Friday, August 31, 2007

Brits take Broome to world's hot spots

BRITISH travellers find Paris's Eiffel Tower and Egypt's pyramids a bore and much prefer to flock to some of Australia's top tourist spots, a survey has found.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory and Broome's Cable Beach have made it into a top 10 list of the best foreign tourist spots for British tourists.
Two of Paris's renowned sites - the Eiffel Tower and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre - were rated the least impressive foreign sightseeing spots for British travellers.
New York's bustling Times Square and Statue of Liberty, the famous street of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the White House in Washington DC, Egypt's historic pyramids and Rome's romantic meeting place, the Spanish Steps, also got the thumbs down.
Holidaying on home soil also proved a major disappointment for many Brits, with England's prehistoric Stonehenge named the worst tourist spot in the UK.
Some of London's major attractions - Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain - fared little better, according to the survey of 1267 British tourists by Virgin Travel Insurance.
Joining the three Australian tourist hot spots in the top 10 foreign attractions was the Grand Canal in Venice, the Treasury monument at Petra in Jordan and Kenya's Masai Mara.
Top 10 tourist sights
1. The Treasury, Petra, Jordan, The Grand Canal, Venice, The Masai Mara, Kenya, Sydney, Harbour Bridge, Taroko Gorge, Taiwan, Kings Canyon, Australia, Cappadaocia Caves, Turkey
Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia, Cable Beach, Australia, Jungfraujoch, Switzerland.

By Belinda Tasker

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bomb blast at tourist spot kills nine

Seven Spanish tourists and two Yemeni drivers were killed on Monday when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into their convoy at an ancient temple in Yemen, officials said.
The interior ministry said the bombing in the restive northeastern region of Marib appeared to be the work of the al-Qaeda network.
"Preliminary information indicates that the al-Qaeda organisation is behind the cowardly attack," an interior ministry official told the Saba news agency.
"This criminal attack has killed seven Spanish tourists and two Yemeni nationals who worked as drivers and tourist guides, and wounded six Spanish tourists and two (Yemeni) nationals."
It was one of the deadliest bombings targeting foreigners in Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden which has been battling a number of attacks by the network in recent years.
Witnesses said the attack occurred as the tourists were wrapping up a tour of a temple in Marib which dates back 3000 years to the time of the biblical Queen of Sheba.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The security official said on the website of the Yemeni defence ministry's newspaper that the bomber slammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the tourists' five-car convoy, which included a police car.
In Madrid, an official had said earlier that six Spanish tourists had been killed and seven others injured in the attack.
Witnesses said the blast took place around 6pm (0100 AEST) in a western suburb of the town of Marib, 170 kilometres east of the capital Sanaa.
Tribal sources said it was heard as far as 20 kilometres away from the site of attack, near the Mahram Bilquis, or temple of the moon god.
Yemen has faced a wave of Islamist unrest among its Sunni Muslim majority which it has been fighting with help from US special forces based over the Bab al-Mandab strait in Djibouti.
In October 2000, 17 US sailors were killed when suicide bombers attacked the destroyer USS Cole off the southern Yemeni port of Aden in an attack claimed by al-Qaeda.
In October 2002, a similar attack against the French tanker the Limburg killed one Bulgarian crew member and wounded 12 others.
Thirty-six Yemenis are currently on trial charged with planning and carrying out attacks for al-Qaeda but several are on the run after tunnelling out of a Sanaa prison in February last year and are being tried in absentia.
Last month, a soldier with "emotional problems" opened fire on oil workers with US energy giant Occidental Petroleum killing an Indian woman engineer and wounding six other people, including the local American boss, in the eastern Shabwah province.
In September 2006, four bombers and a security guard were killed when Yemeni security forces foiled suicide bombings against two oil refineries. In March 2003, a Canadian was killed and another wounded after a Yemeni gunman opened fire at an oilfield east of Sanaa.
Yemen, which has 20 million inhabitants, is one of the world's poorest countries, despite its proximity to oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
The country has also been plagued by frequent kidnappings of Westerners, although all but one have been carried out by tribes with grievances against the central government and the hostages have been released unharmed.
Yemen has also faced a deadly uprising among the Zaidi minority in the mountains on the Saudi border although a ceasefire brokered by the gas-rich emirate of Qatari took effect last month.
In November 2002, a Hellfire missile fired from a US predator drone killed six al-Qaeda suspects in the Marib region, one of them a leading suspect in the sinking of the USS Cole.
It was the first strike outside Afghanistan of the so-called US war against terror.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Paradiso Is Latest Square Spot to Close

