Trump Administration To Grant Extra Seasonal Visas Despite Immigration Hardline

Trump Administration To Grant Extra Seasonal Visas Despite Immigration Hardline

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Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism  / Flickr

More seasonal visas for foreign workers will soon be granted by the Department of Homeland Security. Pictured are summer workers at a dock in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism / Flickr

Skift Take: This is welcome news for many tourism employers across the country struggling to keep up with summer demand and a shortage of seasonal workers this year. The Trump Organization’s skin in this game probably helped grant more visas.

— Dan Peltier

The Trump administration will offer an extra 15,000 temporary, seasonal work visas this budget year.

The extra H-2B visas are for seasonal, non-agriculture workers for jobs at a variety of businesses, including resorts. The extra visas will be available to companies that can show that their businesses would be harmed if they can’t temporarily hire foreign workers.

The Trump Organization is among the businesses that use the visas.

Earlier this year Congress voted to allow Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to offer more than the annual limit of 66,000 such visas. Though President Donald Trump has taken a hard line stance on immigration, legal and otherwise, Kelly said the decision to add visas was a “demonstration of the administration’s commitment to supporting American businesses.”

He described the additional visas as a “one-time extension” of the visa cap set by Congress.

A notice about the extra H-2B visas will be posted later this week in the Federal Register.

This article was written by Alicia A. Caldwell from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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July 17, 2017 at 08:05PM

Take a Number: How a Warming Climate Will Trouble Air Travel

Take a Number: How a Warming Climate Will Trouble Air Travel

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Heat waves will likely become more frequent, with annual daily highs at airports worldwide projected to go up 7 to 14 degrees by 2080, according to the study.

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change

The issue can be overwhelming. The science is complicated. We get it. This is your cheat sheet.

Those heat waves are already having an effect. In June, American Airlines canceled more than 40 flights out of Phoenix, Ariz., when daytime highs of nearly 120 degrees made it unsafe for smaller regional planes to take off.

The researchers aimed to predict the likelihood of such events at 19 airports around the world, focusing on five types of planes.

They estimate that if global warming continues at its current rate, fuel capacities and weight on the aircraft will have to be reduced by as much as 4 percent on the hottest days. For a plane with 160 seats, that would typically mean cutting a dozen passengers.

More research is needed to understand how much money airlines would lose as a result of these passenger cuts and delays, but it is not trivial, the study said.

Technological advances to make planes lighter or engines more efficient could offset some of the effects, but it’s unlikely they could eliminate the problem altogether, Dr. Horton said.

He hopes the findings encourage the aviation industry to actively address issues of climate change.

“Becoming aware of one’s own vulnerabilities to a hazard can be a good motivator to think about how your sector contributes globally to that hazard,” he said.

Air travel emissions account for about 5 percent of warming right now, he said, but are expected to grow as the industry continues to add more flights and passengers.

Continue reading the main story

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July 17, 2017 at 07:18PM

Disney Is Building An Immersive Luxury Star Wars Hotel

Disney Is Building An Immersive Luxury Star Wars Hotel

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Disney has always been known as the world’s leading storyteller; it upended the animation industry with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, then reinvented the theme park concept by launching Disneyland in 1955. Now, it wants to revolutionize your stay — by building an immersive luxury Star Wars Hotel at Walt Disney World.

Image Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm
Image courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm.

The hotel concept is like a mashup of Westworld and Star Wars — except in real life. While all the details haven’t been released yet, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be just another place to rest after a long day in the parks. The basic premise is simple: Each guest becomes a character in the Star Wars universe and the starship (a.k.a. the hotel) will include Disney cast members who will be in costume and in character. Since it’s meant to resemble a spaceship, the hotel windows will only show the expansiveness of outer space, according to Disney’s blog.

Image Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm
Image courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm.

“We are working on our most experiential concept ever,” said Bob Chapek, Disney’s chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts at its D23 Expo. “It combines a luxury resort with immersion in an authentic environment.”

Meaning, rather than wearing stereotypical tourist attire — like Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts — you’d be wearing actual Star Wars costumes, and instead of a traditional hotel employee, your concierge might be dressed as a droid — or even a Jedi.

