Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 13.04.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

Women and children last? Chivalry takes a back seat in sea disasters

When the Titanic sank beneath the waves, the men stood back and let the women and children flee to safety first.

But, 100 years after the ship sank, a new study suggests that the chivalrous rule of “women and children first” is rarely the case in real life sea disasters.

In fact, this may have only occurred on the Titanic because the captain threatened to shoot men who got into the lifeboats.

An analysis of 18 maritime disasters, ranging from the HMS Birkenhead that grounded in the Indian Ocean in 1852 to the MV Bulgaria tourist ship that sank on Russia’s Volga River last year, has revealed that only 17.8 per cent of the women survived as opposed to 34.5 per cent of the men.

As a contrast to this, 70 per cent of the women on board the Titanic were saved, compared to just 20 per cent of the men.

The notion of saving women and children first has been described in the past as the unwritten law of the sea, but this new study suggests that women and children are often left to last.

“The evacuation of the Titanic serves as the prime example of chivalry at sea,” economists Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixon of Uppsala University in Sweden told the Dail Mail.

Men stood back, while women and children were given priority to board the lifeboats.”

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Climbers aim to replicate 1963 Everest hike

Toronto Sun

A flood of U.S. climbers is taking aim at Mount Everest this year as the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. conquest of the famous peak nears, with one team set to try and replicate the historic ascent along a difficult and rarely used route.

Five U.S. mountaineers climbed the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) Everest, the world’s highest peak, in May 1963. Two went along the untested West Ridge route and three along the traditional South East Ridge route, also known as the South Col route.

This year, two climbers in a nine-member team led by Corry Richards will climb the difficult West Ridge route, while the others will go along the Southeast Ridge route, pioneered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Conrad Anker, 49, a member of the team and a two-time Everest climber, said that if weather and physical abilities allowed, both groups would try and meet at the summit.

“That will be the plan,” Anker told Reuters before leaving for the mountain in March.

Another American team consisting of four climbers led by James Ryrie Norton will also be on the West Ridge route, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry said.

“These two expeditions are trying to replicate what the U.S. team in 1963 did on Everest,” said Elizabeth Hawley, Kathmandu-based historian and an unofficial authority on Everest.

Hawley, 88, unofficial arbiter of climbing related disputes and chronicler of Everest climbs, considers the 1963 American ascent to be the biggest Everest milestone after the pioneering feat of Hillary and Norgay because the route is long and so difficult it is rarely used today.

“They will make a film ready for next year’s 50th anniversary,” the bespectacled Hawley said of the U.S. climbers.

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Scotland animated about the Pixar effect on tourism

The Guardian

Highlands setting for the film Brave expected to boost visitor numbers with Ryder Cup golf and Commonwealth Games ahead to attract sports fans.

Scotland is looking to Pixar, golf and the Commonwealth Games to consolidate a boost in the country’s tourism industry, with optimism in the sector at its highest level for four years.

Figures show that staycationers have helped the domestic tourism market to grow by 10%, with a 20% increase in the amount of money they spend.

Tourism has been at the forefront of a slight improvement in economic activity across Scottish business between January and March, according to a survey by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce. Tourism businesses are the most confident they have been since the start of the economic downturn, but there is a clear rural and urban split with high fuel and transport costs hampering growth in the countryside.

Officials are now looking to the release later this year of Disney Pixar’s animated Scottish feature Brave, which they hope will have a similar effect on the travel trade as Braveheart, the 1995 Mel Gibson epic on the life of William Wallace that enraged historians and entranced a new generation of holidaymakers. Following the release of the Gibson film, 20% of US tourists said it was the reason for their visit to Scotland, and visitor numbers to the Wallace Monument near Stirling soared from 30,000 to 200,000 a year.

Brave features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Conolly and Emma Thompson, and Scotland is also pinning hopes on the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games, both in 2014.

Mike Cantlay, the chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The optimistic outlook for the year ahead is particularly welcome as we head into the traditionally busier summer months … the next three years being unprecedented milestones for both urban and rural businesses and we expect they will shape the industry for many years to come.”

There has been some criticism of VisitScotland for setting so much store by an animated film, but Mark Gallagher, co-chairman of the Greater Glasgow Hotels Association, said it was a great opportunity for Scotland to showcase what it could offer as a tourist destination.

“We have got to play to the strengths of the country,” he said. “VisitScotland are a marketing agency and they have got to hang their hat on Brave and the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games and all these great things we have managed to get for the country. We need to shout about it.”

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Really big shows: Colossal artworks land in several cities

USA Today

The Monet-inspired artwork adorning the exterior of the new Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is the largest ever created by Spencer Finch, an artist renowned for installations that play with light and color.

At 250,000 square feet – that’s larger than five football fields – it’s got to be one of the largest artworks anywhere. The shimmering 26-color curtain wall, made up of colored aluminum panels sandwiched between glass etched in a frit pattern, is visible for miles. The building is being dedicated today by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It opens to the public on May 1.

Inside are 11 super-sized sculptures by set designer Robert Israel. For videos and

The work is just the latest in a trio of new, super-sized art installations. In Washington, artist Doug Aitken has transformed the cylindrical facade of the Hirshhorn Museum into a giant movie screen. Billed as the “first-ever work of 360-dgree cinema to be presented in a continuous cylindrical format,” Song 1 is screening between sunset and midnight through May 13. The images are accompanied by the song, I Only Have Eyes for You, performed by “stylistically diverse” musicians, including Beck, Devendra Banhart and Lucky Dragons.

And at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art, artist Michael Heizer has created Levitated Mass using a 340-ton megalith.

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