Record number of tourists visiting Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida had a record number of visitors during this past spring.
Gov. Rick Scott will announce Tuesday that 24 million tourists visited the state during the second quarter of 2014. That's a 3 percent jump over the same time period a year ago.
Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing arm, estimates that the record number includes 2.8 million visitors from overseas and 1 million Canadians.
Scott has pushed to increase spending on Visit Florida advertising to try to boost the state's tourism industry. This current fiscal year the state set aside $74 million for the effort.
Last year nearly 95 million people visited the state. Scott wants to boost that number to 100 million even though legislators did not increase funding for Visit Florida as much as he wanted.
Ring, ring: London statues want to talk to you
LONDON (AP) - Calling all London tourists: Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes and Queen Victoria want a word with you.
Statues of some three dozen historical and fictional characters in London and Manchester are coming to life thanks to a new interactive project that gives them a voice to tell their stories.
Passers-by can swipe their smartphones on a tag or type in a web address to get an instant call from the characters depicted. Actors including Patrick Stewart and Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville perform the monologues, which last a few minutes each.
The project, launched Tuesday, features Isaac Newton at the British Library, Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street station and Queen Victoria at Blackfriars Bridge, among others.
The statues will talk for a year and organizers hope to bring them to other cities.
Road work this fall in Yellowstone Park
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Yellowstone National Park is giving visitors to the park this fall a heads up on some significant road construction work that will result in long detours.
The National Park Service says the road work involves two sections of Yellowstone's Grand Loop Road that will be closed due to construction after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The road linking Old Faithful with West Thumb and Grant Village will be closed for the season starting on Sept. 2.
In addition, the road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris will be closed starting Sept. 14.
The road construction will cause detours that will add up to two hours or more along parts of the route.
Thailand ranks No. 1 in beachfront hotels
BANGKOK (AP) - Experiencing a dramatic surge in tourism, Thailand has surpassed the United States in the number of hotels truly set on its beaches, according to a survey of more than 11,000 hotels in 109 countries released Friday.
The Southeast Asian country ranked first with more than 1,250 beachfront properties, followed by the United States with 1,016 and Mexico with 943. Spain, with 736, was fourth, trailed by the Philippines, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Sri Lanka, said the survey by the Beachfront Club, a website that maps and details seaside hotels around the world.
The Bangkok-based website defines true beachfront hotels as those directly on the beach or oceanfront with no road or traffic between the rooms and the water.
Thailand also ranked first for total beachfront accommodations within a single beach destination. Its Samui Island has 270, ahead of Riviera Maya in Mexico with 250, Crete with 194 and Mallorca with 187.
5 Tennessee sites added to national register
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Five Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The registry is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in the state.
The new sites are: Happy Holler Historic District in Knoxville, C.C. Card Auto Co. Building in Cleveland, Picardy Place Historic District in Memphis, Miller Farmstead in Carter County and Norris Dam State Park Rustic Cabins Historic District in Anderson County.
For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, visit www.tn.gov/environment/history .