Kenya, which earned $380 million last year from tourism, is concerned about attacks on foreign visitors and will step up security at holiday spots, especially the country's most popular game reserve, the Masai Mara, according to a Feb. 28 statement from President Daniel Arap Moi's office. Three groups of tourists--ONE Americans, ONE Germans and ONE Britons--have been beaten and robbed in the game park in the last few months, prompting advisories from several foreign governments, including the U.S. And two Maasai Mara game rangers are now on trial charged with murdering a 28-year-old Briton, Julie Ward, in the park in September 1988. It is alleged that she also was raped. Tourists have also been attacked on the Indian Ocean coast. Bandits killed a Kenyan tour guide there two weeks ago and robbed his group of 11 Austrian tourists at gunpoint.
The government statement said it is improving security in the Maasai Mara immediately by handing over patrols to the Kenya Wildlife Services and the police. The KWS runs and patrols most of Kenya's wildlife parks, but, until the new directive, the local district council had provided the Maasai Mara's guards.
Travel Quiz: What Asian city has six of the world's 10 busiest (most transactions) McDonald's?
Movie Motivated: Drawn by controversy rekindled by the Oliver Stone movie "JFK," tourists are flocking to The Sixth Floor exhibit, the Dallas museum in the former Texas School Book Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have fired the shots that killed President John F. Kennedy. Since opening in 1989, The Sixth Floor exhibit has become one of the biggest attractions in Dallas, drawing nearly 300,000 visitors annually, and the movie may prompt this year's numbers to rise higher. "Our attendance last January was 13,500 (average despite the Gulf War). This January it was 27,000 and we surpassed 27,000 in February," said Bob Hays, executive director of the Dallas County Historical Foundation, which runs the museum. Also changed is the attitude of the visitors, Hays said. "Before this, people came here, more or less, to pay their respects. But since the movie, many more people are coming and asking questions about what is known and expressing upset at what we don't know."
Quick Fact: Aeromexico will launch Aeromiles, Mexico's first frequent flyer program, March 15. Registration is free and passengers registering before June 30, 1992, will receive a 5,000 Aeromiles bonus.
Expensive Stays: Air fares to Europe are at record lows--$298 round trip to Luxembourg on Icelandair, for example, and similar on other airlines. But can Americans find hotel rates that justify taking advantage of them? What is gained on air fare can easily be lost on hotel and restaurant rates, particularly if the traveling party consists of more than two people. According to Runzheimer International management consultants, which monitors prices abroad, first-class room rates (Hiltons, Westins and comparable) have been averaging $281.50 in Paris for a double, $332.50 in London, $298.50 in Milan, $267 in Amsterdam and $244 in Brussels per night. And most European hotel rooms accommodate a maximum of two, requiring a family of three or more to use two rooms.
Collecting Contraband: Travelers arriving at LAX on international flights can now save time and perhaps money by depositing prohibited produce, plants and meat products--sugar cane, mangoes, yams and chorizo are common illegal arrivals--in four new "amnesty" bins located in the hallways between the airplane arrival areas and the inspection floor in Bradley International Terminal. The six-foot-tall, yellow bins won't be easy to miss. Travelers who fail to discard prohibited items may be detected by inspector dogs--who sniff bags for contraband material--and required to undergo inspection by a USDA official. Possible fines range up to $100.
Cruise Canceled: American Hawaii Cruises took its cruise ship SS Independence out of service last week after 300 passengers and crew on two successive Hawaiian Island cruises came down with gastrointestinal illness. Tests conducted by Hawaii's Department of Health are continuing, but as of March 3 seemed to indicate that the illness was caused by a food-borne virus on the seven-day, inter-island trips that began Feb. 15 and 22, according to a Health Department spokeswoman. Improper food handling (food not kept at the correct temperature or illness of a food handler) could have been contributing factors. Although the Centers for Disease Control is studying the events, their results will probably not be available for several months.