Tag Archives: Recreation

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Expedia, Virtuoso weigh in on travel in 2020

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When it comes to analyzing travel trends, Expedia has uncovered a variety of themes across flights, hotel stays, searches, bookings, and experiences. Based on robust analyses of U.S. traveler data, Expedia’s 2020 Travel Trends show a hunger for roads less traveled this year.

“When we looked at where travelers went in 2019, we saw that the biggest growth in demand was happening for destinations that aren’t the usual tourist hotspots,” said Christie Hudson, head of PR for Expedia North America. “For example, instead of Venice or Rome, the top trending Italian destinations were in Sardinia and the Italian Riviera. But we hope this report shines a light on new places to explore for 2020.”

According to the report, activities and attractions are more than just an add-on to a trip. Often, they’re one of the top considerations when travelers are choosing where to go and where to stay.

Furthermore, Americans strayed from the rivers and lakes they were used to this year: Expedia data reveals many travelers were chasing the wonder of waterfalls in 2019.

Meanwhile, Virtuoso, the global luxury travel specialist network, unveiled its “Wanderlist” for 2020 after surveying some 20,000 travel consultants about what they are seeing as popular and in-demand.

Virtuoso’s must-have travel experiences are:

Surfing Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, which is just outside the city center and extremely popular with locals and visitors. Serious surfers hang out at the southern end of the beach, while novices occupy the northern stretch, where waves are often smaller.

Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics are taking place July 24 to Aug. 9. Beyond the Games, travelers will be enamored with Japan’s gorgeous scenery, dynamic cities, culinary delights and cultural heritage.

The Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya offers the spectacle of a lifetime as millions of zebras, wildebeest and antelope traverse the landscape in search of food and water while attempting to elude predators in the midst.

Living like a local in Italy is now one of the top trends for travelers, who can rent a room or rent a villa. Either way, espresso or wine bar, amazing food is but steps away. Travelers are indulging in learning the language and taking master classes in art and cuisine.

A movement is afoot to support the Bahamas after the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian, which severely damaged Grand Bahamaand Abaco islands in September. Tourism comprises 60% of the nation’s economy and revenues from visitors boost recovery efforts. Virtuoso’s nine resorts escaped with little to no damage; they are open and receiving guests.

Private jet travel is not just for celebrities and CEOs. Travelers can touch down in legendary spots, such as Easter Island, Petra in Jordan, and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Country-hopping in style on a specially outfitted jet while relaxing comfortably in a leather seat with attentive on-board crew assisting with every need is not just a dream and is easily arranged.

Exploring Antarctica: Cold-weather spots are hot as travelers seek out destinations with unspoiled scenic beauty. Travelers can kayak with humpback whales, watch penguins in their natural habitat and even take a dip in the frigid waters.

Sailing through the Panama Canal is still a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This century-old engineering marvel is even more impressive up close on a full transit cruise, where the ship sails though the canal. It takes a day to traverse the 50 miles of locks as the ship makes its way from ocean to ocean.

Slow travel is exquisite when it means travel by rail. The majesty of the Canadian Rockies unfolds before passengers with a train journey aboard the incomparable Rocky Mountaineer. Panoramic surroundings pass by, seen through glass-dome coaches, as passengers savor ­­local cuisine, and here the history and lore of the land through expert hosts.

Tonga: it’s the ultimate unplugged escape. This Polynesian kingdom is comprised of 140 islands, mostly without residents. Climate is temperate and tropical scenery serene. Guest soak up on the sun at private beach resorts, snorkel in crystal-clear waters and explore jungles in blissful solitude.

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Infographic: Mobile gaming and artificial intelligence

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The world of mobile gaming is exploding at a record-breaking pace. By 2021, more than 1 in 4 people worldwide will be an active mobile gamer and consumer spending on mobile games will reach $90 billion.

Check out this infographic to see the evolution of mobile games and how AI is enhancing game quality.

Infographic courtesy PinkLion.AI

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Why ‘point shooting’ doesn’t work on its own

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I get into frequent discussions with shooters and instructors on the merits of sighted shooting vs. point shooting.

Now, to be clear, I teach that there’s a time for both and teach a blended approach that lets shooters seamlessly and effortlessly switch back and forth, but this isn’t something you can just decide you’re going to do…it takes deliberate practice.

