Episode 12: Marijuana tourism

Last week, Michigan became the 10th state in the US to legalize marijuana for recreational use. As the first state in the Midwest to do so, it is likely to become a popular destination for marijuana tourists. Marijuana tourism has become big business for many other states that have legalized recreational use over the past several years, and researchers are struggling to keep up with what these legal changes mean for residents, tourists, and the industry. My guest today is Dr. Lorraine Taylor, an assistant professor at Ft. Lewis College in Colorado. She recently published a study titled ‘Defining marijuana tourism,’ and has been doing research on marijuana tourism in Colorado for the last four plus years. Dr. Taylor’s research has revealed a great deal about the impacts of marijuana tourism and just who a marijuana tourist is – and the results are  a little bit surprising.

Episode 11: Imaginative Communities: Why some destinations captivate and others do not

Destinations like New York and Paris need no introduction – when people hear those names images like the statue of liberty and Eiffel tower easily come to mind. But what about other destinations across the globe that are coming into their own as places to visit? Places like Dubai, Bhutan, and Austin, Texas are becoming increasingly popular travel destinations, all because they are imaginative communities. My guest today is Dr. Robert Govers, author of the recently released book called Imaginative Communities: Admired cities, regions and countries. He’s been doing research on destination image and brand for more than twenty-five years, and has put those years of experience and expertise to good use writing his book about why some destinations captivate travelers and others do not.

Episode 10: People First Tourism

You have an incredible number of options at your fingertips when you decide to travel. From individual businesses to meta-search engines, experiences vary widely. Companies like AirBnB and others have made it easier to find smaller family owned businesses that provide unique tourism experiences, but they can still sometimes be hard to come by. My guest today is Dr. Duarte Morais. Duarte is an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University. He has been conducting research on the intersection of tourism and microentrepreneurship as a method to empower small businesses in the tourism segment for the last several years. He has created a unique solution to the lack of access to tourism experiences provided by small and family businesses by creating an organization that partners business and research called People First Tourism. While the organization allows him to study the phenomenon of tourism microentrepreneurship, it also serves another purpose.

Episode 09: #travelingwhileblack

In the globalized travel environment of today, it is
sometimes easy to forget that some groups of travelers have long been and are
still yet sometimes marginalized during their travels. The #travelingwhileblack
movement has grown to connect travelers who are interested in addressing marginalization
and other issues faced by black travelers in the U.S. and abroad. My guest
today is Dr. Alana Dillette, an assistant professor at San Diego State
University.  Dr. Dillette has recently
conducted several studies focusing on the #travelingwhileblack movement, and
has attempted to understand the lived experiences of black travelers through
their social media posts and interviews with travelers and travel companies.
Her research has shown that while some destinations or organizations may still
be less than friendly to people of color, travel now more than ever is providing
opportunities for hosts and guests to interact and expand their historical and
cultural world views. She has also found that social media provides an avenue of
communication for travelers that may have previously been disconnected from
each other to share their experiences.

Episode 08: Surf tourism

Have you ever heard the terms lineup, dropping in, or getting snaked? If not, you might have a lot to learn before you get on a board and try your hand and surfing while you travel. Whether it is your first time or you’re a regular on the waves, surfing while you travel is a great option to get some exercise, get a feel for the local beach culture, and meet new and interesting people. As surf tourism has grown rapidly over the past several years, there is an increasing amount of research being done about cultural norms at surf breaks and impacts of surf tourism on people, the economy, and the environment. My guest today is Dr. Lindsay Usher, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. Lindsay is an amateur surfer and former professional kayak surfer, and does research on surf tourism throughout the world. Lindsay took the time to talk to me about her research on the impacts of surf tourism, and has some great tips about surf etiquette if you’re thinking about giving it a shot.

Episode 07: The impacts of AirBnBs

Traditional Bed and Breakfasts have been around for centuries, and in many ways, they are one of the earliest forms of accommodation in existence. Fast forward to 2007 and the advent of AirBnB, which has turned the tourism industry on its head over the last 10 years. Destinations across the globe have grappled with the rapid growth and regulation of short-term vacation rentals (known colloquially as AirBnBs). Various approaches have been taken, lawsuits have been filed, and court battles continue to rage about the legality of AirBnBs from the perspective of cities, owners and operators, travelers, and community members. Meanwhile, researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how and why short-term vacation rentals impact the communities in which they reside. My guest today is Dr. Emily Yeager, an assistant professor at East Carolina University. Emily has conducted several studies on the impacts of AirBnBs, and while much of what you’ll read about in the news shows them in a negative light, she found a balance between the positives and negatives.

Episode 06: It’s not easy being green

We’ve all seen the signs in hotel bathrooms – if you want to be environmentally friendly, hang your towels up when you are done and the housekeeping staff won’t wash them. This is just one program that many hotels utilize to be more ‘green,’ and it has the additional benefit of saving them money as they have to do less laundry. What about other green activities that hotels are doing? Are there programs we don’t know about as consumers? How do they communicate with us about what they are doing? Do travelers even care? My guest today is Rawan Nimri, a Ph.D. student at Griffith University in Australia. Her research focuses on understanding tourists perceptions of the things that hotels are doing to be green, and she’s made some fascinating discoveries about the effectiveness of hotel’s communications about them:

Episode 05 – Film tourism

What do Iceland, New Zealand, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Mount Airy, North Carolina have in common? They’re all popular film tourism sites. A big portion of Game of Thrones was filmed in Iceland, The Lord of the Rings films were shot in New Zealand, Breaking Bad was filmed in Albuquerque, and Mount Airy has transformed itself into Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. Film induced travel is big business, and a lot of destinations across the globe are cashing in…but how do you know which ones are legitimate and which ones are not being entirely truthful about their silver screen pedigree? My guest today is Dr. Stefanie Benjamin, an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee. She has been researching film induced tourism for the past several years, and has some great tips for finding the real deal and being a good tourist if you want to check out the filming locations of your favorite movie or TV show.

Episode 04 – How and why we learn when we travel

People travel for all sorts of reasons. To escape, to relax, to impress, or to learn. This episode is all about how and why we learn during our travels. From elementary school class trips to study abroad, educational tourism focuses on learning while traveling, but where do the benefits to students really come from? Do regular travelers gain the same skills as students during their travels? My guest today is Dr. Matthew Stone, an assistant professor at Cal State University Chico. Matthew has researched education and tourism over the past several years, and he has made some interesting observations about what travelers and the tourism industry can do to promote learning while we travel.

Episode 03: The ethics of involving animals in tourism

In our travels around the world, we are liable to encounter animals in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they’re the main attraction. Zoos and aquariums are built around featured animals for the public to see. In other instances, animals like horses, camels, or mules are used as transportation to and from our primary destination. Yet still, sometimes animals are the centerpiece of culinary tourism experiences with iconic dishes like foie gras, osso buco, and blue crab boils drawing tourists from across the globe. The thing about animals in tourism, however, is that nobody has asked them if they want to participate. In this episode, The Trip Doctor interviews Dr. Carol Kline, an associate professor at Appalachian State University. She recently edited a book called Animals, Food, and Tourism, and is a co-founder of the website Fanimal.co, a membership site for animal lovers to laugh, learn, and make a difference. In this interview, we’ll be discussing the ethical implications of involving animals in tourism and what you can do to be a better consumer of animal based tourism experiences, as in many cases the experience for the animals involved can be extremely negative.