News roundup: Mobiquity, bags at British airports and...

A concept
A new term seems to be born: Mobiquity (original in French: “mobiquité”, mixture of mobility and ubiquity, that arrives from Francis Pisani blog, contributor of “Ciberpaís”, via Renalid). It refers to the ability to accede to the information while we are moving, through radio networks. Little by little, we know that it is possible in hotels, buses, trains or aeroplanes, via wifi, or from any place through 3G or HSDPA mobile phone. Many apps have now mobile versions: digital cartography software (Google Maps mobile or Live for Search mobile), emails management, news and RSS readers (Yahoo! Go). More, many webpages have versions prepared for small screens. The future is mobile.

A news
Meanwhile, some British airports, from Monday 7-1-2008, are allowing to go with more than one bag as hand luggage. In fact, with two, as the BBC informs. But the norm is not applied to all the places, but only to which they have surpassed safety inspections. Thus, in London, Heathrow and London City can allow more than one bag, but not Gatwick or Luton. This partial measurement is confused and rare, in the style of the Spanish antitobacco law, and already it brings about confusion and controversy. Easyjet, for example, has declared that maintains the one-bag norm, by that disparity of criteria between airports.

A Web
Flashearth is a Web mash-up that superposes satellite images of several sources. Thus, when a place in the map is located, it is possible to choose what series of aerial photos is wanted to see in that zone: the one of Google, the one of Yahoo, the one of Microsoft, the one of Ask or the one of the NASA, everything in a single website. The interface is done in Flash, a system to pack images, sounds and videos and to show them in Internet, and is quite light.

A 'extra omnes' webcam
Through dondeviajar.es, Nautilia has discovered that the Vatican has one webcam in front of the tomb of Juan Pablo II. If there is some devotee dark tourist reading, he will be able to see an illustrious grave without needing moving.

Faithful clients
A British couple takes 22 years living in Travelodge hotels (those that studies the sleepwalkers or gives to lodging to Joseph and Maria), explain “The Guardian”. These long-term guests say that it is cheaper and sure to live in the hotel that in their house. The current room, near Sheffield, in that they have been for 10 years, has been baptised by the chain like Davidson' Suite, in honour to these faithful clients.

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Is this hotel offering acupuncture to my dog?

The Holne Chase Hotel in Devon (United Kingdom) offers a luxury pack for dogs that came with their guests. This includes a king-size sleeping basket, dinner, unlimited use of all the hotel trees and even a blind date with the resident dog (that has its own Web). On the other hand, the Lucies Farm Luxury Dog Resort offers a dog's health pack, like a 'human' spa, that includes acupuncture, hydrotherapy, massages…

This is part of a tourism trend named 'pet travel', analysed by the World Travel Market, an annual travel fair celebrated in London. The WTM published the Global Trends Report 2007 (pdf) document, which looks at some 'odd' trends of the tourism.

In the United Kingdom, that trend was that more and more people want to travel with her mascots and, therefore, the demand of pet friendly places and packages increases. At the same time, the general spending of the families in its mascots has increased to 3.300 billion Euros in the 2007. And, in addition, the number of pets has grown a lot (to 49 million in the 2007 for 60.5 million inhabitants).

The report of the WTM emphasises that it is mainly a domestic tourism (within the United Kingdom), because quarantines and other laws complicate to legally take animals out of the archipelago. On the other hand, the report emphasises that whereas they are a good amount of hotels that accept mascots, sometimes without surcharges, they are less means of transport that accept them, and sometimes it is necessary to pay high supplements. Also, the pet friendly places have to offer facilities and special personnel to take care of pets.

Travelling with my dog in a strange way.

Photo: Batty Basset, the resident dog of the Holne Chase Hotel, as in its Web

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Travelling numbers (1)

The Spanish economy is sustained on two pillars, construction and tourism, that, according to many experts, are fragile pillars and causes that the economy is equally fragile, because both sectors are very sensitive to general recessions. Nautilia is not capable of further analysis more and we are sure that blogs like 'Economing' or 'Recordant el present' can explain this issue better.

But it can be useful to see, superficially, some figures of the tourism in Spain. Nautilia has used the new edition of a small and fascinating book called 'Pocket World in Figures 2008' , that compiles a series of very interesting statistics on many scopes. The majority is already known, but it is useful to have them collected in a small book, published and updated every year, since 1991, by 'The Economist', a prestigious British weekly magazine.

The chapter dedicated to the transportation and tourism leave Spain in an apparently good situation. It is the second country that receives more tourists (in millions) :

  • 1.- France: 76.0
  • 2.- Spain: 55.6
  • 3.- US: 46.1
  • 4.- China: 41.8
  • 5.- Italy: 36.5
  • 6.- United Kingdom: 30.0
  • 7.- Germany: 21.5
  • 8.- Mexico: 20.6
It is also the second country that receives more incomes from tourists (in million dollars) :
  • 1.- US: 81,680
  • 2.- Spain: 47,891
  • 3.- France: 42,276
  • 4.- Italy: 35,398
  • 5.- United Kingdom: 30,669
  • 6.- China: 29,296
  • 7.- Germany: 29,204
  • 8.- Turkey: 18,152
If it is possible to link these data (it is not in the book), each tourist leaves (not all countries):
  • Japan: 2,026 dollars
  • US: 1,772
  • Switzerland: 1,527
  • Germany: 1,358
  • United Kingdom: 1,023
  • Italy: 969
  • Greece: 962
  • Turkey: 895
  • Spain: 861
  • China: 701
  • France: 564
Spain is in the low zone of the classification, what fits with the traditional worries that say that the tourists that arrive are 'low cost'. Politics try to attract more business tourism (fairs), perhaps more health and 'cosmetic surgeries' tourism or even a more cultural one. But the majority looks for 'botellón', sun and/or beach. And, in addition, Spain is perhaps stopping being competitive against places like Croatia, Greece or Turkey.

Here it is good to remember a study (press release) of the 2007 World Economic Forum (an annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to analyse the world economy) that analysed the countries with more attractive environments to develop a tourist industry according to infrastructures and the economic, social, and political environment. Spain was in the 15th position. On the top, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Iceland and US. (Italy was the 33rd)
Spain scores low in the regulatory framework, the security and the environment. And scores very low in the competitiveness of the prices (position 105th!)

In the same way, also is well to recall a comment of the publishers of the red Michelin guide (hotels and restaurants) when they were presenting the 2008 Spain edition. In response to the criticism that Spain felt mistreated by the distribution of stars, editors said that Spanish restaurants "lack in regularity and severity".

The question that arises could be: What does offer Spain that deserves that tourists do a greater expense? And also: Is it necessary more seriousness in the sector?

In the following delivery of 'Travelling numbers', we will spoke about transportation.

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