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American tourist attractions that no longer exist



Slide 1 of 31: America is packed with incredible tourist attractions, but some sadly haven’t been preserved for posterity. Over the centuries, both mankind and Mother Nature have wreaked havoc on the USA’s landmarks, from natural wonders to opulent theaters and monuments. Here we take a look at the greatest American attractions that have been lost forever.
Slide 2 of 31: Arches National Park unfolds across eastern Utah, all rocky red terrain and striking natural arches. There are 2,000 of them, in fact, ranging from craggy, thick curves to delicate bows that soar across the hot earth below. The landscape was formed more than 65 million years, but we were reminded of its fragility in 2008 when Wall Arch, a rugged curve spanning a 71-foot (22m) gap, collapsed in the night.
Slide 3 of 31: Experts put the collapse down to “erosion and gravity” – that is, years of rain, groundwater and ice chipped away at the “natural calcium ‘cement’” that had kept the sandstone arch intact since ancient times. The remains of the arch scattered themselves across the Devils Garden hiking trail and today visitors can see the still-impressive rock formation that once held up the perished structure.
Slide 4 of 31: The Aloha State is known for its stunning black-sand strands and Kaimu Beach, on the Island of Hawaii, was one of the finest. Spreading over an eastern corner of the isle, its inky powder was hemmed in by palms and it drew tourists from across the country. This photo from 1985 shows the beach in all its glory. But, in the 1990s, this natural wonder was destroyed.

Slide 5 of 31: Lava swallowed the beach and nearby Kalapana village in the early 1990s after the Kilauea Volcano erupted. Luckily, no lives were lost but hundreds of people were displaced as property was destroyed. The original, beautiful Kaimu Beach was lost beneath the lava, but today a new black-sand beach has formed above it. Locals have been planting coconut palms in the hope that this young strand (pictured) will one day be as beautiful as its predecessor.
Slide 6 of 31: Mother Nature saw to the demise of this New Orleans theme park too. The park first opened in 2000 as Jazzland, a loud, proud tribute to the Big Easy with an entire area themed around Mardi Gras. Six Flags began its reign of the park in 2003, adding further thrill rides and attractions, but it was short-lived. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the beautiful city of New Orleans, devastating the theme park and much more.
Slide 7 of 31: At Six Flags, rides were battered, attractions were ripped apart and the whole site languished under some seven feet (2m) of water. When the floodwaters eventually retreated, the eerie skeleton of the park revealed itself. The park has remained closed off and abandoned ever since, though it has made its way onto the silver screen in several movies including Jurassic World. Take a look inside more of America's abandoned theme parks.
Slide 8 of 31: This giant sequoia tree could once have been found tucked away in Mariposa Grove in the Golden State’s Yosemite National Park. Mighty impressive in its own right, the ancient tree had a tunnel carved into its base in 1881, drawing tourists who delighted in driving and walking through its trunk. Park-goers are pictured here enjoying the attraction in the early 20th century.
Slide 9 of 31: The tree had been standing for around 2,300 years when it finally toppled in 1969. Experts put the event down to natural factors including heavy snowfall and damp soil – their effects were exacerbated by the man-made tunnel which weakened the tree’s trunk. The fallen tree is still marked with a sign. It’s pictured here in 2012.

Slide 10 of 31: Another of Yosemite’s great natural wonders, this Jeffrey pine once stood atop the Sentinel Dome, south of Yosemite Valley. The tree was bent into a graceful bow by the wind, and though it was killed off by drought in the 1970s, it remained standing for many decades following. It was also famous as the subject of a black-and-white photograph by American landscape photographer Ansel Adams.
Slide 11 of 31: The tree finally succumbed to the powers of Mother Nature when ravaging storms felled it in 2003. But travelers still hike to Sentinel Dome to see the fallen tree – the gnarled trunk looks dramatic even on the ground. Take a look at more photos which show the beautiful and terrifying power of Mother Nature here.
Slide 12 of 31: Sin City has constantly reinvented itself over the years and many once-iconic hotels have eventually fallen by the wayside. One of them is the Stardust Hotel and Casino, which opened in the late 1950s and was a favored stomping ground for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. When it opened it was considered the height of luxury but, after its glittering heyday, the hotel found itself overshadowed by bigger, flashier resorts and struggled to keep profits steady.
Slide 13 of 31: The Stardust closed its doors at the end of 2006 but it went out with a bang. This shot shows fireworks glittering over the hotel as it is imploded in 2007 to make way for a new development. Resorts World Las Vegas is currently being constructed on the site and is slated to be finished by 2021.
Slide 14 of 31: San Francisco is stuffed full of tourist attractions today and back in the 19th and 20th centuries, the city had one more under its belt. The Sutro Baths stretched out in the city’s Lands End area from 1894, when they were developed by millionaire Adolph Sutro. The complex encompassed a glittering bathhouse complete with artworks and artifacts from around the world, restaurants, performance areas, and, of course, a series of swimming pools. They’re pictured here in their heyday circa 1896.

