Pilgrimage for tourists

Temple Square in Salt Lake City draws Mormons as well as the just plain curious

The Smart Traveler

July 02, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY // Travel brochures can boast about breathtaking Zion, Bryce and Arches national parks. Tourism promoters can roar about Dinosaur National Monument and hawk the state's high peaks.

But Utah's hottest tourism destination is Temple Square and the campus around it, which, as the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the heart of the Mormon church. Covering three city blocks, the church's grounds in downtown Salt Lake City draws 3 million to 5 million visitors per year, the church and the state office of tourism said.

PARTY EUROPE:

NOW THIS IS LIFE

Party Earth / $19.95

This guide claims to have the scoop, but it's really a party pooper. The book targets American students in Europe by reviewing various cities' nightlife through the perspective of four superficial students: the "beer-drinking fraternity boy," the "earthy, hippy-type," the "city girl" and the "girl next door." The students rank hundreds of hangouts, but glaze over details and fail to mention whether areas are dangerous at night. Readers paying close attention will find a subtle disclaimer that the "students" are fictitious. Aiming for diverse perspectives on hotspots, Party Europe just comes across as patronizing and ignorant of today's youth.

SARAH MARSTON

PLANNING

Guide yourself back to New Orleans

Nine months after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. has released a new visitors guide. The publication has maps and coupons, and extensive listings -- more than 1,000 restaurants are open. But the guide, subtitled "All the Reasons to Come Back in 2006," doesn't ignore the catastrophe. It asks visitors to contact elected officials to urge them to support the city's rebirth.

For free copies: 800-201-4735; NewOrleans Online.com.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

CHINA

Tibet to open airport

China will open a new airport in southeast Tibet, near the border with Myanmar and India, this month, opening a remote area famous for its natural scenery to an additional 120,000 visitors a year, state media said. Tibet already has two airports, one in the capital, Lhasa, and another in the eastern town of Qamdo. Xinhua reported that because the Nyingchi Airport is at a lower altitude than the two existing airports, it is "an ideal first stop for tourists to gradually adapt themselves to Tibet's" high altitude. The city of Nyingchi is about 75 miles from the Yarlung Zangbo River Grand Canyon.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOTELS

Organic vacations more plentiful

Increasingly, hotels and resorts are featuring organic cuisine on their menus and in their guest programs. Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico -- which has a 6-acre organic farm that produces vegetables, herbs and fruit used by the spa's chefs and therapists -- plans to open a cooking school next spring with a focus on natural foods. The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Carefree, Ariz., recently announced plans to become an all-organic resort with large-scale gardens on the grounds that will produce a variety of herbs and spices.

Peninsula Hotels is rolling out organic items in its restaurants and room-service offerings. In Hong Kong, guests can select dishes such as long-grain brown rice risotto, organic teas and other produce from local farms. The Peninsula New York plans to add organic items by fall.

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

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