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Club Med reopens Cote d’Azur resort…will now teach Circus Skills!

Club Med has relaunched its Opio en Provence resort on France’s Cote d’Azur, aimed at families and couples. The four-Trident resort has been fully refurbished and offers 437 rooms, built in traditional Provencal-style bungalows. Included are four new suites. The resort will feature Club Med’s first CREATIVE playground in Europe, which is a dedicated area where children and adults can learn circus skills.

Possible new airport for Sydney

The Australian government said it will fund construction of a new $3.76 billion international airport for Sydney. The decision came after Sydney Airport Holdings declined to exercise its right to build the airport itself, deeming it a risky project. The site at Badgery’s Creek s about 25 miles from the city, much further away than the existing airport which is operated by Sydney Airport Holdings. Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said it was ‘essential’ for a rail line to be built and operational before the new airport opens due to the distance. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce hopes the new airport will serve as a low-cost hub alternative such as London’s Stansted Airport.

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Venice begins effort to limit tourist count for popular attractions

Venice, long struggling under the strain of massive tourist numbers has just 55,000 residents live in Venice’s historic center, a number that is rapidly dwindling, as the 60,000 tourists a day drive up the cost of living. A fact-finding mission to Venice by Unesco officials in October 2015 found that “the capacity of the city, the number of its inhabitants and the number of tourists is out of balance and causing significant damage”. It led Unesco to warn in 2016 that it would place the city on its endangered list unless preventative action was taken. Venice and its lagoon are one of 51 Italian sites on Unesco’s world heritage list. Venice city council is also considering limiting tourist accommodation in the same way that authorities in Barcelona have. After local outcry that included English-language signs reading, “Tourists Go Away!!! You Are Destroying This Area,” the local government has responded with new measures meant to limit tourist numbers at popular attractions, and to encourage visitors to explore the less crowded parts of the Floating City. The city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, who made cracking down on tourist numbers a priority when he was elected in 2015, and its tourism councilor, Paola Mar, are putting into place a slew of regulations on a trial basis as the city braces itself for the flood of summer visitors. It begins with automated “people-counters” at the most heavily trafficked areas, like the historic bridges that span the canals and the Rio Novo. Unlike in Dubrovnik, where visitors will be turned away when a cap is reached, in Venice, the numbers will be shared in real time on the city’s website and social media feeds to discourage people from going to places already blocked up with foot traffic. Venice plans are afoot to introduce a ticketing system to regulate the size of the crowds in St Mark’s Square, according to the local press. The city council has grown tired of the throngs of people brandishing selfie sticks among the pigeons. The payment of an entrance ticket to St Mark’s Square “is an eventuality that exists, though not immediately” Paola Mar, a city councillor for tourism told Il Gazzettino.

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New USA riverboat company in September

Travel Weekly reports that the newly formed Grand Majestic River Company will launch an overnight passenger paddlewheeler in September. Owner of the Kentucky-based company bought the former casino boat Diamond Lady last year, and it will become the 70-passenger Grand Majestic. The boat will be able to sail along shorter inland waterways off of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, due to its shorter height and lower draft. The company plans to do cruises up to Omaha, Sioux City, Charleston (WV) and the Chicago outskirts. “The ship’s interiors are being outfitted to make passengers feel that they are stepping back in time,” says cruise line owner Captain Joseph Baer, “but not so overdone antique-wise that you feel like you’re staying at a B&B.”  Excursions will be included, along with one pre-cruise hotel night. 

Visa reciprocity for five European countries and the USA resolved for now

The European Union and the United States have resolved issues of visa reciprocity pertaining to citizens of five EU nations that are not part of the Visa Waiver Program. Earlier this year, the European Parliament asked that visa requirements be reinstated for U.S. citizens traveling to Europe as early as this summer, but that will not be the case anymore.  The European Commission says it has reached an agreement with the U.S. and will not begin making Americans obtain visas when traveling to Europe. The commission reached this decision after engaging in talks with U.S. officials and a process was put into place through which EU member countries–including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania-could be brought into the Visa Waiver Program.

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Hydrogen-powered trains?

Plans for the Coradia iLint, a hydrogen-powered, zero-emission train in Germany could revolutionize rail travel. Alstom, the company behind the new trains, says the iLint is the world’s first low-floor passenger train that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to create its electricity. The trains – which are described as 60 percent less noisy than diesel trains and can travel up to 500 miles per day – successfully completed test runs back in March.

Many Americans do not protect against malaria when they travel

Nearly 1,500 Americans continue to be hospitalized for malaria annually. According to a new study released by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, nearly all malaria patients in the U.S. are travelers that brought the disease home with them from affected countries. What’s more, the disease could have easily been prevented had travelers taken the proper precautions before their trip. “It appears more and more Americans are traveling to areas where malaria is common and many of them are not taking preventive measures, such as using anti-malarial preventive medications and mosquito repellents, even though they are very effective at preventing infections,” said Diana Khuu, PhD, MPH, a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who co-authored the study. As more travelers return with the disease, there is a greater “risk of malaria re-establishing itself in the U.S.,” according to Dr. Khuu.

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