Entries in Tourism (9)


Tourist Attraction Owner Wants to Sue over Bad Weather Reports

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A man who runs an animal attraction in Devon in Southwest England wants to sue the British office of meteorology, claiming "pessimistic forecasts" are cutting into tourism's bottom line.

Rick Turner tells the website Metro, "Over the August bank holiday weekend, I remember they forecast a whole weekend of rain with heavy rain on the Saturday.  We did not have a drop and were enjoying sunshine and blue sky all day."

A spokesman for the U.K.'s national weather service says, "No one, not even the Met Office, is able to get it right 100 per of the time.  But the UK is lucky enough to have one of the best weather forecasting services in the world."

Turner is hoping to recruit more people in his line of work to undertake legal action against the weather service.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Salmon Fishing in Yemen? Not So Much, Says Tourism Board

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANA’A, Yemen) -- When Hollywood released a romantic, independent film this year called Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, it was quite a surprise, at least to the Yemenis, that movie goers would be inspired to try to travel to one of the most dangerous hotspots in the world.

Yemen, a small desert country in the Middle East bordered by Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Red Sea, is largely known as a breeding ground for terrorists, not fish. But now it appears that the dream depicted in the film has taken hold -- at least among some would-be tourists.

As executive director of Yemen’s tourism board, Fatima Huraiba has one of the hardest jobs the country.  While she is trying to promote tourism, the U.S. State Department is warning American tourists to avoid the region. She says she has been receiving emails from people around the world who have seen the film and hope to come there to fish.

Even in the fictional film, salmon fishing in Yemen is presented as a challenge, but Huraiba says it is impossible.  In addition to the violence and poverty, Yemen is desperate for water.

Nevertheless, while traveling to Yemen is not for everyone, the country is said to be stunningly beautiful -- even without salmon fishing.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gladiators, Centurions Scuffle Again at Rome’s Colosseum

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ROME) -- For years now a common site in front of the city’s most known attraction, the Colosseum, has been men dressed as the soldiers and warriors who actually battled inside the arena more than 2,000 years ago.

These “gladiators and centurions” are a group of around 30 men aged from teens to their 60s who pose for tourists in exchange for tips. They ask $7 to $10 for a photo. Sometimes they are even more aggressive. Last year, one gladiator tried to con a Japanese tourist after they snapped a photo and physically threatened him when he wouldn’t hand over $130.

After years of the previous government turning a blind eye, the authority responsible for Rome’s cultural heritage, Mariarosaria Barbera, sent a letter to Rome’s mayor demanding that the fake gladiators be removed along with the illegal snack bar wagons and ice cream vendors that swarm around the ancient arena to fight for tourist attention.

Although some tourists seem to enjoy their antics and having their picture taken with a burly looking Italian dressed in fake leather tunics and plastic helmets, some of the characters dressed as gladiators look nothing like Russell Crowe and are often not even Roman.

Thursday morning as the gladiators staged a noisy protest outside, two from the group made their way to the second floor to hang a banner on the exterior of the Colosseum protesting the decision to ban them from panhandling. “Let us work at the Colosseum, give us the right to let us stay here,” they yelled.

The group had been notified previously that a blitz by the police was coming. Instead of obeying a cease and desist warning to stop their work they occupied a section of the arena for much of the day. When police and firemen moved in to cordon the area, two of the gladiators scuffled with the police as stunned tourists watched, some screaming support for the gladiators.

Paramedics took one of the centurions to the hospital after he fell during the confrontation, police said. Firefighters have taken up positions outside the Colosseum to protect the monument and to prevent the protestors from reentering the historic site. One has even threatened to light himself on fire to bring attention to their cause.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Japan Tourism Agency’s Free-Flight Proposal Slashed in Budget Cut

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- It was a nice idea proposed by the Japan Tourism Agency, but ultimately it failed to get off the ground.

In a desperate attempt to lure tourists back to a country plagued by radiation fears and constant earthquakes, the Japan Tourism Agency proposed an unprecedented campaign earlier this year to dish out 10,000 free round-trip airfare tickets.

