Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 22.12.2011

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

British couple wins £12.5k as New York’s 50 millionth visitors

The Daily Telegraph

Craig Johnson and his partner Lucy arrived in the city earlier this week with their family, including their children Grace, three, and Thomas, one, to get married at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Centre. Following the ceremony, Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, named them the honorary 50 millionth visitors during an announcement in Times Square.

The couple were presented with a “Golden Ticket” to New York, including a $10,000 (£6,350) American Express gift card, a $10,000 travel package to return to the city in 2012, vouchers to spend in a selection of department stores and restaurants, and tickets to the Broadway show Memphis.

Officials in New York are celebrating a record year for tourism. An estimated 50.2 million people will visit the city by the end of the year, including more than 10 million from overseas. Britons account for the highest percentage of foreign arrivals, with around one million coming from the UK.

NYC & Company, which is responsible for promoting the city as a tourist destination, had originally hoped to reach the 50 million mark in 2012. It said it expected visitor numbers to rise again next year.

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So THAT’S where the rocks for Stonehenge came from 5,000 years ago

Mail Online

For centuries, scientists and  historians have argued over why Stonehenge was built and, even more puzzlingly, how.

They are now closer to cracking one aspect of the mystery after working out the exact spot where some of the rocks came from.

The 5,000-year-old circle of stones – thought at various times to have been a temple of healing, a calendar, or even a royal cemetery – have been traced to an outcrop 150 miles away in north Pembrokeshire.

Dr Richard Bevins of the National Museum of Wales and Dr Robert Ixer at Leicester University narrowed down the source of the rocks,  – called rhyolites – to the 70m-long (0.04 miles) area called Craig Rhos-y-Felin after testing thousands of samples and finding a match.

He said the breakthrough would help experts work out how they were moved to the site in Wiltshire, which attracts more than a million tourists a year.

Archaeologists have long suspected that the 82 bluestones, each weighing up to four tonnes, originated in the Preseli hills in Wales but this is the first time their origin has been pinpointed so accurately.

The next step is to look for evidence of quarrying at this site in search of more details as to how the stones were rolled, sledged and rafted down the River Avon to their final destination by early Britons.

It could debunk another theory that the rocks were not transported by humans at all but by the movement of glaciers during the Ice Age several millennia earlier.

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Pasco County hopes European nudists will provide tourism boost


Pasco County is home to hundreds, maybe even thousands of nudists, or naturist as many prefer.

There are six different resorts and more than a dozen communities where the dress code is au naturel.

So many live life without clothes In Pasco County there is a group called Panda-Bare, to help promote the lifestyle.

“Within Pasco County we have the largest concentration of residential naturists in the world,” said Panda-Bare President Paul Brenot.

Brenot and his group are working with the county to develop a marketing campaign. Their goal is to bring European nudists here during the normally slow summer months. They are calling it the Eurobird season.

“We will be focusing on France, Germany, Netherlands, and Britain. There are over 19 million practicing nudists in there. So heck if we just garner a hundredths of one percent, that’s a lot of tourism coming in,” said Brenot.

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Tech tames travel’s travails

The Detroit News

For time-pressed December travelers, there’s no place like a home screen for the holidays.

New technology promises to reduce the headaches of holiday travel as more nomads turn to smartphone apps, travel websites, navigation systems and other tools to guide them to their destinations.

An estimated 2.9 million Michigan residents and nearly 92 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Christmas holiday period, according to travel group AAA’s latest survey.

“Part of the high stress is that holiday travelers aren’t your normal travelers, simply because they don’t travel very often,” said Amy Courter, chief information officer at the Detroit-based technology firm, VisionIT.

Courter recently joined VisionIT after serving as the national commander of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol, where she was responsible for more than 550 aircraft and 61,000 flying professionals.

Because she flies about 100,000 miles annually, her favorite app is wxRadar, an iPhone and iPad weather radar tool that helps her track how storms might affect her flights.

During a recent delay in Atlanta, the airline warned of a two-hour delay but her radar app told otherwise. Courter found an electric outlet, plugged in her laptop and spent the time working while other passengers, heeding announcements, switched gates and concourses for the flight. After several moves, the passengers returned to the original gate where she remained camped.

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