Weekly Travel News Wrap Up

north koreaHere is all the latest travel news from Australia and beyond from the last week.

1. North Korea Launches a Tourism Website

North Korea launched a new tourism website this week designed to appeal to international visitors even though its borders remain closed. DprkToday.com gives details about notoriously secretive state sights and hotels and provides tour itineraries and advice on visa applications. A video news clip welcoming visitors to the homepage says the website Korea Today has been opened in response to increased tourism demand to show the creative efforts of the Korean people for a better future, their worthwhile and optimistic life and great changes in Korea – the video shows footage of the national football team, skiers, dolphins in front of Western crowds and somewhat confusingly, a missile launching. The site features professionally shot images and a list of flights between Beijing to Pyongyang, however the majority of the content in written in Korean. And the country’s border remains closed in response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa. The UN believes tightly controlled tourist visits do not give accurate pictures of the country, which is believed to be committing human rights abuses.

2. The State of Rio De Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay is in Question for the 2016 Olympics

Controversy over the state of Rio de Janeiro’s bay where the Olympic sailing events will take place in 2016 has been reignited after Brazil’s tourism ministry posted a fake photo montage of the bay. The Instagram photo, which as since been removed, showed Guanabara bay as a turquoise, pristine paradise when in fact the waters are brackish and sewage-filled, some sailors have openly voiced concerns about competitive and health risks. In Rio’s Olympic bid authorities promised to slash the amount of trash and raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80% ahead of the games. However, with less than two years to go doubt runs high as to whether this promise will be fulfilled. Even though nearly 70% of the sewage in greater rio still goes untreated authorities insist they are making progress with the cleanup and that Guanabara bay will be clean in time for the games.

guanabara bay3. Survey Shows Australian Tourism is Booming

The international Visitor Survey compiled by Tourism Research Australia has revealed that annual visitor numbers in the country were up 8% this year to 6.3 million. The new data shows that 1.5 million overseas visitors arrived in Australia in the September quarter, injecting $7.2 billion into the economy – or $78 million a day. New Zealand remains our biggest source of visitors but the Chinese stay the longest and spend the most – spending an average of $173 a night or more than $7000 per trip. Visitors from the UK also grew on account of the ‘baby George factor’ from the Royals’ Australian visit in April. Tourism Australia managing director said the figures were an early Christmas present for the industry as they are the best annual international visitor figures we’ve seen in some time, he said.

4. Air New Zealand Wins Airline of the Year 

Air New Zealand has been named airline of the year by Airlineratings.com for the second year in a row. The title comes on account of its in-flight innovations, record financial performance, operational safety, environmental focus and motivation of its staff. The airline, which is heading in to its 75th anniversary year was also awarded best premium economy class. Qantas took three awards: best domestic service, best catering and best lounges. Virgin Australia was named best new world carrier and rated best cabin crew. Following Air New Zealand in the top ten airlines for 2015 were Etihad and Cathay Pacific.

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