Sidenotes: Facts and Thoughts Beyond Travel

Facts + Thoughts Beyond Travel

2018 Urbanism Awards: 5 Great Places to Visit

There are so many awards that celebrate European cities that it is difficult to track them all. Bilbao, the capital of Biscay in northern Spain‘s Basque Country, has just been named European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism, a network of built environment experts from across Europe.

2018 Urbanism Awards: Bilbao is Europe's Best City
2018 Urbanism Awards: Bilbao is Europe’s Best City – Photo Courtesy: SnapwireSnaps @ Pixabay

A well-deserved prize, given that the city, famous for the Guggenheim Museum, has in fact much more to offer and, as the chair of the Academy said, “is a great example of the wholesale transformation of a former industrial city – not just physically, but socially, economically and culturally.”

Even more interesting, we think, is all the work they do to honor great towns, neighborhoods, streets, and places across the UK and Ireland. Actually, there is an award for each of them and this year’s winners are Corby, Byker (Newcastle), Humber Street Fruit Market (Hull), and the Brunswick Centre (London).

Filed under , , , , , , , on November, 2017

The Frustration of Being a Local Guide for Google

You may already be aware that Google keeps track of your location if GPS is enabled on your mobile device. Well, this becomes even more creepy if you decide to join the Local Guides program to contribute to Maps.

In addition to annoying push notifications that will make your phone ring whenever you go to the gym or to get food, every once in a while you will receive precise email instructions like these:

How to create photo tours in your favorite stores

Do you want to support small businesses? Take photos inside local stores and share them on Google Maps. Try to shoot them in daylight and help others discover new products to buy.

Your photo tour at the store:

– When you enter a store, take a panoramic photo to show what’s inside
– Publish photos of shelves full of products
– Add close-ups of your favorite items

Share your photos on social media with #LocalGuides and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Connect to find out where the global community is buying. Do you have a question? Something to share?

Actually, yes. Why are you trying to mock Foursquare with almost ten years of delay? Meanwhile, UGC has lost its charm and we all became more cynical. But above all, why don’t you use a small fraction of your tax-free profits to pay real photographers? You have much to gain both in terms of credibility and quality.

Filed under , , , on November, 2017

Digital Travelers: Just Who Are They Anyway?

If you are a data junky like us, you will certainly appreciate the fresh Global Digital Traveler Research 2017 by Travelport, based on interviews with 11,000 travelers from 19 countries worldwide. Here’s a snapshot of the key findings.

Travelport's Global Digital Traveler Research
Key Findings of the Global Digital Traveler Research – Infographic by Travelport

Taking a closer look, we were particularly impressed with the following results:

– 60% said they would be lost without their smartphone, but 43% would switch off all devices (so, at least 3% is already lost and where are the moderates here?)
– 68% of Indonesian travelers book their trip on a mobile device (jeez, really?)
– 63% of senior travelers (those over 55) “know exactly what they want” when researching a trip (the wisdom of age… yeah sure, but how sad is that?)

Anyway, the report also includes a list of the most digitally-dependent countries and the top ten are not exactly the ones you would expect. In fact, the ranking looks like this: 1) India, 2) China, 3) Indonesia, 4) Brazil, 5) Saudi Arabia, 6) Mexico, 7) South Africa, 8) United Arab Emirates, 9) Colombia, 10) Italy.

To find out more, download Travelport’s Global Digital Traveler Research.

Discovery TRVLR: Travel the World from Your Seat

Want to travel the world without leaving home? Here’s your chance (kinda). Google has partnered with Discovery VR to launch Discovery TRVLR, a 38-episode immersive series which promises to take you “in every corner of the globe across all seven continents”, starting from Auckland, New Zealand.

How can you go wrong here, at least as a tourist? There’s no doubt you’ll save precious time and money compared to a real life, pre-packaged tour.

Find all episodes of Discovery TRVLR on YouTube or the Discovery VR app. They can be comfortably experienced in VR with the new Google Daydream View headset as well as with Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and Oculus Rift.

Filed under , , , , , on November, 2017

L’Alternativa: 24th Barcelona Independent Film Festival

This year again we will take part in l’Alternativa, an Independent Film Festival held in Barcelona, Spain (or is it the self-proclaimed Republic of Catalonia?). A whole week to enjoy the screening of more than 200 movies from around the world and engage in various activities, including debates and workshops.

Cinema is a reflection of our society and helps us to ponder the crises that we live in. Based on this idea, most of the movies selected for the 24th edition of Barcelona’s Independent Film Festival deal with topics such as human rights, personal freedom, and overcoming borders. Save the date: Nov 13-19, 2017.

Filed under , , , on November, 2017

Iceland Named Fastest Growing Nation Brand of 2017

Thanks to the popular TV show Game of Thrones, whose winter scenes mostly take place in Iceland, the country has welcomed 1.8 M foreign visitors in 2016, up 40% from 2015, and is expected to reach 2.4 M by the end of this year.

Brand Finance, that annually reveals the world’s most valuable nation brands, considers Iceland the best performer in 2017 and sums it up with an auspicious “money is coming”. There can’t be over tourism with all that space, eh? Hmm…

In case you are wondering, in the ranking, led by the US and closed by Cyprus, the worst performing nation brand is Uzbekistan. Now you decide where to go for the next holidays… The full report “Nation Brands 2017” is available here.