Tag Archives: tourists

Bali volcano erupts: Thousands of tourists stranded as ash closes airport

Bali volcano erupts: Thousands of tourists stranded as ash closes airportThe Indonesian tourist island of Bali closed its international airport on Friday, stranding thousands of travellers, as the Mount Agung volcano gushed an 8,200-feet column of ash and smoke. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said nearly 450 flights were cancelled, affecting some 75,000 people. The regional Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, Australia, said winds would carry the ash southwest toward Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated island. Volcanic ash is a potentially deadly threat to aircraft that can cause engines to "flame out." The volcano began belching ash and smoke on Thursday and several airlines cancelled inbound and outbound flights scheduled for the evening. "We hadn’t a place to stay for the night so we had to find something else, just took a taxi and stayed at a random hostel," said a stranded German backpacker who identified herself as Louisa. "We hoped we could leave this morning, but the airport is closed," she said. Mount Agung – Bali Two small airports, at Banyuwangi and Jember in eastern Java, also closed because of the ash threat. Agung’s alert level has not been raised and an exclusion zone around the crater remains at 2.5 miles. The disaster agency said the closure of Bali’s airport was in effect until 7 pm.  Australia’s national airline Qantas said in a statement that it’s "currently not safe" to operate Bali flights. A flight information board shows cancelled flights at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Credit: AP It said it was monitoring advice from the ash advisory centre and its own pilots and meteorologists would decide when flights can resume. Australian visitor Rod Bird came early to the airport only to be told his flight back to Perth had been cancelled for the second time. An earlier flight on AirAsia was called off before the airport was shuttered early Friday morning. "They told us the volcano is going off so they rebooked us for this morning and we got here at 5:00 am only to be turned away again. So we've had two cancelled flights," Bird told AFP. "Well it's Bali, these things happen and we are fine with it. We just miss the kids," he added. Tourists rest as Ngurah Rai International Airport is closed due to the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali Credit: AP The volcano, about 45 miles northeast of Bali’s tourist hotspot of Kuta, last had a major eruption in 1963, killing about 1,100 people. It had a dramatic increase in activity last year, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but had quietened by early this year. Authorities lowered its alert status from the highest level in February. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.  



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Chinese tourists spark ire in Vietnam with controversial shirts

Chinese tourists spark ire in Vietnam with controversial shirtsA photo of Chinese tourists wearing T-shirts depicting Beijing’s claims to the disputed South China Sea has sparked online anger in Vietnam, prompting calls for the visitors to be deported. The shirts featured a map of China and its so-called nine-dash line — the sea boundary found on some 1940s-era maps which Beijing says proves its claim to most of the waterway, despite partial claims from Vietnam and other nations. The territorial dispute is a hot-button issue in Vietnam, which has a turbulent history of conflict with its powerhouse neighbour.



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Replica Panmunjom village draws tourists after Korea summit

Replica Panmunjom village draws tourists after Korea summitWith access to the real DMZ restricted, tourists are flocking to a replica of the border truce village of Panmunjom to re-enact the scene of the leaders of the two Koreas shaking hands. With a low cement block between them marking the “border”, they shake hands as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in did when they met at Panmunjom on April 27. Many visitors joined hands and hopped over the mock Military Demarcation Line to the “North” and back, re-enacting the scene that was broadcast live.



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British wildlife park owner mauled by lion after entering enclosure in front of tourists

