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After decades of self-imposed isolation from western culture, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is to host its first international rock concert. The Concert for Bhutan, featuring KD Lang and Bryan Adams, is being arranged by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, and the Bhutan Canada Foundation, a charity that supports education in the country. Bhutan has been opening up to outside influences over the past decade but the concert represents a departure for a deeply traditional country, where government workers are obliged to wear national dress and where television only arrived in 1999. In keeping with the country’s policy of encouraging “high value, low volume” tourism, only 500 tickets to the concert will be sold, for between $2,500 and $10,000 each, including two nights’ accommodation and a variety of tours and visits to royal palaces and normally private venues. Lang and Adams will play on consecutive nights, April 22 and 23 2014, at the Royal Textile Academy in the capital, Thimphu. Proceeds will go to charity. bhutanconcert.org
Belmont, an 18th-century seaside villa where John Fowles wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman, is being restored to become a holiday home available for rent. The Landmark Trust, a charity that conserves historic buildings, has raised 78 per cent of the £1.8m needed to save the fragile Georgian house, close to the sea in Lyme Regis, Dorset. Work began earlier this month and assuming the remaining funds are raised, the house, which will sleep eight, should be available to guests in 2015. landmarktrust.org.uk
Hyatt Hotels, the Chicago-based group with 535 properties worldwide, has launched its first all-inclusive hotels, saying it plans to move the sector upmarket. The first two have opened in Mexico and the concept will be rolled out under two new brands, Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara, the latter for adults only. This takes Hyatt’s total number of hotel brands to 10, including Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Place and Hyatt Regency, each intended to convey certain characteristics. Despite the proliferation, John Wallis, Hyatt’s global chief marketing officer, said the group was confident the average traveller understood the difference between the brands. hyatt.com
Google has announced plans to increase its Street View coverage to include the inside of hotels, restaurants and airports around the world. The technology is already available but at a launch of its new products in London last week, a spokesman said the company intended to expand coverage, allowing potential customers to explore hotels and visitor attractions remotely before booking. Coinciding with the launch, Gatwick airport announced all its public areas were now available on Street View, representing the largest implementation of the indoor mapping technology in Europe to date. Hotels and other business owners must commission an approved Google photographer to shoot the interiors, which are then incorporated into Street View.
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