hotels in the West owned by its sultan, such as London's Dorchester, the Plaza Athénée in Paris, and the Beverly Hills…

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Cross-border migration and tourism

All across the world - Europe, the United States, Australia, Asia, and elsewhere - immigration and refugees are hot topics. But little attention has been paid to how this issue meshes with the other great mass movement of our era: tourism. An integral part of tourism is the exchange of cultures and the appreciation of the “other”, and the industry is often dependent on "importing” guest workers from abroad, who provide needed services and often also give a sense of the exotic…

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What is 'conflict tourism'?

These days we hear about a few Westerners (mostly young men) who have been going to Syria to get a closer look at the war, and it reminds me of several years when I was working as a guide in Palestine. My clients were, for the main part, politically engaged people of diverse backgrounds, mainly from Europe and the USA, who had been involved with Palestinian solidarity campaigning back home and wanted to see the situation for themselves... keep reading

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  • I've been in Costa Rica these past six days while Hurricane Tomas floods roads, causes mudslides, and has killed at least two dozen people (that's not counting the people who are missing). Eating and sleeping very well at wonderful ecolodges like Finca Rosa Blanca, but can you enjoy anything when there's so much misery just ten miles away?
  • ETOA reports that red tape and other hassles over visas prevent 450,000 tourists a year from visiting Europe. Anyone know what the figure would be for the United States?

    ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) adds that most of those potential visitors are from China and India.
  • Good golly, just read California's just cut off people from using their welfare debit cards on cruise ships and casinos. Seems "more than $69 million targeted at helping the needy pay their rent and clothe their children was accessed by debit card use in 49 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam between January 2007 and May 2010."

    This had to be stopped, of course, but I'm concerned this kind of story will be used by a certain political party to bash welfare and justify further cuts. Of course we have to curb the abuse, but isn't there a real need to protect the neediest in our society?
  • Real juicy topic on our Gulf Coast Travel Update group: a member's asking why he should spend his vacation dollars on a Gulf Coast beach vaca.... Tell him what you think!
  • I don't usually believe in travel boycotts because they hurt the people who work in hotels, restaurants, etc. and who are poorly paid. But I think if I were a travel agent or a meeting planner, I might hesitate to send a group or plan a meeting or event in AZ. First, there would be people in the group or sponsoring organization who would object. But more to the point, could you risk embarassment, harassment and even legal exposure by bringing say, a group of Indian doctors to a convention in Arizona. Would they feel uncomfortable at best and be in harm's way, at worst? No one doubts that whomever gets stopped by the police, they won't be Swedes. Color and ethnicity is the baisis here - not immigration.. There are plenty of illegal Irish in this country but I do not expect that if I go to some backwater in Arizona, a sheriff is going to haul me away. They leave that to airport screeners who seem to think that I'm the mother of Gerry Adams..
  • With all due respect, Mr. Lawrence, I'd like to see the statistics where it says 99% of golfers and tennis players are white. OK, it may be in the 90s, but 99%, no way. And if cheap courts and greens fees are enough to make us forget our principles, well, that's a pretty sad statement on us, isn't it. I agree, ACLU may be exagerrating, but it's to make a point. And the point is valid.

    I don't generally believe in boycotts, I think they're pretty much counterproductive. Look at Cuba, we've been at it for 50+ and no change in sight. But this Arizona thing is so wrong, so mean-spirited, that i for one don't plan to set foot in that state till they rejoin 21st century civilization.

    Happy duffing.
  • I'm actually dating somebody from Arizona, AND she's Chicana. Born there, and so was her mom AND her grandma AND like 100 generations before them, because her family was in AZ BEFORE we stole the land from the Mexicans. And don't go telling me otherwise, that whole war was a land-grabbing sham.

    So I'm telling her NOT to go back, and I personlly don't intend to go either. There's much better places to go spend my money. Why should a good, kind, wonderful person like Jessica expose herself to being picked up by some inbred sunbleached yahoo who thinks he has more right to be in AZ than the people his ancestors stole it from??

    Sorry if I sound a little bitter, but this latest Republican-inspired idiocy hits a little too close to home.
  • ACLU is exaggerating the danger to most people who visit Arizona's resorts. Because 99% of us golfers and tennis players are white, we aren't going to be profiled or arrested. At what price point do the deals at a resort look so tempting that you're willing to say "I can't resist, even if there is a boycott."
  • Last Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union issued travel alerts for Arizona, warning potential visitors that the state's new law designed to crack down on illegal immigrants could result in racial profiling and warrantless arrests. On April 27th, the government of Mexico had warned its own citizens against travel to the state. The city of Boulder, Colorado called for a boycott on official travel to Arizona... whereupon the city of Colorado Springs called for a boycott of Boulder.

    Where will the madness end?

    Do you agree with the Arizona law? Or do you plan to stay away in protest? Is a boycott even the best or most effective way to influence change in a tourist destination? Please share your thoughts!
  • We go to find the Govenator of Kahl-ee-for-nya and go on a long hike. Today's trip report is from capitol of the Golden State, Sacramento. See why it pays to find your duly elected representatives at The World on Wheels:
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