Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shanghai Preparing for Largest Ever World’s Fair

China’s six month World Expo, with the theme “Better City, Better Life” will kick off on May 1st.

This is expected to be the largest World’s Fair to ever take place, with an estimated 70 million visitors attending between May 1st and October 31st, when it closes.

In Pudong, located on the east side of the river, is where the national pavilions and most of the big facilities will be located, giant white funnels will provide shade, channel sunlight to underground walkways and collect rainwater for recycling. Zero-emission electric vehicles will be used within the Expo grounds, and solar panels installed in various Expo buildings will create a 5-megawatt solar power system — China's largest.

The most eye-catching landmark will be the 226-foot-high China Pavilion; a scarlet structure that some say looks like a mahjong table. A clamshell-shaped cultural center that will seat up to 18,000 people and a new stadium will also permanently join the skyscrapers lining the Huangpu.

The city has also built a new airport terminal, subway lines, expressways, tunnels and bridges to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of extra visitors expected each day.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to get started booking your China Vacation!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No More Free Meals on Continental

Continental Airlines, the last US carrier to offer meals for free on its flights of over three hours, announced recently that it will discontinue free meal service for coach passengers on most domestic flights soon.

Starting this fall the airline will begin charging for food. The airline said it would offer a variety of high quality, healthy food choices for purchase in economy class on many of its US, Canada and certain Latin American routes. The airline will continue to offer complimentary food in the economy cabin on all intercontinental and certain other international routes and on long-haul domestic routes over six hours.
They will continue to offer complimentary food in First Class and Business First on worldwide routes, and complimentary pretzels and non-alcoholic drinks in coach.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fiji Declares 30-Day State of Emergency

Cyclone Tomas caused heavy damage throughout the northern regions of the Fiji Islands yesterday.

The full extent of the damage is not known yet as communications are down. Vanua Levu seems to have been the hardest hit. Tourists holidaying on Vanua Levu and nearby resorts have had to relocate to hotels out of the path of the Cyclone and were given the option to stay on the island or move to the mainland.

While all airstrips and airports were initially closed flights have since resumed into the main international airport at Nadi.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

U.S. Airports Getting Body Scanners

Boston Logan received its first scanner this week and will get two more next week. All will be installed in the same terminal.

Los Angeles, Charlotte and Chicago O'Hare are also getting the scanners. Eleven airports in the U.S. will begin using the scanners during the next two years. The TSA bought 150 scanners last year and will take delivery of 300 more this year and 500 next year.

The scanners are 9 feet long and 6½ feet wide, much larger than metal detectors. They are much larger and slower than the metal detectors now in use and some airport officials are concerned. They have to be monitored very closely because they can slow down lines very quickly.

About half of nearly 40 airports that answered a survey last month by the Airports Council International said their security checkpoints are too small to handle the machines. Metal detectors will still be available and passengers who want to avoid scanners can opt to go through a metal detector and be hand-searched by a screener.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

5 reasons to travel to Europe this Spring

We all have a million excuses as to why we can’t travel but what about all the reasons why we should? Europe is chalk-full of activities for travelers of every age whether you’re on a mission for adventure or you simply plan to take it easy. A cultural, eye-opening jaunt through Europe just might be the ticket to beating those mid-winter blues.

1. Museums are not as crowded. You seldom have to wait in line for big attractions such as the Louvre in Paris or the Vatican Museum in Rome this time of year, the exception being Easter weekend and school holidays. Museum passes coupled with short lines makes visiting museums as easy as walking in the door. Furthermore, you can take in the experience on your own sweet time without being jostled by other tourists.

2. The Europeans are home. Mingling among the locals is the best way to sample real European culture. Italians linger for hours over dinner on a sidewalk café, the fashionable French strut down le Champs-Elysees, and the Spanish head to the bars in the evening for tapas and pintxos. Concert series are in full wing and special art collections are available to the public that might otherwise be closed during the busy Summer months.

3. Proximity. Europe is relatively small and it is so easy to cross borders. No visas, no custom lines. Think you don’t like Venice so much? An overnight train will put you in Vienna in time to see the opera. Or hop on a cheap flight to Barcelona via Ryan Air. Traveling to Europe is a great way to experience many different cultures in a short period of time.

4. Affordability. The economy is improving and the dollar is going up [slowly], meaning you will get more Euro for your American dollar. On top of that, cheap flights to Europe are not difficult to find and car rentals are affordable and easy to secure during the down season.

5. Health benefits. Even short vacations have been proven to reduce to stress levels, blood pressure and even one’s heart rate by taking a break from the pressures of work and home life. Leisure travel has been found to contribute to improved overall health and well-being by helping to restore balance to one’s mental and physical health. The benefits of travel last long after you’ve returned home even. New experiences shape the way we look at the world and help to put our lives in perspective. That pesky work situation might not seem quite so bothersome after escaping town for a few days.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Turismo Chile Issues Statement After Earthquake

Today the Turismo Chile issued a statement to the tourism industry on the effects of the 8.8 earthquake on the tourism industry.

The report said the cities closest to the epicenter of the quake, including Concepcion, Talcahuano and Temuco, and a number of small towns along Chile's central coast, were most affected by the quake. The northern part of Chile's Lakes and Volcanoes region, around the city of Concepcion and the Bio River, were most affected by the quake and authorities are still working on assessing the full damage.

Basic essential services including water, electricity and telecommunications are gradually being restored. The southern part of the Lakes and Volcanoes region was not affected by the quake. Operations in popular tourist towns including Pucon, Puerto Varas and Puerto Mont are reported to be normal.

Electricity and phone lines have been restored in Santiago and the city's public transportation including its metro is fully operational. Valparaiso and Viña del Mar have also reported damage. The desert region in the north of Chile and the Patagonia region in the far south were not affected by the quake and have not reported any damage.