Report reveals London's leaning tower, Egyptian tourism faces another hurdle, Japan to give away 10,000 free trips, and more. Here are the stories travellers are buzzing about:
Big Ben doesn't stand straight
Move over, Pisa. There's a new leaning tower in Europe. A new report revealed
that London's Big Ben
leans 0.26 degrees to the northwest, putting it out of alignment by about
0.5m at its highest point. The tilt is reportedly visible to the naked eye, but
don't expect to see tourists posing for pictures while pretending to support the
tower quite yet — the famous clock tower's tilt is only one 16th of the Leaning
Tower of Pisa's, and experts predict it will be thousands of years before it
becomes unstable, BBC News reports.
Want a free trip to Japan?
The Japan Tourism Agency is planning to give
away 10,000 free flights to foreigners in 2012 as part of an effort to
boost tourism, which fell more than 50% year-on-year during the three months
after the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. Candidates
wishing to take advantage of the promotion must submit online applications
detailing their desired destinations, and agree to write a report about their
trip for internet publication, the Telegraph reports.
Flights to Cuba to take off from Florida's Key West
As US travel restrictions to Cuba continue to slowly loosen, Key West is
the latest US airport to get federal permission to offer
flights to Cuba, Reuters reports. Currently less than 10 US cities offer
flights to Cuba, a number that recently increased after the Obama
administration reopened people-to-people trips to the communist country. The flight from
Key West to its Caribbean neighbour is only about half an hour, but like all
things related to Cuban travel, the good news comes with restrictions.
Clashes create another obstacle for Egyptian
The British Foreign Office warned travellers to exercise caution in downtown Cairo and Tahrir square after Sunday's violent
clashes resulted in at least 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries, and
continued to raise concern over Egypt's future. Whether it will further plague
an already devastated tourism industry remains uncertain. Travellers "are
still going to the Pyramids and walking along the Corniche, and while the
incident may have exposed sectarian tensions, Christian/American/foreign
tourists are not being targeted", said travel writer Chris Gray Faust
in a piece for USA Today.
"I'd like to acknowledge this event has come to a stage where it is New
Zealand's most significant maritime environmental disaster."
- New Zealand Environment Minister Nick Smith
The oil spill
appears worse than originally expected, with an estimated 130 to 150 tonnes
of oil — as much as 10 times previous estimates — flowing from a ship that ran
aground on a reef in the Bay of Plenty. Popular tourist beaches are expected to
close for several weeks as the salvage operation continues.
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