JODY VICTOR®

Let's go on an adventure with Jody Victor!


Recently a Chinese man was fined and arrested when customers officers found 200 live and venomous scorpions in his luggage at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka.

The man is suspected of smuggling the scorpions into China so the venom could be extracted, however, he was released and allowed to return home after paying the fine of $550.

Officials stated that an investigation is underway. They were not able to value the scorpions, but stated that live-wildlife trafficking is a lucrative new trade and recently has become an issue all over the world.

Sri Lanka is the home of about 18 different species of venomous scorpions but only one Sri Lankan species is known to be fatal to humans. At this time it is unknown whether the 200 live scorpions are of this deadly species.

This weird case comes right on the heals of another strange smuggling  incident in which a plane passenger at the same airport attempted to smuggle $30,000 worth of gold using his rear end.

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Combine the power of social media with popular culture phenomena and you’ve got a recipe for over-tourism. Whether it is Instagram users seeking the perfect selfie at a tulip farm in California or the actual beach that inspired The Beach, the attention created by this combo is more bust than boom for many destinations.

 

An Alpine village named Hallstatt is the latest victim. Seated in Austria’s Salzkammergut mountains in Gmunden district. It is a quaint collection of classic Swiss style surrounded by snowy mountains and kissed by crystal water. It is literally something straight out of a fairytale. But dumped right onto your social media feed.

 

The population of the town is a mere 780 persons, but tourist numbers reportedly reach ten thousand visitors a day sometimes. Beyond Hallstatt generally being a place a selfie-obsessed traveler would want to indulge their vanity it is also rumored to have inspired Arendelle, the name of the setting to Disney’s incredibly popular Frozen movies.

 

Tourism has so interrupted life in the village that some churches have even hired bouncers to stop visitors from interrupting the village’s religious services.

 

 

 

 

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The Department of Transportation released figure stating that passengers paid 1.2 billion dollars in baggage fees just between July and December. Which is up about 10% from last year during the same period. Between April and June baggage fees reached their highest ever at $1.18 billion.

Some experts believe this is at least partially due to the popular rise of very basic economy fares. These fliers can’t use overhead bins, so if they show up and can’t stash their carry-on under the seat they get stuck with a fee.

American Airlines and United Airlines both have very basic fairs which allow only one small personal item on board. In addition to this, there have just been more fliers generally speaking, hopefully due to a healthy economy and lower fares overall.

 

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According to a blog post made by Airbnb in early 2020 they will ban all unauthorized parties on Airbnb properties; it will also be updating its guest standards—both in an effort to address growing concerns about safety and trust on the platform.

Airbnb is going to specifically disallow open-invite parties that are not preapproved by the host. This would include parties promoted by the guest on social media. Their new policy will also ban any and all parties in large, multifamily residences. However, single-family residences and event venues would be excluded from this new rule and would allow hosts to set their own rules concerning events like parties.

The new guest standards coming early next year will also address situations such as the following: excessive noise, unauthorized guests, smoking, parking and cleanliness concerns. All of these have become concerns of late with Airbnb guests. While guests have always, in theory, been required to follow a host’s rules the new policy creates a framework in which actionable enforcement can take place when host rules are violated.

To further address concerns Airbnb will be launching hotlines for city officials or neighbors to contact the company with concerns over the use of Airbnb properties.

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Recently the unfinished Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter partially collapsed. This event unfortunately took the lives of three people and injured dozens more. The city has now announced the entire structure which is 18 stories tall will be imploded.

The building owners’ engineers pointed out it will take 9 weeks to demolish the complex and another 3 months to remove and clear debris. This process will have the Hard Rock missing many busy tourist times including Mardi Gras, New Years and the Sugar Bowl.

New Orleans’ Fire Chief commented that the planned controlled demolition is the only safe way to handle the damaged building. The building owners will pay all costs for the demolition, but the city will be in control of the process. Additionally, the city will not allow demolition to interrupt any tourist season activity.

The top floors of the hotel are what unexpectedly collapsed. The cause is still under investigation by multiple city departments including the police and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

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