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March 2011

  
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17 March 2011 - Worlds Busiest Airports

Posted by: Alan

Beijing's main international airport by Passenger Traffic has become the world's second-busiest, illustrating the massive growth of air travel in China.

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport remains No.1.
Sydney is in 27th place.

London Heathrow drops from second to third place, with Chicago's O’Hare airport fourth.

The placings, announced on Tuesday, are based on data gathered by Airports Council International.

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
2. Beijing Capital International Airport
3. London Heathrow Airport
4. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago)
5. Tokyo International Airport
6. Los Angeles International Airport
7. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
8. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
9. Frankfurt Airport
10. Denver International Airport
11. Hong Kong International Airport
12. Madrid-Barajas Airport
13. Dubai International Airport
14. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York)
15. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
16. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Jakarta)
17. Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok)
18. Singapore Changi Airport
19. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
20. Shanghai Pudong International Airport
21. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston)
22. McCarran International Airport (las Vegas)
23. San Francisco International Airport
24. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
25. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
26. Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Rome)
27. Kingsford Smith Airport (Sydney)
28. Miami International Airport
29. Orlando International Airport
30. Munich Airport

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15 March 2011 - First Hotel Guest for 76 Years

Posted by: Alan

A famous London hotel began accepting guests this week - for the first time in 76 years.

The St Pancras Midland Grand, once considered one of the world’s finest hotels, has re-opened as the St Pancras Renaissance (a Marriot property) after a six-year restoration costing about $240m.

The Victorian-Gothic structure first opened in 1873 and was known for its innovative features, including lifts and revolving doors.

But guest rooms had no running water and the absence of private facilities contributed to a financial decline and its closure in 1935.

It lay empty for many years, became an office for British Rail and was at one point threatened with demolition.

Then in 2004, London-based property development company Manhattan Loft Corporation presented a plan for the building’s meticulous restoration to its former grandeur.

Restored features include a grand stone staircase with windows 15 metres high and a Ladies Smoking Room - the first room in Europe where women could smoke publicly.

Some $75,000 was spent on wallpaper alone for the priciest suite, which costs nearly $5000 a night.

Though bookings are being accepted from this week, there won’t be an official opening ceremony till 5 May, which will be 138 years to the day after the original opening.

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14 March 2011 - Cruising in Asia

Posted by: Alan

 Other than cruising in our local waters, Asia has been the 2nd most popular destination for cruise passengers from the Australian market for a number of years.

Asia offers you the opportunity to discover ancient monuments dating back thousands of years and also explore some of today’s great Cities. It is only by cruising through this region that you can experience such a broad spectrum of what Asia has to offer in one all inclusive holiday.

Singapore is a major hub for the region and also boasts a harbour that is one of the largest in the World. Quite remarkable for a Country that is only 700 sq km in size. Singapore is a dynamic and cosmopolitan country located in the heart of South East Asia. Long respected as a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures, the people of Singapore are friendly and welcoming.

Availability of direct flights makes Singapore an ideal embarkation point for an Asian cruise itinerary.
With authorities recognizing the continued growth of the cruise industry they have moved to construct a new world class facility that will handle the largest ships currently in service as well as those on order and will instantly double Singapore’s current cruise ship capacity. When the new facility is operational in early 2012 cruise passengers can look forward to easy access to all parts of Singapore.

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14 March 2011 - Sahara Casino to Close

Posted by: Alan

The Sahara, where Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends performed and partied, is the oldest property on the Strip, dating to 1952.

Scenes for the original 'Ocean’s Eleven' casino robbery movie were shot there and over the years it has hosted stars like Judy Garland and daughter Liza Minnelli.

The Beatles stayed there when they staged two shows at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in 1964.

But the resort has fallen on hard times in the face of competition from lavish new establishments and owners say it is no longer an economically viable venture.

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10 March 2011 - Meet Rockstar ROCKY

Posted by: Alan

A gigantic rock which smashed through a Christchurch home during the recent earthquake will go on display at the Mount Hutt Ski Resort later this year, after the resort's owners paid NZ$50,000 for the unique "landscape feature" in a charity auction.

Phil Johnson has nowhere to live after the the 25-tonne boulder - nicknamed "Rocky" - came to rest in his hallway.

He put it up for auction on the New Zealand TradeMe website, promising to donate the proceeds to an earthquake relief fund.

Phil clearly hasn't lost his sense of humour in the disaster, with his ad saying the boulder is "suitable for a garden feature, or as in our case, a magnificent addition to your living area . . . Rocky will enhance your 'indoor-outdoor' flow considerably".

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09 March 2011 - New Harry Potter Park Near London

Posted by: Alan

Warner Bros is to open a Harry Potter attraction at the big UK studios where the eight hit movies were shot.

A three-hour walking tour at the huge Warner complex at Leavesden, 30km northwest of central London, will take in props. sets, effects and animatronics.

It will open in time for next year’s London Olympics and tickets will go on sale later this year.

Warner executive Dan Dark said: "The tour promises to be one of the most exciting and memorable visitor attractions anywhere in Europe, delivering an experience never before seen by the general public".

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02 March 2011 - New Royal Caribbean for Australia

Posted by: Alan

Royal Caribbean md Australia Gavin Smith has just announced that Celebrity Solstice will be based in Australia for the 2012/13 summer season.

The USD750 million, 122,000-ton superliner Celebrity Solstice was launched less than three years ago as the first of five groundbreaking ‘Solstice Class’ vessels.

Australia is the first market in the world outside of the Caribbean and Europe to have a Solstice-class ship and Celebrity Solstice will be the biggest, newest and most luxurious cruise ship ever to be based in the region.
Celebrity said that after its launch, the ship immediately set a new benchmark in luxury and a stylish new approach to cruising.

She has a range of innovative features such as the exclusive Aqua suites and the top deck Lawn Club which includes an acre of real grass.

Smith said the ship would mainly operate a series of 12-13 trans-Tasman itineraries, but the program would also include a circumnavigation of Australia.

He emphasised that this would not be a one-off Australian deployment for Solstice, saying "she will be bringing travellers and cruisers from around the world over the hot Australian summer months for many years ahead".

Full details of itineraries and fares will be released towards the end of the month, Smith said.

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01 March 2011 - Elephant Charges a Car

Posted by: Alan

A scary encounter between an angry elephant and tourists in a car in South Africa’s Pilansberg Game Reserve has been recorded in photos appearing in London’s Daily Mail newspaper.

Irishman John Somers and a friend were driving along a dusty road in the park, northwest of Johannesburg, on a trip to celebrate his 66th birthday, when they found a five-tonne bull elephant blocking their path.

The animal charged the vehicle and eventually tipped it off the road as its occupants hung on for dear life.

They emerged with cuts and bruises as the elephant wandered off.

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