Thomas Cook to merge with MyTravel

“KarstadtQuelle’s tour operator Thomas Cook is to merge with British package holiday company MyTravel, the companies said on Monday, confirming earlier reports. Thomas Cook will hold 52 percent of the enlarged group and 48 percent will be owned by MyTravel’s shareholders, the companies added. The new firm, named Thomas Cook Group Plc, is to be listed on the London stock exchange.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

BA to charge $470 for an extra bag

“Passengers flying with British Airways could face an additional cost of $470 if they choose to take an extra bag with them on a return flight. The airline has announced that from February 13, 2007 the cost of checking in an extra bag on a one-way long-haul flight will be $235 (£120). Short-haul travelers will face a $118 (£60) per bag fee, while those taking UK domestic flights will have to fork out $90 (£42) for each additional case.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

Malaysia aggressively wooing tourists

“This multiracial nation’s tourism tagline is “Malaysia Truly Asia,” and true to its slogan, it is home to a unique potpourri of Asian cultures — Malay, Chinese, Indian — along with many indigenous groups on Borneo island. Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in Southeast Asia. Aside from its gleaming 21st century glass towers, it boasts some of the most superb beaches, mountains and national parks in the region.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

China’s rich spend big to celebrate Valentine’s Day

“Once considered a symbol of the decadent West, Valentine’s Day is becoming big business in newly affluent China. Nowhere more so than in Shanghai, China’s showcase city for the economic reforms of the last three decades, a financial hub which is once more rediscovering its glory pre-World War II days when it was known as the Paris of the East.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

Rocky start for Bangkok airport

“The taxiways are cracked, the terminal has leaks and some airlines even wonder whether it’s safe to fly into Thailand’s new international airport. Bangkok’s sleek and modern Suvarnabhumi Airport, which opened to great fanfare in September, was supposed to transform the Thai capital into Southeast Asia’s leading air hub. To say it has had a rocky start would be an understatement.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

World tourism sets record in 2006, U.N. agency says

“World tourism set a record in 2006 despite fears of terrorism, bird flu and rising oil prices, the United Nations tourism watchdog reported Monday. A total of 842 million international tourist arrivals were recorded last year, an increase of about 4.5 percent, the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said, citing preliminary data.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

House in Dracula land reflects rustic life

“There is only one count in this remote Transylvanian village of 512 souls nestling in the wilds of the Carpathian Mountains — and it isn’t Count Dracula. Meet Count Tibor Kalnoky, a dashing 40-year-old entrepreneur and son of Transylvania descended from a noble family which settled in these misty lands in the 13th century and lived there until communism forced the family to flee.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com

Yosemite court battle ponders access vs. protection

“The plunging waterfalls and soaring crags chiseled by the Merced River draw millions of visitors each year, but the crowds are precisely what threatens the waterway and the park. Efforts to safeguard the Merced have spawned a court battle over the future of development in Yosemite National Park’s most popular stretch.”

Link: http://edition.cnn.com