Slide 15 of 31: Adolph Sutro died at the end of the 19th century and in the 20th century, the Great Depression meant that his beloved baths saw a decline in visitors. The then-owners converted the baths into a skating rink, but this didn’t succeed in raising profits. The complex was bought by developers in the 1960s and demolition began soon after, with a fire ripping through what was left. It’s still possible to visit the ruins today at their dramatic location on the coast (pictured).
Slide 16 of 31: Today there’s little argument that Grand Central Terminal is the most beautiful train station in New York City – but in the 20th century it had some competition. The former Pennsylvania Station (better known as Penn Station) opened in 1910 and was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by renowned American architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. It was a masterpiece, all grand columns, arches, murals and statues. Check out the world's most beautiful train stations here.
Slide 17 of 31: Sadly, though, the maintenance costs of this ornate building proved too much and, to the dismay of many New Yorkers, it was torn down in the 1960s. Spreading out underground, today’s modern Penn Station (pictured) is an entirely different beast, whose appearance has been widely criticized. It’s currently undergoing renovations and expansions.
Slide 18 of 31: Oregon does some spectacular things with rock – the state’s coastline is studded with sea stacks, caves, rugged cliffs and formations, and the Duckbill Rock was one of them. This dramatic hoodoo could have been found in the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, a beachfront preserve in northwest Oregon popular with surfers and hang-gliders. But, sadly, Duckbill Rock met its fate in 2016.
Slide 19 of 31: The rock, named for its distinctive shape, towered at around seven feet (2.1m) tall before, in 2016, it was pushed over by a group of vandals who were caught on camera. Despite the footage, the culprits were never found or punished. Although Oregon’s shores remain peppered with other dramatic formations, Duckbill is gone forever.
Slide 20 of 31: Jump-Off Joe is another natural Oregon landmark that didn’t stand the test of time. The arching sea stack rose just off the shore at Newport’s Nye Beach on Oregon’s Central Coast and was a popular attraction in the 19th century. It’s pictured here in 1910, a mere six years before it crumbled into the sea.
Slide 21 of 31: Mother Nature and human activity combined to seal the fate of the 100-foot (30m) bluff. Jetties were constructed at Yaquina Bay at the end of the 19th century, altering the tides and causing the accelerated erosion of Jump-Off Joe. The landmark collapsed in 1916 and today a huddle of low rocks on Nye Beach is all that remains as a reminder. Now take a look at more of the world's amazing places swallowed by the sea.
Slide 22 of 31: A stretch of sand and plenty of rides and roller coasters pulled visitors in to Palisades, a kitsch amusement park in New Jersey. It operated from the late 1890s right up until the 1970s. This nostalgic snap shows pleasure seekers milling about beneath the rides and on the little beach circa 1947. Check out more historic photos of theme parks in their heyday.
Slide 23 of 31: The park's glory days ended in the 1970s, mainly because the local community objected to the disruption caused by crowds pouring into the park. The land was sold off to developers who used the site to build a complex of luxury apartments (pictured).
Slide 24 of 31: The creepy remains of Disney’s River County still exist in Florida’s Bay Lake (pictured here in 1977). Walt Disney World Resort’s earliest water park opened in 1976, drawing visitors in their thousands with its slides rushing over rocks and its large swimming hole. The park was well-loved over the decades, but a handful of tragedies were linked to the site: two children died from drowning in the 1980s and another from a fatal amoebic infection contracted from the water.
Slide 25 of 31: The site stayed in operation right up until 2001 when the park closed for the season never to be reopened again. The reasons floated included flailing demand for River Country as Disney’s bigger, better water parks hogged visitors. Rusted slides and wooden picnic benches still lurk in the overgrowth at the abandoned site today.
Slide 26 of 31: This dramatic cliff ledge in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was known as the Old Man of the Mountain, and it’s easy to see why. The rugged rocks formed the profile of an old man, with a pointy chin, hooked nose and strong brow. It’s thought that the enigmatic old man attracted visitors for hundreds of years, before he crumbled into the night in 2003.
Slide 27 of 31: The demise of the Old Man of the Mountain was met with great sadness and locals even laid flowers at the base of the peak in his honor. Fast-forward more than a decade and the formation is remembered with dedicated museums and the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, where steel structures (pictured) recreate the patriarch as he would have looked. Discover America's most stunning natural wonders here.
Slide 28 of 31: Now affectionately nicknamed “the old Met”, New York’s original Metropolitan Opera House was built on Broadway in the 1880s. It hosted music-lovers in the Big Apple for the best part of the century, though it was divisive from early on, with critics lamenting its “industrial” exterior. It’s pictured here during a recital in 1937.
Slide 29 of 31: The building was threatened with the wrecking ball in the 1930s, but donations from the public helped it survive another couple of decades. By the 1960s, though, a new opera house was on the horizon for the Metropolitan Opera – one with more seats and shiny modern technology. This sounded the death knell for the old Met which was razed to the ground in 1967. Today the Metropolitan Opera is housed at the modern Lincoln Center (pictured). These famous landmarks were almost destroyed but saved from the brink.
Slide 30 of 31: The Big Apple has more than its fair share of opulent theaters and the Hippodrome Theatre was no exception. It was the vision of architect Frederick Thompson and showman Elmer Dundy (the dream team behind Coney Island’s dazzling Luna Park) and was finished in 1905. It was a behemoth among theaters too, with capacity for 5,000-plus people and a vast stage playing host to greats including Harry Houdini and plenty of circus animals.
Slide 31 of 31: However, the production and maintenance costs were as colossal as the theater itself and debts began to mount. By the 1920s, the elephants had moved on (gracing the stage at The Bronx's Royal Theater instead) and the crowds had thinned. The Hippodrome began to show movies but it couldn’t claw back enough visitors or profits to make a difference. The Great Depression put the final nail in the coffin and the once-great theater was torn down in 1939. A sleek office block (the Hippodrome building, pictured) now stands in its place. 

