Travel News: No water shortage in Cape Town!

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No water shortage in Cape Town!

A drought in 2017 brought Cape Town’s water supply to a dangerously low level and started a scare about Day Zero, the day when the city would theoretically run out of water if usage continued to outstrip the water supply. In the face of a water shortage, citizens, city and provincial governments, and the tourism sector rallied and launched a myriad of initiatives to change the ratio of consumption-to-replenishment of water supplies. The success of the initiatives went far beyond expectations. Today, after a combination of hard work and good luck, Cape Town’s water supply is no longer a pressing issue. Unfortunately, the news of the recovery has not traveled as fast as the news of the crisis did,and a city that relies on tourism for 7.5 percent of its GDP is still experiencing a reduction in tourism arrivals because of perceptions surrounding the water shortage of early 2018.”The scare had an impact on South African Airways’ business and on Cape Townbecause of the coverage in January and February,” said Todd M. Neuman, executive vice president, North America, for South African Airways. “But water continues to flow in Cape Town,” Neuman said. “Cape Town did not run out of water. Cape Town did a fantastic job with water conservation. It has been recognized worldwide how Cape Town made the effort to save water. The water is running, the hotels are running. We have had a wet winter in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape. The reservoirs are 65-70 percent full again. There is no shortage of water.”

New United flights offer only non-stop service between USA and Tahiti

United Airlines this week started the only nonstop service by a U.S. carrier to the Islands of Tahiti. The airline launched its first flight between San Francisco and Pape’ete, the capital of Tahiti. As part of its inaugural celebration, United also announced it is extending its Tahiti schedule to year-round service from San Francisco. United’s newest international flight offers service to Tahiti from San Francisco International Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Beginning March 30, 2019, United will begin year-round service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. United will operate the route with Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft throughout the year.

When oh when might Southwest start Hawaii flights?

Ever since Southwest Airlines announced in October 2017 that it intended to start flying to Hawaii, U.S. air travelers and investors have both been eager to learn more about its plans. Over the past year, there has been a slow trickle of information, but the carrier still hasn’t confirmed exactly which routes it will operate, how often it will serve them, and when the flights will start. The Motley Fool reports that during its recent third-quarter earnings call, Southwest Airlines provided the most detail yet on its Hawaii plans. The main reason why it is taking so long for Southwest Airlines to launch its Hawaii flights is that it needs to receive FAA approval for long over-water flights. This “ETOPScertification” process — which entails defining and documenting safety procedures, training flight crews, and then demonstrating the effectiveness of those procedures — typically takes 12 to 18 months. According to COO Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlineshas completed the documentation phase of the certification process. It still needs to do simulations for the FAA and then operate validation flights to receive the final regulatory sign-off. This suggests that Southwest is at least a few weeks away from achievingETOPS certification. Yet it does expect to complete the process before year-end. The first half of December now seems like the most likely time frame for receiving ETOPS approval. Southwest Airlines plans to publish schedules and begin selling tickets for Hawaii flights just a few days after that. Moreover, the first flight could occur as soon as a few weeks after ticket sales begin, which is a much shorter interval than normal. Nevertheless, all signs point to Southwest Airlines’ Hawaii flights beginning in early 2019.

Complimentary delivery and pick up for disabled traveler products

Special Needs Group, a provider of wheelchairs, oxygen, motorized scooters and other products for cruise lines, resorts and theme parks, has introduced a new delivery and demonstration service. This is available for multiple cruise lines at multiple ports. There is no additional cost for this service, and commissions are paid. See

Special Needs Group, White Glove Service for details.

