Destination News - North America.

 
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Jan 31, 2010

Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism launched www.VisitmyArkansas.com, a new social networking blog hub. Arkansas Tourism also plans to launch a new iPhone application featuring packages and coupons in March. VisitmyArkansas.com consists of five interactive Arkansas blog pages written and maintained by the four department travel writers -- Kerry Kraus, Jill Rohrbach, Zoie Clift and Kim Williams -- along with Communications Section Manager Dena Woerner. Through this platform, the public can access Arkansas TourismOs other social networking sites, including Whrrl, Twitter and Facebook. Each Arkansas blog allows the public to submit questions via the OAsk the InsidersO section. Jan 26, 2010

Away.com

Away.com has launched OAway.com Romance Travel Guides.O From the hottest spots to catch a beautiful sunset to the most romantic hotels and restaurants, Away.com's editorial team uncovers new ideas for getaways that set the mood for romance. Plus, an interactive map lets travelers quickly browse for trip suggestions, and more than 20 photo galleries provide ample inspiration. Its top 10 romantic destinations are Bermuda, Paris, Kauai, New Orleans, Riviera Maya, Bali, Venice, Vancouver, Fiji and Miami. For more information, visit www.away.com. Jan 28, 2010

Blackstone

Blackstone's Merlin Entertainments Group didn't waste any time in making LEGOLAND Florida official. Just days after acquiring the now-closed Cypress Gardens attraction in Winter Haven -- Florida's original theme park -- the new owners are moving in with building blocks and LEGO bricks. When the park opens in October 2011, LEGOLAND Florida will be even larger than its LEGOLAND California counterpart. It's a gamble. Cypress Gardens has failed in different incarnations, and Winter Haven is roughly an hour's drive from the theme park hotbed of Orlando. However, there are also several reasons why it should succeed. Blackstone has hinted at spinning off Merlin as its own IPO, and if that materializes, failure won't be an option. LEGOLAND Florida's arrival will be a mixed blessing for Disney. On the one hand, the new park should bring more tourists to central Florida. Travelers coming down to check out LEGOLAND Florida will likely make the time to stop by one of Disney's four theme parks. Conversely, the downside to LEGOLAND Florida is that Disney-bound tourists will likely head on over to kick the tires of the new attraction. Disney has spent the past few years transforming its massive Florida resort into a self-contained destination. It shuttles airport arrivals right to its hotels, making car rentals unnecessary. It prices its length-of-stay passes aggressively, encouraging visitors to spend an entire week on site. LEGOLAND Florida will change that, just as the new Harry Potter land opening at Islands of Adventure -- a park co-owned by Blackstone and General Electric -- will draw crowds when it opens in a few months. By the time that the peak summer travel season of 2012 comes around, folks may think twice before committing to weeklong stays at Disney World when they have so many other area attractions to conquer. This can create a bigger blow at the Disney-owned resorts than the actual turnstiles. Folks may not want to pay a premium to stay on Disney property when they will be spending a lot of time exploring neighboring parks. Jan 25, 2010

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises is offering VIP access to the most famous tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships in London. The line is offering a choice of two Extended Land Programs. A one-night option is available following Crystal SymphonyOs June 14 seven-day British Isles cruise, with opening day, Centre Court action. For guests wishing to see the ladiesO and menOs finals, a three-night option is available following Crystal SymphonyOs 11-day June 21 Baltic itinerary. With both programs, participating guests will enjoy the highest level of service at Fairway Village, the luxury Wimbledon hospitality area near Centre Court, with champagne and canaps upon arrival, a four-course lunch and traditional English tea. Additionally, the three-night program includes business-class air from Stockholm to LondonOs Heathrow airport, a stay at the Dorchester Hotel and private car service. Crystal SymphonyOs June 14 British Isles voyage sails...

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