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Archive by Category "News from around the World"

Volcanic ash cloud causes flight disruption

Manila’s main airport was forced to close temporarily earlier today due to an ash cloud from a volcano, which authorities in the Philippines believe could erupt within hours or days.
More than 240 international and domestic flights were cancelled, and although Ninoy Aquino international airport has since partially re-opened, flight disruption is continuing.
Philippine Airlines has cancelled, delayed and diverted some domestic and international flights and warned further changes are expected as the situation develops.
The Taal volcano has also begun spewing lava since yesterday’s eruption of ash, which has spread across more than 60 miles.
The government volcano-monitoring agency has raised the danger level around Taal three notches to level 4, indicating ‘an imminent hazardous eruption’.
The last time Taal showed similar activity, in the 1970s, it lasted for about four months.

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?c=setreg&region=2&m_id=s~~AY!m~AT_&w_id=37100&news_id=2040932

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Pilots fury as Flybe ‘asks Government for emergency bailout’

Pilots have reacted angrily to media reports that Flybe’s owners are holding secret talks with the UK government to prevent the airline’s collapse.
It’s been claimed that the airline, which operates half of the UK’s domestic flights outside London, has asked ministers for an emergency cash injection to keep it flying.
The airline was rescued less than a year ago by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium, which includes the Stobart Group and investment firm Cyrus Capital, which paid £2.2 million for its assets and operations and created a new entity, Connect Airways.
However, Sky News reported that the airline needs more financing than the group had envisaged, and accountancy firm EY is on standby to handle any potential administration.
Stobart and Virgin have refused to comment on the speculation and Flybe services are operating normally today.
A Flybe spokeswoman said: “Flybe continues to focus on providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned.
“We don’t comment on rumour or speculation.”
Flybe flies 8.5 million passengers a year to 170 destinations in Europe, operating from UK domestic airports.
The British Airline Pilots Association, which represents all Flybe pilots, said up to 1,500 jobs are under threat.
“I am appalled that once again the future of a major UK airline and hundreds of jobs is being discussed in secret with no input from employees or their representatives,” said general secretary Brian Strutton.
“According to reports the airline could have collapsed over the weekend which would have been devastating news. This is an appalling state of affairs and we demand that the owners of Flybe – Virgin, Stobart and Cyrus – and the Government departments involved stop hiding and talk to us about Flybe.
“We have a right to be consulted and the staff have a right to know what is going on.”

Link: https://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?c=setreg&region=2&m_id=s~~AY!m~AT_&w_id=37100&news_id=2040931

 

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How Airlines & Airports use our Data (from Security to Flight itself)

Since opening in October 2017, Singapore Changi International Airport’s Terminal 4 has stood apart from the rest of the award-winning airport’s terminals—not only because of its food emporium, Peranakan-inspired shophouse facades, and boulevard of 160 fig trees, but also because of its “self-service system,” where passengers can move through the check-in, bag drop, immigration, and boarding processes typically without interacting with a single human. At unmanned luggage booths, your photo is taken and digitally matched against your passport before you can drop your bag off. Your photo is snapped again at immigration, and with a match, the automatic security doors swing open and you’re free to go, all within seconds.

It’s an odd sensation, to walk through an airport with automated security systems, and have the creeping feeling that shouldn’t someone, somewhere be looking at your ID? But of course, that’s the point. Someone has been replaced by the system, and that system is capable of matching billions of faces within seconds. Changi may even use the system to locate late passengers, or identify those who are needed at boarding, but still lingering at duty-free.

Biometrics here, there, and everywhere

What’s happening in Singapore might sound futuristic, but airports in the U.S. aren’t far behind. By 2021, facial-recognition technology will be in use at the 20 busiest U.S. airports for “100 percent of all international passengers” entering and exiting the country, including U.S. citizens, thanks to an executive order signed in March 2017 by President Donald Trump. Currently, around 15 U.S. airports, including Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle, are trialling U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s biometric facial recognition program at boarding gates. Before boarding, passengers pause to get their photo snapped; that photo is instantaneously sent to the cloud-based, automated matching Traveler Verification Service and compared against the passport photo on record. (The CBP has claimed a 98 percent accuracy rate in its pilot program.) The agency retains photos of U.S. citizens for “up to 12 hours after capture” and images of non-U.S. citizens for up to 14 days for “evaluation of the technology,” according to a report from BuzzFeed. Proponents of the programs say the immediate purpose is twofold: to speed up boarding and customs processes and to advance the safety and security of air travel.