America’s lost landmarks

Wall Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Wall Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Kaimu Beach, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Kaimu Beach, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Six Flags New Orleans, Louisiana

Six Flags New Orleans, Louisiana

At Six Flags, rides were battered, attractions were ripped apart and the whole site languished under some seven feet (2m) of water. When the floodwaters eventually retreated, the eerie skeleton of the park revealed itself. The park has remained closed off and abandoned ever since, though it has made its way onto the silver screen in several movies including Jurassic World. Take a look inside more of America’s abandoned theme parks.

Wawona Tree, Yosemite National Park, California

Wawona Tree, Yosemite National Park, California

Jeffrey pine, Yosemite National Park, California

Jeffrey pine, Yosemite National Park, California

The tree finally succumbed to the powers of Mother Nature when ravaging storms felled it in 2003. But travelers still hike to Sentinel Dome to see the fallen tree – the gnarled trunk looks dramatic even on the ground. Take a look at more photos which show the beautiful and terrifying power of Mother Nature here.

Stardust Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Stardust Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Sutro Baths, San Francisco, California

Sutro Baths, San Francisco, California

Penn Station, New York City, New York

Today there’s little argument that Grand Central Terminal is the most beautiful train station in New York City – but in the 20th century it had some competition. The former Pennsylvania Station (better known as Penn Station) opened in 1910 and was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by renowned American architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. It was a masterpiece, all grand columns, arches, murals and statues. Check out the world’s most beautiful train stations here.

Penn Station, New York City, New York

Duckbill Rock, Tillamook County, Oregon

Duckbill Rock, Tillamook County, Oregon

Jump-Off Joe, Newport, Oregon

Jump-Off Joe, Newport, Oregon

Mother Nature and human activity combined to seal the fate of the 100-foot (30m) bluff. Jetties were constructed at Yaquina Bay at the end of the 19th century, altering the tides and causing the accelerated erosion of Jump-Off Joe. The landmark collapsed in 1916 and today a huddle of low rocks on Nye Beach is all that remains as a reminder. Now take a look at more of the world’s amazing places swallowed by the sea.

