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NEWS AND BRIEFS

It's a Miniature World at Florida Attraction

August 22, 1993|KIM UPTON

Splendid China--a miniature version of the People's Republic, complete with the Forbidden City, Imperial Palace and a half-mile-long replica of the Great Wall--will open in December, 12 miles southwest of Orlando, Fla. The 76-acre attraction recreates more than 60 of China's best known scenic, historic and cultural sites in detail and represents 5,000 years of history. It will also include live entertainment and athletics, Chinese restaurants and souvenir art and crafts made in China. Splendid China is a near-duplication of the original Chinese attraction, called China Folk Culture Villages, in the town of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong. That facility has attracted nearly 12 million visitors since opening in October 1990. Admission to Splendid China will be $19.25 for adults, $13.90 for students 12 and under and children under 4 free.

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Travel Quiz: From what mountaintop was "America the Beautiful" written in the mid-1890s?

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After the Quake in Guam: Except for the Guam Hilton and the Royal Palm Hotel, most visitor services are functioning normally in the U.S. Pacific territory that was struck two weeks ago by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, claim government tourism sources. The Hilton and Royal Palm both sustained serious damage and are closed for repairs. Other hotels, such as the Pacific Islands Club and the Pacific Star Hotel, suffered only minor damage and have remained open, and airline flights continue without interruption, although the area continues to be rattled by aftershocks. The Guam Visitors Bureau is recommending that travelers to Guam contact their travel agent or their hotel directly, or call the bureau to get the latest news: (800) US3-GUAM. A status report on the Guam Hilton is available by calling the Hilton Reservation Service at (800) 445-8667 or contacting the hotel directly at 011-671-646-1835. Tourism is Guam's top money earner, with about 800,000 visitors, mostly from Japan, pumping up to $1 billion into the island's economy every year.

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Airport for Sale: Belfast International Airport--Northern Ireland's top airport--is up for sale. In a move to privatize state-run enterprises, the British government has decided to sell it in one chunk, runways and all, by next summer. Set in the countryside 17 miles west of Belfast, the airport has one open approach road, which is guarded 24 hours a day by armed police. Britain's environment and economy minister in Northern Ireland, Robert Atkins, did not give an asking price, but said the maximum purchase price would be well below the $183 million to $274 million obtained for other recently privatized companies. Belfast International has thus far avoided becoming a terrorism target, and over the past three years has averaged annual profits of about $3.7 million, according to government figures.

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Hilton Adds Weight Watchers Meals to Its Menus: As part of a three-month test to see if the products sell well, Hilton Hotels has become the first hotel chain to serve a line of Weight Watchers appetizers, entrees and desserts in its coffee shops and through room service in eight of its hotels. The foods range from 120 to 280 calories, contain one to nine grams of fat, and are prepared by Weight Watchers but heated and garnished by chefs at individual hotels. The eight participating hotels are The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, the Los Angeles Airport Hilton, the San Diego Hilton Beach and Tennis Resort, the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort and Spa in Miami Beach, New York Hilton and Towers, O'Hare Hilton in Chicago, the Washington Hilton and Towers and the Atlanta Airport Hilton. Prices for Weight Watchers items are similar to those of other items on the menu.

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Quick Fact: More than 760 tons of recyclables were collected from the Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Acadia, Yosemite, Mount Rainier and Everglades National Parks and the National Mall in 1992, more than three times the amount recovered the previous year. The increase is attributed to new recycling programs launched by the National Park Service in cooperation with The Dow Chemical Co. and Huntsman Chemical Corp.

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Asian Orient Express Set for September: The Eastern & Oriental Express luxury train--the newest product of the company that owns Europe's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express--will make its first run Sept. 19 from Singapore to Bangkok, wending through 1,200 miles of mountains and tropical rain forest from the tip of the Malay Peninsula to Thailand's crowded and temple-filled capital city. The two night, one day trip aboard opulent coaches was originally scheduled to begin service last year but was delayed by the complexities of car restoration, negotiations with respective governments and the necessary re-gauging of track in some areas. Fares, including all meals, will range from $1,130 (for sleeper accommodations) to $2,950 per person (for a luxury suite), double occupancy.

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New Security System for Florence: Technicians are designing an electronic security blanket for Florence's vandal-threatened historic monuments. They will place electromagnetic barriers, radar and microwave sensors around monuments in the Piazza della Signoria and accessible areas around the Uffizi. An alarm will sound at the police station when a "respected area" is violated. Research on the project was sped up after a bomb exploded in front of the Uffizi museum May 27, killing five people and damaging numerous masterpieces. An association of industrialists donated the estimated $100,000 system to Florence.

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Comparatively Speaking: U.S. airline to receive the most mishandled baggage complaints in June: United. Next greatest: Alaska. Next: Delta. Least number of complaints: Southwest. (Source: Department of Transportation)

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Quiz Answer: Colorado's Pikes Peak.

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