Quirky Questions Tourists Ask
Are there really no stupid questions? Your teacher might have told you so, but tourist officials would disagree.
Paul Stafford / AP
Travelers are innately curious, often letting silly questions spill out of their mouths. But you can't help but wonder how a tourist who asks what time the Loch Ness Monster is fed can figure out how to feed themselves in a foreign country. AAP recently reported a tourist in New York thought they would end up in Holland if they drove through the Holland Tunnel, and another traveler in Miami asked a tourism official: "Can you tell me which beach is closest to the ocean?" One tourist-thirsty to learn more-even asked where the Boston Tea Party takes place.
Even in less traveled treks like Minnesota, tourism officials are being asked strange questions. After Associated Press published a countdown of quirky questions, we spoke with Chuck Lennon, media representative for Explore Minnesota Tourism, to find out how the list was compiled. Lennon had asked his co-workers to submit the silliest questions tourists had asked over the years to include as a fun tidbit in his annual year-in-review report. He received a lot of feedback, some of which was asked face-to-face at travel information centers and others that came from phone or mail queries. Here are the quirkiest of them all:
Hoping for a Miracle:
"Is it always foggy in Duluth? What time will the fog lift?" (It is often foggy in Duluth but the fog does not lift on a prearranged schedule.)
Christmas in July:
"I'm coming in July and I want snowmobile rental information."
They Prefer Saltwater, Actually:
"Where do we go to do the whale-watching?"
The Lazy Fisherman:
"Is there such a thing as an easy fishing lake? Something without having to hunt and work real hard?"
Missed the Boat:
"We want to tour the Edmund Fitzgerald." (The ship sank in a storm in Lake Superior in 1975. Its last known position was 15 miles northwest of Whitefish Point, Mich.)
Only 600 Miles Off Target:
A traveler asking to see a bridge in Minnesota with arches was shown various photos, none of which seemed right to her. She finally identified a picture of the St. Louis Gateway Arch as the right attraction, and was given directions to Missouri.
Midwest Border Restrictions:
"Does one need a travel permit or visa to visit Minnesota?"
Even the Police are Friendly:
A New Yorker who stopped by the Thompson Hill travel information center in Duluth mentioned that he'd gotten a speeding ticket on the way there. He said that when he told the officer he was headed to Northeastern Minnesota to see owls, the cop didn't just give him a citation; he also directed him to good places for owl-watching.
Lake Superior-ity Complex:
"I want an adult-only resort, no kids! I also want a beach, but there has to be a swimming pool, I'm not swimming in that filthy lake!"
"Congratulations to the Minnesota Legislature for being willing to include money to support this type of visitor center and keep important the little towns, which could be regarded as dead or dying."
How do tourism officials deal with these outlandishly quirky questions? Lennon told AP that employees just have to suck it up: "Don't laugh in their faces. Calm yourself and just deal with it."