We’re looking for questions for Friday’s #DigitalLunch panel, now!!

A quick heads up on Friday’s #DigitalLunch session on Google Plus… This week we ask how digital is affecting tourism? And not just at home, but globally.

To that end we hope to have guests from as far apart as a Caracas and east Africa, encompassing industry practitioners and travel writers.

In contrast to previous editions this week we can give you the URL where you will be able to watch the broadcast live, but also where (but you will only be able to contribute if you are registered for Google Plus) you give us questions to ask this week’s guests and vote for those you think are the most challenging…

This integrated Google Plus and Moderator page is a very early beta and not yet widely available. You will be able to post questions to it right up to and through the broadcast on Friday (1pm BST)…

The integration of these two tools takes audience participation to a different level. I will be relying very heavily on it in order to structure the session itself.

I like it because (registration issues aside) it is an open platform. Anyone can contribute questions and vote them up and down. Of course we will have the last word on what gets asked, and what doesn’t.

In other words the audience can ask and push what they consider to be the more important questions to the top. Provided you are registered for G+ you should be able to see the same dynamic question order that we can on the inside.

I’ll be posting the usual reminders on Friday morning… But if you have any relevant questions, let us have them now!!! If you want to get further involved, email me on editor@sluggerotoole.com or ping me a message on G+ at gplus.to/mickfealty

Even if tourism is not normally quite your thing, it should be good crack!!

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  • Ruarai

    Questions: Here’s one:

    Have online travel booking and review forums empowered socialists to spread their love for dictatorships?

    Letftist Planet in this month’s FP is bang on your topic:

    “These days, the young and progressive book travel online, eschewing tour groups and specialized travel agents. This leaves the task of a travelers’ political education to guidebook empires like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, both of which — while offering what Lonely Planet calls “honest and objective” advice on where to find the perfect pisco sour in Peru or that slice of beach paradise in Cambodia — provide detailed, polemical asides on the political history and culture of the countries under review. ”

    To get a sense of the “honest and objective” balderdash Lonely Planet readers are subjected to, read the whole piece: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/13/leftist_planet?page=0,0

  • Mick Fealty

    Execellent material Ruarai… I’ll share with my followers on G+ and see what it kicks up… there was also a piece we did years ago here on the 50 worst about Ireland, I think… which I will also dig out…

    To anyone… you can contribute your own questions on the url I’ve posted above…

    Once again the limitation is whether you are in or out of G+… if you have a gmail account you can just build out from there…

    Don’t forget to add me to your circles and I will do my best to help you find your feet there…

    Just stick the redirect address gplus.to/mickfealty into your url…

  • carl marks

    In my experience the digital world has helped our tourist trade; it forces those of us who work in tourism (as I do) to up our game, with the touch of a screen people have access to the opinions and experiences of others who have visited the island (I’m not trying to make a political point here but that is how most of our overseas visitors see Ireland) this means a bad experience by a guest can be round the world before the person involved leaves the site.
    I recently spent some time in Sabah Borneo a bit of climbing, paddling and trekking, we can learn a lot from them, transport quick and clean, accommodation excellent with efficient and very friendly staff and the food, well I put on weight despite the amount of work and sweat caused by my daytime activities.
    Here on the other hand sometimes when I take visitors to various places round the north you sometimes get the feeling that while some people are happy to take your money they can give the impression that they can’t be really bothered after that.
    My question is; how does our annual little spat which takes place right in the middle of the tourist season affect the numbers who visit us, I would also love to know what our visitors think of the flags that have turned into rags on our flagpoles.
    Recently a English friend of mine here with his family told me that he felt very uncomfortable with the flags flying everywhere, explaining that the only time he would see so many union flags in one place in England would be during a NF demo, he asked me when they came down and was astounded when I told him they didn’t come down but were left to turn into rags, again he was shocked, he explained that his would not happen in England even the Nasties treated the flag with more respect.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s one problem. And I think that MSM approaches to those kinds of big conflict stories don’t help with that perception problem either…

    But one thing struck me last year when we all decamped to Snowdonia for a Irish Welsh friend’s wedding… And that was just how under developed hillclimbing and outdoor activities (more importantly, businesses) in the likes of the Mournes and the Sperrins are compared to N Wales…

    I say this because it seems to me that for the longest time during the troubles themselves, the only English people I met who ever confessed to having ever been to NI were old soldiers, the families and fishermen… who love Lough Erne because, unlike their own rivers it was full of naturally stock high quality freshwater fish…

