Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 31.01.2012

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

British tourists Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting detained over Twitter joke

Two British tourists have been held at a US airport after joking about “destroying America” on the social networking site.

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, and his friend Emily Bunting, 24, were detained by armed guards after landing at Los Angeles International Airport last Monday and kept in a cell with Mexican drug dealer for 12 hours, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

Mr Bryan, who was travelling with friend Emily Bunting, was flagged as a potential threat when he asked a friend on Twitter: “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?”

The shocked pair were detained by armed guards after making their way through Los Angeles International Airport last Monday.

They were held on suspicion of planning to commit crimes and had their passports confiscated, despite telling officials the term “destroy” was British slang for “party”.

“The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh’s tweet,” Ms Bunting said. “They wanted to know what we were going to do.”

“They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party.”

Another Tweet quoting the TV show Family Guy was quizzed, it read: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****d people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”

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Madrid hopes for jobs jackpot with mega casino strip

Madrid city and regional leaders have vowed to work together to bring a massive Las Vegas-style casino strip to the Spanish capital, hoping for a jackpot of 200,000 jobs.

US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands chief Sheldon Adelson is in talks to build a “mini-Las Vegas” in Spain and he has held out the prospect of a huge jobs bonanza.

Madrid’s mayor, Ana Botella, and the regional government president, Esperanza Aguirre, said they would fight for the investment, reportedly worth up to 18.8 billion euros ($24 billion).

“We are going to change the regulations that need to be changed as long as it is line with our principles,” Aguirre told reporters after the two right-leaning politicians held a one-hour meeting Monday.

Aguirre said the city, regional and central government and ministries concerned must push the investment.

The project would create 200,000 long-term jobs without counting employment generated by the construction of infrastructure, hotels, theatres, meeting and conference centres etc., she said.

Botella, who is the wife of former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and who took over as mayoress in December, said the city may have to change its overall development plan to accomodate the casino.

According to the leading daily El Pais, Las Vegas Sands presented a plan to invest 15.0-18.8 billion euros in the complex up to 2022, claiming it would create 164,000 direct and 97,000 indirect jobs.

The paper said the scheme includes 12 resorts with 36,000 rooms in total, six casinos with 1,065 tables, 18,000 slot machines, nine theatres, three golf courses and a 15,000-seat stage.

Las Vegas Sands’ chief told reporters in Singapore last February that he wanted to make an “unprecendented investment” to build a ‘Europe Vegas’ or ‘Euro-Vegas’.

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Skies over New York remain gridlocked

USA Today

Business traveler Jerry Green loves New York. It’s the flying in and out of there that drives him crazy.

“I’ve had incredible delays,” says Green, a consultant from St. Petersburg, Fla., who visits New York on business at least eight times a year. “I remember one night we didn’t get there until 3 a.m., and I had to be in front of a customer at 8. I travel everywhere, every week, and it’s the only place I go that I truly dread.”

For airlines, the skies over the New York Citymetropolitan area are the most sought after in the U.S.— and the most crowded. With roughly a third of all flights in the nation flying to, from or through the New York area, congestion there can lead to rippling delays that ground planes and frustrate passengers from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Recognizing the critical role New York plays, federal and local officials are taking a series of steps to keep air traffic moving. New flight lanes are being carved in the skies, runways are being widened and limits are maintained on the number of flights that can take off and land at the region’s three major airports: LaGuardia, JFKand Newark.

Work also continues on the satellite-based navigation system known as NextGen that’s ultimately supposed to make room for more planes to fly safely in tight space across the nation’s air traffic network.

“We’re a place people want to visit, we’re a place where people want to do business,” says Susan Baer, aviation director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the three major airports. “There’s a lot going on in a very limited space. There are things that we’ve done that have made a difference and that we’ll continue to do to make a difference.”

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London 2012 Olympics: Locog returns 120,000 hotel rooms to market

The Telegraph

More than 120,000 places reserved in hotels by Olympics organisers for workers, sponsors and the media during the Games will not be needed, it has emerged.

The London organising committee (Locog) confirmed that around 20 per cent of the room nights they had booked would now be returned to the hotels for them to offer up to other customers.

As part of the bid to stage the 2012 Games, agreements had been struck with hotels to provide more than 40,000 rooms, representing more than 600,000 room nights during the period. Part of the deal was that the committee promised to return any unwanted rooms back to the hotels so they could sell them in time for Games.

The rooms, at more than 200 hotels, range from five-star to budget accommodation.

Locog chief executive Paul Deighton said: “The hotel industry in London got behind the bid to stage the Games in the most extraordinary way and that support helped us across the line.

“We always promised that we would not hold on to hotel rooms we didn’t need but return them to the individual hotels at the beginning of 2012.

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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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