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Archive for September, 2008

Crowdsourcing

‘Any company that thinks it’s going to build a site by outsourcing all the work to its users completely misunderstands what it should be doing.  Your job is to provide a structure for your users to collaborate, and that takes a lot of work.’  (Jimmy Wales, a Wikipedia co-founder).

Quite.

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2300BC

Stonehenge has been dated to 2300BC.  Experts are suggesting that the stones were thought to have healing powers.  Professor Darvill of Bournemouth University is quoted as saying, ‘therefore, in a sense, Stonehenge becomes the A&E of southern England.  Very clinical.

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Hill or Mountain

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a hill into a mountain …

‘A Welsh hill has been upgraded to a mountain after three walkers found its official measurement was just too low.  Mynydd Graig Goch in Snowdonia was originally put at 1,998ft (609m), just short of the magic 2,000ft (609.6m) that qualifies as a mountain.  But the walkers found its true height is six inches over 2,000ft (609.75m).’

Full story link:

http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/7623904.stm

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This other Eden (8): Salcombe

Travelling east to west, the south Devon coastline stretches from Brixham around to Plymouth.  Towards the centre of this coastline is Salcombe.  On a sunny day, you could be in the Mediterranean.  Blue-green seas, exotic vegetation, steep hillsides plunging into water, sandy coves, clean light. 

Salcombe itself is a well healed town on the edge of the ‘Kingsbridge Salcombe Estuary’.  Its narrow streets get busy but it’s a must-see if you’re travelling in this area.

Salcombe and the south Devon coastline are part of the ‘South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)’.  More info in links below.

http://www.picturetheuk.com/uk-tourism/locations/salcombe-27548.html

http://www.picturetheuk.com/uk-tourism/locations/south-devon-531.html

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South West Tourism

There’s an excellent website for businesses targeted at the tourism industry in the South West of England called ‘South West Tourism’.

Their research suggests that around 14.5million trips were made to the region in 2007.  That’s 64million nights spent away on holiday and a fraction over £3billion spent.

Note: this excludes visits to relatives and business trips.

Site: http://www.swtourism.co.uk/home.ashx

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This other Eden (7): Braunton Burrows

In the north west of Devon is a wide, sandy beach that runs for miles along the coastline.  To the south of this vast stretch of sand is Westward Ho! and to the north Saunton.  Barnstaple, a major north Devon town, is a short drive to the east.

The beach, in itself, is magnificent.  Long views, exceptional light, sand and powerful waves. 

Backing onto this beach is something rare.  One of the most important sand dune systems in Europe and the centre of the UK’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  It’s called Braunton Burrows.

http://www.picturetheuk.com/uk-tourism/attraction/braunton-burrows-572.html

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Discovering places

Both the United Kingdom and the internet are packed with remarkable destinations.  The problem we face is discovering them.

First, examples of remarkable destinations. 

This summer, we spent some time in Northumberland (north east England).  It’s hard to believe so few domestic and international travellers visit.  Hard to believe because it’s so extraordinary.  And then there’s Devon.  On the A-list of UK tourist destinations but until I stumbled across the beach that runs from Westward Ho! to Saunton Sands and backs onto the internationally important Northam and Braunton Burrows, I had no idea it existed.

Second, how do we discover these places?

By accident is always nice.  Very Romantic too.  There’s word of mouth, websites, old media (TV, radio, press etc) and reputation.

But what we really need are services (websites, platforms, whatever you want to call them) that pull all this information together with the purpose of helping tourists discover their perfect weekend or holiday.  Perhaps such services will be heavy on photos, videos and user content.  Soon, perhaps these services will host TV shows and allow fledgling travel writers and photographers to publish their work.  Perhaps users will be able to print their own travel guides using these services or create their own holiday book when they return home.  This is all very achievable stuff and it’s no longer beyond the ability of small companies to build such services.  At that point, it should be a pleasure to discover places from the comfort of your home before visiting.

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