British wildlife park owner mauled by lion after entering enclosure in front of touristsThe British owner of a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa has been severely mauled by a lion he hand-reared from a cub in an attack witnessed and filmed by his tourist clients. Michael Hodge, who is 71, was attacked as he walked into the enclosure of the Marakele Animal Sanctuary’s star attraction, a male lion named Shamba. Video footage of Saturday’s incident shows Mr Hodge, who moved to South Africa in 1999, walking in a relaxed manner towards the lion a ranger outside the fence attempts to distract the animal.  Mr Hodge, who founded the sanctuary in South Africa’s Limpopo region with his wife Chrissy and her daughter Emma in 2010, was reportedly investigating a strange smell that had been upsetting the lion. Suddenly, Mr Hodge is seen running for the gate of Shamba’s enclosure before being brought down just short, his body crashing against the fence. Mike Hodge has been running the animal sanctuary in South Africa since 2010 Credit: Facebook A woman can be heard sobbing and screaming “Oh my god!” and “somebody help, please!” as the lion drags Mr Hodge away into a thicket. Mr Hodge is heard to cry out: “help me please”. Shots ring out, fired by the ranger, prompting Shamba to drop the injured Mr Hodge. The lion retreated a few yards from the bush where the Briton lay, but not far enough to allow a safe rescue attempt to be made. Shamba was then killed, a family friend, Bernadette Maguire, said, before Mr Hodge was rushed to a clinic 3m away in the town of Thabazimbi. He was later airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg. Mrs Hodge said her husband had been hurt was now recovering. “He has a broken jaw and several lacerations, but is recovering well,” she said in a statement. Mike Hodge and his wife Chrissy, who had reportedly nursed the lion who later launched the attack She added that the family were “devastated” over Shamba’s death. The lion, born in 2008, had been hand-reared since it was a month old, with Mrs Hodge nursing it through a near-fatal dose of colic, according to friends. Shamba was one of the most popular of the dozen or so big cats housed in the sanctuary’s “predator park”.  Tourists could pay an extra fee to be locked into a cage on the back of a pick-up vehicle. Shamba had been trained to leap onto the cage to eat freshly slaughtered chickens hung from the bars. Tourists would then photograph Shamba from just inches away as the feathers flew. “Come and take a ride on the wild side in our purpose-built Lion Mobile,” the sanctuary’s website reads. “I can promise you that Shamba will jump up and look you in the eye.” Previous visitors and volunteers said that Mr Hodge had long experience with lions, having hand-reared three from cubs. One, a lioness named Nina, even slept on his bed, according to Emerita Abadilla, a former volunteer. “She slept in Mike’s bed, washing his face and giving him a spit-bath daily at 3am,” she wrote in a blog post two years ago. Apart from lions, the sanctuary also housed at least two tigers, a species not native to South Africa.  Some visitors to the sanctuary’s Facebook page criticised the manner in which Shamba was killed and the park run — but friends also came to Mr Hodge’s defence, saying he had a “special bond” with the dead lion.  



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N. Korea's Kim sees off train returning dead Chinese tourists

N. Korea's Kim sees off train returning dead Chinese touristsNorth Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un personally saw off a train repatriating the bodies of dozens of Chinese tourists who were killed in a bus accident as he issued a fresh apology to Beijing over the tragedy, state media reported Thursday. Thirty-two Chinese tourists and four North Koreans perished when a bus they were travelling in plunged off a bridge south of Pyongyang Sunday night, according to Chinese officials. Beijing is the isolated regime’s sole major ally, providing an important economic and political buffer against international opprobrium.



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Tourists enjoy final day at beach before Boracay closure

Tourists enjoy final day at beach before Boracay closureBORACAY, Philippines (AP) — Tourists are spending their final hours on Boracay, enjoying the Philippine island's famed white-sand beaches before it closes for up to six months to recover from overcrowding and development.



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Bus plunge in North Korea kills 32 Chinese tourists

Bus plunge in North Korea kills 32 Chinese touristsThirty-two Chinese tourists and four North Koreans were killed when a bus plunged from a bridge in North Korea, Chinese officials and state media said Monday. Two other Chinese nationals were injured in Sunday’s accident south of the capital Pyongyang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing. Lu said China was investigating the cause of the accident and had deployed a team, including medical experts, to North Korea “to assist with the emergency rescue and treatment operations”.



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Philippines to close Boracay resort to tourists for six months

Philippines to close Boracay resort to tourists for six monthsThe Philippines has announced its best-known holiday island Boracay will be closed to tourists for six months over concerns that the once idyllic white-sand resort has become a “cesspool” tainted by dumped sewage. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the shutdown to start April 26, his spokesman Harry Roque said late Wednesday on Twitter, without providing further detail. Boracay has some 500 tourism-related businesses, which had a combined annual revenue of 56 billion pesos ($ 1.07 billion) last year.