Historic acqua alta in Venice

Venice was inundated by an exceptional high tide Monday, putting three-quarters of the famed Italian lagoon city under water as large swathes of the rest of Italy experienced flooding and heavy winds that toppled trees, killing four people. Friends of mine who live in Venice say it’s the highest acqua alta they have seen since they came there in 2003 and 2004, though news reports say since 2008. Rain-soaked tourists were asked to leave St Mark’s Square as water peaked at more than 5ft (61 inches) by the afternoon- something that has only happened five times in recorded history. The water exceeded the raised walkways normally put out in flooded areas in Venice, forcing their removal. Transport officials closed the water bus system except to outlying islands due to the emergency. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said a series of underwater barriers that are being erected in the lagoon would have prevented the inundation. The project, nicknamed Moses, is long overdue, beset by cost overruns and corruption scandals. Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia says flooding this week could reach the levels of the 1966 flood that struck both Venice and Florence. There are reports of Saltwater having damaged some historic sights.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor will not reopen until March 2019

The National Park Service (NPS) expects the USS Arizona Memorial dock repair project to be complete by March 2019, allowing visitor access to the memorial to resume. Access to the USS Arizona Memorial was suspended on May 6 when minor damage to the exterior of the structure became visible at the main point of entry. A more thorough examination revealed that the damage was caused by a failure of the anchoring system for the boat dock adjacent to the Memorial. This placed extreme pressure on the loading bridge that provides overwater passage for visitors from the boat dock to the USS Arizona Memorial. Access was curtailed immediately to ensure visitor safety and prevent additional. The design phase of the project was recently completed, allowing for the development of a more precise timeline for the repair process. Unfortunately, it will not be completed in time for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on December 7. “Not being able to welcome survivors and their families on the USS Arizona Memorial this coming December 7th is heartbreaking,” said Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, who oversees the memorial.

Emirates Air to offer ‘biometric path’ through the airport and onto the plane

Dubai-based Emirates airline is preparing to launch world’s first “biometric path” that will offer its passengers a smooth and seamless airport journey at the airline’s hub in Dubai International Airport. Utilizing the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers can soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates lounge and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport. The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai International airport. It can be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at select boarding gates.

US Troops drain Reykjavik of beer, one local beer in particular

ETN reports that while it was only supposed to be a pit stop, some 7,000 US troops taking part in mass NATO drills nonetheless managed to deplete some bars and restaurants in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik of all their beer. The troops stopped in Iceland over the weekend while on their way to Sweden and Finland for a 300,000-strong NATO exercise. In total, some 50,000 of the forces participating are US troops. Apparently unconcerned about moderating their intake of booze just before Trident Juncture 18, thought to be NATO’s biggest military exercise since the Cold War, the troops plunged several bars in downtown Reykjavik into a state of emergency as they went nuts on their beer. US soldiers were not satisfied with just any beer and specifically requested the local one. So, Brewery Olgerð Egils Skallagrimssonar, which makes the popular Icelandic Gull, had to send emergency supplies to various bars, according to local news site Visir.

Hong Kong Peninsula introduces the Sunseeker Manhattan 60 yacht

The Peninsula Hong Kong has announced the arrival of a new Peninsula Yacht for guests’ enjoyment. The introduction of the yacht results in The Peninsula being the first luxury hotel in Hong Kong to offer a trinity of deluxe transportation options, complementing the existing fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms and a customized helicopter. The Sunseeker Manhattan 60 is an iconic 19 meter cruiser that will welcome up to 15 passengers each evening to enjoy a two-hour evening cruise featuring the ‘Symphony of Lights’ on the mesmerizing Victoria Harbor during the “Harbor Sunset Cruise.” The package includes canapés and unlimited consumption of house Champagne, wine and other beverages, available from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm nightly, at HKD 1,400/$ 180 USD net for adults and HKD 600/$78 USD net for children.

Italy to cease free museum entry on first Sundays

Italy’s government recently announced the end of a popular initiative granting free entry to the country’s prominent museums and monuments. Since July 2014, more than 480 cultural sites in Italy, including Pompeii, the Vatican Museums, the Uffizi, and the Colosseum, have welcomed visitors for free on the first Sunday of every month as part of a program known as Domenica al Museo, or Sunday at the Museum. According to The Local Italy, approximately 3.5 million people benefitted from the public initiative in 2017 alone.

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