The big argument against sighted shooting is that it’s too slow…which can be largely, but not completely mitigated with vision training. Besides retention issues and the fact that you probably can’t get a sight picture on a threat within three to six feet, it’s a basic law of physics that it’s quicker to shoot when your gun is on the way out to full extension than waiting until it’s at full extension.

The big argument against point shooting is that it’s not accurate or predictable enough.

But, at the same time, countless instructors claim — and demonstrate — that point shooting is accurate and predictable by shooting shotgun shells, 9 mm brass, and coins out of the air — all without using their sights.

And thousands of students have taken point shooting classes and shot like rock stars by the end of the class.

So…what’s going on? Why is there any debate or disagreement?

Try this little experiment with me…

Most people have had a pointer finger attached since birth and feel pretty darn confident in their ability to point.

So, right now, pick a switch on the wall, a screw/nail head, a book on a bookshelf, hinge on a door, or something else 10-20 feet away that you can point at.

Try the drill both standing and sitting and see if there’s a difference…a lot of times, people will do better sitting than standing, because of the added challenge of balance.

With your hands by your side or in front of your chest, slowly extend your shooting arm/finger out so that you’re pointing at and covering the switch/object you picked. (Your finger will be between your dominant eye and the switch/object. Your non-dominant eye will still be able to see the switch/object.)

Repeat this three to five times until you are confident you could do it with your eyes shut or with the lights off.

Now, with your hands by your side or in front of your chest, shut your eyes, extend and point where you think the switch is. Open your eyes.

Are you dead-on? Then you have a much better than average chance of making first hits on target with point shooting, but keep in mind that with this drill, you’re aligning 1 point (the end of your finger) with the target and with a firearm, you’re aligning 2 points (the front and back of the slide) with the target.

Are you high/low/right/left? Then you’d probably miss in that same direction if you tried making a cold shot with point shooting.

Are you off a lot? That’s part of why people regularly shoot two, five, or more shots at attackers who are only feet away and miss with every round.

How’s that even possible?

When you’re pointing in a low stress situation with your eyes open, your brain is constantly adjusting and correcting as you extend your arm.

Your brain is getting immediate feedback of where you’re pointing, and your brain self-corrects on the fly…like a servo.

The same thing happens when you practice dry fire with a laser, live fire against a dirt berm or on a target where you can see where you hit.

It’s called a cybernetic loop. (Cybernetics is a fancy — but not new — word for a self-correcting loop. The concept has been around since Plato, Ampre and comes from the Greek word kubernetes…which is a name for a self-correcting rudder on a ship.)

When shooting, your brain sees where you’re hitting, and makes minor adjustments between shots to get you on target — creating a self-correcting loop.

This also serves to calibrate and synchronize your visual system, your balance/vestibular system, and your proprioceptive system…or your brain’s awareness of where your body is in space. When they’re all working together, point shooting is natural, easy, and it’s normal to think that everyone should be able to do it.

It usually doesn’t take too many reps to get dialed in…and then the gun seems to aim itself.

When it’s working, it’s FAST, accurate, and pretty amazing. There’s a tendency to think that if you can do it at the end of a range session, you’ll be able to do it on-demand with a first shot when lives depend on it.

The problem is it’s an incredibly perishable skill.

In a point shooting class, shooters will oftentimes have to “warm up” again after lunch and at the beginning of each day to be accurate again.

But, by the end of each day, performance levels are oftentimes unbelievable and confidence levels are through the roof.

The problem comes in with shooting situations where you don’t get to warm up first…or when you aren’t putting 40,000, 50,000 or more rounds downrange per year and constantly refining the skill.

Or, when you can’t see where your hits are going…like in a self-defense situation…and can’t take advantage of that self-correction process. Or, when you need to make a precision shot…like a hostage situation, or someone behind partial cover, or a distant target.

If your visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems are all working together at that moment in time, then you’ll get your hits.

If not, you are probably looking at ineffective hits or misses.

So, when you see some YouTuber saying that you don’t need to aim and then demonstrating their ability to point shoot…take it with a grain of salt. Don’t use it as an excuse for not training.

What’s happening is that, when you start pushing speed with sighted shooting, your sights are going to naturally start being in alignment with the target sooner in the shooting process and you get “point shooting” as a bonus skill.

For someone shooting every day or a few times a week, they’re going to get better at point shooting regardless of whether they practice sighted shooting or point shooting.

And it’s going to seem like point shooting is natural…but that’s only because of the reps they did in advance…not because of some natural ability to point.

