Hawaii’s burning question

While the churning, spewing lava from Kilauea volcano looks post-apocalyptic, officials with the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau say that the danger zones are isolated to residential areas and they don’t expect an impact on travelers. Almost 90 percent of the island is unaffected, said Ross Birch, executive director of the Hawaii Island Visitors and Convention Bureau. Visitors’ safety concerns should be minimal, assuming they keep their distance from areas that are under evacuation orders, which include the subdivisions Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, located near the town of Pahoa, about 20 miles southeast of Hilo. After declaring an emergency for the county of Hawaii, Gov. David Ige issued a statement. “We have heard from people around the world concerned about Hawaii’s welfare and want to reassure everyone that this is limited to a remote region on the slopes of Kilauea volcano. Everywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands is not affected,” he said.

Washington Post

Elmo heads to SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando’s Sesame Street land will open in spring 2019, the company has announced. For the first time at SeaWorld Orlando, the park will have a daily parade that features Elmo and other characters. Children can visit re-created sets from the popular television show, including Mr. Hooper’s store, Big Bird’s nest and 123 stoop. New themed wet and dry play areas and rides are also coming. The 6-acre land is being created on what had been Shamu’s Happy Harbor play area.

Orlando Sentinel

More visitors for Antarctica

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, or IAATO, reported that 51,707 travelers visited the peninsula in the 2017-18 Antarctic season, an increase of 17 percent. The growth reflects an upward trend since the 2011-12 season. The vast majority of visitors, 41,996, traveled by sea to Antarctica on vessels offering excursions ashore. Of these, 3,408 flew to the South Shetland Islands and immediately boarded a vessel for onward travel. This sector, known as air/cruise, increased 6 percent compared with the previous season. In addition, 9,131 visitors experienced Antarctica on one of four cruise-only vessels that do not make landings, an increase of 22 percent since 2016-17. Another 580 visitors flew to field camps in Antarctica’s interior with IAATO land operators. All visitor activities follow strict codes of conduct developed by IAATO and through the Antarctic Treaty System. American visitors remained the most numerous, accounting for 33 percent of the total number, the same proportion as the previous year.

Travel Pulse

Butler as special hotel perk

Can a butler really make a hotel stay that much more extraordinary? Yes, say a growing number of luxury properties that have butlers as an amenity for their guests. According to Reneta McCarthy, a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, the concept of butlers dates at least to the 18th century in Europe, when a butler was a male who was in charge of the dining and entertainment in wealthy households. “Eventually, the idea of butlers seeped into the hotel space in Europe,” she said. “And more recently, in an effort to differentiate themselves in a competitive market, more and more top-end hotels are touting that they have butlers to pamper their guests.”

New York Times