Saturday, September 29, 2012

Culinary Tourism: Savior of the Greek Tourism Industry?

As one of the major aspects of the health-conscious Mediterranean Diet movement, will Greek-based culinary tourism prove to be the savior of Greece’s ailing tourism industry?

By: Ringo Bones

Contrary to popular belief, Greek cuisine – unlike its Greek diaspora run American equivalent – is not just a Mediterranean “culinary orgy” of meat and saturated fats. The authentic Greek version of the famed health-conscious Mediterranean Diet is a very star contrast to its American cousin and is largely composed of locally grown garden fresh vegetables prepared in a traditional manner that dates back before the great Greek philosophers wrote their various treatises to enrich Western Civilization. This makes such Greek culinary tradition a “keeper of the faith” of the recent slow-food revolution and due to its healthiness and culinary significance, the Greek aspect of the Mediterranean Diet and slow-food revolution even won it a declaration by UNESCO the “intangible heritage” classification.

At the moment, tourists are veering away from Greece as a primary destination which is sad because at present Greece could use every form of economic stimulus that it badly needs to solve the country’s rather herculean debt crisis. Scared of by the still relatively strong euro, most budget-conscious tourists rather opt for Greek-like travel destinations in the Mediterranean not yet on the euro. Given that Greece is more than just Classical Greek era ruins, promotion of the healthier aspect of the Greek cuisine could surely boost tourist arrivals. But will efforts to promote the health benefits of traditional Greek cuisine as part of the burgeoning slow-foods revolution bring in the much needed tourism revenue back to Greece? Only time will tell.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Will the Harsh Pussy Riot Sentencing Ruin Russia’s Tourism Industry?

Given that the “irreverent” Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot had been perceived by the global punk community as a Russian tourist destination in themselves, will the harsh sentencing of the band eventually ruin Russia’s tourism industry? 

By: Ringo Bones 

In this day and age of over commoditized American Idol wannabe pseudo-musicians more interested in money than true artistry, genuine politically addled punk rock has inadvertently become a musical tourist destination in themselves – akin to Mississippi Delta Blues tourism and all-acoustic unamplified Viennese string quartets. But with the recent harsh sentencing of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot over their anti Vladimir Putin protest in Moscow’s main cathedral back in March, will Russia’s tourism industry be inadvertently ruined by missing out on the emergent music tourism – make that punk rock tourism - movement? 

Ever since the British punk rock band Sex Pistols sang a brash polemic about HRH Queen Elizabeth II back in the mid 1970s, parts of London with anything connecting them to Johnny Rotten and company had since became the “Mecca” of punk rock tourism. Not to mention punk rock fashions by Vivienne Westwood. And with the harsh sentencing of the three members of Pussy Riot to two years in a labor camp might give anyone planning to visit Russia in the coming months some second thoughts - especially since the inherent lack of freedom of expression and rule of law of Vladimir Putin’s Russia will definitely scare off potential tourists who are probably too scared to get arrested over arcane legalese definition of hooliganism by the Russian court of law.