Palisades Amusement Park, New Jersey

A stretch of sand and plenty of rides and roller coasters pulled visitors in to Palisades, a kitsch amusement park in New Jersey. It operated from the late 1890s right up until the 1970s. This nostalgic snap shows pleasure seekers milling about beneath the rides and on the little beach circa 1947. Check out more historic photos of theme parks in their heyday.

Palisades Amusement Park, New Jersey

Disney’s River Country, Bay Lake, Florida

Disney’s River Country, Bay Lake, Florida

Old Man of the Mountain, New Hampshire

Old Man of the Mountain, New Hampshire

The demise of the Old Man of the Mountain was met with great sadness and locals even laid flowers at the base of the peak in his honor. Fast-forward more than a decade and the formation is remembered with dedicated museums and the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza, where steel structures (pictured) recreate the patriarch as he would have looked. Discover America’s most stunning natural wonders here.

Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, New York

Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, New York

The building was threatened with the wrecking ball in the 1930s, but donations from the public helped it survive another couple of decades. By the 1960s, though, a new opera house was on the horizon for the Metropolitan Opera – one with more seats and shiny modern technology. This sounded the death knell for the old Met which was razed to the ground in 1967. Today the Metropolitan Opera is housed at the modern Lincoln Center (pictured). These famous landmarks were almost destroyed but saved from the brink.

Hippodrome Theatre, New York City, New York

Hippodrome Theatre, New York City, New York

However, the production and maintenance costs were as colossal as the theater itself and debts began to mount. By the 1920s, the elephants had moved on (gracing the stage at The Bronx’s Royal Theater instead) and the crowds had thinned. The Hippodrome began to show movies but it couldn’t claw back enough visitors or profits to make a difference. The Great Depression put the final nail in the coffin and the once-great theater was torn down in 1939. A sleek office block (the Hippodrome building, pictured) now stands in its place. 

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Amtrak is offering 2-for-1 tickets on its private sleeper rooms



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The best places to find wildflowers in Colorado this summer

If you want to see some of the most beautiful alpine plants along our stretch of the Rockies, you’ll have to do some work.

Many of the best places to see wildflowers, especially the striking alpine wildflowers, require you to hike. Hey, the mountains ain’t no backyard garden where you can tiptoe through the tulips!

Having said that, the Denver Botanic Gardens does offer a chance to see wildflowers at its urban York Street site, the offspring of the garden at Mount Goliath on the shoulders of Mount Evans. And that’s a good option for people who can’t get the high country.

“But it’s just not the same,” said Amy Schneider, who should know, since she has served as Goliath’s gardener since 2009. “It’s so much better to see them where they naturally grow.”

Goliath started as a satellite location to the Denver Botanic Gardens back in the 1950s, Schneider said, so people could see wildflowers where they grow. Now she collects seeds from the plants, takes them down to the York Street gardens and plants them. She takes some of the seedlings back to Goliath.

Schneider encourages people to get out to see the plants in their natural environment as much as they can.

“We recommend everywhere,” she said, when asked for wildflower hot spots.

OK. But she does have some favorite places, and so do we. Here are some areas where you should be able to see wildflowers, especially in mid- to late July, when blooms tend to peak.

Note: These places feature a lot of alpine hikes, and as such, you’ll experience a lot of extreme Colorado summer weather, including strong sun, wind and storms that can gather suddenly and hammer you. So keep an eye on the clouds. And as you’re running back to the forest as the thunder rumbles, you may be tempted to pity those poor flowers. But they’ve adapted to that environment for thousands of years. As long as you watch your step, so you don’t trample the poor things, they will live on.

“Don’t feel sorry for them,” Schneider said. “They’re tough.”

Mount Goliath on Mount Evans

But again, that takes some effort. If you’re unsure about traversing peaks, Goliath is a good place to start. The peak is just outside Idaho Springs off the Mount Evans Road (Colorado 5), making it the highest cultivated garden in the U.S.

It’s a relatively safe hike, with restrooms at the Dos Chappell Nature Center (but no other locations), and you can hike the M. Water Pesman Trail, which makes it hard to get lost. But it’s not an easy hike, it is steep and rocky and the elevation ranges from 11,500 to 12,100 feet as it winds through wildflowers for a 3-mile round-trip adventure.

“There are tons of wildflowers along that trail,” Schneider said. “We just try to show the public plants they may not see otherwise.”

South Arapaho Peak via the Fourth of July trailhead near Nederland

This is my personal favorite, and you don’t have to climb the 13,397-foot peak to enjoy the bunches of wildflowers growing along the trail. The road leading to the trailhead is rough, so a 4WD vehicle is best, although you can probably make it with a hardy passenger car. You should expect to hike at least a mile on the trail, but you won’t have to hike too far above treeline before you’re rewarded with colorful blooms.