As my friend and fellow instructor Dusty Solomon has exhaustively tested and written about, if you start with point shooting…because of the fact that it’s easier for the brain to do…it’s very hard to switch from point shooting to sighted shooting. The brain is going to want to default to the method that takes less effort…even if it results in more misses, so it’s vital that you start with sighted shooting.

But what are your thoughts?

What is your preferred method of shooting? If you do both, how do you integrate and switch between the two? Share your thoughts and questions by commenting below.

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CES 2020: The future of flying, according to Delta

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Delta Air Lines became the first travel company to deliver a keynote at CES 2020 as CEO Ed Bastian took the stage and offered a message that did not disappoint the forward-looking innovators and marketers in the audience. Laying out a compelling vision for the future of travel, Bastian showed how technology with purpose-driven, consumer-focused application can redefine the flying experience.

“We see technology as a tool to further our mission of connecting people and creating opportunities,” he said. “We’re not chasing shiny objects or tech for the sake of being cool. We are dedicated to solving your travel problems and making your voyages — and your lives — easier.”

Bastian described how the Fly Delta app will evolve into customers’ digital travel concierge, making travel more relaxing and less stressful by anticipating customer needs, offering convenient services to take the stress out of the day of travel like a ride to the airport and delivering thoughtful notifications, all from within the app to keep customers moving seamlessly on their journey.

John Zimmer, Lyft co-founder, came to the stage briefly to discuss how Delta and Lyft are already working together and announce plans for deepening the industry-leading partnership. Those plans include being able to book a Lyft ride from inside the Delta app and pay for that ride with Delta SkyMiles.

Parallel Worlds

After riding Lyft to the airport, flyers using the Delta app will be in for some compelling new ways to navigate the airport according to Nicole Jones, Delta’s director of innovation, and Misapplied Sciences CEO Albert Ng, who joined Bastian to describe some things even the audience full of CES geeks and inventors were not expecting.

Afterflying through security in the seconds it takes to be biometrically scanned, customers will be able to look at a Delta flight status screen in the airport along with the flurry of other travelers surrounding them and see only a single screen meant for them with content tailored to their individual travel plans. Thus, the passenger will see the gate number, directions to that gate and will even get an alert when it is their time in line to board. The concept is in beta but will be tried out at Detroit Metropolitan Airport this summer.

Delta’s personalized boarding screens will debut in Detroit later this year.

“The future is multi-modal,” said Bastian. And that also includes the inflight experience, which Bastian says will begin even before the passenger arrives at the airport. Through the app, passengers will be able to start watching their movie choices enroute in the Lyft and then pick up where they left off in the air via their personal device or seatback screen in wireless comfort.

Travel Simplified

The seamless journey continues with options for the in-app booking of services, such as having someone pick up bags from home and deliver to hotel on arrival (and back again), bypassing bag checking lines, carousels and the hassles of lugging luggage.

For an old airline, Delta has a young fleet. It has replaced a third of its aircraft inventory over the past five years, with new Neos and the A220, which Bastion describes as a narrow body that feels like a wide body. The airline recently introduced Delta One, a super luxury first class seat that turns into a suite with sliding doors for privacy.

In replacing older, less efficient aircraft, Delta is investing in renewable and natural environment solutions, including verified projects to offset the carbon footprint associated with airline travel.

Finally, Bastion announced that Wi-Fi on Delta flights would be complimentary.

“Where else do you have to pay for Wi-Fi these days? Wi-Fi should be free. The opportunities to better connect people across the world are truly endless,” he added. “Technology will help us do it even better.”

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Tips for staying safe and secure when RVing

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Staying safe when traveling is something that crosses everyone’s mind. Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe when on the road is a high priority.

There are many products, techniques and tools available to us, but the best defense against something bad happening is education. With the recent passing of two fellow RVers, Michelle Elaine Butler and James Lawrence Butler, it is now more important than ever to protect ourselves. Therefore, I would like to offer some suggestions on how to stay safe while traveling.

I know that there is no surefire way to prevent tragic events, but I can offer some advice that might bring you comfort. You can read about James and Elaine here and here.

I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment. If you are of sound mind and feel comfortable carrying a gun, then I recommend getting your concealed carry permit. By getting your license to carry, it is your duty to protect yourself and your loved ones.

If guns are not for you, there are other alternatives such as wasp spray, mace, etc. Please read up on your state or local laws regarding what is legal.

