Travel News: USS Arizona Memorial To Re-Open

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USS Arizona Memorial In Hawaii Finally Set To Re-Open

EtN reports “the National Park Service is excited to welcome our visitors back to the USS Arizona Memorial very soon,” said Pearl Harbor National Memorial Acting Superintendent Steve Mietz. The sunken battleship memorial, one of the most visited attractions in the state, sees 4,000 to 5,000 people a day. In 2018, nearly 1.8 million people visited the Pearl Harbor site. Access to the memorial was suspended in May 2018 when park staff noticed minor damage to its attached floating concrete dock where boat passengers disembarked. Inspection of the dock revealed a failure of its anchoring system, which allowed too much lateral movement at the spot where passengers disembark from Navy boats. A series of “helical” pilings were screwed into the seafloor, and synthetic rope was attached to a corresponding dozen points on the 105-foot dock as part of a more than $2.1 million fix, officials said. The Hawaii National Park Service said today that the much-awaited reopening of the USS Arizona Memorial to walk-on access will take place this Labor Day weekend on Sunday after a 15-month closure. The park service said that since May of 2018 when the memorial closed to foot traffic, multiple phases of a repair project for an adjacent dock have been completed including analysis, contracting, design, environmental compliance, mobilization, unexploded ordnance screening, resource preservation and project execution. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor center is free and no tickets are required to see the museums and grounds. The USS Arizona Memorial program is 75 minutes long. It starts in the theater with a 25-minute documentary and is followed by a boat ride to the memorial, time at the memorial and a boat ride back. Programs begin every 15 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

American Has Launched Facial Recognition At The Boarding Gate

Business Insider reports American has started using facial recognition technology to let passengers board planes without their boarding pass. The airline says the technology, now in use in parts of Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport, is more secure and makes boarding quicker for passengers. Its part of a trend in the aviation industry that has seen a growing number of airports and airlines in the US and around the world use facial recognition on passengers despite privacy concerns. American said that the system is opt-in and doesn’t save the photos. It plans to roll the system out further. Passengers, however, still need both their boarding pass and an ID, like their passport, to get through airport security. The technology is currently opt-in only, and passengers can use their IDs instead, American said. For now it is only being used in Terminal D of the airport, which is used for international flights, but American said that it plans to expand the technology to 75 different international boarding gates across its terminals.

EU Confirms No Change To UK Flights Until At Least October 2020

Travelmole reports UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU until at least October next year after the European Commission extended the deadline in their unilateral contingency legislation, released yesterday. Under previous legislation the deadline for this contingency was set for March 2020, but this extension will now allow customers to book their travel further in advance in the confidence that flight schedules will not be affected, said ABTA. The move follows lobbying by ABTA with key EU destination countries, which promoted the mutual benefits of increasing consumer confidence for next summer’s peak season. ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “ABTA has been pushing hard for this extension, which is to the mutual benefit of UK customers and the EU, and we are encouraged that the European Commission has responded today by extending the deadline.

New Zealand To Ban Swimming With Dolphins At Popular Tourist Haunt

Travelmole reports New Zealand has decided to ban swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Islands because the activity off the coast of the North Island is causing a decline in the population. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation says the bottleneck dolphin population has declined 66% since 1990 and has 75% mortality rate for young dolphins. “Research shows that interaction with the bottlenose dolphins is having a significant impact on the populations resting and feeding behavior and that people are ‘loving the dolphins too much’,” the Department of Conservation said. The department said it may also ban or restrict dolphin attractions elsewhere. It will also limit dolphin spotting tours by boat. “They spend far less time feeding, nursing their young and sleeping’ because of a steady stream of tourists,” it said. It will also restrict dolphin spotting boat tours to just morning and early afternoon trips and reduce the tour length from 30 minutes to 20 minutes.

Marriott Banning Small Plastic Shampoo Bottles By 2020

Associated Press reports Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, said Wednesday it will eliminate small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel from its hotel rooms worldwide by December 2020. They’ll be replaced with larger bottles or wall-mounted dispensers, depending on the hotel. The move follows a similar announcement last month by IHG, which owns Holiday Inn, Kimpton and other brands. IHG said it will eliminate about 200 million tiny bottles each year by 2021. Last year, Walt Disney Co. said it would replace small plastic shampoo bottles at its resorts and on its cruise ships. Many smaller companies, like the five Soneva Resorts in Thailand and the Maldives, have also ditched plastic bottles. Marriott has more than 7,000 hotels in 131 countries under 30 brands, ranging from SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn to Sheraton and Ritz-Carlton. It says it will be eliminating about 500 million small bottles each year, or 1.7 million pounds of plastic.

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