I am still here in Belgrade and contemplating when I should head back to Bosnia, I will be arriving at the flat in Sarajevo on the 27th to rent for August; the lady of the home is leaving on the 28th. I am comfortable where I am staying here in Belgrade with fast Internet, air-conditioning, and still the only person in this shared twin room. I highly doubt they will place an additional person in this room since I am staying short-to-long term.
The public transportation here in Belgrade is somewhat decent with several trams/trollies/light rails, but there is no subway. The number 2 tram circles the city from the train station passed the citadel, the pedestrian zone and the bohemian quarter. Number 7 and 9 trams head over the river to New Belgrade where the shopping malls are located. Yet, there are not as many trams here in Belgrade than in Sofia the Tram city. Here in the center of Belgrade I visited the most unique movie theater that has original movie spirit and rare Hollywood old memorabilia of the “good-o-days”, I shall return to get some snap shoots. I also met a female couchsurfer for a cup of tea on Saturday. I decided I will try to contact some couchsurfers when I visit a city for lunch or just a drink. I become much more familiar with the city and the cultural mind-set through a local.
Slowly I have made some small changes on my travel blog. I changed the categories that are in the drop down navigation tab “countries” to post all the posts of the category with the dates from the oldest to newest. I have been changing the footer styles and will be keeping the current picture size for the posts, I am sure you notice a difference from prior on blogger and now using Thesis and WordPress. While I am in Sarajevo I will go through all the important posts on the sidebar and edit and post bigger pictures.
I added my new logo “DIY Theme Designer” and offering basic design services and set-up packages for Thesis and WordPress. Ironically, I was contacted from a guy in Northern Minnesota needing some blog set-up assistance. Some of you Minnesotans might remember a DJ on KQRS and KDWB named Jack Hicks? Currently he pursues independent mobile DJ work all over Northern Minnesota and is very popular. I am assisting him with his new DJ Site. We both were surprised over the coincidence from talking on Skype.
The Travel Blogging Concept:
This last month, New York City hosted the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference, this is the second year for the conference. Many bloggers posted their review of TBEX and most have mixed reviews. Some travel bloggers wrote that they were expecting more detailed instruction, but the short talks consisted of preknown knowldge. Most people commented that they did learn from their preconceived expectations. Of course not, do you really think bloggers are just going to hand out their SEO and money making secrets or how they attact high numbers? Or, maybe they don’t have any secrets but just portray themselves as such? Also, some bloggers wrote that they felt there was too much emphasis on partying and many travel bloggers formed and stuck in tight cliques. From the travel blogs I read, the travel bloggers conference sounds slightly odd.
The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twenty-four (24) hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.
Let’s face it, the only way to profit from the travel industry is to play its game. If I say, “do not book ahead”, this phrase is outside the travel industry scope. The travel industry plays upon fantasy that is wrapped around false exceptions that leads to disappointment. Mass tourism ruins cultures and the environment. The travel industry bases itself within a greedy level of inner-want, and, in return tries to snuff out the small business owner.
International tourism receipts grew to US$944 billion (euro 642 billion) in 2008
Within the last year thousands of travel blogs have appeared on the web. There are many bloggers who really don’t travel, but have a strong desire, yet because of the dormant travels they resort to teaching how to travel. Well guess again, traveling is about the moment—the traveler cannot ascertain what might occur. There is a travel blogging group who comparitaly cannot actively travel but will write upon each others content, within the last month I read about over five different blogs that wrote about traveling alone and solo travel. Then you have the Twitter group who re-tweets each others posts and will comment on each others blogs.
Now since there is a travel blog saturation, many active travelers who are trying to make money from their blog are struggling. It is very important to note that most travel businesses want their name on your blog and are not willing to pay the premium amount. There are many businesses who want their link on the home page in exchange for a link on one of their side lower traffic sites. Or they want a review of their business within a post. But, the key point is many businesses are not willing to pay. Also, I don’t think people realize that affiliate ads are only advertising for the company. The businesses that offer the blogger freebies mostly want a “positive review” in return. What if you didn’t like the train pass, or plane trip, or river cruise—will you still post a positive review?
Mass tourism could only have developed with the improvements in technology, allowing the transport of large numbers of people in a short space of time to places of leisure interest, so that greater numbers of people could begin to enjoy the benefits of leisure time.
As long as people are focused on making money and becoming popular the travel tourism industry will just get worse.
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Excellent post Shawn. We have had some very good luck with advertisers but we are not willing to settle on cheap advertising. We have a set price and will not take less. People are willing to pay if you stick to your guns, but you have to be willing to walk away. We have had people ask us to post free ads in exchange for links that are a lower page rank than ours. We politely decline. If we are putting a link up, it is for a monthly fee for a limited time. I think that there is hope out there for blogs with integrity.
As far as the Travel Blog exchange, we were expecting more as well, but then again we were only there for one day. I did enjoy connecting with people outside of the conference, that seemed to be where the real business was taking place. We have made connections to do a trip to Mongolia next year and we have set up meetings this month with tourist boards that we met at TBEX, so it wasn’t a total loss.
Your website is looking great! Keep on traveling. I agree,the blogs that we love are the blogs where people keep traveling. We will be back on the road in 2 months.
Hey Dave and Deb, I am glad the TBEX was good in some ways, and I am sure it was for many people, but the travel niche can be a strange niche, and many bloggers comment similar. I will be following along on your blog.
Very insightful post. That’s great that Dave and Deb were able to make some great connections like that. I did some networking, as in met some new people and exchanged cards, but nothing like the progress they made, like getting set up on a blogger/press trip (which I was secretly hoping for). You’re right–it’s kind of funny putting a whole bunch of competitors in a room and then expecting them to share their secrets. Blogging has many ways of being mutually beneficial, like doing blogroll link exchanges, but at some point the other bloggers are only going to make it more difficult for your blog to succeed. It’s a tough one.