Eiffel tower to undergo $267 million makeover

The days of standing in line to enter the Eiffel Tower may be numbered as a $267 million, 10-year plan has been unveiled that will give better and easier access to visitors. Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was designed for 500,000 people, today the structure attracts about 7 million visitors a year.

At some point in the future you will be able to reserve a 30-minute slot online, the restaurant will be bigger and cheaper, and there will be a new champagne bar on the third floor. With these changes, they hope to attract not only a larger tourist crowd but also Parisians, and of course increase the Tower’s profit levels too.

Lines to visit tourist hotspots are a major annoyance these days so it’s cool that steps are being taken to cut line-time. The Alhambra and the Tower of London are some of the other places that have done a great job giving people the option of pre-booking their visit online.

China releases Olympic visitor “do and don’t” list

Visitors planning a trip to the Beijing Olympics have had a lot of information to absorb in recent weeks. Between the tragedy of the Sichuan earthquake, the ongoing controversy surrounding the Olympic torch and somewhat inevitable construction blunders, there’s been no shortage of China-related news. And if you weren’t already on China Olympics information overload, the Beijing Organizing Committee saw fit on Monday to release a list of 57 “Do’s and Don’ts” for foreign Olympic visitors.

The rules run the range from the fairly obvious (best take your Opium smuggling elsewhere) to the practical (how to file a complaint to the health department if you get food poisoning) to the more draconian (no materials detrimental to China’s politics, economy, culture and moral standards). While I can understand the need for visitors to be conscious of local cultural customs, this list oversteps its bounds. Aside from the fact it reminds everyone of all the ongoing controversy, it does nothing but serve to frighten your potential visitors. What kind of host would do that?

Headed to Beijing for the games? Don’t let travel bogeymen like “Do’s and Don’ts” lists or potential controversy scare you away. Like any unknown travel situation, the rumors often overshadow the true story on the ground. By the time that opening ceremony kicks off you’ll remember why you showed up in the first place.