International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia gets a very tentative completion date, Chicago’s O'Hare serves up farm to airport table produce, Southwest investigates the origins of mysterious plane markings, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Origin of markings on Southwest planes still unknown
For the past few months, mysterious markings have been appearing on Southwest Airlines planes, and an airline spokeswoman said the low-cost carrier is conducting an internal investigation to see who is responsible. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies concluded that the markings, described as "similar to Arabic writing", present no real threat, and are currently being considered vandalism. However, the spokeswoman went on to say that the intention of the markings — and whether they are words, scribbling or simply the result of a mechanical issue — is still unknown, Reuters reports.
US Ambassador in Manila aims to eliminate sex tourism
The Philippines is putting considerable efforts into increasing tourism over the next few years, but Harry Thomas, the US ambassador in Manila, believes the government needs to start putting more effort into stopping a certain kind of tourism. Speaking to a forum of Filipino judges and officials, Thomas voiced the concern that "40% of foreign men who come to the Philippines ... come for sexual tourism". He said the government must put a stop to the corruption that makes it possible for wide-scale prostitution to thrive. The government disputed Thomas' statement, and said the source of his statistics was unclear, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
O'Hare serving up produce grown on site
Chicago's O'Hare Airport is trying to redefine what it means to have quality airport food. There are 44 types of organic herbs and vegetables that grow in O'Hare Food Garden, "the world's first aeroponic garden in an airport". Four restaurants at the airport already use produce from the garden on their menus, USA Today reports.
Marble Manhattan comes to New York
If you want to see Manhattan dressed in white, you don't have until snow comes this winter. Japanese artist and trained architect Yutaka Sone's replica of the borough went on display this week at New York's David Zwirner Gallery. Sone created the piece, called Little Manhattan, entirely out of marble, using photographs, Google Earth shots, and numerous trips on a helicopter. The individually carved buildings, parks and streets are quite impressive.
"Sometimes one gets the feeling that La Sagrada Familia will always be under construction. And tourists, intrigued by the towering, incomplete masterpiece, will flock to the site nonetheless."
The Atlantic sounded off on the announcement that Barcelona's emblematic church — which has been under construction since the 1880s — finally has a completion date in sight ... sort of. Several towers, including the 560ft central tower, have yet to be built. But Joan Rigol, the president of the foundation overseeing the project, said it could be finished between 2026 and 2028. So assuming "nothing new happens" to delay the completion date, visitors can appreciate the finished landmark in less than two decades.