We live in a different era now. These are not the days our parents grew up in or even the days we grew up in. I remember camping as fun, relaxing and safe. Now I think of it as a battleground at times.

So, let’s try to be a little less in others’ business and more in our own. Obviously, if there is real trouble like someone beating their spouse or kids or stealing from your neighbor, then report it. Reporting criminal activity is smart way to fight crime and stay safe.

Traveling in numbers is a safe way to travel. We belong to several RV organizations, one being Passport America. Social media is well-known and used to stay in touch, plan trips and camp together. It can also be used for safety and emergencies.

For example, we were in the Florida Keys once, broke down and our fellow RVers came to the rescue. Another time, we arrived past dinner time and knew we had to set up camp before we could even think about dinner. Who was there for us? Our friends Chuck and Kris Ann. They prepared us sandwiches so we could fuel our bodies. By traveling with them, not only did I know we would be taken care of for minor needs, but if something big went down I knew they would have our backs.

What are some self-defense products you can use? Check out the Home Security Self-Defense Superstore. It offers weapons, pepper spray, tasers, stun guns, batons, police equipment, knives, bulletproof gear, tactical flashlights, metal detectors, gun accessories and self-defense for women. As a reminder, even though criminals do not abide by the law, we must.

Obviously, cellphones are a must when traveling, but walkie talkies or radios are recommended as good backups. We have been to many areas where cellphones did not work, but our walkie talkies did. We made sure each person in our camping party/family had a radio and knew how to use it well.

In sum, know your surroundings, report crime when you see it, carry a gun if you’re comfortable with it, purchase and use products that will help you stay safe, and rely safety in numbers. I know that being armed with a lot of tools may not work for every situation but the best thing you can do is use your gut instinct. Do not go to crime-ridden areas if you know it is a bad area.

Here are some very helpful links for staying safe: Gun Talk Media, 704 Tactical, and self-defense lessons for women traveling solo.

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Are neighbors friends or foes? Assessing the agglomeration effect for Airbnb listings

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“Location, location, location.”

Location is often perceived as the most important factor when people assess the value of a home or a property. In the lodging industry, location is an essential attribute of a property and can significantly affect a hotel’s financial performance.

Airbnb and the broader home-sharing businesses represent a new form of lodging products. Location is also a significant, influential factor that affects travelers’ purchasing decisions of a home-sharing stay.

Recent research suggests that Airbnb listings are usually found in popular locations such as tourist attractions and points of interest. When more Airbnb listings are located in the same neighborhood, the competition will become more intense.

Intense competition can be harmful to businesses, especially when they enter a price war. If that’s the case, why would Airbnb hosts choose to operate their short-term residential rental businesses in a neighborhood with other, already existing listings? Would it be better if an Airbnb listing is located in a neighborhood with little competition?

The agglomeration theory

Economists argue that proximity in location for businesses providing similar services or products may allow them to profit from the positive externalities in the market. Such positive externalities include increased demands and production enhancements.

Consumers, for example, would like to shop or dine in a neighborhood with many retail stores and restaurants. Travelers may want to stay in an area with an abundance of alternatives. When a place is fully booked, they can easily find a nearby place without starting a new search in a less familiar neighborhood.

In another case, clustering in a location may help companies gain knowledge and resource spillover, as well as easy access to specialized labor and resources. It is not surprising to see that a large number of tech firms choose to put their headquarters in Silicon Valley, and many financial firms are located in Manhattan.

The research study and the research questions

To assess the agglomeration effect of the home-sharing sector, I worked with two other researchers, Drs. Karen Xie and Cindy Yoonjoung Heo, on a research project. We aimed to answer two research questions in our study:

1. Would Airbnb listings benefit from agglomeration?

2. Would such an agglomeration effect vary based on the service provider’s experience? That is, is the agglomeration effect uniform across the hosts managing one or more listings and the hosts with various lengths of tenure?

The data and the analysis

To answer the research questions, we built a dataset with three sources of data. First, we obtained the data through AirDNA on the monthly performance of the entire Airbnb listings in 201 zip codes of New York City from May 2015 to April 2016.

Then, we collected a series of data from the hotels located in the same zip codes from Expedia as hotels and Airbnb listings are also competing against one another. Lastly, we included the neighborhood information from the American Community Surveys by the Census Bureau of the United States.

