Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Travel News Update

A lot has been going on in the world this week...and it's only Tuesday!

IT'S A BOY! Prince William and Duchess Catherine welcomed their newborn son on July 22 at 4:24 p.m., London time. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and no name has been announced yet. The world anxiously awaited outside St. Mary's Hospital to see the couple with their new baby. The set of doors to Lindo Wing has not been watched so closely since Princess Diana gave birth to William 31 years ago. William and Catherine emerged on Tuesday evening, carrying the baby in a cream-colored blanket. After a quick wave to the press and cheering crowd, the couple strapped their son into the car seat of a black SUV and drove off to Kensington Palace.

The Pope returned to South America on Monday as Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro to thousands of admirers who gathered in the streets to see him. The crowds were so enthused to see the Pope that they mobbed his car as he drove through the Rio city center to his reception ceremony. As people gathered around his small, four-door Fiat, blocking the route to the government palace. Francis, however, was unfazed. In fact, he rolled down the window to greet people, shaking hands and kissing babies...what a great politician he would make.

A Southwest flight crash landed at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Monday evening after the landing gear collapsed. Flight 345 from Nashville landed on runway 4 before the gear collapsed, causing it to skid the rest of the way on its nose. The cabin filled with smoke as people's items went flying everywhere. Ten people were injured in the incident, with no casualties. The National Transportation Safety Board is investing what might have caused the accident. The Boeing 737 had last been inspected on July 18, but no details of that were released. (I hope all other Southwest planes are inspected, because I'll be flying on one next week.)

An earthquake struck northwestern China yesterday, killing at least 89 people and injuring hundreds more. The Gansu province felt the first and strongest tremors at 7:45 am Beijing time. The quake, which measured 6.6, toppled farmer's homes and severed power lines. Nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed, and more than 22,000 were damaged. About 123,000 people were affected by the quake, and 31,600 were moved to temporary shelters.

Chicago Tourism:

  • On Monday, NBC 5 Chicago reported that Chicago had the highest ever hotel occupancy rate in the first six months of the year, leading to the most money ever generated by the hotels. For the second straight year, more than 90% of hotels rooms were booked for the month of June. And in 2012, Chicago welcomed more than 46 million tourists, and is on pace for even more this year. 
  • The Taste of Chicago, one of the city's most popular festivals, had an estimated 1.5 million visitors--my family included--for an average of 300,000 people per day. 
  • Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced a private investment of $500 million from a Denver-based company will be used to improve the port of Chicago, boosting infrastructure and jobs. The money will be used to make an asset out of the port, which has long been underused and a drain on funds. The deal will also provide training, internships and jobs to students at nearby Olive-Harvey College. The area's alderman said Chicagoans are very unfamiliar with the port, and hopefully the project will help change that.

Survey stats:
A recent survey found that 61% of Americans plan to work during their vacations this year, compared to 52% last year. The Harris Interactive survey also showed that 34% of respondents plan to work but won't be happy about it; while 14% said they would be happy to work during vacation. About 22% said they would refuse to work on vacation, and 2% said they would quit their job if they had to. So why this need to work during play time? The recovering recession is the biggest reason, as workers want to show their bosses that they are indispensable to the company, even while out of the office.

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