For more details, please click on the Link: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-airlines-and-airports-use-your-data-from-security-to-the-flight-itself?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=cnt&utm_mailing=CNT_Intel_101019&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_medium=email&bxid=5c33a939fc942d4c3f77fb6c&cndid=18935007&hasha=3ded14e32005820e43e42da5be4dbbc2&hashb=cee547c20045319ac985dd82fb9e52a4e7cac911&hashc=050540bcd5f4abba9a1358b183b529b8031a27035c8c80510984748b9ea806e7&esrc=TVL_MERGE_FEB2015&utm_term=CNT_Intel

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You could be fined 450$ for sitting on the Spanish Steps

Did you Know?

Officials in Italy are sick of slow-moving tourists looking for a place to sit on public monuments.

This week, Rome announced that visitors can now be fined €400 ($450) for sitting on the city’s historic Spanish Steps, which for decades have served as a crowded picnic, drinking, and resting spot for hordes of travelers looking for a free place to lounge after sightseeing. Officials also approved an even greater fine of $500 for anyone who attempts to swim in the Trevi Fountain.

How will Rome enforce the new no-sit rule amid the throngs of tourists at the Spanish Steps? According to reports from the area this week, police will sharply blow whistles two times in the direction of anyone who attempts to sit down and shoo them away. As one city official told the New York Times: “You couldn’t walk around the Metropolitan Museum snacking on food and slurping a Coke,” he said. “We expect the same for the center of Rome.”

Officials in Italy are sick of slow-moving tourists looking for a place to sit on public monuments.

This week, Rome announced that visitors can now be fined €400 ($450) for sitting on the city’s historic Spanish Steps, which for decades have served as a crowded picnic, drinking, and resting spot for hordes of travelers looking for a free place to lounge after sightseeing. Officials also approved an even greater fine of $500 for anyone who attempts to swim in the Trevi Fountain.

How will Rome enforce the new no-sit rule amid the throngs of tourists at the Spanish Steps? According to reports from the area this week, police will sharply blow whistles two times in the direction of anyone who attempts to sit down and shoo them away. As one city official told the New York Times: “You couldn’t walk around the Metropolitan Museum snacking on food and slurping a Coke,” he said. “We expect the same for the center of Rome.”

Rome’s announcement follows last month’s news that officials in Venice had expelled two tourists from the city (and fined them more than $1,000) for brewing coffee near the Rialto Bridge. Even with Rome’s new policies, the capital has a long way to go to match Venice’s strictures. Currently, visitors to the floating city face fines for everything from standing still on bridges to buying from street traders, and dipping their toes in the canal. And it’s not just Italy’s cities that are cracking down. German supermodel Heidi Klum is currently facing a fine of more than $6,000 for swimming in Capri’s famous Blue Grotto underwater cave on her honeymoon this summer.

Ever since they served as the backdrop for Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck’s whirlwind romance in Roman Holiday, the Spanish Steps have been a must-see destination for travelers to Rome. If anything, this week’s law means the steps will now look more like they did in the movie and less like an outdoor airport terminal. If you’re traveling to Rome and find you need to rest your legs, check out our list of the city’s greatest eateries instead.

Link: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/you-could-be-fined-dollar450-for-sitting-on-romes-spanish-steps

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Amsterdam to increase City Taxes

Amsterdam has been plagued by overtourism, with 18 million annual visitors descending on its 867,000 residents.
The authorities have taken measures to deter overzealous tourists, by dismantling the “iamsterdam” sign — a former selfie spot — outside the Rijksmuseum in December 2018 and announcing a ban of “disrespectful” tours of the red light district in March 2019.
That ban — as well as a cap on group numbers in the medieval center to 15 people — comes into effect January 1 2020.
Now the extra charges will join them on New Year’s Day.
A spokesperson for Amsterdam city council denied that the raised taxes were planned to deter tourists, calling it a point of “principle” to make visitors pay their way in the city.
“Visitors will contribute more to the high costs of keeping the city safe and clean, and of keeping the public space like pavements, quays, bridges and streets, in a good state,” the spokesperson said.
The move follows an agreement in 2018 to increase tourism revenue from €80m to €105. The city board had pressed for the additional €3 charge, and it was ratified by the city council in July.
Amsterdam also imposes a €8 arrival tax for visitors who arrive by boat, and €0.66 for passengers taking a sightseeing boat or bus tour.
To read the full story, click on the link: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/amsterdam-tourist-tax-increase/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Five+Things&utm_campaign=4781ecf3e9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_09_30_07_40&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6da287d761-4781ecf3e9-87080769
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World Tourism Day

Happy World Tourism Day.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27 since 1980. The purpose is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.