The dependent variable is an Airbnb listing’s RevPAN (measured in the logarithm of the average revenue per available nights in a month). Our independent variables include Airbnb listing agglomeration (measured in the logarithm of the number of listings agglomerated in a zip code where the focal listing is located), host capacity (number of listings simultaneously managed by a host, including the focal listing), and host tenure (number of months elapsed since the focal listing’s operator become an Airbnb host), plus other variables.

We operated the analyses on a stepwise basis. First, we estimated the baseline model with the primary variables only. Then, we included the groups of other variables into our estimations.

The results

The results of our analysis were published in The Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, including:

1. The level of agglomeration is positively associated with an Airbnb’s RevPAN. For each 10% increase of Airbnb supply in the neighborhood, the RevPAN of a listing would increase by 1.27%.

2. The positive effect of agglomeration will decrease as a host manages more listings.

3. The hosts with longer tenure can further strengthen the positive effect of agglomeration on a listing’s revenue performance.

The implications

The above findings add new empirical evidence to two streams of literature, including location research in the lodging industry and the ever-growing research regarding the home-sharing businesses. Practically, our findings are expected to assist the webmasters of home-sharing websites, the entrepreneurs who are running a short-term residential business, and the big hotel chains that have already entered the short-term residential rental market in making business decisions regarding a home-sharing facility’s location.

For instance:

  • Proximity in location should be set as a crucial factor when a home-sharing website displays the alternative options to the travelers according to their searching/browsing history.
  • The service providers of home-sharing facilities must pay close attention to such an agglomeration of production enhancements and spillover demands when they choose the right locations for the listings.
  • Policymakers are advised to treat multi-unit commercial hosts and single-unit “mom-and-pop” hosts differently, according to the second finding.

Do you operate any home-sharing facilities? How critical is location to your business?

If you are a traveler who often stays in a home-sharing facility, how will a listing’s location affect your purchasing decisions?

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Select sanctuary counties in Colorado refuse ‘red flag’ gun law

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As we ring in the new decade, new state laws ring in as well. Colorado offers a case study, with a “red flag” law that was contested and upheld in the state Supreme Court. Not everyone was happy about the court’s decision, and a largely right-wing phenomenon with potential nonpartisan appeal — gun sanctuary counties — was the result.

Leave it to Colorado to be immersed in controversial gun reform legislation.

Remember the April 1999 Littleton, Colorado, mass shooting at Columbine High School that served as a national wake-up call regarding the intersection of gun violence and schools? Columbine, which resulted in 13 dead, was blamed on many social ills: parental neglect; lax schools safety laws and slashed budgets; pharmaceutical drugs; the burgeoning local military industrial complex; gun manufacturers; suburban teenage angst; Marilyn Manson’s music; and, of course, firearm availability.

Documentary film director, Michael Moore, made “Bowling for Columbine,” satirizing causal logic in the gun violence debate. The film title refers to how the two Columbine shooters attended bowling class the morning of the shooting.

Moore sarcastically inquired why bowling isn’t blamed for the disturbing school massacre since people search for blame in all quarters except weapons manufacturing — including nearby Littleton’s Lockheed Martin manufacturing facility — resulting in a lax local culture of gun access.

Decades later, Colorado answers back to this causal logic with a red flag measure undermining constitutionally protected gun ownership. HB 19-1177 is a Trump-era law seeking to remove firearms from mentally unstable people’s possession. This law is enforced in a state climate where three sheriff’s deputies have been recently killed by civilian gunfire. One accused murderer has been deemed mentally unstable, hence the legislation.

CNN explains: “The law allows family, household members and law enforcement to petition for a court order to temporarily take guns away from an individual deemed to be at significant risk of hurting themselves or others by having a firearm.”

Since Columbine, mental illness and gun ownership do not mix well; however, there’s a very slippery slope regarding inherent bias in decisions to take guns out of owners’ as yet constitutionally protected hands. The idea of mental instability is highly subjective: behavioral politics is a controversial arena in these trying times of overdiagnosis/overprescription and poor mental healthcare access for uninsured individuals.

Erratically waving a gun while claiming you are going to shoot someone requires intervention. But in that event, a concerned loved one or neighbor/resident can call police and report the threat without controversial legislation.

The problem emerges when unstable individuals are not caught in time. But does an amped up gun law like HB 19-1177 improve matters? This kind of law might serve as a pacifying facade in the nation’s gun violence crisis.

