In brief: A theme park of biblical proportions
United's ground zero advert, a theme park of biblical proportions, a train wreck in South Africa, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
United back at centre of controversy
United Airlines has new ads reading "You're going to like where we land." The problem? United placed one such advert across the street from ground zero, which some believe is insensitive of the airline, because of its proximity to the spot where United flight 175 struck the World Trade Centre. A United spokesman said the airline was unaware of the ad's placement. The controversy comes a day after United apologised for briefly reusing flight numbers 93 and 175, which had previously been retired due to their involvement in 9/11.
Violence in Mexico not keeping foreigners away
Travel warnings from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and US Department of State because of recent extreme drug-related violence might have some travellers worried about going to Mexico. But according to Mexican President Felipe Calderon, fear is not keeping too many foreigners away. The president mentioned that the number of visitors to Mexico reached 23 million in 2010, a 6% increase from 2009. At a Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Las Vegas on Thursday, he stressed that Mexico was a safe place to visit. "I saw thousands of spring breakers in Mexico having fun," Mr. Calderon said. "My understanding is the only shots they received were tequila shots."
Third train wreck in two months injures more than 800 in South Africa
A train wreck in the South African township of Soweto in Johannesburg has left 857 people injured, BNO News reports. The force of the commuter train hitting a stationary train from behind threw some of the passengers through the train's windows, and several passengers suffered serious multiple injuries.
About 200 people were injured in a wreck in Pretoria earlier in the month, and 35 were injured in a crash in March near Germiston. In April 2010 a luxury tourist train derailed near Pretoria, killing two passengers and injuring more than two dozen. Officials called Thursday's wreck the worst in years.
Despicable Me coming to Orlando, Noah's Ark coming to Kentucky
In 2012, Universal Orlando is going to become despicable. The park announced yesterday its newest ride will be a 3D adventure based on Despicable Me, the animated film with voices by Steve Carell and Russel Brand. In other changes, the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride will be upgraded to HD.
Meanwhile, the state of Kentucky gave final approval to grant $40 million in tax rebates to build a biblical theme park called "The Ark Encounter". Kentucky's second major religious tourist attraction will include a replica of the Tower of Babel, and - like any good Noah's Ark theme park should - a petting zoo. But some Americans think that park is despicable. Barry W Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called it a "fundamentalist Disneyland".
On a Virgin Atlantic flight from Hong Kong to Sydney this week, Australian street band Set Sail gave passengers a little treat (or trick, depending on their musical tastes), by performing a rendition of Jason Mraz's I'm Yours. It wasn't quite like Billy Idol and Adam Sandler serenading Drew Barrymore, but the video, via Jaunted, is certainly worth a watch. Set Sail plans to do a 48-country tour, performing on streets across the world and uploading videos along the way.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
-@martindave, After American Airlines discussed its "unsatisfactory" financial results, and methods for fixing them, entrepreneur and blogger Dave Martin revived the notorious tale of American Airlines' former cost-cutting methods.