TRAVEL BRIEFS - TOP 10
The "most welcoming" destinations for Americans, from research by Bert Sperling, creator of Money magazine's "Best Places" lists:
3. United Kingdom
6. New Zealand
PELLA, Iowa -- The country's tallest working windmill has been erected in this central Iowa town known for its tulip festival and Dutch heritage. The 135-foot-tall windmill is part of a $3.5 million project that will be the entrance to the city's Historical Village.
The eight-sided wooden windmill is a replica of an 1850's city mill, built by Luka Verbij, a windmill maker from the Netherlands. The brick-and-concrete, four-story base of the windmill was built on the site. The top portion was constructed in the Netherlands, dismantled and shipped to Pella.
The project was funded by private donations and a grant from Vision Iowa's Community Attraction and Tourism Fund. The windmill is expected to open May 2, the start of the city's tulip festival.
France, which hosts more tourists than any other country in the world, hopes to stay on top this summer with a new J'aime la France -- I Love France -- campaign.
Initiatives include a new summer high-speed train between London and Avignon, in southern France, increased Air France flights from U.S. gateways to Paris, and additional offerings from Rail Europe, including new customized online packaging.
Despite unrest and a faltering worldwide economy, France had 76.5 million tourists last year, 3 million of them from the United States, according to the French government tourist office. It was their 11th straight year as the world's No. 1 tourist destination.
To obtain brochures from the French Government Tourist Office, call (410) 286-8310, write them at 444 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022, or check online at www.franceguide.com. Rail Europe can be reached at 1-888-382-7245, or at www.raileurope.com.
Bermuda is launching an African Diaspora Trail and is inviting other countries to join it to link sites commemorating the history of people of African descent at a May 25-28 conference.
Hoping to draw tourists who want to combine a bit of cultural history with their days on Bermuda's well-known pink sand beaches, the ministry of tourism already has designated 13 sites of historic interest.
They include Cobb's Hill Wesleyan Methodist Church, built by slaves by moonlight and the site of the execution of Sally Bassett, a slave revolt leader.
The trail also commemorates the incident of the American ship "Enterprise," which docked in Bermuda in 1835 after being blown off course while transporting 78 slaves from Virginia to South Carolina.
For more information, check www.africandiasporaheritagetrail.com, www.bermudatourism.com or call 1-800-Bermuda.