Red flag laws are low-hanging fruit in gun reform, with D.C. and 17 states passing similar measures. But arguments against red flag protections also sound crazy: who advocates that mentally unstable people should be running around with loaded weapons?

The issue is constitutional, with the Second (right to bear arms) and Fourth (protections against illegal searches and seizures) Amendments — and perhaps others — undermined.

County sheriffs and judges call enforcement shots here as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) are court-ordered: “ERPOs provide families and law enforcement officers with a formal legal process to temporarily remove an individual’s firearms and reduce any further access to firearms if they pose a danger to themselves or others.”

According to a dissenting Routt County sheriff criticism, “HB 19-1177 does not require that the accused person be evaluated or proven mentally unstable to the point of being a risk to public safety, but allows the court to decide a person’s mental status based on preponderance of the evidence.”

Mental health charges can be brought against individuals lacking due process in this arrangement.

Combine no mental health evaluation requirement with a police brutality/racial profiling culture and a new profiling culture threatens to emerge. Police officers can request judges to disproportionately disarm already profiled populations of people of color, poor people, undocumented residents. (The state’s population is over three-quarters white.)

Police and judges have revealed large-scale law enforcement biases — which is either evaluated as an otherwise prudent system’s side effect that requires reform or as integral to the U.S. criminal justice system.

To further complicate matters, a very wide net is cast for who can make disarmament requests. Step family members, legal guardians, roommates over six months, spouses, co-parents, and even those who quality as “past unmarried couples” can seek court orders. Imagine being angry at an ex-partner and getting back at them via an ERPO. Or even better: what an amazing legal weapon amongst civilians in heated custody or political battles.

These are all considerations that seem almost secondary to the primary security concern that the law’s territorial unpopularity divides state residents, within and between counties. A Gun Rights Watch map reveals that over one dozen Colorado counties support HB 19-1177, whereas nearly three times the number have passed resolutions against it, instituting sanctuary status.

Is it advisable for a state to uphold such a controversial gun law?

Boulder and Denver counties boast a large demographic of pro-gun control counties supporting HB 19-1177, with just approximately 1 million residents combined in a state with a Census population number of 5,758,736 in 2019. There’s vast Colorado territory that refuses red flag/ERPO law enforcement.

Colorado is in league with many sanctuary state territories that uphold Second Amendment rights. A New York City case may push the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Second Amendment as well.

This case involves New York City gun owner restrictions that allow for carry to citywide gun ranges, but prohibit carrying outside city limits or to other homes — even if guns are unloaded and secured properly.

After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the city revoked the law: “For good measure, New York State enacted a law allowing people with premises licenses to take their guns to their homes and businesses and to shooting ranges and competitions, whether in the city or not.”

One outcome of the SCOTUS decision could be a precedent setting Second Amendment decision that renders gun rights sanctuaries the norm instead of maintaining states as embattled territories.

Hawaii and Nevada also have controversial red flag laws that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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How travel will change in 2020

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A travel and tourism forecast by the U.S. Travel Association projects that global long-haul travel will see 4.8% growth annually through 2023. However, the way we travel will change.

Be it globetrotting, weekend getaways, backpacking or luxury travel, sustainable and responsible tourism will rule in 2020.

Sustainable and responsible

According to a recent Forbes article, travel in 2020 will embrace sustainability in all forms. The intense focus on responsible travel and tourism will be reflected in travelers’ choice of transport.

Modes of travel are already shifting from airlines and automobiles to trains, trams, boats, ships, and pedal bikes. 2020 will redefine travel by reintroducing “slow” travel. Tourists will rush less and instead soak up as much as they can from one destination to another.

A Booking.com survey predicted that 61% of travelers would prefer taking the longer route to their destination, and 48% would be opting for slower modes of transport.

When it comes to local touring, it seems motion-based travel will be the popular choice. Cycle-based trips and walkthroughs will rule along with swim-specific tours and bike-boat vacations.

Travelers fretting about their carbon footprints are looking for carbon-neutral ways to travel, and the industry is reinventing itself to meet the new demands.

The road less traveled

Closely related to these efforts is the concept of going off the beaten path. The environmental damage that the top global destinations have suffered over the last few decades needs to the minimized. The best way to help do that is to contain the traveler footprints to these destinations and generate more interest in places less traveled.

This resonates very strongly with millennials who support reducing overtourism and are keen to explore new adventures. The Booking.com survey also predicted that 54% of modern travelers wish to help reduce overtourism, while 51% are willing to swap popular destinations for lesser-known places.

