MV Kirkland returns to Columbia River

MV Kirkland at night on the Columbia River
MV Kirkland at night on the Columbia River

MV Kirkland returns to Columbia River | Seattle, WA. The last living ferry ‘MV Kirkland’ returns to the Columbia River. MV Kirkland – also known as ‘Tourist No. 2’ – was pressure-washed at the Northlake Shipyard this week. Now a long-awaited return of the last living ferry to Seattle’s Columbia River seems to be within reach. It’s planned to bring the repaired watercraft down to Astoria in July — just in time for Astoria Bridge’s 50th anniversary celebration.

This Wednesday, the board is holding the ferry’s first fundraising event at Street 14 Coffee in Astoria. The nonprofit needs to collect $50,000 to pay for the shipyard work.

MV Kirkland was pressure-washed at the Northlake Shipyard this week.
MV Kirkland was pressure-washed and repaired at the Northlake Shipyard this week.

MV Kirkland carried riders and their cars between Astoria and Megler from 1924 to 1966. But then Astoria bridge made ‘Tourist No. 2’ and the rest of the estuary’s ferries obsolete.

Almost a year ago Robert Jacob – majority owner of the Cannery Pier Hotel – got word that ‘Tourist No. 2’ still existed. Though he and other community members hoped to haul it home last year. But this task proved to be quite challenging.

When MV Kirkland arrives, it will be docked at 17th Street in Astoria, And it won’t be just another vintage eye-candy. Business plans includes shuttling visitors along the riverfront. The ferry may also be rented out for private parties and chartered excursions. This could be the start of something big again.

MV Kirkland aka Tourist No. 2 (1950)
Postcard of MV Kirkland aka Tourist No. 2 (1950)

At 110 feet long, 39 feet wide and 40 feet tall, the three-deck, wooden-hull ferry MV Kirkland, aka ‘Tourist No. 2’, was built with old-growth timber, and can accommodate more than 150 people.

© International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Tourist Tax increased in Mallorca

Tourist Tax increased in Mallorca | Tourists heading to Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Malta will be facing an increased ‘tourist tax’ as holiday bosses cash in on surge in bookings to Spain after ISIS attacks in France, Belgium, Turkey, Egypt and the Near East. This dubious tax will be between 1.50 to 2.00 euros per night per person paid to hotels from July 1, 2016. Those tourists who have already paid for their holidays in advance will be forced to pay the additional fee after arrival. Thanks to ISIS, all four mentioned Balearic islands will most likely welcome a new record number of holiday makers this year. Some three million British and 2.5 million German tourists will flock to the Balearics, which also includes the island of Formentera. The authorities in the Balearic government told the media, this tax will fund efforts to protect the islands’ natural resources. But for the people affected it simply looks like utter greed.

Malta is the latest Mediterranean country to adopt the ‘tourist tax.’ Visitors to Malta will be charged 0.50 euros per night from June 1, 2016. There will be a 5 euro visitor cap for persons over the age of 18. Malta attracts approx. two million visitors every year. Some extra  €6 million in revenue could be netted as a result. One can do A LOT of nature protection with this money …

Tourist Tax increased in Mallorca
Tourist Tax increased in Mallorca. Elke Sommer doesn’t care.

© International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Chinese tourists are different

Disneyland Shanghai
Chinese tourists are different. Disneyland Shanghai opens on 06/16/16

Chinese tourists are different. Disneyland Shanghai just learned it the hard way: Chinese tourists are different. Ok, not all of them. The majority behaves, but some simply trash it. The Shanghai Disney Resort is scheduled to open on June 16. Meanwhile Disney Town, located adjacent to the park, already opened to the public this Monday at China’s Labor Day. The behavior of visitors left a lot to be desired. Some have been filmed defacing Disney property, disposing trash anywhere, occupying landscaped areas, picking flowers from flowerbeds, scrawling “was here” along side lampposts, and urinating in public.

While littering may be a common problem in any kind of theme park, public defecation is not. The main Disney park hasn’t opened yet, and still got a few days to adjust the defense of its magic kingdom to this kind of invasion.

Chinese tourists misbehaving
Chinese tourists misbehaving in Disneyland Shanghai.

