Israeli settlers market West Bank tourism, Budapest gets hip hotels, investigators explore a puzzling aviation mystery, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Tourism campaign for Israel's West Bank
Israeli settlers in the West Bank are marketing their ancient ruins and wine routes as tourist attractions to normalise their hold on an area that Palestinians want as part of a future state, reports the Associated Press. Recent additions include restaurants, a 400-yard zip line, and tours of natural springs. The program is run independently by the settlers and is not "actively promoted" by the Israeli Tourism Ministry.
What are the best streets in the UK?
This morning, the Street View Best Streets Awards competition began, sponsored by Google and Visit Britain. Pick your favourite British streets (out of 21 vetted by a panel of judges) in three categories: most romantic, best shopping and hippest. In London, for instance, the nominees for hippest street include Redchurch and Whitecross. Voting closes within a few weeks, Tnooz notes. If popular, the contest will be repeated in other countries.
Budapest gets chic
Travel and Leisure anticipates the opening of two upscale hotels in the centre of Hungary's capital, which hasn't usually been known for hip hotels with cutting edge design. In June, the 67-room Rácz Hotel and Thermal Spa will debut with "dramatic chandeliers" and a "16th-century, UNESCO-designated hammam spa". Also this summer, the 102-room Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace opens. It will be a new outpost by the "Asian-themed" global chain, which specialises in "Gothic Chinoiserie", with lots of red leather furniture and gold leaf decor.
What happened to Air France Flight 447?
A miracle happened last month while reporter Wil S Hylton was on an expedition ship off the Atlantic coast of Brazil. The ship's robot submarines finally pinpointed the wreckage of an Airbus A330 that crashed in June 2009. This weekend, The New York Times Sunday magazine publishes "The End Deepest", Hylton's story about what experts think may have happened in the A330 aircraft's final moments. The story's a downer (all 228 passengers died, as you'll recall), but still a gripping read.
Why US families should get their passports now
Only one out of six Americans carries a passport. Yet applying for one's first passport may soon become an arduous process, as media outlets reported earlier this week. The new application process may require travellers to know the street address of every place they've ever lived, every place you've ever worked, and every school you've ever attended. Longtime travel expert Ed Perkins makes an important point about this proposed passport application form. If you think any family member would have trouble filling out such a form, you ought to convince them to apply for a passport now while the questionnaire is not yet too complicated.
The mega re-tweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"Cruising is so relaxing I didn't even know what day it was or where I'd be going today. TGIF Naples! #CarnivalMagic."
-- @CajunMama, Shannon Hurst Lane, creator of TravelingMamas blog, tweeting from the inaugural voyage of the Carnival Magic. Last night, the ship's tour of the Mediterranean gave passengers a view of the Italian volcano Stromboli erupting.
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