Tourism issues in London and Greece...Anyone else tired of brown hotel rooms?
All that good p.r. from the one-year-to-go-for-the-Olympics - gone straight into the dustbin.
It's too bad to see the images of rioting in London. Mostly, I feel bad for innocent shopkeepers and car-owners and citizens who no doubt are standing by watching their world go up in flames. It's one thing to protest against the cops or against government, but it's another thing entirely to do so the way they are in London, as you can see by this scary photo in The Guardian.
There's no indication that folks gawking outside Buckingham Palace or picnicking in Green Park are in any danger. But it has to give people pause and it certainly tarnishes the image of a place that the mayor, Boris Johnson, recently called "the world's best big city."
Word Tuesday afternoon was that VisitBritain, the tourism and travel authority for the UK, had pulled a series of ads with the tag line "You're Invited." The ads feature the likes of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and actress Dame Judi Dench.
For its part, the International Olympic Committee is saying it has "complete confidence" in London's ability to keep the Olympics safe. Yeah, and Tiger Woods has complete confidence his new golf swing will pay off with a win at the PGA Championship this week.
Things are worse in Greece, where taxi drivers on Santorini recently protested government austerity moves.
One restaurant manager on Santorini told NY1 News in New York City that business was down a whopping 40 per cent in the last three years.
Things could get worse quite soon, as the government's Value Added Tax on restaurant and bar purchases will rise 10 per cent in September, jumping from 13 to a very solid 23 per cent. I doubt tourists will be leaving anyone much of a tip after getting a 2.30 Euro tax on a 10 Euro meal or drink, so it's likely that struggling servers will take a hit.
Tough times everywhere. I read yesterday that RBC has slashed its expected performance numbers for the Canadian airline industry.
Citing "alarming macroeconomic signals," the bank said there's little to suggest any improvement in the short term for the likes of Air Canada and WestJet.
PLAZA IN VEGAS
Sin City fans should be happy to know a $35 million makeover of the downtown Plaza Las Vegas hotel and casino is ahead of schedule and on track to re-open Sept. 1 (just as the higher taxes take effect in Greece, not that it's even remotely relevant).
The CEO of Play LV, Tony Santo, said he was able to buy bargain furnishings and even wallpaper from the folks who had planned to open the Fontainebleau project on the Strip, and isn't it nice to see some recycling going on at the highest levels?
The rooms look nice but, personally, I'm getting a little tired of muted brown. I think in four years muted brown will be the avocado-coloured refrigerator of our decade, or at least I hope so. Hey, I just noticed an avocado-coloured throw on the bed!
Associated Press reports the Plaza will have a new casino floor, lounges, entertainment and several restaurants, including a steakhouse named for Oscar Goodman, the highly entertaining former mayor. I saw Goodman once on 60 Minutes and couldn't believe I hadn't read more about him. I mean, the man made Mel Lastman look like, well, Margaret Atwood.
The website for CBS News has a pretty good piece on him if you want to check it out.