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Touring Joburg like never before

first_imgRay Maota A bus similar to this one in Cape Town will be used for tours in Johannesburg.(Image: City Sightseeing)MEDIA CONTACTS• Claus TworeckCity Sightseeing: CEO+ 27 21 511 6000RELATED ARTICLES• SA’s wine tourism, best in the world• SA becomes business tourism hub• German tourists in love with SA• SA minister gets top tourism postCome January 2013, tourists and locals in Johannesburg will get a chance to see the city in a way they have never done before.Bright red, open-topped buses will ferry passengers through an experience of the everyday sights and sounds, cultures and heritage of the city as part of a new tour operation by a company called City Sightseeing.The international city tour operator, which has been running a similar venture in Cape Town since 2002, has operations in 100 other countries around the world.CEO and founder of the Cape Town business, Claus Tworeck, would like the Johannesburg operation to benefit locals.“The tours promise to open up a whole new side of this amazing city for locals and tourists alike, and in doing so we will grow tourism spend while providing employment for the city’s residents.”This employment will come in the form of the locals working with City Sightseeing as ambassadors for the project. They are also targeting local tourists for the most part, as much as 60% of their clientèle.Greener busesThe four buses that will make up the Johannesburg tour operation comply with the Euro 4 standard for emissions and environmental impact.City Sightseeing South Africa is also the first bus company in the country to be declared carbon neutral and the first of the City Sightseeing franchises around the world to achieve this status.Seven years into its existence, the Cape Town branch was recognised as the International City Sightseeing Operator of the Year in 2009 in an annual competition that pits all the company’s international operations against each other. The accolade was a reward for their innovation, customer service, overall brand experience and their commitment to environmental sustainability.“We’re ecstatic! It’s especially satisfying knowing that we beat top international open top bus operators from cities like New York, Paris and London,” said Tworeck at the time.A single bus can carry 22 passengers on the bottom in single and double seats, and 55 passengers on top in double seats.Each seat has an FM radio attached and, with the headsets they receive when they board, passengers can listen to music while waiting for the bus to depart. Once the tour commences, the music stops and a tour guide takes over.Hopping on and offTo potential tourists, the company’s website describes Cape Town as a place that gives tourists a taste of the world in just one day: where one can have breakfast in a New York-style deli, lunch in an African shebeen, cocktails on a sunset cruise and dine in style in a fine British colonial restaurant, the advert further reads.The Johannesburg route is more history orientated. It begins at Gautrain Park Station and proceeds to Gandhi Square, then City Hall, Roof of Africa at the Carlton Centre, the James Hall Transport Museum, the Apartheid Museum and Gold Reef City, the Mining District, the World of Beer, the Newtown Precinct, the Origins Centre at Wits University, and ends at Constitution Hill.With the first tour at 9am, the buses will operate on a hop-on, hop-off basis at designated stops along the route so the passengers can use the time to explore the city in their own way before getting on the next one. There will be 30-minute intervals between the last bus and the next one at each stop.It costs R140 (US$20) for the day trip, but a 20% discount is guaranteed for online bookings. School groups can book tours for weekdays during school terms.“The buses will change people’s perception of the city,” said Tworeck.The tours are also family orientated as there is no smoking or alcohol allowed on the bus.“Good news for parents is that our buses are child-friendly. Children receive a free activity book on the bus and can also join our kids club,” said Tworeck.Aiming for local passengersThe perception of downtown Johannesburg as a criminals’ haven has changed in the last decade with greater police visibility and investment by city authorities in monitoring former crime hotspots with closed circuit camera technology.With many of its historic buildings restored, and its heritage sites, art and food markets, Johannesburg has seen changes for the better in its look.With the tours, City Sightseeing is aiming for a large percentage of their customers, 60%, to be locals who will be able to see these changes for themselves. Tworeck said their goal is to promote domestic tourism.Dawn Roberston, the chief executive of the Gauteng Tourism Authority, welcomed the business venture.“We are very excited about the new hop-on hop-off buses,” she said. “They are sure to become a premier tourism experience in Johannesburg. In future we are looking at bringing the buses to Pretoria too.”last_img read more