Higher rent prices have led to yet another store closing in Harvard Square, as the popular eatery Caffe Paradiso shut its doors for the last time earlier this month.Oscar De Stefano, Paradiso’s owner since it opened 23 years ago, said that the reason his cafe closed was that he couldn’t keep up with his new lease agreement.“The renegotiation went on behalf of the landlord, and the flow of traffic wasn’t there to support the new conditions,” De Stefano said.He added that landlords seem to pay more attention to cutting costs than to making sure businesses can afford the rent.“They respond to banks,” he said. “And banks have no feelings.”De Stefano pointed to what he saw as stagnant tourist levels as the explanation behind the demise of many older establishments.“In the 80s it was great and in the 90s it was better,” he explained. “But from 2001 on, it’s been a real struggle to keep up with the times.”Caffe Paradiso is just the latest in a string of independent store closings in Harvard Square. The Greenhouse Coffee Shop and Restaurant closed in April after nearly 30 years of serving the Harvard Square community. Ferranti-Dege Photographic Store, which opened in the Square in 1955, was forced to close last October.But Denise A. Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association—an advocacy group that any Harvard Square business, from local independents to national chains, can join—thinks the recent closings are just part of a normal cycle of the continually changing face of the Square. “If you look at who has joined our association in the last month, it’s all tiny businesses,” she said. While neither Caffe Paradiso nor Greenhouse were members, Jillson said that if De Stefano had come to them and asked for help in renegotiating the lease, they would have done their best to keep Paradiso in business.“We see the value of local independents staying in the square,” she said. “Paradiso was a gem with a loyal following and we feel badly that they’re no longer here.”While De Stefano has come to accept his retirement and looks forward to “less day-to-day responsibility,” the restaurateur also wonders whether changing social patterns may have added to his cafe’s demise.“It used to be two kids would come in and one would pay for both,” he explains. “Then the next day they’d be back and the other would pay. These days everyone pays for themselves, and you don’t want to have to pay for coffee everyday.”

Staff writer Nathan C. Strauss

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Popular Tourist Spots in Cyprus

Ayia Napa was a very poor village, the only income came from the fishing port. After the invasion in 1974 from Turkey Ayia Napa was born. For the young we have the centre of Ayia Napa that caters for their night life with bars and clubs and it is one of the most popular tourist spots in Cyprus. Over the years it has developed into a popular holiday resort with its beautiful crystal clear blue beaches with golden sands and is visited by many people from all over the world. In recent years, apart from being a family holiday destination, it has become a party capital similar to Ibiza. All beaches in Ayia Napa have been awarded with the EU blue flag for their level of cleanliness and the comprehensive facilities offered in line with the uniform standards set by the European Union. Water sports such as wind surfing, canoeing, speed boating and scuba diving are very popular here. The Cyprus Tourism Organization supervises the beaches and is responsible for protecting the interests of all tourists. It is also very well known for its magnificent night clubs and bars which cater people of any age. The Square, is in the middle of the town, and is filled with nightclubs and restaurants and shops, and for many is seen as the focal point of the Ayia Napa night life. The clubbing season in Ayia Napa starts off in June and lasts all summer until September or October, though a few clubs like the Black and White are open all year round. Licensing hours in Cyprus last nearly all day, starting at 9am and running through to 2am. Like all the major towns in Cyprus, it is bursting with markets and shops. Leather goods, clothes, jewellery and CDs are particularly well stocked and are a fair bit cheaper than at home. It now has a few shops open all day, every day of the week. Well known for its haute cuisine people tend to come here for other reasons. But there is a wide range of food from around the world available Thai, French, Mexican, Indian Chinese, and British. If you want fish and chips, you can have it. There is a McDonalds too. If you want to try something traditional in a restaurant, ask for some meze. It is a selection of different foods, some spicy, and a choice of dips and sauces.

By Douglas Scott

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Parks at San Francisco

San Francisco Bay residents and travelers have many grand gardens and parks to be explored. San Francisco is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world and it boasts eye-catching and sophisticated parks and gardens. From the seasonal open-air festivals of Yerba Buena Gardens to the biggest urban park around the world, one and all are bound to find the ideal spot to relax and enjoy nature.Golden Gate Park is the best city landmark worth spending a glossy afternoon in or at the very least a turn through. It is larger than the New York City's Central Park; Golden Gate Park is about 1,000-acres of fields, gardens and made up of wooded paths. Whether you are chartering a row boat at stow Lake or tentative the over 6,000 plant species at Strybing Arboretum and at the Botanical Garden, the park has something amazing for every nature lover. Highlights of the park comprise Shakespeare Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers as well as the Japanese Tea Garden.The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park is residential in a recently renovated Victorian glass makeup and is touted as the oldest public greenhouse in the western hemisphere. The greenhouse is actually open on Tuesday till Sunday. A nominal fee is obligatory for admittance to the greenhouse, but it is waived for the first Tuesday of every month.

By Amjath