Travel briefs

 

Airlines

New service

XL Airways France, a low-cost carrier, will offer three nonstop flights a week between Miami and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport starting May 25. The seasonal service lasts until Aug. 29.

Spanish airline Air Europa will start flying between Miami and Madrid on June 4. Flights will operate three times a week.

Finnair will begin seasonal twice-a-week service between Helsinki and Miami from Dec. 16 until March 21, 2015.

South Carolina

Woodrow Wilson home reopens

After nearly a decade of renovations, the South Carolina home where President Woodrow Wilson lived as a teenager has reopened to the public as a museum not only about the politician but also the Reconstruction Era.

The villa-style home built in 1871 is one of four historic sites for Wilson — along with his birthplace in Stanton, Va.; a home in Augusta, Ga., where he grew up; and the Washington, D.C., home where he lived after his time as president.

The $3.6 million project to restore the home was funded through tax money and private donations.

Florida

2013 a record tourism year

For tourism in Florida, 2013 was a record year. Tourism in the state increased by 3.5 percent last year compared with the prior year, with about 94.7 million people visiting Florida in 2013.

Visit Florida, the state’s tourism arm, said the number of direct, travel-related jobs also was at a record high: 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the industry, a 2.9 percent increase from 2012.

Gov. Rick Scott said he is proposing that the Florida Legislature boost Visit Florida’s budget by 57 percent to $100 million.

National Parks

Yosemite struggles with crowding

Yosemite National Park will cap visitors at current levels in its most popular areas, but it will add campsites and maintain bike and raft rentals under a plan to protect the river that runs through its heart.

Tourists complained last year when the National Park Service considered getting rid of bicycle and river-raft rentals as part of a court-ordered effort to protect the Merced River, which received congressional “wild and scenic” designation in 1987.

Park officials have long wrestled with preserving the river while maintaining public access to Yosemite Valley, which receives the bulk of the park’s 4 million visitors each year.

The third-most visited national park, Yosemite boasts 1,200 square miles of wilderness.

Most visitors end up in the 8-square-mile Yosemite Valley, home to the towering Half Dome and El Capitan granite monoliths, stands of pines and stair-step waterfalls.

The number of visitors to Yosemite Valley will be limited to 18,710 a day and 21,000 visitors a day during peak times.

Miami Herald

wire services

Miami Herald

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