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Philippines temporarily closes popular holiday island to tourists due to pollution

Philippines temporarily closes popular holiday island to tourists due to pollutionOne of Philippines' most popular tourist destinations will be off-limits to visitors in a few weeks. The entire island of Boracay will be closed to visitors from Apr. 26, so that it can receive a massive clean-up of dumped sewage and upgrades to its drainage systems, a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Thursday. It will be shut for a maximum of six months. SEE ALSO: Indonesia's orangutans are watching their rainforest habitat get destroyed Duterte, who has been criticised for his stance on human rights, had previously described the island as a "cesspool," and was concerned the island could be turned into a "fishpond or a sewer pool" if its environmental needs weren't addressed. Boracay had 2 million visitors in 2017, a number that was described as moving toward the "alarming" by the country's department of environment, as the island struggles with sustainable development and waste. The island is very much dependent on tourism. Up to 36,000 jobs ranging from hotel workers to street vendors could be lost in the shutdown, with authorities rejecting pleas by locals to consider a partial closure of the island.  Tourists pose for photos along a beach on Boracay island.Image: -/AFP/Getty ImagesThe president's spokesperson argued that Boracay's environmental rehabilitation has to be completed in total. "We were expecting some sort of compromise between a partial or total closure or at least given more time to adjust to a closure, but I guess the president made up his mind and we’re taken aback by it. We’re a bit depressed right now in the industry," Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, told ABS-CBN. "If given the opportunity, yes, we would like to present our case. The private sector did not have a face-to-face dialogue with the president. We were doing it through the various agencies. Unfortunately, I guess this is the result of the recommendations of those agencies." The island generates 90 to 115 tonnes of garbage a day, but current infrastructure only allows for 30 tonnes to be removed. Authorities say they've also discovered illegal, "hidden" pipes on the island used to dispose waste. "Boracay island is seen as a major, world-class tourist destination," Epimaco Densing, assistant secretary of the Philippines' interior department, told reporters.  "Yet in fact we're not able to address the major issue that it is not in terms of public safety, public order, road systems and of course, the issue of environmental degradation."  Frederick Alegre, a secretary from the country's tourism department, said his department is still calculating the financial cost of the closure, but stressed it was "being done to sustain and save Boracay." He said the island is the first of several Filipino tourist destinations that will be looked at.  Boracay's closure comes after Thai authorities decided last week to close Maya Bay, also for a period of six months, due to the impacts of tourism on the beach's environment. WATCH: Students designed a gravity-defying backpack that augments your jumps



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Philippines temporarily closes popular holiday island to tourists due to pollution

Philippines temporarily closes popular holiday island to tourists due to pollutionOne of Philippines' most popular tourist destinations will be off-limits to visitors in a few weeks. The entire island of Boracay will be closed to visitors from Apr. 26, so that it can receive a massive clean-up of dumped sewage and upgrades to its drainage systems, a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Thursday. It will be shut for a maximum of six months. SEE ALSO: Indonesia's orangutans are watching their rainforest habitat get destroyed Duterte, who has been criticised for his stance on human rights, had previously described the island as a "cesspool," and was concerned the island could be turned into a "fishpond or a sewer pool" if its environmental needs weren't addressed. Boracay had 2 million visitors in 2017, a number that was described as moving toward the "alarming" by the country's department of environment, as the island struggles with sustainable development and waste. The island is very much dependent on tourism. Up to 36,000 jobs ranging from hotel workers to street vendors could be lost in the shutdown, with authorities rejecting pleas by locals to consider a partial closure of the island.  Tourists pose for photos along a beach on Boracay island.Image: -/AFP/Getty ImagesThe president's spokesperson argued that Boracay's environmental rehabilitation has to be completed in total. "We were expecting some sort of compromise between a partial or total closure or at least given more time to adjust to a closure, but I guess the president made up his mind and we’re taken aback by it. We’re a bit depressed right now in the industry," Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, told ABS-CBN. "If given the opportunity, yes, we would like to present our case. The private sector did not have a face-to-face dialogue with the president. We were doing it through the various agencies. Unfortunately, I guess this is the result of the recommendations of those agencies." The island generates 90 to 115 tonnes of garbage a day, but current infrastructure only allows for 30 tonnes to be removed. Authorities say they've also discovered illegal, "hidden" pipes on the island used to dispose waste. "Boracay island is seen as a major, world-class tourist destination," Epimaco Densing, assistant secretary of the Philippines' interior department, told reporters.  "Yet in fact we're not able to address the major issue that it is not in terms of public safety, public order, road systems and of course, the issue of environmental degradation."  Frederick Alegre, a secretary from the country's tourism department, said his department is still calculating the financial cost of the closure, but stressed it was "being done to sustain and save Boracay." He said the island is the first of several Filipino tourist destinations that will be looked at.  Boracay's closure comes after Thai authorities decided last week to close Maya Bay, also for a period of six months, due to the impacts of tourism on the beach's environment. WATCH: Students designed a gravity-defying backpack that augments your jumps



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