Last week was another eventful one in the travel industry and here are just a few highlights our editorial team has translated from the French version written by our editor-in-chief, Laurent Serfaty.
We learned that it is indeed possible to work in the luxury hotel industry and greet guests with a face as long as horse's - according to the French courts, you don't have to be pleasant or friendly in the industry. Former maître d'hôtel at the Sofitel in Cannes, Nadine Fréville, won her case for unfair dismissal against the hotel, when she was given the sack for her lack of general friendliness in 2004. Although the court judged that a lack of amiability could be considered an error in the catering industry, it was not deemed reason enough for a redundancy.
We learned the sad news that a third person died of the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) contracted during a stay in the Yosemite National Park in the United States. This virus carried in the saliva, faeces and urine of the animals at the park, can be caught just by breathing in dust that rodents have simply brushed through. The HPS had already caused two deaths at the end of the summer, which caused an international alert to find and inform the 30,000 potentially infected visitors to the national park. To date, nine people have contracted the virus, but due to the most recent death, local authorities are urging all visitors to the park to consult a doctor if the symptoms of Hantavirus appear - the symptoms are fever, headaches, a cough or intestinal problems. Despite this severe warning, the Yosemite National Park paradoxically remains open to visitors.
A week has now gone by since the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya following the release of a 13-minute amateur film in which the image of the Prophet Muhammad is outwardly insulted. A group of extremist Muslims set fire to the embassy, causing four deaths of embassy officials, including the ambassador. This incident alone caught the world's attention, tipping over the scales quite grotesquely when it comes to extremist Muslims' indignation, especially when compared to the numbers of deaths in the Syrian massacres. Hundreds of Syrians die every day as the Arab world stands and watches, but for 13 minutes of cheap thrills, the entire Arab world decides to protest in favour of justice - just a mere farce.
Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? The good was that Tibet's borders were finally reopened, since when the destination has proved to be a hit with tourists. Between January and August the Autonomous Region has welcomed more than 7 million Chinese and foreign tourists, an increase of over 25% compared to 2011. For the year 2012, the authorities expect a total of 10 million visitors and 12 billion Yuan to be generated in revenue. Good news for the Chinese, but not too sure how happy the Tibetans are about being invaded by mass tourism. Despite the Chinese government's objectives for 2012, it has been heard on the grapevine that it is no longer issuing visas to foreigners. The dubious ways in which the Chinese government operates continue to remain shrouded in mystery.
Much has impaired the image of the goat this last week. The poor beast is now considered at best a happy imbecile. Good thing Chicago Airport, unable to stay within the norm, stepped in. The highly ecological airport has opened its green spaces to three-dozen goats - a perfectly natural way of keeping its lawns trimmed without a single ounce of carbon. Just beware of unexpected barbecue warnings - there indeed is nothing like indulging in organic lamb cutlets in the open-air!
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