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Airelles Chateau de Versailles

For anyone who wants to feel like a modern day Marie Antoinette

The Palace of Versailles has long served as a popular tourist attraction, but a new luxury hotel set in its lavish grounds means visitors will now be able to stay there.

Airelles Château de Versailles will open in spring 2020 – the first hotel to have a home within the perimeters of the Palace grounds. The 14-bedroom property will be designed in an 18th Century style, with architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer in charge of its aesthetic.

Although few details have been released about the hotel, it will boast a private spa and a restaurant led by Alain Ducasse, who is one of only two chefs to hold 21 Michelin stars throughout his career. Guests will also enjoy exclusive access and experiences at Chateau de Versailles.

Luxury hotel group Airelles owns a number of properties around France, although its Versailles opening is expected to be the jewel in its crown and one of the most anticipated travel launches of 2020.

Link: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/travel/a29202865/luxury-hotel-to-open-inside-the-palace-of-versailles/

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Le Mur des Je t’aime, Paris

What could be more romantic than a Parisian wall declaring love in over 250 languages?

Designed by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito, this outdoor art installation features the words “I love you” written 1000 times in over 300 languages. Le mur des je t’aime (the wall of I love yous) is located in the Square Jehan Rictus in the Place de Abesses area of Montmartre.

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Emirates Biometric Boarding

Emirates is once again pushing the boundaries of technology, becoming the first airline outside America to receive approval for biometric boarding from the US Customs Border Protection (CBP). Soon, customers flying from Dubai to any of Emirates’ 12 destinations in the US will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. No pre-registration is required, and customers may also choose not to use the technology. Emirates does not store any biometric records of its customers – all the data is managed securely by CBP.

The technology was piloted at the departure gates of Emirates’ flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles through the peak periods in July and August. The airline expects to make biometric boarding available for all its US destinations by year-end, once the equipment is in place.

Dr Abdulla Al Hashimi, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Group Security, said, “Biometric boarding is one more step in streamlining processes at our hub using digital technology, saving our customers time and giving them peace of mind.”

John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commission, Office of Field Operations, US Customs and Border Protection, said, “By comparing a traveller’s face to their passport or visa photo that was previously provided for the purpose of travel, we have streamlined identity verification that further secures and enhances the customer experience.”

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Google Maps Timeline Feature

Open your Google Maps and click the menu in the top left corner. See the “Your Timeline” link? If you’re anything like the editors in the Traveler office, you’ve probably never used the feature, which keeps a log of everywhere you’ve been with your smartphone in hand, creating a historical path for your day.

Timeline has existed for more than a year now, but last week, Google Maps announced it had updated the feature. It’ll now not only keeping track of all of the places you stopped into during your day, but also divide them in categories like restaurants, hotels, shops, and attractions, to make rediscovering them even easier. From there, you can easily add them to your Google Maps starred lists (which Traveler editors meticulously use to keep track of where we’ve been, and where we want to go) so you can access them at any time. It comes in handy when you’ve strayed from your itinerary for a spontaneous shopping spree, neighborhood exploration, or general wandering, and want to remember the exact places you’ve been.

But the real perk comes in the new sharing feature. Now you’re able to export customized lists from your Timeline, selecting specific places you’ve visited on your tracked route with added notes, for when your friends or family ask for your well-traveled advice. Those very lucky people can then download your list directly to their Google Maps as a layer of starred destinations. The exact scenario a Google spokesperson gave us during a demo? That Timeline could replace that email you forward endlessly when someone asks your recommendations. (We have outboxes full of them over at Traveler.)

Back to the location privacy: to get access to the feature, Google Maps doesn’t have to always track your location. You can turn your location history on and off as needed for vacations, and delete certain date ranges of your location history data from within your app’s settings under “Activity Controls.” (If you turn it off, your existing Timeline places will stick around on your phone.) Location history is only turned on when you opt in, so if you haven’t used your Timeline before, it’s likely turned off. If you’re curious about what location data Google keeps, and what it doesn’t, check out the dedicated location history FAQ page.

 

Summary:

Google Maps Timeline
  • Create Timeline. When you turn on Location History, your Timeline will reflect the places you have gone with the devices in which your account is logged-in and which are reporting location. …
  • See your travels. …
  • Turn on or pause Location History. …
  • Edit Timeline.

How to view your location history in Google Maps

  1. Launch Google Maps.
  2. Tap the more button (three horizontal lines) on the top left corner.
  3. Tap your timeline.
  4. Tap the calendar icon to view a particular day.
  5. Swipe left or right to switch months.
  6. Tap a date to view your location history.

 

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