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Around the globe
Fri 11 May 2012
Fri 11 May 2012
THE looping red tower that looms over London's Olympic Stadium is being officially unveiled today. The completed steel sculpture - known as ArcelorMittal Orbit - stands at the heart of the Olympic Park. It was designed by artist Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond. From the end of July, visitors will be able to climb the £22.7m structure to take in panoramic views across London's skyline. With a height of 114.5 metres, it is the tallest sculpture in the UK. The tangled steel lattice – 63 percent of which is recycled steel - incorporates the five Olympic rings. It is hoped the tower will help to attract 1m visitors a year to Stratford's Olympic Park. After its official unveiling, the Orbit will enter a 10-week period of final fit-out and testing ahead of its full opening on 28 July. Visitors will be able to go up the 35-storey structure in a lift, and will have the option of walking down its spiral staircase.
BODY scans likely to resume
MANCHESTER Airport has said body scanners are likely to soon be re-commissioned for permanent use at the facility. The news comes following last week’s ruling by the European Commission that the scanners were safe, after the airport’s pilot program was put on hold late last year amid concerns that the technology may use unsafe radiation levels to create full images of passengers. Security experts say the “naked” images produced by the scatter scanners are an extremely effective method of being able to spot contraband and potential weapons. But European experts said in the report that the amount of radiation that each passenger must undergo was indeed safe and was much lower than airline travellers are subjected to while in flight on board commercial jet aircraft, even for those that travel frequently. The suspension last November came despite the UK Health Protection Agency issuing a similar report that said the scanners only entailed a “negligible” health risk. Now, officials from Manchester airport said in statement issued last week that it would soon begin using the technology on a permanent basis as a result of the EC report.
GOLDEN Gate Bridge unveils new offerings
NEW views, a museum store, guided public tours, interpretive exhibits and even a new menu became available this week for Golden Gate Bridge visitors in the lead-up to the landmark’s 75th anniversary. In an effort to enhance the ‘Golden Gate Bridge visitor experience’, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (in co-operation with the National Park Service, Presidio Trust, and the City & County of San Francisco) have introduced new amenities for visitors:
• The Bridge Pavilion - This ‘green’ building, in the renovated Bridge Plaza, will welcome visitors with bridge artefacts, exhibits and a museum store. Open daily 09h00 to 19h00.
• The Art Deco Round House - Here, visitors can sign up for 45- or 60-minute guided walking tours on the Bridge, including newly introduced night tours. Tours run daily spring through fall. Adult ticket prices start at US$12.95 per person.
• The Bridge Photo Experience – It is located in the Art Deco Round House and visitors can take a virtual photo of themselves in “daring Bridge backdrops”, such as the top of the Bridge Tower. Experience photos are available daily. Package cost is US$20 per person plus tax.
Golden Gate National Parks enhancements include:
* Enhancements to the Coastal and Bay trails;
* Improved bicycle access to the Bridge;
* Creation of the new Golden Gate Overlook in the Presidio;
* New way-finding and interpretive signage to encourage appreciation and exploration of the national parklands on both sides of the span.
As part of the National Park Service’s ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ initiative, a new menu in the Bridge Café offers healthy, affordable snacks featuring locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. The new GoGGBridge app is packed with maps, tips and fun facts allowing visitors to prepare for their trip to the bridge ahead of time. It is available for iPhone and coming soon for Android devices.
NICARAGUA Tourism website debuts new feature
NICARAGUA has unveiled a website feature to make travelling to the country easier. The new booking engine on VisitNicaragua.us enables tourists to make reservations for hotels, flights and tours in a simple, direct and easy-to-navigate way. Among the featured hotels that visitors to VisitNicaragua.us can book are Hotel Casa San Francisco in Granada; Marina Puesta del Sol on the northwest Pacific coast of Nicaragua; and Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa, in the beach town of San Juan del Sur. Visitors to VisitNicaragua.us also can choose from dozens of tours of Nicaragua, including the four-day "Nicaragua's Colonial Highlights" and the 10-day "Magic of Nicaragua". The new booking engine on VisitNicaragua.us comes hot on the heels of the new Nicaragua Tourism Facebook page, which recently launched with a vacation giveaway contest.
NEW attraction coming to Japan
UNIVERSAL Studios Japan, in partnership with Warner Bros. and Universal Parks & Resorts, announced today that it would be bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Japan, marking the global expansion of this popular themed entertainment experience that started at Universal Orlando Resort nearly two years ago. Just as in Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will faithfully and authentically bring to life the stories created by J.K. Rowling in her books and captured on screen in Warner Bros. films. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is also expected to have a significant impact on tourism in both the Osaka/Kansai region and the entire country, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing economic benefits throughout Japan. The themed area itself will be a fully immersive environment for the entire family that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life and is faithful to the visual landscape of the films, including a Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade and multiple themed attractions. No opening dates have been announced yet.