Archive for travel and tourism

Geocaching goes touristy

I’m not sure if I have posted about geocaching before, and I realize geocaching may be on the fringe of nature travel, but it’s great fun and a unique way to explore trails. People who are familiar with this high-tech treasure hunt done with a GPS device know the slogan “Cache in, trash out,” so good geocachers do indeed help the environment.

I just happened to come across this brochure by the Charlotte Harbor and Gulf Islands tourism development council that promotes geocaching — but not in just any old way. Tourism businesses got together to put goodies in official tourism board geocaches to get travelers out and exploring the county. I haven’t seen another tourism board do this before, so this is innovative.

Does this mean geocaching has gone mainstream?

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Possible man-made surfing reef being studied

Can you build a man-made surfing reef, and would it translate to tourism dollars? That’s what Brevard County is asking in approving a study to find out, Florida Today reports. The county also wants to make sure the reef will be ecologically sound.

Many surfers already flock to Sebastian Inlet and the Cocoa Beach pier. But a reef made for surfing might bring even bigger waves than the ones that already exist in Brevard.

What do you think?

Image from NASA

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Florida state parks contribute big bucks and jobs to economy

Every year, I think, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reminds everyone how nature-based recreation is important to our state’s economy. Yesterday, the DEP said Florida’s state parks contributed more than $936M to local communities, creating 18,700 jobs.

That’s just the state parks. That doesn’t include national parks, or state or national forests, or national wildlife refuges, or other natural lands.

It’s important to frequently look at how nature tourism contributes to the economy, because if you don’t, then you get people saying, “Oh, it’s just a few people out there looking at birds — how does that help anybody?”

Something interesting to me about this year’s news from the DEP is the list of top-generating state parks. In the past, if I’m not mistaken, it’s always been John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. Now, the list looks like this (taken from the DEP news release):

St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach: $43M

Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin: $42M

John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo: $38.M

Lovers Key State Park in Fort Myers Beach: $37.8M

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne: $35.5M

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“Last chance!” “Buy now!”

Speaking of strange things (see today’s previous post), I got an e-mail from Visit Florida — the state’s tourism board. The subject line is “Last Chance to Get to Know Florida’s Natural Attractions.”

Really? It’s my last chance? Why — are Florida’s “natural attractions” going away? Are they going to close?

I opened the message and didn’t find any clue whatsoever what the subject line was talking about. It makes me wonder if the Visit Florida folks who put out the message have visited the places they are writing about. And even if they have, why are they using a strong-armed marketing tactic like the phrase “last chance” — which is supposedly used to jolt customers into action — to promote Florida’s natural beauty? This is really a turn-off to me, and it’s a silly, incongruous method to get people outside.

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Is your oceanside hotel turtle-friendly?

Sea turtleThe Edgewater Beach Hotel in Naples has been fined $500 for not following sea turtle guidelines, Naples Daily News reports. Apparently, the code board there found improper lighting was leading sea turtle hatchlings the wrong way — toward the hotel pool instead of to the ocean.

(Hatchlings follow light to find their way from their beach nests to the ocean, but city lights can lure them in the wrong direction. Many seaside municipalities in Florida have regulations on lights during nesting and hatching season for this reason.)

The hotel has until Sept. 6 to correct the problems or face more fines.

If you are vacationing at oceanside lodging from late spring through early fall, you might want to ask about how the lodging protects sea turtles. Most species are endangered, and all nests are monitored and protected by law.

One resort I stayed at with family a long time ago put a black burlap-type cover on its lampposts to dim them. I think the resort also informed guests about the sea turtles. That’s just being a good neighbor to rare wildlife.

Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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