Over 7,000 apply for New York for-hire license ahead of cap

NEW YORK, United States (AFP)–Over 7,000 New York City car-for-hire license applications were filed between the announcement of a one-year cap on new licenses — a blow to the likes of Uber and Lyft — and the measure coming into force, the city regulator said Thursday. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill into effect Tuesday, a first in the United States after a city council vote earlier this month. It stipulates a […]

Eiffel tower to reopen after strike over long queues

  by Joseph Schmid and Paul Gypteau Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — The Eiffel Tower — closed to visitors since Wednesday afternoon — is to reopen on Friday after workers went on strike over unacceptably long queues at the Paris landmark. Workers walked out in protest at a new access policy that has seen separate lifts allocated to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site. At the same time, the tower […]

Boracay, Cebu and Palawan make it to the “Top 10 islands in Asia”

(Eagle News) — Despite its closure for a six-month rehabilitation, the island of Boracay still made it to the list of Top 10 Islands in Asia, according to the Travel+Leisure magazine. Boracay ranked no. 8 this year with a score of 86.14. Two other Philippine provinces, namely Cebu and Palawan, also made it to the “Top 10 Islands in Asia.” Cebu made it to the sixth place with a score of 89.10, while Palawan ranked […]

European tourist magnets hit back as Airbnb turns 10

by Rebecca Frasquet  Agence France-Presse PARIS, Frace (AFP)–Facing competition from Airbnb, which will celebrate a decade this summer, top European attractions such as Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona are out to revamp their own offerings. The move is to keep rental prices in check yet keep supply healthy as Airbnb continues to be a thorn in the side of hoteliers, ten years on from its August 11, 2008 debut as Airbed & Breakfast. After several […]

New Zealand kayaker finishes epic solo Tasman voyage

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP)–A New Zealand adventurer has become the first person to kayak the Tasman Sea solo after a gruelling two-month voyage that saw him pestered by a shark and battling “washing machine” conditions. Scott Donaldson set off from Australia’s Coffs Harbour on May 2 and paddled ashore at New Plymouth, on New Zealand’s North Island late Monday night. The 48-year-old’s 2,200-kilometre (1,370-mile) journey took him across one of the southern hemisphere’s most notorious […]

Singapore may send back unvaccinated foreign travelers

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP)–Singapore may start turning back foreign visitors who do not have required vaccinations, authorities said, in a bid to protect the tightly-controlled country from infectious diseases. The country of 5.6 million people is a popular tourist destination, with 17.4 million visitors arriving in 2017. But its small size and openness have sometimes left it vulnerable, and it was hit hard by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. Travelers are currently […]

Let it grow: Tokyo DisneySea adds ‘Frozen’ in $2.3 bn expansion

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The Tokyo DisneySea theme park is getting a $2.3 billion overhaul and adding a section based on the wildly popular movie “Frozen” to its offerings, its operator said Thursday. Oriental Land, which runs the ocean-themed park as well as the adjacent Tokyo Disneyland and hotels, said the 250-billion-yen ($2.3-billion) undertaking will be the most expensive expansion plan in the site’s 35-year history. The project will add attractions replicating the Kingdom of […]

Ashikaga flower park in Tochigi, Japan

  If you are a wanderlust, try to embark on a Wisteria adventure for a tranquil experience. Ashikaga flower park in Tochigi, about three hours north of Tokyo by local train showcases the beauty of mainly wisteria (commonly known as “fuji” among locals) as well as azaleas, and many other flowers. Fuji is native to China, Japan and the eastern United States. It plays a vital role in Japanese culture. The kanji for fuji (藤) […]

‘French Spiderman’ foiled in Seoul skyscraper attempt

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — French urban freeclimber Alain Robert attempted to scale the world’s fifth-tallest building Wednesday, getting more than half way up the 123-storey Lotte World Tower in Seoul before security forced him to abandon the ascent. The 55-year-old, dubbed the ‘French Spiderman’, made his way up the building bare-handed and without ropes as staff pursued him from inside. “I climbed about 75 stories and then after that, it was a bit like cat […]

Everest’s Hillary Step now a ‘slope’: climbers

by Annabel Symington Agence France Presse KATHMANDU, Nepal (AFP) — Mount Everest’s Hillary Step — a rocky outcrop just below the summit — is now a slope, say climbers who recently returned from the mountain. The condition of the rock face named after Everest’s first summiteer Edmund Hillary has been the subject of intense speculation since climbers last year declared it had gone. Others disagreed saying fresh snowfall had caused the confusion. Mountaineers returning from […]