Image Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm
Image courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm.

Immersive environments that give guests the feeling of visiting other worlds seems to be on Disney’s agenda as it heads into the next decade. It also announced Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a brand-new themed land set to open in 2019 at the Disneyland Resort in California, and later on at Walt Disney World — the perfect place to visit while staying at the starship-themed hotel. Currently, there’s no opening date but it’s smart to start saving up now since the experience probably won’t be cheap; an April survey floating the idea suggested a cost of around $1,000 per guest for a two-night stay.

Are you planning on visiting a Disney park anytime soon? Let us know in the comments, below. 

Featured Image courtesy of Chestnot via Getty Images.

H/T: TechCrunch

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July 17, 2017 at 07:14PM

8 Destinations on my Return-to Bucket List

8 Destinations on my Return-to Bucket List

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Some travelers prefer to spend their time traveling to new places they haven’t visited previously. This is certainly not a bad strategy as you never know which destination is going to be your next new favorite. Whenever I think I’ve had the best trip ever, the next one tops it for a totally different reason. Occasionally, like today however, I reflect on some of the places I’ve been and remember how much I enjoyed myself. Here are some of those destinations to which I’d like to return.

Explore More of Northern Cambodia

I reluctantly said yes when asked to go to Cambodia. I had no idea I would enjoy it so much. I thought it would be humid, hot, and very uncomfortable but the temperature wasn’t the only thing that surprised me. Five-star lodging at two-star prices and service that spoiled just made the destination more appealing. Exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat and other area temples, feasting on delicious local dishes, and being able to afford daily inexpensive spa services sealed the deal. I was hooked. I want to return and spend more time in Siem Reap as well as head to visit the bamboo railroad and surrounding sights.

Northern and Southern Ireland

I’ve been to Dublin more times than I can count but I had one incredible journey to the southern coast via train. I’d love to explore Northern Ireland and more of the southern coast of Ireland, including Cork. I really enjoyed traveling by train in Ireland.

Split, and its Surroundings in Croatia

On one of my latest trips I explored Dubrovnik, Croatia, Split, Hvar, and Trogir but there are so many places I’d still like to visit in Croatia. It’s highly affordable and outside of Dubrovnik, it’s not yet over populated with tourists during the shoulder season. There are several more islands I’d like to visit and a return to Split to use it as a base for exploring would be the plan.

Stresa, in Northern Italy

I’ve visited Stresa in Northern Italy twice. Situated at the base of Lake Maggiore, I took the train from Venice for a day trip, and another visit for just a long weekend. I’d like to go back and make the trip to Switzerland by train and return by boat through the Swiss/Italian Alps. It is just a day trip and cost only 20 Euro. I did it many years ago and long to return. I’d also like to get over to Lake Como in the same area as I only just passed through it previously.

Riga, Latvia and Belarus

I loved the Baltic States for their retro Soviet flare, the affordability, and the wonderful people. I’d like to return to Riga which I thought was the more charming cities I had ever visited. Since Belarus has lifted visa requirements, I’d supplement my visit to Riga with a stop in Belarus next door.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a different experience each time I go but I haven’t been there in several years. I know the environment is not totally stable there right now but if a good airfare surfaced, I’d probably go anyway. Istanbul offers such a unique environment of mosques, hammams, bazaars, textiles, and all things ancient combined with the modern world. I want to make a trip up to the Pierre Late Café and stare out at the Golden Horn one more time.

Lisbon, Portugal

Go to Porto, Portugal everyone suggested, “You’ll love it”. And I did but I loved Lisbon more and that is the city to which I’d like to return. Although I saw many of the major sights of the city, I’d like to linger a while, take in the city vibe, catch some fado and explore a few of the neighborhoods. I’d also like to make a day trip to the magical and colorful city of Sintra from Lisbon.

London, England

It’s been at least 15 years since I visited London. I previously wrote about all the things I would do when I return and due to a terrific airfare appearing recently, my travel friend and I booked a return trip for later this year. I am looking forward to getting to know the city again.