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As World Cup football hots up in the Far East, temperatures rise in Kerala

first_imgGreetings: A poster welcomes Brazil’s ‘canary birds’ and their samba beat to AsiaIt is either misplaced passion or dislocated delirium, but as World Cup football hots up in the Far East, temperatures seem to rise in a district of Kerala, now most definitely the Indian epicentre of football fever.In Malappuram,Greetings: A poster welcomes Brazil’s ‘canary birds’ and their samba beat to AsiaIt is either misplaced passion or dislocated delirium, but as World Cup football hots up in the Far East, temperatures seem to rise in a district of Kerala, now most definitely the Indian epicentre of football fever.In Malappuram district, a small slice of north Kerala with a little over 30 lakh people, the World Cup is a chance to take sides, get involved and go crazy.It begins with the benign decoration of streets with posters, banners and cutouts, but once the tournament is under way, the formation of team “camps” means things can take a serious turn quickly. If this is the heartland of Indian football, the World Cup is like its great four-yearly cardiac flutter.When England beat Argentina in Sapporo, Japan, English fans managed to celebrate without destroying property. But their counterparts in Malappuram went berserk.Intoxicated by the win, Malappuram’s pseudo-English “hooligans” chose to strike first at the Argentinian superstar who is the region’s cult figure-striker Gabriel Batistuta, whose huge cutouts loom over the remotest and most serene village landscape. In Tirur town, “Batigol” was burnt in effigy by “fans” of the England team and within minutes, there was a civil disturbance of sorts at hand.An autorickshaw driver in Vengara village, Shamsuddeen Kuniyil, 21, was hospitalised after he was beaten up in a street brawl. His crime: calling France’s Zinedine Zidane a panni (swine). An unrepentant Kuniyil said the brawl was started by his assailants who had dared to call his Brazilian hero Ronaldo “an obscene name”.advertisementFootball fest: The World Cup comes to Malappuram with a colourful paradeIn another corner of the state, the staf f at the notoriously inefficient Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in Kalikav felt the punch of the fist of public fury. On China’s debut at the World Cup, as power came and went like gusts of breeze, the people trying to follow the game on TV decided they could take no more. They ransacked the local KSEB office and beat up two somnolent employees.It’s not all about overflowing passions and out-of-control tempers. The World Cup comes to Malappuram in the form of a business opportunity too. The Malayalam film industry has been reeling under a crisis.All through last fortnight, cinema halls projected live matches on their large screens. People throng theatres and buy tickets priced between Rs 25 and Rs 100 as Ten Sports, the channel that has won rights to telecast the World Cup, is not available in most homes where Doordarshan dominates. A theatre-owner celebrated as the first round of matches came to a close, “It’s after a long time my theatre has actually run house-full.”The CPI(M), which considers itself ideologically distant from all sporting activities, also jumped on the World Cup bandwagon. The CPI(M)’s youth organisation, the Democratic Youth Federation of India, held protest marches in all districts against the Centre’s failure to telecast matches live. Nothing unusual about protesting against DD, but this time the participants wore the colours of the different competing nations.Football fest: The ‘soccer-cut’ has many takersAccording to Kerala’s seniormost sports writer V.M. Balachandran, Malappuram’s almost unreal affinity for football has historical roots. Unlike other parts of Kerala, Malappuram in the Malabar region, was part of the old Madras state before Independence and was exposed to high-class football played by the English army officers of the various regiments based there.Today, even though football has waned in the rest of the old Malabar region, Balachandran says, “It is a passion in Malappuram thanks to the widespread popularity of seven-a-side football.” The district has more than 100 clubs playing good standard tournaments in which even foreign players participate.A visitor to the interiors of the district may well believe that the World Cup is actually being held there. Streets are lined with flags of competing nations and huge cutouts of football stars like Batistuta, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos loom over passers-by.Posters give judgements on current and former stars. One is particularly scathing about Maradona and criticises him for having defamed Argentina and football with his “unsporting game”. The comment on Maradona’s famous goal against England in 1986 is declared on a poster as having been scored “not with the God’s but Satan’s hand”.Young men walk the streets wearing the colours of their favourite nation, the more committed fans having shaved their heads like the big Brazilian stars, while others go in for the “soccer-cut”. Abdul Samad of the Central Haircutting Saloon near Tirur’s railway station is the busiest barber in the district.advertisementA stitch in time: Football faithfuls queue up to buy the flags of their favourite teamsFor Samad is the area’s specialist in the trendy “World Cup cut” in which the faithful have styled and dyed their hair to resemble a football complete with its hexagonal patches. “This is a huge hit. I have to spend at least three hours on one cut but I don’t charge anything extra since I’m doing it for football,” says Samad. Next on his agenda is a cut that will actually feature a soccer star perched on the head of a Malappuram maniac.Shops are filled with toffees and cakes shaped like a ball and the famous trophy. A local dtp operator at Tirur has made a killing by printing World Cup greeting cards with photographs of players on it. These days people rush to Pangat Silks not to buy cloth but flags as the store has produced the national flags of all the 32 competing nations.Before the World Cup finals began, clients queued up early to buy their colours. Shop owner T.P. Haneefa ordered a book of flags from a friend in Dubai long before the kick-off and learnt how to stitch the flags of countries like Senegal and Slovenia in time to be able to rake in a profit when the matches began.Malappuram’s favourite team is Argentina and Pangat Silks sold stacks of the famous blue and white flag; but fans were deeply disappointed with the team’s early exit from the tournament, a victim of the Group of Death that also featured England, Sweden and Nigeria.But for those who despair at the early departure of France and Argentina, the flag-buyers of Malappuram provide a hint. Haneefa says, “Brazil is second. The surprise favourite is Portugal. I think it is Portugal and particularly its star Luis Figo’s performance at the Euro Cup final against France which won so many fans here,” says Haneefa.Time for stars from Rivaldo to Rui Costa to justify the faith of their fans, including those in faraway places like Malappuram, India.last_img read more

