Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 27.01.2012

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

World’s next tallest tower ‘The Kingdom’ to be built by the Binladen Group

The record for the world’s tallest tower is set to be broken yet again… this time by the Bin Laden family.

The new skyscraper will measure one kilometre high and will be located in Saudi Arabia. The tower will outdo Gulf neighbour Dubai, which inaugurated its own record-breaking skyscraper the 828m Burj Khalifa less than two years ago.

The Saudis awarded a more than $1 billion contract for a spire, to be named the Kingdom Tower. It will have a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices, encompassing, in all, about half a million square metres.

Kingdom Holding Co, the investment firm headed by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said it signed a $1 billion deal with the Saudi Binladen Group to build Kingdom Tower on the outskirts of the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The Saudi construction giant is owned by the family of Osama bin Laden. The family disavowed the slain al-Qaeda terror group leader years ago.

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Taking a trip can be a ‘degrading’ experience for fliers

USA Today

Ellen Davis says she has nightmares about her detention and interrogation for more than an hour by Israeli security agents who asked “nonsensical” questions before her flight from Tel Aviv airport in May.

The frequent flier from the Atlanta area says she was told to swallow one of her birth-control pills, asked repeated questions about her shoes and religion and ordered to remove her shoes and blouse, leaving her standing in a “revealing tank top.”

“I’m a grown woman not lacking in life experiences — both good and bad — but this was the single most humiliating experience of my life,” says Davis, 46, who went to Israel to see religious sites with three friends.

Although the overwhelming majority of travelers get where they’re headed without incident, hardly a day goes by without someone complaining they’ve suffered an indignity when trying to fly somewhere — whether it’s a humiliating security search like Davis says she underwent or being ordered off a plane by airline personnel.

And in a day of social media, incidents often draw wide attention despite steps governmental security agencies and airlines say they take to stress courtesy.

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Costa offers €11k compensation for tragic cruise

The Independent

Costa Crociere SpA has offered passengers €11,000 apiece to compensate them for their lost baggage and psychological trauma after its cruise ship ran aground and capsized off Tuscany when the captain deviated from his route.

Costa, a unit of the world’s biggest cruise operator Carnival Corp., will also reimburse passengers the full costs of their cruise, travel expenses and any medical expenses sustained after the grounding.

The agreement was announced Friday after a day of negotiations between Costa representatives and Italian consumer groups representing 3,206 people from 61 countries who suffered no physical harm when the Costa Concordia hit a reef on 13 January.

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Beards are back at Disney World

Toronto Sun

Six of Snow White’s seven dwarfs have them, along with Merlin the Magician and Aladdin’s genie, and now men working at Disneyland and Walt Disney World can sport one too — a beard.

From next Friday, front line male employees at Disney’s parks and resorts will be allowed to grow a beard in the biggest change to the company’s conservative, clean-cut dress code since pantyhose became optional for female employees in 2010.

The change came during the company’s periodic review of employee requirements, and had been requested by some “cast members,” which is what Disney calls employees who work face-to-face with the public, Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.

“We’re careful to maintain our heritage and the integrity of our brand,” Finger said.

The brand includes the “Disney Look,” described as fresh, clean, neat and approachable. The dress code governs everything from hair color and style to jewelry and fingernail length. The rules will require beards to be short and neat.

Facial hair had been banned at the Disney company since the 1950s opening of Disneyland in California, but that was relaxed in 2000 when the company allowed moustaches with strict rules on bushiness, width and length, said Eric Clinton, a Disney union leader.

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Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

Not meaning to brag, but here goes. I can say I’m a travel expert and have spoken at multiple travel conferences and trade shows.

I enjoy travelling all over the world but my big passion is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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