After experiencing a major decline in tourism...

After experiencing a major decline in tourism last year due to the Palestinian intifada (uprising), Israel expects to welcome a record 1.5 million visitors this year.

Figures for May already show a 29% increase in the number of tourists, compared to the same month last year.

The uprising, which began in December, 1987, with clashes between troops and stone-throwers televised throughout the world, emptied hotel rooms and cut 1988 tourist arrivals by 15% compared to the previous year.

However, the 979,000 visitors who did come brought in revenue of $1.6 billion, keeping tourism as Israel's top income producer. Revenue itself fell only 3% from the previous year.

Hotels in Jerusalem were half-empty for much of 1988, according to Yehuda Greenbaum, chairman of the city's hotel association. El Al, the state-run airline, had to cut flights, sell aircraft and lay off temporary workers.

The Tourism Ministry sought an additional $3.4 million in its budget for advertising to counter the effect overseas of news film of protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A campaign will be focused on West Germany, France and Great Britain, which provide much of Israel's European tourist traffic.

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The local tourist offices of the U.S. Virgin Islands have relocated to 3460 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 412, Los Angeles 90010. The telephone number remains (213) 739-0138.

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Hyatt Hotels will take over operation of the 410-room Newporter Resort in Newport Beach on July 16, and will rename it the Hyatt Newporter.

More than $4 million will be spent refurbishing the 27-year-old hotel over the next three years. It currently features three outdoor swimming pools, each with its own Jacuzzi; a 400-seat amphitheater; two restaurants; one entertainment lounge, and more than 22,000 square feet of meeting space.

Also on the resort property are the John Wayne Tennis Club's 25 courts, a nine-hole golf course and a health and fitness facility.

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The Los Angeles Council of American Youth Hostels will hold a series of budget-travel workshops in July focusing on pretrip preparation, hosteling and inexpensive transportation and sightseeing.

The seminars, to be held on Saturdays at noon at the AYH Travel Center, 335 W. 7th St., San Pedro, will cover Europe (next Saturday); Australia/New Zealand (July 15); Europe (July 22), and Asia (July 29).

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American Airlines has begun daily nonstop service between Palm Springs and Dallas/Ft. Worth. The flights depart Palm Springs each day at 2:02 p.m., arriving in Dallas/Ft. Worth at 7:08 p.m. The return leaves Texas at 11 a.m. daily and arrives in California at 11:44 a.m.

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The U.S. dollar is a lot stronger than it was six months ago, making European vacations a considerably better bargain than in recent years, according to the European Travel Commission.

Since December, the dollar has increased in value between 10% and 15%. For example, it now buys 12.5% more British pounds, 10.1% more French francs, 10.8% more German marks and 14.3% more Swiss francs, the ETC said.

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