In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Australia creates world’s largest marine reserve network
The Coral Sea and adjoining Great Barrier Reef will be protected from oil and gas exploration under the scheme.
Australia has created the world’s largest network of marine reserves and will restrict fishing and oil and gas exploration in a major step to safeguard the environment and access to food.
The area will cover 3.1m sq km (1.2m sq miles) of ocean including the entire Coral Sea, and encompass a third of the island continent’s territorial waters.
The environment minister, Tony Burke, said the government expected to pay an estimated 100m Australian dollars to the fishing industry in compensation for the new restrictions on their operations that will take effect late this year.
Highly protected areas such as the Coral Sea off Australia’s north-eastern coast and the adjoining World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reefwill also be protected from oil and gas exploration. Both areas, which cover a total 1.3m sq km, have shallow reefs that support tropical ecosystems with sharks, coral, sponges and many fish species.
The numbers of marine reserves off the Australian coast will be increased from 27 to 60.
Burke said he wanted the reserves to set a benchmark for the world in environmental protection and food security – access to and consistent availability of food. The plan aims to guarantee future fish stocks by preventing overfishing.
“We have an incredible opportunity to turn the tide on protection of theoceans and Australia can lead the world in marine protection,” he said
TV’s ‘Dallas’ – and tourists – ride back to Southfork Ranch
It’s been two decades since dastardly oil baron J.R. and the rest of the Ewing clan checked out of Southfork Ranch,whose green pastures and pillared mansion symbolized the Big D for fans around the globe.
Thanks to tonight’s two-hour premiere of TNT’s reincarnated Dallas, the Ewings and their famous homestead are galloping back into the pop-culture limelight. And so are the acolytes willing to pay $10.75 a head for a glimpse of the real-life Southfork, about a 45-minute drive northeast of DFW Airport.
Over the past few weeks, visitor numbers at the 340-acre ranch in Parker – now run by Forever Resorts as a conference and meeting center as well as tourist attraction – have nearly tripled to about 300 a day, officials told NBCDFW.com.
Outside, you’ll find the same white fences and yellow awnings that grace both the original and re-imagined series. Inside, the mansion has been gussied up with themed bedrooms; gift shops specialize in Dallas-themed memorabilia and Western wear (sequined cowboy jackets with shoulder pads, perhaps?) and displays feature patriarch Jock Ewing’s 1978 Lincoln Continental and the gun that shot J.R. (His Stetson hat, meanwhile, is enshrined in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s contemporary Americana exhibit.)
I toured the ranch during the soap opera’s heyday in 1982, and came away nonplussed…but that was before the addition of Miss Ellie’s Deli. And if the place is good enough to host the real Cattle Baron’s Ball, who am I to judge?
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou set for take-off with a pan-African airline in Lonrho deal
EasyJet’s founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou moved closer to launching a pan-African, low-cost airline yesterday after a British investment firm he is part of bought Lonhro’s African aviation business.
The deal will see Lonhro’s popular East African, low-cost carrier Fly540 expand its existing operations before being relaunched as Fastjet later this year.
The deal values Lonrho’s aviation division, which operates in Angola, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya, at $85.7m (£55.1m) and injects that business into the Aim-listed cash shell Rubicon in which the easyJet founder took a 5 per cent share stake.
Through a reverse take-over, Lonrho will end up with a 74 per cent stake in Rubicon, which plans to relaunch the business as Fastjet.
Ed Winter, the chief executive of Rubicon, said customers should expect average fares as low as $70-$80 on link-ups between fast-growing cities such as Kenya’s Nairobi and Angola’s Luanda.
“It is the optimum time to launch because Africa is hugely under-served from an aviation perspective. It is the last frontier for aviation,” said Mr Winter, who was formerly a director of the British Airways offshoot Go and then chief operating officer of easyJet.
“Africa has a rapidly growing middle class with GDP growth fuelled by oil discoveries. It has few good roads or railways and cheap air travel is a real alternative.”
African aviation is noted for its poor safety record and awkward connections. Investment has been hobbled by complex cross-border regulation designed to protect national carriers from competition or foreign takeovers.
African aviation is valued at $56bn a year, and passenger numbers on the continent are expected to grow from nearly 68 million in 2010 to more than 150 million in 2030.
China prepares to open more of Great Wall to tourists
Beijing will open two new parts of the Great Wall to tourists to meet high demand for one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, state media reported Saturday.
The municipal government will open the Huanghuacheng and Hefangkou sections of the Great Wall to the public and expand the popular Mutianyu and Badaling sites in the capital’s northern suburbs, the official Xinhua News Agency said. No specific dates were given.
On weekends and holidays, the existing four public Great Wall sites often are crammed with tourists. Xinhua said some tourists instead scale closed sections of the wall and cause damage to the historic structure.
Kong Fanzhi, chief of Beijing’s cultural relics bureau, told Xinhua the new measures aim to ease the congestion at the open sections of the wall.
Most of the wall in Beijing is in good condition, Wang Yuwei, a cultural relics protection official, was quoted as saying.
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications built throughout centuries to protect the country’s ancient empire.