I’m always traveling on a budget so utilizing points and miles to offset the cost of lodging and airfare is paramount to me being able to travel frequently. Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are one of my favorite ways to book flights. I built a bank of points by using my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, my Chase Freedom card, and my Chase Ink Business Preferred card. For lodging, I utilize my IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card and points from my Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express. It’s my way of seeing the world at prices I can afford.

If any of these destinations interest you, you can click on the links provided throughout this post to read articles about my previous trips and get tips for planning your own adventure.

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July 17, 2017 at 07:03PM

Emirates Expands Network with FlyDubai Partnership

Emirates Expands Network with FlyDubai Partnership

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Emirates Airline has buddied up with fellow Dubai-based low-cost carrier FlyDubai with an expansive codeshare agreement, schedule alignment and network optimization. Simply put, the arrangement will allow passengers of both airlines to book seamless travel on the two carriers, giving them dozens more convenient travel options.

This is a win for the airlines as well as their passengers — and some think it may be a precursor to a full merger. FlyDubai is government-owned, while Emirates is owned by the Emirates Group. It just so happens that one person — His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum — is Chairman at both airlines, as well as Dubai airports and many other aviation-related entities in Dubai. The point at which government control begins and ends is a bit blurry.

Emirates A380 at the 2015 Dubai Air Show - by Paul Thompson
Emirates A380 at the 2015 Dubai Air Show – by Paul Thompson

Emirates is a big airline with a lot of very big planes. Its fleet is comprised almost completely of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, and Emirates has the world’s largest fleet of both types. Planespotters.net says that Emirates currently has 263 aircraft, with 16 more still on order. FlyDubai has a fleet of 59 Boeing 737-800s that seat up to 189 passengers. It’ll also be receiving one Boeing 737 MAX.

This partnership gives Emirates the ability to market shorter flights to its passengers; flights that Emirates wouldn’t want to operate with one of its own giant aircraft. In the same fashion, FlyDubai benefits from being able to market flights to far-away destinations.

FlyDubai 737 First Class, by Paul Thompson
FlyDubai 737 First Class, by Paul Thompson

The partnership will also help Emirates match the flight offerings of Qatar Airways, which already has its own fleet of short-haul aircraft, including the Airbus A320 and A321. Qatar is the top-ranked international airline, according to the ranking service SkyTrax. However, it’s been struggling a bit this year, due to the suspension of flights from other Middle-Eastern countries; Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. In spite of that, Qatar is currently operating some intra-Europe routes for British Airways during a crew strike.

The partnership between Emirates and FlyDubai will go into effect toward the end of this year. Combined, the two airlines plan to have 380 planes flying between 240 destinations by 2022.

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July 17, 2017 at 06:36PM

Emirates Gets Closer to Sister Airline FlyDubai

Emirates Gets Closer to Sister Airline FlyDubai

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Emirates

FlyDubai and Emirates aircraft. The carriers have agreed a partnership. Emirates

Skift Take: FlyDubai has been flying for eight years and It’s amazing to think that it has taken this long for the government of Dubai to decide that it might be beneficial to feed passengers to Emirates.

— Patrick Whyte

Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, will form a partnership with low-cost sister carrier FlyDubai aimed at allowing the companies to feed passengers onto each other’s flights.

The deal will include network collaboration and coordinated scheduling at Dubai International Airport, where both airlines are based, Emirates said in a statement Monday. It will be rolled out from the fourth quarter starting with enhanced code-sharing arrangements.

Dubai has been looking at placing the two government-owned carriers under a single structure for several months. The move means FlyDubai’s regional flights will help fill Emirates jets, while the discount operator gets access to a global network of 157 destinations. New city pairs are set to be opened up and duplicated routes eliminated, while frequent-flyer programs may be aligned.

The partnership unites two complementary models and will unlock “immense value,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Group and chairman of FlyDubai. The airlines will continue to be managed independently, he said.

