Travel News: Melbourne is World’s Most Livable City – Again

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Melbourne Crowned The World’s Most Livable City For Record Seventh Year

Melbourne’s reign as the world’s most liveable city has been extended for an unprecedented seventh year by the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) annual Liveability Index. The Index surveys 140 of the world’s cities and Melbourne has come out on top again. Since the index began in 2006, Melbourne has consistently come in the top three of the index. So what is it that keeps Melbourne at the top of the list? Melbourne ticks all the Liveability Index boxes and many others. The city is the acknowledged cultural and sporting capital of Australia hosting major events including the Australian Open, the Formula One Australian Grand Prix and the Spring Racing Carnival. It is home to universities that consistently rank among the world’s best, producing the highest number of technical graduates in the country and voted as one of the world’s top five student cities. The State Government of Victoria is continuously investing in Melbourne’s infrastructure, including road tunnels and new roads to improve transport links, new trams and trains to enhance public transport, and its world-class convention center which is undergoing an expansion to host the ever-growing number of conventions and exhibitions the city hosts. Melbourne is growing rapidly with Australia’s highest rates of domestic and international migration. In fact Melbourne is now Australia’s fastest growing city, and is projected to overtake Sydney as Australia’s biggest city by 2030. As the top ranked ‘tech city’ in Australia, Melbourne offers the infrastructure, business environment, talent pool and lifestyle to place it at the top of global shopping lists for tech companies looking for space in which to locate.

Barcelona Airport Strike Continues And Could Spread Nationwide

Back in July Barcelona airport security check personnel called for industrial action on Fridays, Sundays and Mondays from August 1 onwards to denounce low wages and staffing/training deficiencies to properly manage the airport’s security checkpoints. They are now two weeks into the strike and waiting times of 30 to 45 minutes is becoming a permanent baseline. Peak waiting times can be as long as 2+ hours and could become worse next week. Well, two weeks into the strike and there seems to be no agreement between the parts, and things may take a turn for the worse next week. 


Dubrovnik To Cut Cruise Ship And Tourist Visitor Numbers

The Telegraph reports Dubrovnik is taking steps to ensure that the number of tourists visiting its ancient center is drastically cut in a bid to protect its appeal. Its new mayor wants to protect the city from damaging overcrowding. The Medieval center is a Unesco World Heritage site, and Unesco recommends that only 8,000 people a day be permitted inside the walls. However, the city aims to cap the numbers to 4,000 visitors a day. Mayor Mato Franković said the move was to limit the unchecked growth the city has seen in day trippers and cruise passengers visiting. According to the Telegraph, he said: “We don’t want to go with the maximum, we want to go lower than that.” 

Why The Big 3 Cruise Lines Are Seeing Strong Profits 

Forbes reports that instead of people buying TVs and cars they are buying cruises to build memories. This is a very interesting article and well worth reading. The Big Three cruise line operators Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, all based in Miami, are riding a consumer trend to buy experiences rather than things. “People have bought all the stuff that they need, and they’re now looking towards gaining more experiences,” Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said on an August 1 call with analysts. “Instead of buying TVs and cars, they seem to be buying memories as never before.” David Beckel, vice president for investment research firm Sanford C. Bernstein. “Royal Caribbean and Norwegian on their recent earnings calls both cited a secular shift I have been trying to hone in on. People are shifting more to experiences,” Beckel said in an interview. “Cruise lines being a pure play on experience, they are uniquely situated to benefit from that trend.” 


‘Big Ben’ To Fall Silent For Four Years

The English Icon will be silenced for four years while the 158-year-old timepiece undergoes repairs. The last gongs are expected to sound at noon on Aug. 21. (U.K. Parliament). Needed repairs will be carried out on the 158-year-old timepiece, a masterwork of Victorian ingenuity and an enduring British icon. Londoners were not happy to hear the news, and there was lament on Twitter, with many recalling how the hourly bongs of Big Ben serve as a kind of base note for their lives. Scaffolding covers Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, in London as part of a four-year restoration project. A selfie with the Great Clock atop Elizabeth Tower along the Thames River is almost mandatory. The Palace of Westminster, home to the houses of Parliament, is one of the top five visited sites in London, and Big Ben is the star of the show. The tower will soon be fully swaddled in metal scaffolding and three of the four clock dials covered. The last gongs of Big Ben, before its long rest, will ring out at noon Monday, Aug. 21. Large crowds are expected to witness the event. The repairs should be complete sometime in 2021, authorities promised. “Big Ben has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years,” said Keeper of the Great Clock Steve Jaggs, noting that the complex renovation, budgeted at about $40 million, is designed to safeguard clock and tower for future generations. The actual bell is not the problem. It is the clock that rings the bell that needs repairs. Cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the 13-ton hour bell was the largest of its day, its first performance celebrated by parliament in 1859. In all these years, Big Ben bonged through good times and bad, including the Blitz, Germany’s eight-month aerial bombardment of London during World War II. The bell was silent during the funerals of prime ministers Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. The Keeper of the Great Clock explained that Big Ben must be silenced as the clock itself must be “dismantled piece by piece with each cog examined and restored.” Not only will Big Ben be quiet, but four quarter bells, which chime every 15 minutes, also will go silent. 

Nordic Cruise Company To Build 4 Luxury Expedition Ships

Cruise Industry News reports Nordic Cruise Company is moving ahead with its plans to build a series of four expedition ultra luxury yachts, according to Ulf Henrick Wynnsdale, president and CEO. The first ship will be delivered in May of 2020, Wynnsdale told Cruise Industry News. Three more 220-passenger vessels will follow from Spain’s MetalShips & Docks in 10-month intervals. A significant amount of fundraising for the project is complete. The four ships will be the first expedition ships that are LNG ready, with the capacity to sail up to 36 hours on LNG while burning MGO the rest of the time. They will also be equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. Since an initial ship concept was released in January, the company went back to the drawing board, adding capacity, making the ships bigger at 16,500 tons and giving them a totally new exterior look, courtesy of Hareide Design, which drew up a new vessel stance and incorporated much more glass into the ship’s design. Now, the vessel is an expedition ship, while retaining the mega yacht look. A sales plan is being formulated with David Morris International and the company plans to target the high-end of the US source market. Multiple focus groups have been held across the US. Most staterooms will offer so-called infinity-style balconies. There will also be a top-deck observation lounge and large aft marina. Absent will be helicopters and submarines. Battery power would supplement two main engines during peak periods of demand, so a third would not have to kick in. The vessel will have four main engines.

American To Add More Flights To Europe In 2018

American Airlines is giving its customers more access to Europe, with new summer service to Budapest and Prague from Philadelphia, and additional service to Venice (VCE) from Chicago, starting May 4, 2018. Budapest and Prague will be new destinations on American’s route map. The airline currently offers service to Venice from Philadelphia. This summer, American began service to Amsterdam and Rome from Dallas/Fort Worth, and to Barcelona from Chicago, further expanding its European footprint. American and its joint business partners serve 23 destinations in Europe nonstop from the U.S. with more than 130 daily departures. The new flights will be available for booking on August 21. AA said it will launch seasonal nonstop service from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Venice from May 8 to Oct. 27, 2018. The new ORD-VCE service will operate on a widebody Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. 

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