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  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Tower at heart of Paris opens to the public for the first time

    The Eiffel Tower has a new rival, five centuries old.For the first time since it was built in the early 1500s, the Tour Saint Jacques,  a mysterious stand-alone Gothic tower in the geometric centre of Paris, is opening to the public this summer.The 170ft-high tower, long surrounded by myths and legends, has literary connections ranging from Alexandre Dumas to Marcel Proust. It was used by the writer and scientist Blaise Pascal to experiment with atmospheric pressure  and weights a century before Isaac Newton developed his theory of gravity....

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    Re-enactors and spectators descend on Gettysburg

    An army of visitors a quarter million strong, including legions of Civil War re-enactors, is converging on Gettysburg, Pa., to mark the 150th anniversary of the nation's bloodiest battle, a three-day clash that helped turn the tide of the war.Areas surrounding the town of 7,000 in southern Pennsylvania are being transformed into battlefield scenes, complete with an outdoor field hospital where hundreds of people acting as surgeons will pretend to triage people acting as wounded soldiers, all while period-dressed guides explain the scene."It's our Olympic moment," said Andrea DiMartino, a coordinator with the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, which stages re-enactments each year. Over four days, the group expects 60,000 to 80,000 spectators, who will pay $40 a day to view the action from stadium seating or from their own blankets or lawn chairs. This year, the group also is offering, for $13, a live broadcast of a re-enactment of Pickett's Charge to be viewed on a computer, tablet or smartphone.The tourism agency for Adams County, Pa., expects the surge of visitors to inject $100 million into the region's economy....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    The U.S. government's bizarre tourism campaign for South Vietnam

    Before Vietnam became synonymous to 1970s Americans with a seemingly endless war, it might have conjured images of French wines and big game hunting. In the early 1960s, the U.S. government tried to encourage tourism in Vietnam in elsewhere in Southeast Asia as a sort of travel diplomacy."Tourism's proper development, it was believed, could serve important U.S. geostrategic objectives," writes University of Minnesota history professor Scott Laderman in his 2009 book Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory. Friendly American faces could soften the reputation of the U.S. overseas, it was thought, and their souvenir purchases might bolster emerging economies....[H]ere are some highlights from a 1961 travel brochure for the country, aptly titled "Visit Fascinating Vietnam," stored at archive.org and apparently housed at one point by the University of Texas....

  • Originally published 02/15/2013

    New Macbeth trail in Scotland

    The route will wend its way through several sites in north-east Scotland, in a move that organisers hope will boost tourism to the region, as well as separating the facts from Shakespearean myths. Details will be unveiled today at Glamis in Angus, where Macbeth died in the play.The Scottish MSP Alex Johnstone was the driving force behind the new trail."Many people don't realise that Macbeth existed," he told the Herald Scotland....

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