If you are flying to Europe via Dubai with Emirates, the airline's holiday arm, Arabian Adventures, has introduced an extension tour to Iran, which, in spite of recent political turmoil, is slowly emerging as a new travel destination. Packages to that country range from three to 14 nights. All flights are from Dubai and destinations in Iran include Tehran, Shiraz, the Persepolis ancient palace complex, Masouleh and Hamadan.
Arabian Adventures has also introduced new stopover tours in the United Arab Emirates, including desert flights in a Cessna 207, camel treks and cruises along the Dubai coast.
Mandarin winter special The Mandarin Oriental Group will introduce a Winter Choices deal on November 1 offering special rates at its 12 hotels worldwide until next March 31. Apart from rooms at rates as low as US$69 (about HK$540) in Kuala Lumpur, guests are offered complimentary daily American breakfast, check-out until 6pm, an extra bed for a child under 12 sharing the same room, use of the health club and a daily newspaper.
CD roaming OAG has launched a Travel Information System with schedules for 600,000 direct and connecting flights from more than 800 airlines and information on more than 68,000 hotels. Using Windows 95 software and combining OAG's planning products on to one CD-Rom, it is available for LAN, Intranet and single users.
Concierges get wired Hyatt International has introduced Technology Concierge services at its hotels and resorts worldwide. Assistance can be given to set up mobile communications equipment or to explain the use of guest-room technology. Typically, the tasks of the Technology Concierge include hooking up laptops, support in accessing e-mail or the Internet, helping guests send faxes, manoeuvre through TV or phone menus and obtain convertors and adaptors. Hyatt International is working towards an interactive TV system, allowing guests to surf the Net and access e-mail via a multi-functional television. The company also has plans to equip future Hyatt International hotels with high-speed laptop connectivity.
Rescuing the reefs Mother Jones magazine and the Coral Reef Alliance in Berkeley, California, have teamed up to put together a red alert site that calls attention to the Earth's troubled coral reefs. Armchair activists and serious crusaders alike will find oceans of information about where the current hot spots are and what they can do to help. Scientists are predicting that 70 per cent of the world's reefs will be destroyed in 20 to 40 years unless we do something to stop it.
Web site: http://www.motherjones.com/coral-reef/  Creating catastrophes Earthquakes, erupting volcanoes and torrential rains are a few of the simulated catastrophes awaiting visitors to Dynamic Earth, a new attraction in Edinburgh's Old Town. Housed in the William Younger Centre, a new building with a translucent roof, Dynamic Earth tells the planet's story through interactive exhibits, videos and state-of-the-art special effects.
After boarding a 'time machine' elevator, visitors may explore 11 environmental zones, ranging from a tropical rainforest with computer-controlled daylight cycles to a Restless Earth Zone, replete with sulphurous emissions and a vibrating floor that lights up. An indoor iceberg can be found in the chilly Polar Zone, and the Showdome offers earthquakes, lightning storms and tidal waves.
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