The catch to the proposal required interested participants to publicize their trip on blogs and social media sites.

Tourism Agency officials announced this week that the proposal was not approved by lawmakers in the government’s budget draft for fiscal year 2012.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan has dropped drastically since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Power plant in March. In the first three months following the triple disasters, the number of foreign visitors to Japan was cut in half compared with the same time in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Abbottabad, Pakistan: 2011 Vacation Hot Spot?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- Looking for the perfect vacation spot this summer?  Why not consider Abbottabad, Pakistan.

As nutty as it might seem to people outside that country, Pakistani hotel owners are hoping that the notoriety their city has gained since the death of Osama bin Laden two weeks ago might attract even more visitors to a "popular summer resort," as it's listed on the official tourism website.

Before all the hoopla, Abbottabad was already a favorite spot for so-called "day-trippers" who wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital of Islamabad.

Tucked away in Pakistan's northwest region, which also happens to be a refuge for Taliban and al Qaeda operatives, Abbottabad is said to offer a variety of sight-seeing attractions, independent of the compound where bin Laden and various family members lived for a number of years.

Apparently, the peacefulness of the city hasn't been disturbed much at all since Navy SEALs raided the compound, and some believe the incident will actually work to Abbottabad's advantage.

Azam Khan, provincial secretary for tourism and culture, remarked, "I believe that tourism will not be impacted; rather, more people are coming to see the place where the incident happened."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: Pyramids, Tourist Attractions Closed; Economy Suffering

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(GIZA, Egypt) -- As protests continue for a third week in Egypt, tourism has come to a standstill in the country, leaving a gaping hole in the country's economy.

Popular tourist attractions like the ancient pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx have been closed off to people since the protests began for security reasons.  For many, like Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass, it is the first time in memory that these attractions have been blocked off from the public.

"I don't remember that this site was ever closed," Hawass said.

As a result, Egypt's economy, which depends heavily on tourism, is taking a toll.  It is estimated that one million tourists have fled Cairo since the protests began on Jan. 25.

"All the people who live around here, they depend on the lives of tourists," Hawass said.  "If there is no tourism, there is no food for the people."

Hawass said he hopes to reopen the tourist attractions in the next couple of days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt Protests Taking Toll on Its Economy, People

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- Demonstrations that have plagued the streets of Egypt for nearly three weeks have taken a toll on the country's economy and have made commodities scarce and expensive for its people.

Egypt depends on tourism for a large part of its financial revenue, and since the protests began on Jan. 25, it's estimated that one million tourists have fled Cairo.

The country's vice president, Omar Suleiman, told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the protests have severely hurt Egypt's people and economy.

"[Our people] want to express to the others in Tahrir Square that now we have no work," he said.  "I hope they will recognize that they are not doing well to the country."

Meanwhile on a smaller scale, Egyptians are struggling to survive amid the demonstrations.  ABC News correspondents in the country report that everyday foods like rice and lentils are available to the public but they are now 80 percent more expensive.  Other commodities like gasoline are available but on the black market.

Ahmed, a college student in Egypt, told ABC News, "Water, milk are available.  Bread is also available, but has limits."

Neighbors are said to be helping one another as they try to get through the unrest in the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


8 American Tourists Killed in Egypt Bus Crash

Image Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) – Eight American tourists died and 21 were injured in a bus accident in southern Egypt Sunday. The bus was traveling from Aswan to the Temple of Abu Simbel, a popular tourist attraction, when it crashed into a parked truck, according to the BBC.

Six of the dead tourists were women, the Egyptian news agency MENA reported. Of the injured, four have been listed as being in critical condition. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Middle East the Fastest-Growing Tourism Destination

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- As a region, the Middle East is the fastest-growing tourism destination in the world, The Christian Science Monitor reports. So far this year, tourist arrivals to the region are up 20 percent over last year, topping Asia by six percent and Europe by 18 percent, according to figures from the United Nations' World Tourism Organization.

Tourism provided 36 percent of gross domestic product in Lebanon and remains the largest domestic source of revenue for Jordan.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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