Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced yesterday that it was placing an immediate ban on shark fin and phasing out Chilean sea bass and blue-fin tuna within the year. According to Shangri-La spokeswoman Maria Kuhn, the new policy, which affects all 72 properties, has been a long time coming. “In December 2010, we took shark’s fin off our menus as a first step towards completely phasing it out,” says Kuhn, who is based in Hong Kong, where the company’s headquarters are.
Shangri-La joins Peninsula hotels, which announced a ban on shark fin in November. For both properties, it’s a bold, gutsy move. Both have a serious presence in China, where shark fin, long considered a delicacy, has become de rigueur at banquets. In fact, Shangri-La, which already runs 35 hotels in Hong Kong and mainland China, has 23 properties under development in China. It also has hotels in Taiwan and Singapore.
The Costa Concordia’s accident off the Italian coast is a horrible tragedy, with at least 11 people dead and others still missing. But the industry’s record for safety remains strong: Nearly 14 million people cruise each year on major cruise ships, and few industry watchers can even remember the last time a fire or ship failure resulted in passenger deaths.
The U.S. Coast Guard is involved with safety aspects of the cruise ship design before it is even built. Once launched, each cruise ship that sails from the U.S. must pass U.S. Coast Guard certification. Each is inspected at least every six months on both announced and unannounced inspections that include reviewing staff safety procedures. Crews are drilled regularly on safety procedures. Those that don’t sail from U.S. ports still must meet safety standards set by individual countries and by SOLAS, an international safety and standards convention that is set by International Maritime Organization, an arm of the United Nations.
USA Today | Travelers are treating in-flight Wi-Fi like a bag of peanuts: They'll take it, if it's free.
Airlines are spending millions of dollars to equip planes with Wi-Fi capability. But only a small percentage of travelers have used the service since it was introduced in 2008, numbers from providers and analysts indicate.
"It is certainly something everyone recognizes as a value, both to the airlines and the passengers," says Michael Planey, an industry analyst at H&M Planey Consultants. "The question is at what point do airlines or service providers make money or stem losses?"
Airlines and in-flight Wi-Fi providers won't disclose how much the service is used.
With a new year comes a rush of planning and, at T+L, we've already mapped out the hottest destinations of 2012. But even as we report on new discoveries and trends, it's worth looking back at what grabbed readers' attention in the past year.
Cruise ships can be lifesavers—they get us away from the daily grind and inspire us to explore exotic places. But these floating cities can also literally save lives. And that’s exactly what happened yesterday morning, when Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity rescued two rowers whose small boat had sunk in the Atlantic.
In January, it’ll be two years since Haiti suffered the ravages of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Life there since has not been easy—some 1.5 million Haitians still live in tents, daily routines, health, and education are still impacted by severe lack of infrastructure, and tourism has all but evaporated. As of today, there are only 500 hotel rooms in the Caribbean country's capital city. But that’s about to change.
Travel + Leisure's international editor, Mark Orwoll, makes an appearance to comment on American Airlines' recent news that it is filing for Chapter 11. Watch to find out what the airline's new status means for travelers.
REUTERS | American Airlines and its parent company AMR Corp filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday to cut costs and combat soaring fuel prices and dampened travel demand.
American Airlines was once the largest U.S. carrier, but is now third behind United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It had been the only major U.S. airline to avoid a bankruptcy filing in the last decade and consequently has the industry's highest labor costs.
The airline hopes bankruptcy will cut labor costs after it failed to reach a deal with pilots and other work groups after years of fruitless negotiations. Analysts question, however, whether restructuring under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code will address operational shortcomings and bolster revenue.
The filing also leaves AMR vulnerable to unsolicited takeover bids by rival airlines in the rapidly shrinking airline industry.
"It completes the cycle," said Helane Becker, an analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co. "Every major airline in the united States has filed for Chapter 11."
Washington, D.C.: As part of a project that included a three-part HBO documentary and a book, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s “Black List” portraits are now showing at the National Portrait Gallery(through April 22).
Bentonville, Arkansas: Until recently, the small town was best known as Walmart’s home base. But that’s all changing with the Moshe Safdie–designed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art(479/418-5700). Walmart heiress Alice Walton donated much of the collection.
The before/after photographs are harrowing: in the first, a
postcard-perfect Italian village, with pine-green shutters and lemon and rose
façades, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. In the next, the
same village buried in a horrifying avalanche of mud, its harbor now the color
and consistency of cement.
On October 25, flooding from a freak rainstorm devastated
the town of Vernazza, one of the five villages that make up the celebrated
Cinque Terre in Liguria . Rivers of water and mud cascaded down the steep and
narrow streets, burying the town’s lowest levels in as much as 13 feet of
debris, while also overwhelming the railroad tracks that provided the primary
way in or out of Vernazza. (Part of the Cinque Terre’s allure is that four of
its cliff-hugging villages are accessible only by train, boat, or hiking