Emirates suffered a 70 percent drop in profit in the year ended March 31 as the low price of crude clipped growth in oil-based Persian Gulf economies, terrorist attacks hurt demand for travel and the company faced U.S.-imposed travel restrictions. Tim Clark, the carrier’s president, has also expressed concern about the threat from discount long-haul rivals in Asia and Europe.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Deena Kamel Yousef from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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July 17, 2017 at 06:33PM

Photos Behind the Scenes at the Formula E ePrix, First International Motor Race in NYC

Photos Behind the Scenes at the Formula E ePrix, First International Motor Race in NYC

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This past weekend, the very first international car race in New York City was held at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook— FIA Formula E Qualcomm NYC ePrix Championship, which is the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series. Untapped Cities was on hand to document the race, the behind the scenes action, and to watch the winners cross the finish line.   British DS Virgin Racing driver, Sam Bird, became the first driver to win an international motor race in New York, and he followed up his Saturday win with another victory in the second race of the double-header event.

Felix Rosenqvist (Switzerland) came in second. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) finished in third, Pierre Gasly (France) took fourth, and Lucas di Grassi (Brazil) won fifth. The series will conclude in Montreal from July 29-30.

On his victory, Bird said, “It feels incredible to win here – this was an historic weekend, not only for Formula E, but for motorsport in general. There’s never been a race in New York before and this has been a long time coming and to be the first person to win the first and second races here is really special.”

Last weekend was not only a big day for Bird and the team, but for New York City as well. The event was sold out and featured a challenging track with over 18,000 fans. Bird is not only coming away with his win, but the opportunity to take part in an huge inaugural event for New York City.

Watch some thrilling footage of the race from Saturday’s race below!

VIDEO

And see more photographs of the event:

Richard Branson of Virgin

Richard Branson of Virgin

For more, view the slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ve been extensively covering the debut of the Formula ePrix in New York City, with exclusive photos of the ribbon cutting ceremony and the race cars.

 

 Brooklyn, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Formula E, red hook

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July 17, 2017 at 06:16PM

Endangered Cuban Crocodiles Are Being Reintroduced to the Wild

Endangered Cuban Crocodiles Are Being Reintroduced to the Wild

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article-image

Less than 100 miles from Havana, the Zapata Swamp is the last redoubt of the critically endangered Cuban crocodile. About 3,000 individuals live in the wild, confined to about 300 square miles in the Zapata Swamp and the nearby Isle of Youth. But at the beginning of June, that population grew by 10, thanks to a reintroduction from a Cuban breeding facility.

This is the second release of captive-bred crocodiles—100 were released in early 2016 from the same facility. Their new home is a region of the swamp set aside as a wildlife refuge, where, critically, there are no American crocodiles to be found. The two greatest threats to the Cuban crocodile are hunting and hybridization with their American cousins. While American crocodiles prefer salt water and Cubans freshwater, development and shrinking habitat are forcing the two species to interact and hybridize. Too much hybridization and the less numerous Cuban crocodile would cease to exist as an independent species.

article-image

The captive breeding population in Cuba does have a few hybrid individuals, but a genetically pure population at the Bronx Zoo in New York offers conservation groups a backup plan, should their genes be needed.

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July 17, 2017 at 05:51PM

This Spanish Artist Built Himself a Secret Studio Under a Freeway

This Spanish Artist Built Himself a Secret Studio Under a Freeway

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Fernando Abellanas, a plumber and designer based in Valencia, Spain, has created a secret study under a freeway bridge.

The project, whose exact location is not public, is meant to evoke the contradictions of city living. In his studio, Abellanas is at once intimately connected to the thousands of people driving across the bridge above him and also completely alone.

Abellanas has long possessed an artistic streak. As a kid, his love for painting morphed into a fascination with furniture design. Since the age of 23, he has worked as a plumber, but the creativity still burns: he has catapulted himself into numerous do-it-yourself projects, including the specially designed studio.

The studio is sparse: only a desk, a chair, a lamp, a blanket, and a shelf lined with photos are visible. In the video, Abellanas reads a book as a train goes by.

Nestled into the underside of the bridge, the floor of the study moves via hand-crank, transporting Abellanas from one end of the bridge to another. Memories of childhood crawl spaces—like hiding under the kitchen table—inspired the design.

Video Wonders are audiovisual offerings that delight, inspire, and entertain. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.

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July 17, 2017 at 05:30PM