The many faces of the American South...

The many faces of the American South are on display through Sept. 3 at the International Photography Festival in Arles, France.

"The Deep South," at the Palais de l'Archeveche, features 200 pictures by 18 American and European photographers. Some of the photos date to 1930.

Gilles Mora, the show's curator, said the French have a particular fascination with the American South.

"It's the only place in the United States where there's a life for the senses," he said. "There are smells, people live outdoors and take walks. They handle problems with a kind of inefficient and relaxed detachment reminiscent of southern France, Italy and other Latin countries.

"The South is a unique juxtaposition of kitsch and class, luxury and poverty," he added.

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If it seems that even more beer-drinking than usual is going on in Munich, West Germany, this year, there probably is. The Hofbrauhaus brewery is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding in 1589 by Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria.

Over the years the beer hall, which can seat more than 4,500, has become a landmark for tourists. More than 15,000 guests visit each day to sing along with the oompah music and, of course, to sample the local brew.

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The Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, has a new leisure-oriented radio station that broadcasts music 24 hours a day, interspersed with tourist information updates every hour.

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A new national park, which eventually will be the third largest in the nation after Kruger National Park and Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, is being developed in South Africa.

Already 60,000 acres of plains, shrubland and grassland have been set aside along the Vaal River in northern Cape Province for Vaalbos National Park. Considerably more acreage will be acquired.

Plans call for the reintroduction of black rhino, blue and black wildebeest, roan and sable antelope, impala, zebra, blesbok and eland to the park, which already is rich in wildlife, including 290 bird species. Buffalo, elephant, lion and cheetah might also be reintroduced.

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El Al Israel Airlines has a new toll-free number for travelers or others seeking flight information. The number, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is (800) 352-5747

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According to the State Department, the number of new and renewed passports declined by nearly 16% over the past year. Nonetheless, the number of Americans traveling abroad continues to grow, most of them repeat, rather than first-time, travelers.

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Between January and April of this year, 13,222 American tourists and businessmen visited South Africa, an 11.6% increase over the same period last year, according to figures compiled by a South African association of travel agents.

Americans are the third-largest group of travelers to South Africa, after those from Great Britain and West Germany.

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