Mark Twain loved to travel and once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth…”
From the enlightening words of Mark Twain, who emphasized the power of travel to overcome prejudice and ignorance, we begin a journey through ten bizarre facts about the world of tourism and travel.
1. The Unexpected Vacationer: Erwin Kreuz, a German tourist, became an unintentional local celebrity in Bangor, Maine, when he mistook the town for San Francisco. He spent several days trying to locate the Golden Gate Bridge and other San Francisco landmarks in this far-off locale.
2. Clinging to Adventure: In a chilling 2009 incident, an American traveler found himself hanging onto a speeding Australian train for over 124 miles in freezing temperatures. The man, only dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, was nearly left behind during a transcontinental journey.
3. Pricey Paradise: Travelers to Bhutan, the peaceful Himalayan kingdom, must pay a tourist tax of $200 per night, maintaining the nation’s exclusive appeal.
4. A Computer-Designed Haven: The bustling tourist hotspot of Cancun, Mexico, owes its inception to computer models used by the Mexican government to locate the ideal vacation spot.
5. Popeye’s Permanent Set: The village constructed for the 1980 film ‘Popeye’ still stands in Malta, drawing fans and tourists alike to its quaint and colorful structures.
6. The Office’s Real Home: The U.S. sitcom ‘The Office’ turned Scranton, Pennsylvania, from a former coal city into a major tourist attraction, giving a new lease of life to its downtown area.
7. A Reformatory Redemption: The Ohio State Reformatory, used as a location in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, was saved from demolition and turned into a popular tourist site, purchased from the state for just one dollar.
8. Somalia’s Distressing Travel Advisory: The U.S. State Department provides a sobering list of recommendations for those planning to travel to Somalia, including drafting a will and appointing a family contact for potential hostage-takers.
9. Homebody Americans: Despite the vastness of the world, 40% of Americans have never ventured outside the U.S., and 11% haven’t even left their birth state.
10. Beware of the ‘Touron’: Park rangers have coined the term ‘touron‘ to describe tourists acting irresponsibly in national parks, highlighting the need for respect for nature when visiting these magnificent sites.”