China airline hiring Australians
China Southern Airlines has started using Australian cabin crew on its flights between Sydney and Guangzhou. Australian flight attendants have been rostered on the airline's Sydney flights since the start of the month, but more will soon fill the cabins of the Guangzhou-based airline. China Southern also aims have an Australian cabin crew on every flight between Guangzhou and Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. "Our aim is to improve communication and customer service for the growing number of English-speaking passengers," an airline spokeswoman, Jane Cen, says.
Kenya's safety call
Despite kidnappings, grenade attacks and Australian government advisories not to travel to certain parts of Kenya, the country's tourism officials say it is a safe destination for a holiday.
"There are some isolated places in Kenya that I would not want to travel but the tourist areas are OK, especially west of Nairobi," the Kenya Tourist Board's John Chirchir says.
He was on a mission to Australia last week to encourage more people to visit, but it seems his message is already working.
Last year, the number of Australian visitors to Kenya rose by 23.9 per cent to 24,226, compared with 19,560 in 2010. Overall, the number of visitors reached 1,095,842, a 15.4 per cent increase on the previous year.
The British are the most prolific travellers there, despite the highly publicised murder late last year of British tourist David Tebbutt at an isolated beach cottage and the kidnapping of his wife, Jane, who was released last month by Somali pirates.
Chirchir says the Kenyan government has cracked down on the threat of Somali terrorism by Al-shabaab (a militant group), closing the Kenya-Somali border and increasing land and sea security. "It is a war against terrorism, not Somalia," he says. "We need to protect tourism and our shipping. We think it is just a matter of time and this thing [isolated terrorist attacks] will be over."
Chirchir says seeing the big five animals at the Masai Mara Reserve is among the major drawcards, but tourism in the north, towards Lake Turkana, is starting to open up and provides a "virgin" tourist experience, including interaction with tribes such as the Samburu, for adventurous travellers.
Recent hotel openings in Nairobi include Tribe, Crowne Plaza, Ole Sereni and Sankara. A new airport terminal is due to be completed in January and there have been luxury property developments, including Emakoko (emakoko.com) and Sarara Camp (see Glamping in Kenya, Room Service).
Startled and offended
An American woman was asked not to board a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to New York last month because she was revealing too much cleavage. But a poll by travel search site Skyscanner reveals that the biggest annoyance to passengers is cleavage of a different sort: "builder's bum".
Skyscanner says exposure of the cleft between a man's buttocks due to ill-fitting trousers and careless bending over tops the list of things that travellers find most offensive (28 per cent) in an international survey of 2700 people.
Despite Southwest's cleavage incident, the Skyscanner survey reveals that women with low-cut tops cause little offence.
The top 10 things on the offensive list are:
1. Men revealing "builder's bum" (28 per cent).
2. Sweat patches on clothes (22 per cent).
3. Midriff/beer belly on show (18 per cent).
4. Offensive logos on T-shirts (12 per cent).
5. White socks and sandals (9 per cent).
6. Women with low-cut tops displaying cleavage (4 per cent).
7. Men with hairy chests on show (2 per cent).
8. Noisy jewellery (2 per cent).
9. Football shirts (1 per cent).
10. Thongs (0.5 per cent).
Other (1.5 per cent).
Pacific Sun has sailed
P&O's Pacific Sun has made her final voyage, a seven-day Pacific round trip from Brisbane that ended last Sunday. The ship was sold this year to an undisclosed buyer. Pacific Sun carried more than half a million Australian passengers on hundreds of holidays since 2004 and many are reminiscing at facebook.com/pacificsunpage.
Line up at Heathrow
With the London Olympics just 13 days away, Heathrow Airport has been blasted by the British press because of lengthy immigration queues.
The Daily Telegraph recently reported lines stretching almost a kilometre and waiting times of 2½ hours for passport checks. But airport operator BAA says that from tomorrow, an extra 72 immigration officers will be available and all immigration desks will be staffed to cope with the estimated 650,000 extra passengers expected during the Games.
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