Every Friday, we help you navigate the week’s most important and interesting travel news stories.

Amazing things that should happen more often 

US President Barack Obama visited Disney World Thursday, but it wasn't all hangin' with Goofy and gallivanting with Mickey Mouse. In an effort to create more than a million jobs by increasing tourism, the president issued an executive order to speed Brazil and China visitor visas, took steps to promote national parks and added business executives to a tourism advisory board. [Miami Herald]

If you often have trouble finding your way around England, it's about to get easier. Google Maps added train, tube and bus routes, and time tables to its existing route-planning tool. [The Guardian]

Clear skies
Looks like smooth sailing


The Guardian launched a new series featuring the best travel videos on the web. The first edition showcases eight reader-submitted urban travel videos, and next month's theme will be adventure. [The Guardian]

Forbes featured a list of the world's friendliest countries, based on the following criteria: ease of befriending locals, learning the language, integrating into community and fitting into the culture. Because of the criteria, it's no shocker that the top five are all English-speaking nations, but some countries on the list may come as a bit of a surprise. [Forbes]

Ready for takeoff
All set to go, but too soon to tell what’s ahea

Sixty of Facebook’s apps will be immediately integrated into users’ timelines, with more coming in the near future. Among 55 others, user activity on popular travel apps Gogobot, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Wipolo and Where I've been will now be posted directly to their timelines. [Mashable]

Adventure lovers will soon have a nice new tool to use. National Geographic Maps and AllTrails.com are teaming up to create a maps website that features extensive information on hiking trails across the US. The site will also mix in social networking elements and member-generated content. [Gadling] 

Hold on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride


Oops! A recorded message played on a British Airways flight Monday terrified passengers after informing them that they could soon be making a crash landing into the Atlantic. Cabin staff quickly announced the message had been played by accident. Passengers were not amused. [Telegraph]

The TSA did little to restore travellers' faith this week. The agency apologised for examining an elderly woman's colostomy bag and allowed a woman carrying a loaded gun onto an aeroplane. The weapon-carrying passenger was eventually removed… one hour and 40 minutes after passing through security.  [Reuters/AP]

It’s a no-go


The Costa Concordia wreck, in which 11 people were killed, dominated headlines this week. Jaw-dropping photos and tragic – though sometimes bizarre — details have been surfacing all week. (Allegedly, the Titanic theme song was playing when the ship went down.)

The captain reportedly steered the ship off course to put on a show for islanders. It’s also been said that he abandoned ship with passengers still on board and is being charged with manslaughter. Concerns about possible fuel leaks continue, and questions have been raised about how the wreck will affect the future of the cruise industry. The BBC compiled all stories, pictures and video about the disaster on one page. [BBC News]

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