Lonely Planet US’ top picks for 2008

It is a tradition among Lonely Planet US employees to pick their top spots for the upcoming year. Often they are new and up-and-coming places, but I was happy to see Canada in there, in shared 5th place with India. Even though travellers have a tendency to view Canada as beautiful, but boring (“what can I do there?”), it is encouraging that Lonely Planet staff still find us an exciting place to visit!

The Yeti Snowshoe race

What can be more Canadian than people enjoying a leisurly snowshoe stroll on a weekend? Well, try getting in with a group of 100 people eager runners, strapping on special running snowshoes (small and extra light), and running a tough 5-10km trail course through the mountains! That’s what the Yeti snowshoe race series is. Now in its seventh year, it is an ever growing event around Vancouver, attracting over 100 racers for each race. They even run a Yeti Snowshoe acadamy, where people can take snowshoe running clinics each week.

Highly recommended.

Running a marathon in Bhutan

There are thousands of marathons around the world, literally from pole to pole. But the Bhutan marathon is definitely special. Run up the valley from Thimphu to the edge of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park and back. the entire race is run at around 2500-3000m. Not as high as the Everst marathon, but it still takes some getting used to. This is the first internationally sanctionted version of the event, September 7, 2008.

Online tourism content

Twenty-first century content needs to live on social networking sites, moulded for Web 2.0 applications, optimized for search engines, and to compete on a global scale, translated into several languages. With all these demands placed on content, it is easy to forget that first of all, we need to create appropriate content, tailored to our target audiences. More importantly, it needs to be updated and refreshed continuously.

I will be giving a content workshop at two conferences this spring.  Content Convergence & Integration in Vancouver (March 12-14) is a large conference about online content, with a tourism track. If you’re involved with content in the tourism industry, you should be attending.

The second conference I speak at is  Online Revealed in Calgary, May 12-14. This is an online marketing conference, aimed specifically at the tourism industry. It has a lot of hands-on workshops related to online marketing.