Crested Butte has an annual Wildflower Festival in mid-July

The city calls itself the “wildflower capital of Colorado,” which is a pretty darn bold boast, but perhaps you can make them prove it. The festival has decided to cancel in-person events this year. Learn more at crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com. But don’t worry, the area trails will lead hikers and bikers through fields of wildflowers.

Shrine Pass in Vail

The pass, one of Schneider’s favorite places, is along the border of Eagle and Summit counties west of Frisco and 2 miles northwest of Vail Pass. The ridge trail through colorful blooms is a 4-mile out-and-back. Vail is also home to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, always worth a visit.

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Many hikes in this area offer great views of wildflowers, but my favorite is the hike to Blue Lake, a 6-mile gorgeous adventure. The hike to Lake Isabelle is also fun and about half as long as the hike to Blue Lake.

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Yankee Boy Basin

This place is just outside Ouray and famous for the 14er it leads to, Mount Sneffels, a challenging peak. But, again, you don’t have to climb the peak to enjoy the flowers that grow along the basin. Basins are great spots for wildflowers, Schneider said. And lakes sitting in a cirque of mountains should offer wild displays. “If anything has ‘basin’ in its name,” she said, “you should just go.”

The Lady Moon Trail near Red Feather Lakes up Poudre Canyon

This is a good spot to visit in May or June, depending on snow conditions.

Leavenworth Creek

This Jeep road off Colorado 381 (Guanella Pass Road) takes you southwest of Georgetown. It features multiple dispersed campsites and lots of nice flowers.

Ice Lakes Basin

This area, near Silverton, is far from Denver, but it’s also one of the best places to see wildlflowers. The San Juan Mountains are a magical place for just about anything.

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Holidays 2020: Government issues major update for Portugal & Cyprus as travel rules change

Holidays to a whole host of countries are now back on cards for Britons. Unfortunately, travel to Portugal and Cyprus still comes with many complications. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated their travel advice to the two holiday destinations.

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  • Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, TUI & Jet2 luggage rules

Portugal

Britons are able to now visit Portugal but they will have to quarantine for two weeks on their return to the UK.

Different rules apply to mainland Portugal and its autonomous regions.

“Travel to Portugal is subject to entry restrictions,” explained the FCO.

“On arrival in mainland Portugal you will be subject to health screening.

“Your temperature will be checked and if it is high or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities.”

As for travellers heading to Madeira or Porto Santo: “You need to complete and submit a traveller questionnaire 24-48 hours before you arrive.

“On arrival, you will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, carried out 72 hours before you arrive, or take a test on arrival and await the results within 12 hours at your accommodation.”

On entry to the Azores, the FCO detailed: “You need to complete and submit a health form on arrival.

“You will also need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test carried out 72 hours before you arrive, or take a test on arrival and await the results at your accommodation.

“If you are staying for more than seven days, you will have to repeat the test locally six days after the first test.

“If you cannot fulfil the entry requirements, you will be required to return to your country of origin.

“You will have to self-isolate at your accommodation until the time of your return flight.”

Portugal, Madeira and the Azores were not included in the list of 74 countries Britons can travel to quarantine-free.

“If you’re returning to the UK, you will need to: provide your journey and contact details and self-isolate for 14 days,” explained the FCO.

READ MORE

  • UK holidays: Ferry holidays boom as Britons head for staycations

Cyprus

Cyprus is now exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.

However, the country is not currently accepting Britons.

The FCO explained: “You cannot enter Cyprus if you have been in the UK in the last 14 days.”

You will also not be allowed to enter via a third country such as Greece until further notice.

This rule could change from August 1.

The FCO continued: “The exception to this is legal residents of Cyprus and Cypriot ID holders who will be permitted to enter Cyprus on presentation of proof of residence or Cypriot nationality and a negative PCR (antibody) test result (taken in the 72 hours before departure).

Cyprus has divided countries into two categories, A and B, based on the internationally available epidemiological data.

“If you’re a British national travelling from a category A country you will be allowed to enter Cyprus,” detailed the FCO.

“If you’re a British national travelling from a Category B country, and have not been in the UK (or any other Category C country) in the last 14 days, you will also be allowed to enter Cyprus with a negative PCR test result (taken in the previous 72 hours).”

