News and Deals: June 23, 2011 – Lady Gaga in Tokyo to help boost tourism, TSA changes policy on patting down kids, Cuba reports more Americans visit forbidden island, Gory place of death a tourist attraction and Southwest Airlines launches airfare sale


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Lady Gaga in Tokyo to help boost tourism
‎CNN International

Japan’s sagging tourism industry couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador than one of the world’s biggest entertainment stars, Lady Gaga.

Wearing an aquamarine wig but an otherwise demure black outfit, the pop sensation held a news conference with Japan’s tourism agency commissioner and the U.S. ambassador to Japan. The group urged tourists to return to Japan.

“I would like to use my position here today and all week long to run around Tokyo enjoy the beautiful city and kiss all the beautiful little monsters and scream at the top of my lungs that everyone should come visit this beautiful place,” said Lady Gaga, before a crowd of Japanese and international cameras and reporters.

Japan’s tourism has been hammered by the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, tourism began to plunge on March 12th. Tourism fell 73% as compared to March 2010.

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TSA changes policy on patting down kids
USA Today

Airport security screeners must try to avoid invasive pat-down searches of children, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday.

The policy change, announced by TSA Administrator John Pistole at a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing, follows public outrage in April over a video showing a pat-down of a 6-year-old girl at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

The TSA has been criticized for intrusive pat-downs of children and elderly travelers.

The agency says it will instruct airport screeners at checkpoints how to make repeated attempts to screen young children without invasive pat-downs. The instructions should reduce the number of pat-downs on children, the TSA says.

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Cuba reports more Americans visit forbidden island

The number of Americans visiting their country’s long-time foe Cuba is steadily increasing under the Obama administration, according to Cuban government figures, with the highest number in years likely in 2011.

Some 63,000 U.S. citizens visited Cuba in 2010, up from 52,500 the previous year and 41,900 in 2008, according to a report by the National Statistics Office (here).

U.S. citizens are forbidden from travelling to Cuba without their government’s permission under a wide-ranging trade embargo against the island imposed nearly five decades ago.

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Gory place of death a tourist attraction
‎Independent Online

Uganda plans to open up to visitors former camps where rebel fighters slaughtered displaced civilians, a senior tourism official said.

Hundreds of civilians were killed in northern Uganda during a long-running insurgency by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group notorious for its extreme brutality.

“The idea behind it is to document what happened, to teach visitors about what the people there went through, and to help them to live in peace now,” said Grace Aulo, the tourism development commissioner.

One of the proposed tourist sites is Barlonyo camp, where LRA rebels butchered around 330 people on a single afternoon in 2004, one of the worst massacres of the insurgency.

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Southwest Airlines launches airfare sale with $40, $80 and $120 fares
Los Angeles Times

“You only turn 40 once,” Southwest Airlines says on its online sale page. Really? I feel as though Southwest has been ballyhooing birthday promotions forever — not that I’m complaining. The airline Tuesday launched an autumn airfare sale with one-way fares of $40, $80 and $120 depending on how far you fly. But think fast because the offer is good only until Thursday. And be patient — Southwest’s website may be slow to upload.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

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