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Archive for Sunday, January 26, 2003

Travel briefs

January 26, 2003

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Eiffel Tower tops among tourist draws

Paris -- Even the French can't explain its popularity.

It's not the world's tallest structure and it has no apparent purpose, but while visits to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, two of America's most famous attractions, slipped to 2.5 million last year, the Eiffel Tower drew 6 million.

The tower's 200 millionth visitor paid the $9.90 tab last summer, making it the world's most- visited paying monument.

Old rockers return at Hard Rock Vault

Orlando, Fla. -- Jim Morrison's leather pants, Buddy Holly's signature eyeglasses and Elvis Presley's Gibson Super 400 electric guitar will be among the unusual treasures in the new Hard Rock Vault in Orlando.

Elvis, in fact, will have his own "King's Chamber" with memorabilia from his early years until the end of his life. The Vault, which had its grand opening Jan. 16, is an "all-access look at the energy, originality and passion of music, artists, events and audiences," according to Pete Beaudrault, president of Hard Rock Cafe International.

There'll be no glass cases in the 17,000-square-foot interactive attraction, spokeswoman Cara Chiarelli said. "It's a total immersion tour."

Israel optimistic on future of tourism

Jerusalem -- In an expression of confidence in the future of embattled Israel, a $150 million Center for Human Dignity and Museum of Tolerance is soon to rise in the heart of Jerusalem.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, said the center expected to complete the project by 2006.

The three-acre complex, designed by California architect Frank Gehry, will include a 50,000-square-foot museum, an international conference center, a great hall for 800, a 500-seat theater, library and art gallery.

"When peace comes, it will be a leading attraction in the Middle East, drawing people from all over the world," Hier said. He said the complex would grapple with all issues affecting modern society from terrorism to drunken driving.

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