    There have to be opportunities opening for NI and the republic to do a lot of business building on the back these new none proprietary comms tools to make relationships and tell engaging new stories about why they should come here…


  • carl marks

    Mick the underdevelopment of Hill walking in the North is a disgrace. Given we differ from most places in that most hill farmers have no problem with responsible hikers on their land, Wild Camping (the only kind) is also tolerated providing you have the manners to ask permission first.
    There are walking festivals in the Mournes, the Sperrins, Antrim Hills and the Belfast Hills,
    However outside festivals the hills can be very empty, I have went on 2 day hikes along the Sperrins camping in some of the best scenery in these islands and not seen another person now don’t get me wrong I like that but talk about a under used resource.
    Hill walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts stay in locally owned Hostels and B&Bs, drink in local pubs and buy their sandwiches in the local shop, they probably put more money into the local community than visitors staying in a golf resort.
    Your point about Snowdonia is valid; the income generated by walking in that incredible place is vast in comparison to here. The Mournes is the closet we come to exploiting our own mountains and hills, and all you have to do to see how little it contributes to the local economy is to open the yellow pages at outdoor stores and see how small the section is.

  • Mick Fealty

    Can we boil these down to some hard core questions for the #digitallunch…

  • carl marks

    During my recent visit to Asia I stayed in Hostels both for reasons of cost and also that’s where the craic is.
    Every kid (which to me is anyone under 30) had a tablet or Smartphone and nearly every village had an internet cafe, it is obvious that nearly every experience good or bad is shared with people all over the world.
    Because of the way good and bad experiences can be shared so quickly backpackers for example (the most flexible of tourists) can decide on a almost daily basis what their itinerary is and that decision can be based on their face book page.
    With all that in mind, here are my questions
    1/ what effect does our regular bouts of tantrum tossing have on the way the world sees us as a tourist attraction,
    2/ how best do we utilise this global system hat be both a mass communication and personal network to promote tourism here.

  • carl marks

    2/ should read
    2/ how best do we utilise this global system that can be both a mass communication and personal network to promote tourism here.

  • carl marks

    Oh another one,
    3/ Does our history of regular tantrum tossing actually bring tourists here.

  • Mick Fealty

    Have a look at the questions CS that are already up there… Tourism is the focus, not NI problems:


    And feel free to add your own, and vote on others as they grab you as relevant or interesting?

    Question 2 is interesting but might be a little more simplified…

  • carl marks

    Sorry Mick but is hard to look at tourism anywhere without looking at the effects of local politics or events on tourism, I’m not trying to rattle a drum, and i think it’s safe to assume that the access we all have to instant communication, twitter, blogs, face book etc is used by tourists to help decide where to go next

    is this any better for 2/
    How can we use all aspects digital to promote and develop the wide range of relatively underused (rivers, lakes, mountains shoreline) tourist potential in NI

  • carl marks

    tried to sign on to the url but it wont accept me,
    so looks like ill be sitting this one out. ;-(

  • Mick Fealty

    I appreciate that… So couch the question in terms that people in Venezuela will understand and you’ll have a better chance of getting it asked?

  • Mick Fealty

    Erm, as noted above, you will only be able to contribute if you are registered for Google Plus.

    If not, you cannot play. But you could formulate a question, and I could put it in on your behalf?

  • Mick Fealty

    Not least since my question is langouring at the bottom of the voted list just now…

  • carl marks

    Mick tried to register, cant seem to get past the first page,

    How can areas with underused resources (mountains rivers etc) use the digital media to attract greater numbers of holidaymakers.

    sorry mick last try, thats the best i can do.

  • carl marks

    how about this just occured to me.
    I am involved in organising the Belfast Hills walking festival outside face book and the Belfast festival website we have had no exposure in the digital media, How would a young event such as this get itself out there.

  • Mister_Joe

    Languishing or lingering, Mick, although I do like the sound of your new word.

  • Kit_Carruthers

    I often hear Phil Flanagan talking about the difficulty advertising tourism on both sides of the border because there isn’t an all island tourism brand. He explains that, when searching for a hotel, you need to navigate multiple websites and it has a negative effect on the figures.

    Is this actually an issue and can it be addressed?

  • Kit_Carruthers

    Oh, right. I’ve missed it. D’oh!