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Graham Nash Concert Tickets Benefit Charity

first_imgLegendary singer-songwriter Graham Nash will perform a series of “An Evening With” concerts in Florida in January 2015.The tour dates kick off on January 12 at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, FL, and concludes January 18 at the 3A Songwriters Festival at Gulf Place Amphitheatre in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Advance tickets, including special benefit seats are available now at January, Shane Fontayne (guitar, vocals) will be accompanying Graham Nash on the road. “I’m really looking forward to an evening of music, stretching back 50 years, and coming round to today with all it’s blessings and problems,” says Nash, “a splendid time is guaranteed for all.” Graham Nash will continue his long-time tradition of raising money for charity through the Guacamole Fund’s special benefit seats; in addition, he will be donating $1 per ticket sold to charity.While continually building his musical legacy, Nash is also an internationally renowned photographer and visual artist whose work has been shown in galleries and museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian. Born in Blackpool, England, Nash was appointed OBE by Queen Elizabeth in 2010. He first rose to fame with The Hollies, and went on to form Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968. Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two-times (for CSN & The Hollies), and is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame (as an individual and with CSN). In May 2013, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Boston’s Lesley University. His autobiography – Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life – was released on September 17, 2013 by Crown Archetype/Random House, and landed him on the New York Times Best-Sellers list.Graham Nash’s photography is currently on display in exhibition at the Fine Art Photography Gallery at Mumm Napa in Rutherford, CA. Titled My Life Through My Lens, Photographs by Graham Nash, features more than 50 of his photographs. The exhibition has been extended now to run through April of 2015 at the winery’s Fine Art Photography Gallery.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

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first_imgAdvertisement Twitter ‘ARROW’: TV’S LONGEST-RUNNING SUPERHERO SERIES SAYS FAREWELL TO COMIC-CON: Arrow will notch its eighth and final season this fall, but on Saturday the CW’s linchpin superhero show bid an emotional early farewell to fans at Comic-Con International, the place where the show started its success story. A surprise guest also flew in (figuratively) to the delight of fans in Ballroom 20: Brandon Routh, the title star of Superman Returns (2006) who will reprise the role with an Arrow appearance in Season 8. READ MOREArrow (The CW)COMIC-CON 2019: ‘ARROW’ CAST DISH ON ‘CINEMATIC’ FINAL SEASON & FELICITY’S ABSENCE (EXCLUSIVE)Crossovers, old characters resurfacing and multiple Olivers! His legacy. His destiny. The final season of #Arrow premieres Tuesday, October 15 on The CW. #CWSDCC— Arrow (@CW_Arrow) July 20, 2019 Login/Register With: ⁦@MzKatieCassidy⁩ and I ran out of time! Here’s the concept art for the new Black Siren costume for Season 8!— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) July 20, 2019ARROW: CONCEPT ART FOR LAUREL LANCE’S FINAL SEASON COSTUME REVEALEDArrow’s final panel at San Diego Comic-Con wrapped up just a little while ago, but it looks like more surprises are still in store. Shortly after the panel, consulting producer Marc Guggenheim shared a series of concept art pieces for the final season, including the new suit worn by Laurel Lance/Black Canary (Katie Cassidy Rodgers). READ MORE The cast of “Arrow” sat down with ET’s Leanne Aguilera to dish on the CW show’s final episodes during 2019 Comic-Con in San Diego, California, on Saturday. READ MOREARROW CAST DROPS FINAL SEASON TEASES, REVEALS WHO THEY WANT TO RETURNIn keeping with recent tradition, it seemed only fitting that the Arrow cast was tight-lipped about what to expect for the CW series’ final season. But if one pays close attention to their visit to TVLine’s San Diego Comic-Con suite, there are some provocative morsels to ponder. READ MOREARROW SEASON 8 FIRST-LOOK TRAILER SENDS OLIVER QUEEN ON A MIND-BENDING FINAL QUESTOliver Queen visits some literal ghosts from his past in the trailer for Arrow’s eighth and final season.The first-look footage from Comic-Con International begins ominously with a flashback to The Monitor sharing the prophecy of Ollie’s death – along with a flash to the 2019 date on the Green Arrow’s tombstone. READ MORE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Facebooklast_img read more