Passport kiosks installed at MIA
To help ease long lines for international travelers, Miami International Airport has installed 36 new self-service passport-control kiosks in the North Terminal. The automated technology will process passports for citizens of the United States and Canada, which should free up U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to help non-citizens.
An additional 12 kiosks will be installed in the South Terminal next year. MIA is one of three airports in the United States using the technology.
Civil War museums to merge
The Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center are joining forces to build a $30 million museum in Richmond, Va., with the goal of creating the top Civil War museum in the nation 150 years after the conflict.
The marriage of museums will meld the collection of Confederate battle flags, uniforms, weapons and other historic relics with a narrative-based museum that uses bold, interactive exhibits and living history events to relate its 360-degree telling of the war.
The museums said the attraction in the former capital of the secessionist Confederacy has yet to be named, but $20 million has been committed to its construction. Ground will be broken next year, with an expected opening in 2015.
Tourist area to get $8M rehab
Puerto Rico is investing some $8 million to renovate a popular tourist spot along the island’s southwest coast. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla says crews will build a boardwalk, create bicycle lanes and plant mangroves at the coastal community of La Parguera. Streets and sidewalks will also be refurbished, and the community’s water pressure problems will be corrected with the installation of new pipes.
The Department of Natural Resources also plans to build a boarding dock for fishermen and tourists taking scenic boat rides.
Deal reached on Skywalk road dispute
An Arizona dude rancher has reached an agreement with the federal government over construction of a road that leads to the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Nigel Turner says he won’t charge visitors for traveling on the road that crosses his property. He had imposed a toll on Diamond Bar Road earlier this year, fueling outrage from the Hualapai Tribe that runs the Skywalk.
A judge’s order this month gives the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs a temporary easement for road construction.
Ambitious museum renovation planned
Egypt has unveiled a multimillion dollar renovation project for Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, including plans to demolish a scorched building that stands between it and the Nile, in a bid to draw tourists back and restore a sense of normalcy after more than two years of unrest.
Organizers said they want to return the dusty 111-year-old museum to its former glory by painting the walls and covering the floors in their original colors and patterns. Lighting and security standards will be upgraded, and displays will be rearranged.
One of the museum’s most famous exhibits, King Tutankhamun’s treasures, will be moved to a new Grand Egyptian museum that is being built near the Giza pyramids.
It is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
Americans using fewer of their vacation days
The economy may be improving, but Americans are spending less time relaxing.
The average American got 14 days of vacation over the last year but took only 10 days away from work, leaving twice as many days of unused vacation compared with the previous year, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the travel website Expedia.
But when it comes to vacationing, Americans still take more time off than their Japanese counterparts, who got an average of 18 vacation days but used only seven, the study found. South Koreans took seven out of 10 vacation days they were offered.
The world leaders in vacationing are the French, who took all of the 30 days available to them in the last year. And yet 90 percent of employed French adults either strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement “I feel vacation deprived,” according to the study of 8,535 working adults in 24 countries.