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French train chaos for vacationers as key station crippled

Paris - Thousands of people hoping to hit beaches along France's Atlantic coast faced massive train cancellations and delays Monday as workers struggled to restore electricity to a key Paris station after a fire last week.

French train chaos for vacationers as key station still crippled

Paris - Thousands of people hoping to hit beaches along France's Atlantic coast were still facing train cancellations and delays Monday as workers struggled to restore electricity to Paris's Gare Montparnasse after a fire on Friday.

Belarus extends visa-free travel for tourists to 30 days

Minsk - Belarus on Tuesday announced that it is extending visa-free travel for tourists from five days to 30 days in a move that could attract more visitors to the ex-Soviet state on the European Union's doorstep.

Zimbabwe edges back onto tourist map

Victoria Falls - After nearly two decades in the doldrums, Zimbabwe's tourism sector is enjoying a rebound, with visitors returning in droves to see the majestic Victoria Falls and explore unspoilt safari reserves.

Ex-Israeli commandos innovate for 'weekend warriors'

- As a young officer in an elite unit of Israel's army, with its motto that no mission is impossible, Idan Peretz knew there had to be a better way to send rescue ropes across rivers.

Saudi Arabia, Oman sites added to UNESCO World Heritage List

Manama - UNESCO added Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahsa Oasis and Oman's ancient city of Qalhat to its World Heritage List on Friday, the world cultural body said.

Fed-up Spanish cities are bursting Airbnb's bubble

Madrid - Spain may be one of the world's top tourist destinations, but many people in its biggest cities have grown exasperated with Airbnb-style rentals.And now, their city councils are taking action.

Tourism boom to test Uzbekistan's thaw

Samarkand - Coiffed, cheerful and multilingual, identical twins Fatima and Zukhra Rakhmatova do not immediately resemble agents of ex-Soviet Uzbekistan's long-feared security apparatus.

Japan plans Studio Ghibli theme park

Apo - The fantasy world of Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki will come to life as a theme park set to open in central Japan in 2022, the regional government said Wednesday.

Finns find key to being world's happiest despite ups and downs

Apo - Finns have long been perceived as taciturn and introverted people in a country known for its dark, cold winters and high suicide rate. Today, they are also considered the world's happiest.

No plan to boycott Russia World Cup over spy poisoning: Adidas

Frankfurt Am Main - The chief executive of German sportswear maker Adidas said Wednesday it stood by its sponsorship of this year's football World Cup in Russia, as tensions mount between Moscow and London over the poisoning of an ex-spy on British soil.

Braving the cold: Surfing above the Arctic Circle

Saupstad - "You come up from the ocean and you're just freaking cold," says Unn Holgersen, who surfs almost every day in the frigid waves off the coast of Norwegian islands above the Arctic Circle.

Riots a heavy blow to tourism, economy: Sri Lanka PM

Colombo - Sri Lanka's prime minister said Thursday that a spate of anti-Muslim riots had damaged the island's reputation as a tourism hotspot as it prepares to host an international cricket tournament.

Record tourist arrivals in Paris in 2017

Paris - After two years during which Paris was scarred by terror attacks, tourists returned to the French capital in record numbers in 2017, hotel booking figures showed Thursday.Hotels in the Paris area received 2.

Maldives seek to project calm but tourists told to stay away

Male - The Maldives on Tuesday sought to reassure tourists they would be safe as governments warned their citizens to steer clear of the troubled honeymoon islands amid a spiralling political crisis.

Saudis welcome the world: 'We're not just oil traders'

Riyadh - Saudi Arabia will begin issuing tourist visas in the first quarter of 2018, its top tourism official said, a first for the kingdom as it undergoes major economic and social reforms.

Paris scraps Big Wheel attraction

Paris - Paris councillors on Wednesday voted to axe the city's prominent riverside Ferris wheel, the French capital's version of the London Eye.

S.Africa craft beers brew up a challenge to old order

Johanesburg - "We've got plans to export to the United States," grinned Luca Tooley who co-owns the Zwakala craft brewery in South Africa's northeastern Limpopo province.

Spain identifies 800 Britons suspected of making fake sickness claims

Madrid - Spanish police said Friday they had identified around 800 British tourists suspected of having made fake food poisoning claims after going on holiday in the Balearic Islands to try to win compensation.

Poverty in paradise: The dark side of Indonesia's new tourism hope

Indonesia - A tableau of white sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs and turquoise water, the islands of Raja Ampat are set to be Indonesia's next tourism hotspot -- but locals fear the government is failing both them and the environment in its development push.

US ban on North Korea travel comes into force

Seoul - Washington's ban on US citizens travelling to North Korea came into force on Friday, with the two countries at loggerheads over Pyongyang's weapons ambitions.

Nudists get their place in the sun at Paris park

Paris - Parisian nudists will finally have a spot to take it all off -- for the next few weeks at least -- at a secluded zone in the Bois de Vincennes park east of the city.

Naked models become living art at S. Korea festival

Daegu - The bodies of dozens of female models were turned into living canvases at a festival in Seoul this weekend, as delicate brush strokes and flamboyant illustrations covered up their bare skin.

Colombians combat stress with 'Day of Laziness'

Itagui - Colombians in the city of Itagui hauled mattresses and hammocks into the streets Sunday to mark the annual "World Laziness Day," a quirky effort to urge overstressed workers to slow down.

Kasparov-mania sweeps St. Louis, America's chess capital

Saint Louis - Benny Pirogovsky turns a brass king piece around in his hand as he stands by an outdoor chess table shaded by a tree. After hours spent driving through the American Midwest, the teenager is finally about to see his idol.

International travel to US drops for first time since 2009

Washington - The number of international visitors to the United States has dropped for the first time since 2009, as did their spending, the US Department of Commerce said Friday.In 2016, 75.

Shellfish, fire and Party praise: beach breaks, North Korea style

- Take several dozen North Korean clams. Arrange vent-down on concrete slab. Douse liberally with petrol. Ignite. Add fuel until cooked.

Rwanda targets high-end tourist market

- Nicaraguan singer Hernaldo Zuniga brought his entire family to trek through the lush forests and mist-shrouded volcanoes of northwestern Rwanda in search of mountain gorillas.

Luxury on the rails in train-mad Japan

Toukyo - Japan's latest super-deluxe train left the station Saturday with a select group of passengers who paid thousands of dollars for a leisurely trip harking back to an era of Art Deco opulence and a slower pace of life.

Dismembered bodies, shootout rock Mexican resort Cancun

Canc - Three dismembered bodies stuffed in suitcases were found Friday in Cancun, hours after the Mexican resort town was rocked by a shootout and police chase that left one gunman dead.
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