The Foreign Office continued: “Further details are available from the Republic of Cyprus Information Office.

“If eligible to travel, you should make sure that you complete your Cyprus Flight Pass before travelling, available on the Cyprus Flight Pass website.

“The authorities in the north of Cyprus are allowing entry to ‘citizens’ and foreign nationals who hold residency, work or student permits.

“Any UK national will be permitted entry from July 1 but will still be required to present a negative PCR test result (taken in the previous 72 hours) and go into quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.”

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World War 3: Holidays in jeopardy amid rising China tensions – where’s safe to travel?

World War 3 is a phenomenon that everyone fears at some point in their lives. From US-Iran to China-India tensions, it seems that the world is constantly on the brink of war. And for travel, this means that future holidays to certain destinations could be at risk.

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  • UK holidays: Ferry holidays boom as Britons head for staycations

For those wishing to take a safe holiday abroad, these are the safest countries in the world which are home to a number of underground bunkers.

UK

Surprisingly, the UK is home to numerous underground bunkers that were built during the peak of the Cold War.

The bunkers are located in people’s back gardens, major cities and under people’s houses.

Drakelow Tunnels in Worcestershire is home to a series of tunnels, and Kingsway Telephone Exchange in London underneath High Holborn street was built as an air-raid shelter in the 1940s.

York is also home to a Cold War bunker that was built in 1961 to monitor nuclear attacks.

Albania

Albania is home to 170,000 bunkers which were built in the 1960s and 1970s.

There are rumours that there were in fact 750,000 built but this has not been disclosed.

Many of the bunkers are not habitable.

However, it is rumoured that there’s enough for one bunker per four people, making it a perfect holiday destination for those wishing to remain safe.

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USA

The US is probably the most provocative country when it comes to World War 3 tensions.

But surprisingly, the country is home to various bunkers.

The US government built secret doomsday bunkers for federal employees in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

They also constructed nuclear-hardened communication towers throughout Washington so the White House could reach other top-level survivors.

Sweden

There are reportedly around 65,000 bunkers in Sweden.

The country has a population of 10.2 million, meaning the around 70 percent would be protected from a possible attack.

Sweden’s government has offered an online map to locate the bunkers if there is a national emergency.

Switzerland

Switzerland has multiple underground bunkers for its population, making it not only safe but potentially bomb-proof.

Back in 1963, every household was required to build an underground bunker.

The country hasn’t fought a war in over two centuries and has remained famously “neutral” throughout some of the world’s greatest conflicts.

It is estimated that the country is home to around 300,000 shelters, making it a top contender for avoiding a potential war.

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Saudi Arabia's Red Sea climate will appeal to summer tourists, says CEO

John Pagano, the CEO of the Red Sea Development Company, said that he expects 50% of the project’s visitors to come from abroad


2. Saudi Arabia’s ‘Maldives’

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development expects approximately half of its visitors to come from abroad and does not foresee significant competition from nearby tourist destinations such as Egypt’s Sinai or Dubai, according to John Pagano, the CEO of the Red Sea Development Company.

Upon completion in 2030, the Red Sea project will deliver up to 8,000 hotel keys across 22 islands and six inland sites, covering 28,000 sq km.

The first phase of the development will eventually include 16 hotels, totalling 3,000 hotel keys across five islands and two inland locations.

In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Pagano said that he expects a “50-50 split” between domestic Saudi tourists and international visitors.

“Clearly Western Europe and Asia probably top the list [of source markets],” he said. “Not everyone travels larger distances, but definitely from a European perspective, I think we’re going to resonate extremely well. But we’ve also got our local market and the GCC.”

Summer visitors

Additionally, Pagano said he didn’t foresee a particular challenge from Dubai, with the Red Sea project expecting many regional visitors in the summer months when tourism in Dubai traditionally dips.

“One thing I feel confident about is our climate … I’ve been to Dubai in the summer months. It’s hot, and it’s very humid. The Red Sea is a totally different climate. Our average summertime temperatures are in the low 30s, and we don’t have the excessive heat,” he said.

“I think our source markets will change through the time of year,” Pagano added. “Clearly, winter months are going to be more attractive to Western Europeans and Asians versus the summer months, when I think it’s going to be an attractive place for people who want to escae the heat but don’t want to go too far.”

Pagano said that he believes that the project will attract a significant number of Saudi tourists who – in the absence of domestic options – have traditionally taken holidays in locations such as Dubai or Bahrain.

