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Archive for December, 2007

A Guide to New Year’s Eve Celebrations

By Linda Tancs

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”  Well, 2007 is almost over, but not until we clink a glass or two of bubbly and salute the great bard Rabbie Burns with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne (which means “old long ago”).  All dressed up with no place to go?  Then check out the fun read at www.pubclub.com for some suggestions.  You might not agree with all of their assessments, but as another saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.  One interesting event that didn’t make the cut on this Web site is Vienna’s big bash at Hofburg Palace.  Visitors descend on this grand imperial city from every part of the globe to usher in the new year in the former winter residence of the Austrian emperor.  Well, there’s always next year!  See you then.

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

By Linda Tancs

In honor of the impeding arrival of Santa Claus, today we highlight Santa Claus’s Village. Located near Rovaniemi, Finland, approximately 520 miles from Helsinki, Santa Claus’s Village offers the child in all of us a chance to explore and discover the Arctic Circle origins of the world’s most famous gift giver.  Visit the village online at www.santaclausvillage.info.   Later tonight, track Santa’s progress in his world travels at www.noradsanta.org

2008 Will Usher In Changes in St. Bart’s

By Linda Tancs

Postcode aficionados, take note:  in 2008, St. Bart’s postcode will change from 97133 to something beginning with “977.”  But that’s not the only change to take place in this small yet sophisticated French West Indies island–the new year brings a new tax on guests.  A resort tax (often referred to as a tourism development tax) of 5% will apply to the island’s 160 + hotels, condos and villas.  No doubt this levy will greatly enhance the local economy.  After all, consider the economic benefit conferred on Orlando, Florida courtesy of its 6% tax remitted by moneymakers like Magic Kingdom properties.  By some accounts, the Mouse contributes as much as 33% to Orlando’s resort tax revenue, which tallied in the $14M range this year.  Considering the exclusivity of this French isle, it’s a wonder that its luxe visitors (including A-list celebs) weren’t taxed sooner.  Better late than never, as they say.

GAO Reports on Runway Safety

By Linda Tancs

The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report recently on the status of runway and ramp safety measures deployed by the FAA.  As any traveler knows, runway incidents are relatively infrequent, but increasingly crowded skies pose growing concerns over traffic management.  In fact, according to the GAO, runway incursions have not decreased in the same manner as runway overruns since the FAA’s last runway safety plan was implemented in 2002.  Among other things, the GAO recommends that the FAA revise its 2002 plan to conform to its own policy, which mandates revisions every 2 or 3 years.  Go to http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d0829high.pdf to read more about the report.

Gibraltar

By Linda Tancs

In the latest edition of Travelrific® Travel Show, the topic is Gibraltar.  Gibraltar is a quaint little place overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, but it’s more than just a big rock.  Find out why at www.travelrificradio.com

Proposed Rule Could Assist U.S. Cruise Lines

By Linda Tancs

In a move to thwart the incursion of U.S. cruise business by foreign-flagged lines, Customs and Border Protection has proposed a change in cabotage law.  In cruise industry parlance, cabotage refers to the transportation of passengers between two ports in the same country.  Current U.S. law prohibits foreign vessels from transporting passengers between ports in the country, but this restriction is often circumvented by foreign lines by the addition of a token port of call in another jurisdiction.  Under the proposed new rule, any such additions will be deemed a violation of the cabotage law unless the foreign port of call lasts at least 48 hours and foreign ports comprise at least 50% of the overall itinerary.  The time for public comment on the proposed new rule will expire on December 21, 2007.  Go to www.regulations.gov for instructions on submitting a comment. 

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The Art of Tipping

By Linda Tancs

The now-debunked story of Donald Trump leaving a $10,000 or so tip to a waiter has me thinking about the art–some would say, science–of tipping.  How much is too much or not enough?  Do popular conventions typically override the actual service received?  Do you tip differently when you travel internationally?   Calling all pundits–what say you?

P.S.  If you enjoy my blog, please leave a comment and/or write a short review at a site like Stumbleupon.  Thanks!

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