Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines tourism trends.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

Syria’s Tourism Industry Shows Signs of Life — But the Comeback Is Controversial: Is visiting a country an implicit endorsement of its leadership? Or can intrepid travelers frame it simply as a gesture of connection with its people? The situation in Syria raises these questions and more.

How the California Wildfires Are Impacting Tourism: Several years of devastating wildfires have taken a toll on California tourism but have not affected overall visitor numbers. Instead, the fires have changed the way the state markets itself and made it harder for tourism employees to live in California.

Wildfires Raise Challenges for California’s Tourism Management: After several years of historic wildfires, California has to take a hard look at the future of tourism in its wine regions and mountain resort communities. The fires have exacerbated problems such as a lack of affordable workforce housing.

Los Angeles Tourism Invests in India With Influencer Campaigns: Indians are keen to travel to Los Angeles — that much is clear. But the city’s destination marketer is looking for ways to ensure that Indian visitors don’t just show up, but know how to get the most out of the sprawling city.

How One Popular Cape Cod Tourist Spot Is Tackling Plastics: Restaurant owner Jeff Lewis decided to eliminate disposables, even though some customers grumbled. Now vendors are bringing him ideas.

Italy Revives Abandoned Villages as Experiential Travel Destinations: While every destination tries to offer authenticity, few really deliver. But in Italy, scores of local passion projects are serving up the real deal — while helping rural areas make a comeback in a sustainable way.

Turning Abandoned Hamlets Into Luxury Destinations: Wineries and agriturismo accommodations have long drawn travelers to the Italian countryside. But a more recent development is bringing travelers to Italy’s once-abandoned hamlets. Other countries are taking note.

Africa Needs to Make Conservation a Growth Industry: If leaders continue to look at African conservation as a charitable cause, it is doomed. As a growth industry — yes, an industry — that creates jobs and economic mobility, there is still hope for a sustainable future driven by the very young population on the continent.

Travel Leaders Group Aims to Accelerate UK Growth After Thomas Cook Collapse: With one of the biggest names in UK travel exiting the market, there’s space for other travel firms to pick up some of the travel demand. It’s not going to be easy with plenty of Brexit uncertainty in the market as well as lots of competition.

Online Travel Agency On the Beach Sees a Blessing and Curse From Thomas Cook’s Demise: On the Beach’s purchase of Classic Collection Holidays now looks like a strategic masterstroke in light of the collapse of Thomas Cook. Brick-and-mortar travel agents in the United Kingdom lost a holiday supplier, and the company has a ready-made alternative on offer.

Pitching Personalized Boutique Meeting Spaces Over Cavernous Convention Halls: As the boutique trend sweeps the events industry, a handful of venue providers are jostling for top spot. London’s Etc. Venues thinks its “laser focus” will allow it to stand out in the United States, but will it be able to compete with more established U.S. players like Convene?

Providers of Trendy Meeting Venues Lure Planners Away from Boring Conference Halls: When it comes to meeting spaces, ambience is becoming almost as important as functionality. As event organizers move away from generic conference rooms, boutique event companies like Etc. Venues and Convene are starting to expand.

Photo Credit: A busy street in Syria. Photo RNW.org / Flickr