Also known as second-city travel, this trend will also help combat higher vacation costs and avoid overcrowded locales.

Other interesting trends to note:

Insta-tourism

Instagram tourism is here to stay, and it will impact all businesses in the sector, spurring a need to focus on Instagram marketing. The high organic impact of the platform will be crucial in inspiring wanderlust as the new generations travel to unknown destinations.

Wellness tourism

Wellness tourism has been on the rise over the past decade, but it will see impressive growth in the coming years. Tours that combine fresh outdoor experiences, disconnecting with the outer world, and focusing on healthy living will become more popular. By 2022, this market will be worth $919 billion.

Food travel

Foodie tourism is now occupying one of the top trends. From gourmet food aficionados to food truck lovers, tourists are on the lookout for something new and fresh to savor. The popularity of activities like wine tastings and visiting craft breweries is on the rise and here to stay.

But above all else, sustainability will be the cornerstone for future travel. With airlines, airports, and hotels swearing off single-use plastics, it seems like green travel will see wholesome progress in 2020.

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Top 3 ‘getting off the X’ myths about shooting on the move

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One of the most important rules in a gunfight is to avoid being in the path of incoming rounds, and one of the popular sayings is that you need to “get off the X.”

But that’s where bumper-sticker answers do us a disservice and cause us to buy into training myths about shooting on the move.

As an example, some say that you should point your “finger gun” at a friend, have him walk around and see if you can keep pointing at him.

They say that since you can track them with your “finger gun,” then an attacker could track you and moving doesn’t do you any good in a gunfight.

Except that’s a myth — in real gunfights, movement does matter.

A friend of mine is former Army special forces and a current LE trainer in the Western states.

He has several cases where students have stepped offline, shot their attacker, and found that the wall or patrol car they were standing in front of had one or more holes in it where they were standing (before getting off the X).

In addition, I’ve had shooters demonstrate this regularly in force-on-force training. It’s not 100%…but that has to do with the fact that our visual skills change based on stress level and movement and different people process situations differently.

This goes way beyond “tunnel vision,” but in general, the higher the stress level of your attacker, the more movement will help you.

The next myth has to do with how fast you should move and shoot.

Most moving and shooting training deals with slow, controlled movement. But there’s no one-size-fits-all speed for shooting on the move.

The speed that you should move is dramatically different if you’re behind the curve and responding to an ambush/assault than if you’re on an entry team following a flash bang with speed, surprise, and violence of action on your side.

Clearing a structure equals controlled movement.

Responding to an assault means you get out of the way of the attack ASAP.

So, then there’s the third myth…that if you’re moving fast enough to be harder to hit and minimize your exposure time, there’s no way you can make consistent, reliable hits.

Without the right training, that’s correct for 99.99% of shooters. But in this video, I demonstrate how you can move at a high rate of speed and still make consistent hits with your carry gun and tell you how you can get the same level of life-saving performance.

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What to expect for 2020 in hospitality and tourism

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Are you ready for the holiday season? Are you excited about 2020 and a new decade, too?

In just two weeks, we are going to welcome a new year and, more importantly, a new decade. I hope everybody is celebrating the fruitful year of 2019.

In 2019, I shared a total of 24 discussions, if not counting this summary piece, covering the topics in food delivery, tech trends, customer loyalty, Airbnb, and other marketing issues.

Looking ahead, I believe many of the events we discussed in 2019 will significantly affect the hospitality and tourism industries in the future. Through a review of what happened in 2019, we can get a good idea of what we can expect in 2020 in hospitality and tourism.

Restaurant businesses and food delivery

In 2019, we discussed two threads about the restaurant business and four threads regarding food delivery, making up 25% of the topics that we talked about in the year. Will those trends have continuous impacts on the restaurant business in 2020?

On the one hand, we have seen more upscale, fine-dining restaurants going out of business. At the same time, more quick-casual dining facilities are entering the market, such as Amazon Go stores and IHOP’s new “Flip’d” stores.

On the other hand, consumers continue demanding sustainable products. Beyond Meat and veggie burgers, for example, turned out to be a big hit in 2019. The challenge for restauranteurs is that they might not necessarily stay on the same page with the consumers when it comes to going green.

