Weather Updates

Travel Briefs: From Jamaica to other U.S. locations

The beach resort town Ocho Rios Jamaica.  |  Andres Leighton~ap

The beach of a resort in the town of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. | Andres Leighton~ap

storyidforme: 32011648
tmspicid: 11722069
fileheaderid: 5340732

Updated: July 18, 2012 6:12AM

New taxes on Jamaica travel

Tourists traveling to Jamaica this year can expect to pay a bit more for their trip. The government has announced several tax increases in the tourism sector to generate revenue and help the Caribbean island emerge from an economic crisis. Finance Minister Peter Phillips says all arriving tourists will be required to pay a $20 entrance fee starting in August. He says those staying in hotels will pay as much as $4 a night extra under a new accommodation tax that goes into effect in September. A government statement says the new hotel tax is significantly lower than the one previously announced, under which some customers would have paid an additional $12 a night.

Gap Loop Trail open daily

The Grand Gap Loop Trail at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is now open for use by hikers and mountain bikers every day. The trail previously had been open for mountain bikers only Monday through Friday. The 6.4-mile loop is mostly flat and smooth and is alongside several rock shelters and cliff line overlooks of the Cumberland River. A news release from the National Park Service says the trail “provides spectacular views of geological formations.” The recreation area straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

Palms Casino to get facelift

The Palms Casino Resort is planning a $50 million renovation that will upgrade and “re-energize” its celebrity allure. Beginning in July, all 428 rooms and suites in the original Palms Tower will be remodeled to reflect a “sensual and edgy” design, Palms President Joseph Magliarditi said in a statement. They should be available by September, and other projects done by the end of the year. Magliarditi said the Palms plans to reconfigure the casino to add 250 new slot machines, remodel the property’s Center Bar and add “new, distinctive nightlife experiences.” The announcement came days after the Playboy Club closed at the Palms. Officials haven’t said yet what will replace it.

Mini golf at Washington Museum

The National Building Museum in Washington is giving visitors a place to tee off with a new indoor mini-golf course exhibit. The course was designed by some of the region’s top architects, construction firms, urban planners and designers. The 12-hole course will be open from July 4 to Labor Day during museum hours. The course is designed for players aged 4 and up. It costs $5 per round per person. With a full-price museum exhibition ticket, the price per round is $3.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.