“Saudis spend something like $16 or $17 million a year in outbound tourism,” he said. “Now, they can have options here in the kingdom, and I think that’s going to resonate well…..There’s lots of other destinations, but when you look at the totality of what we have an offer, I think it’s going to differentiate us from the rest of field.”

A full interview with John Pagano will feature in an upcoming edition of Arabian Business magazine.

                                 

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic

Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic hoping to coax visitors back to its beaches and cavernous shopping malls

  • Dubai is trumpeting the fact that it has reopened to tourists from today 
  • Tourists must have a negative Covid-19 test within 96 hours of flying to Dubai 
  • Otherwise, they will be tested on arrival and isolated while awaiting the results 
  • Travellers to the sheikdom must also have health insurance covering Covid-19 

From French soccer jerseys to slick online campaigns, Dubai is trumpeting the fact that it has reopened for tourism today. But what that means for this sheikhdom that relies on the dollars, pounds, rupees and yuan spent by travellers remains in question.

With travel uncertain and the coronavirus still striking nations Dubai relies on for tourists, this city-state wants to begin coaxing people back to its beaches and its cavernous shopping malls. 

By instilling the idea that Dubai is safe, authorities likely hope to fuel interest in the sheikhdom ahead of its crucial tourist-heavy winter months.

Front desk staff wearing masks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic help customers at the Rove City Centre Hotel in Dubai, which reopened to tourists today

A front desk employee at the Rove City Centre Hotel wears a mask as he works on his computer

A mask-wearing employee with a thermometer waits to check guests’ temperatures at the Rove City Centre Hotel, Dubai 

But all that depends on controlling a virus that the United Arab Emirates as a whole continues to fight. Armed with thermometers, mandatory face masks and hand sanitiser, Dubai is wagering it is ready.

‘I think that will give people confidence – when they´re ready to travel – to come to Dubai,’ said Paul Bridger, the corporate director for operations at Dubai-based Rove Hotels. 

‘It will take time to come back… We are expecting to be one of the first markets to be back because of the confidence that we can give to people that are travelling.’

That Dubai is a tourist destination at all is largely thanks to its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who used the state-owned long-haul carrier Emirates to put this one-time pearling post on the map. 

Attractions like the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab luxury hotel draw transit passengers out of Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel.

In 2019 alone, Dubai welcomed 16.7million international guests, up from 15.9million the year before, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. 

The top seven tourist-sending nations were India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Oman, China, Russia and the U.S. The city’s 741 hotels saw around 75 per cent occupancy for the year, with visitors staying on average three-and-a-half days.

Dubai authorities hope to fuel interest in the sheikhdom ahead of its crucial winter months for tourism. Pictured is an employee making coffee at the Rove City Centre Hotel 

Tourists to Dubai fuel its vast restaurant, bar and nightlife scene. Pictured is a hotel staff member at the Rove City Centre Hotel serving coffee to guests 

Those travellers also fuel Dubai’s vast restaurant, bar and nightlife scene. Though drinking is illegal in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah and the nations of Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, alcohol sales remain a crucial part of Dubai’s economy.

But even before the pandemic, lower global energy prices, a 30 per cent drop in the city´s real estate market value and trade war fears have led employers to shed staff. The virus outbreak accelerated those losses, especially as Dubai has postponed its Expo 2020, or world’s fair, to next year over the pandemic.

That makes reopening for tourism that much more important, even though Dubai’s top three tourist-feeding countries remain hard-hit by the virus, said Rabia Yasmeen, a consultant at the market-research firm Euromonitor International. 

Even retail sales are affected by tourism, with some 35 per cent of all revenue coming from tourists, she said.

‘It´s good for them to go ahead and announce because there needs to be a call for the confidence to come back,’ Yasmeen said. ‘Someone has to take that step first to show the world.’

An employee wearing a mask fogs disinfectant in a hotel room at the Rove City Centre Hotel

In 2019 alone, Dubai welcomed 16.7million international guests, up from 15.9million the year before 

And Dubai has, in typical headline-baiting fashion, taken those steps. French football club Olympique Lyonnais, under a sponsorship with Emirates, wore ‘Dubai Is Open’ jerseys at a recent match. 

Dubai passport controllers have begun putting stickers on foreigners’ passports reading in English and Arabic: ‘A warm welcome to your second home.’