Notably, our attention was put on the competition in food delivery (four discussions or 17%). Even though Amazon decided to stop restaurant delivery, which was unlikely to be a permanent decision for Amazon, other companies, including McDonald’s and a startup, are investing big in the food delivery business. Now that drone delivery has been launched in selected markets, we should definitely keep an eye on the updates about food delivery in 2020.

AI and tech trends

Technology plays such a critical role in today’s business that we discussed five threads regarding tech trends. That makes up about 21% or one-fifth of the discussions in 2019.

Earlier this year, we discussed an update about Alibaba’s futuristic hotel, where machines but not workers are hired to provide guest service. We then looked at AI and facial recognition’s impacts on service operations through my observations at the HITEC 2019 (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference) and the tour at NEC’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Additionally, more companies are using AI in employee recruitment and selection. A good case in point is that a job seeker can now initiate a job application at McDonald’s by talking to Alexa.

It is safe to predict that AI will become more crucial to hospitality and tourism businesses in 2020 and beyond. Would you agree?

Nevertheless, as more businesses are using facial recognition in their daily operations and more consumers are opting in to such services, privacy concerns also emerge. I urge legislators to regulate the usage of any technology that utilizes consumers’ biometric data soon.

Dynamic pricing and customer loyalty

We had four (or 17%) of our relevant discussions concerning customer loyalty in 2019. Specifically, two of them were about hotels introducing dynamic pricing to their loyalty programs.

The first time we talked about the dynamic pricing strategy adopted by hotels, restaurants, and Airbnb was in 2018. It appeared that dynamic pricing had become a more common practice among hotels in 2019, with IHG and Marriott adding dynamic pricing to their loyalty programs this year. It is likely to see other hotel chains will follow such a practice in 2020.

United Airlines expected to change its MileagePlus program substantially starting from 2020. The new program will make it very difficult for economy-class travelers to earn either mileage or elite status. While it makes sense why the airline wants to focus on the top-spending travelers, it is uncertain how such changes will affect the airline’s business in the future.

Then, United Airlines also announced in early December that its CEO Oscar Munoz would turn over his role to company President Scott Kirby in the spring. It deserves our attention in 2020 to see how such changes will affect United’s operations. More importantly, will other airlines roll out similar programs that focus on the top spenders only?

Last but not least, I recommend we shall pay special attention to such firms as Google and Amazon in 2020. Both companies have the power of winning customer loyalty by providing travelers the “total travel experience.”

Airbnb

All of the three discussions about Airbnb (13%) were published before June 2019. Airbnb has a unique charm to attract repeat business and it wants to become a mega tourism company that provides a total travel experience, too.

In March 2019, Airbnb acquired HotelTonight. Now, the company also invests more in the real estate market. Airbnb is aiming something big and deserves our continuous attention in 2020.

Product development and other marketing issues

There were three threads about product development and other marketing issues, contributing to 13% of the discussions. The 12 megatrends in travel and tourism revealed by Skift, as well as whether sex still sells in today’s business world, certainly have useful implications in product development. I also expect investors to continue favoring boutique stores and hotels in 2020 to embrace mega travel trends.

Other topics

The rest of the discussions include three threads (13%), namely, promoting student success at the STR Student Market Study Competition, an international student’s journal to success in hospitality, and safety tips for traveling in Paris and Europe.

The safety trips we discussed can be applied to all tourist destinations. I know for sure I will work with an undergraduate team and a graduate team for the STR Student Market Study Competition in 2020. I will also continue engaging our alumni in 2020. The year 2020 will be a good year to look forward to.

Is it reasonable to prepare for the future through a review of past events?

In December 2018, we reviewed what we discussed in 2018 as we predict what would happened in the hospitality and tourism industry in 2019. At that time, we anticipated:

  • Airbnb would expand to other markets in 2019 as it wanted to become a mega travel company.
  • Machines would take over more jobs from workers in 2019.
  • When more hotels introduced bigger loyalty programs in 2018, changes could be expected in hotel loyalty programs in 2019.
  • Gen Z was making changes in the workplace and became a prominent force that influences product development in the future.
  • Innovation with the aids of technology, as well as sustainability, would keep our attention in 2019.
  • Dynamic pricing was first brought up in 2018, and we saw more hotels introducing dynamic pricing to their loyalty programs.

It seems what happened in 2018 indeed provided a valid clue of what we could expect in 2019. Now, can you anticipate what will take place in 2020 in hospitality and tourism based on a review of the significant events that happened in 2019? What do you see happening in 2020?

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