Chinese tourists defacing in publicChinese tourists defacing in public
Chinese tourists defacing in public

© International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Tiger Temple raided and closed

Tiger Temple raided and closed | Very sad news for tiger lovers: It used to be a paradise for tigers and the #1 tourist destination for lovers of wild cats. But that’s history now. This week the world’s most famous Tiger Temple (Wat Pha Luang Ta Bu Yannasampanno) has been raided and closed. Tiger Temple was located in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province, west of Bangkok. The buddhist monks living here received their first motherless tiger cubs from villagers in 1999. Numbers constantly went up. 150 tigers were counted in January 2016. The majority of those tigers were Bengal and Indochinese, a few others hybrid breeds. Tourists paid 600 Thai Baht ($16) to enter into this unique site, with additional costs to pet and feed the tigers. Thousands of tourists did flock to it every year. ‘Wat Pha Luang Ta Bu Yannasampanno‘ became the world’s most popular tourist destination for tiger lovers.

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bu Yannasampanno - the Tiger Temple
Wat Pha Luang Ta Bu Yannasampanno – the Tiger Temple

Why did Tiger Temple close?

Tiger Temple raided and closed; the setup: There have been ongoing battles between wildlife groups, Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) and the monks since the beginning of this mini zoo. Several times the DNP tried to confiscate the tigers. Each time the monks somehow held on to their animals. Things looked better recently: The temple applied for a zoo license that would have enabled them to legally continue holding tigers. Such license was provisionally granted, but then revoked soon after for reasons unknown to us. This week, backed by a court order Thai authorities launched a large-scale raid on the tiger temple to confiscate the animals. The 1,000-strong police operation is due to continue all week.

Although workers and volunteers at the temple spoke out against the operation, police and wildlife officials immediately started an operation to remove all tigers from the temple. Pictures from yellowpress journalists at the scene posted to social media showed dead 40 small tiger cubs lined up on a floor. In a Facebook statement, the monks said the mortality rate for tiger cubs at the temple was “comparatively low”. Since 2010 dead newborn tigers have been kept as proof against the allegations of selling cubs. One British who has volunteered with the tigers, told the media that tiger remains were frozen as proof that cubs who died of natural causes were not being sold into any kind of illegal wildlife trade. This might indeed be true, because a number of bodies was found in a state of decay as they have been there over five years. It would seem strange to keep the frozen bodies that long if the intent was to sell them.

Tiger Temple raided and closed
Tiger Temple raided and closed. It used to be a place of harmony between humans and animals.

Tiger Temple Accused of Supplying Black Market

So far nothing is really speaking against the Tiger Temple. “Missing permissions” to keep and breed tigers only means that some people in power did miss out on revenue. No cage was too small. No tiger did starve. In fact the opposite is true. Tigers at the site did live like in paradise. While the tiger population is shrinking dramatically elsewhere, this temple went from 8 to 150 tigers in its 17 years of existence. Crazy allegations were thrown at the monks: speed breeding, black market activities to satisfy Chinese demands (Tiger bones and body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine), illegal cross-border exchange with Laos-based tiger farms, animal torture and whatnot. Nothing has been proven so far.

Tiger Temple raided closed | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Koh Tachai closed to Tourists

Koh Tachai closed to tourists | Thai authorities did close the island of Koh Tachai, saying: heavy tourism is negatively affecting natural resources and the environment. The island, off Phang Nga province, is part of the Similan National Park. Right decision! The problem that had to be resolved: Koh Tachai’s beaches are too white, its coral reef too colorful, and its marine life too beautiful. Recently too many divers were attracted to this paradise spot. There were 8 to 10 boats on site with approx. 5 divers each. The mantas were being driven away by the hoards of divers. Not to loose the attraction forever by allowing too many divers, the national park authorities simply closed the entire island before damage goes beyond repair. Well done. Destinations such as this one need to take a long-term view on how to keep their assets intact and fresh.

Thai authorities close Koh Tachai to Tourists

Koh Tachai closed
No more strolls on the white sandy beaches of Koh Tachai. Thai authorities close Koh Tachai to tourists – a right decision.

Koh Tachai is located at the northern most tip of Similan NP. The island measures 12 sqkm. On Koh Tachai tourists used to find white beaches at a perfection level of 10/10 and crystal clear waters with mighty whale sharks and manta rays. An extravagant marine life lead to the nomination of the National Geographic Society as one of the top 10 diving destinations on earth. Koh Tachai was open for tourism from November to April. On May 15, 2016 the Thai government announced the closure of the island for public until further notice. This decision was based on findings that the ecological damage caused by mass tourism had left the environment not longer able to restore itself. Other Similan Islands are still open for travelers from October 15 until May 15.

Koh Tachai closed to tourists | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.