But there’s a risk, particularly in allowing more travel as the virus stalks other countries. Emirates stopped flying to Pakistan over virus fears. 

Across the seven sheikhdoms that form the United Arab Emirates, there have been over 50,000 confirmed cases of the virus among the nine million people living here, with some 40,000 recoveries and 321 deaths.

A man stands in an elevator decorated with a graphic showing the video game character Pac-Man eating the coronavirus at the Rove City Centre Hotel

An Emirati wearing a face mask walks past a camel statue decorated with a face mask at the Rove City Centre Hotel

Traffic speeds down the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Dubai is a tourist destination largely thanks to its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who used the state-owned long-haul carrier Emirates to put this one-time pearling post on the map

At Rove Hotels, a new budget chain run by state-linked firms Emaar and Meraas, thermometer-carrying staffers check the temperature of everyone coming inside. Cleaners fog disinfectants over rooms and wipe down tables and chairs. Even a camel statue and an oversized stuffed animal wore a mask. 

The chain, like others in Dubai, also has sought outside certification over its cleaning routines on top of fulfilling government regulations.

‘It’s kind of the icing on the cake to give people comfort that we´re following those standards,’ Bridger said.

There are still risks. In order to travel, tourists must take a Covid-19 test within 96 hours of their flight and show the airline a negative result. Otherwise, they will be tested on arrival and required to isolate while awaiting the results, which travellers say typically takes a few hours.

Travellers must also have health insurance covering Covid-19 or sign a declaration agreeing to cover the costs of treatment and isolation.

‘A key question comes in: Is the traveller ready to come to Dubai?’ Yasmeen asked. ‘That’s a big question mark.’

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UK holidays: Ferry holidays boom as Britons head for staycation spots in the UK

This year has been whirlwind for the travel and tourism sector which has seen an unprecedented drop in revenue. The coronavirus pandemic, which sent the UK into lockdown in March, shocked the world and saw most countries impose stringent travel restrictions. But as the coronavirus cases fall, travel appears to be back on the cards both domestically and internationally.

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Ferry holidays appear to be on the up as one of the best-equipped sectors of the travel industry.

One ferry company, Stena Line, has just recorded its best booking week for passenger travel in July and August.

Like camping and caravan holidays, ferries offer travellers the chance to travel safely and apply social distancing rules.

Ferries also offer fresh air which is continually circulated around shops and a range of new hygiene protocols to give passengers peace of mind.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director predicted that 2020 would be the “year of the staycation.”

He said: “With growing optimism that the current restriction on non-essential travel will be reviewed in the weeks ahead, more and more of our customers are making preparations to take a well-earned break to visit family, friends…or just travel to the places they love to be.”

He continued: “2020 looks like it will be the year of the staycation or as we say the year of the car-cation, and we are fully prepared to help our guests max out safely on their enjoyment and relaxation, as soon as they board our ships.”

Mr Grant also said that Stena Line has worked hard to try and make ferry holidays affordable.

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He added: “In these challenging economic times, we have also worked hard to provide great value, with fares from only £109 single car and driver, on our ex Belfast, Cairnryan, Holyhead and Fishguard sailings.

“It has been an extremely difficult time for everyone over the last few months so the opportunity to get away from it all, literally, may well be embraced as never before.”

Stena Line is the largest ferry operator in the Irish Sea with services from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard.

There are 238 weekly routes between Britain and Ireland.

Industry body, Discover Ferries researched holiday trends and found that 73 percent of consumers want to travel in the UK and Europe this summer.

The company also said that ferries allow people to travel with their own cars, motorhomes, campervans or caravans.

With camping, caravans and motorhomes all seeing a huge spike in interest, ferries could become an even more popular choice.

Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries, says: “From day trips and staycations to European breaks, not only does ferry travel give passengers that feeling of escape but it offers a broad range of destinations where social distancing comes naturally.

“With an abundance of wildlife and beautiful sites in and around our coastlines and waterways, there has never been a better time to head off the beaten track and explore the flourishing nature on our doorstep.

“With wide public areas, open deck space and, on some routes, private cabins, ferry travel naturally lends itself well to social distancing.

“Additional Covid-compliant measures have been put in place to help keep passengers and crew safe and we hope this guide for socially-distant breaks will inspire the holidaymakers keen to travel this summer.”

Discover Ferries’ members operate over 80 ferry routes across the UK, Ireland and British Isles.

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Travel

Travel Writing Needs More Journalists of Color



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