Travel briefs

The average price of a plane ticket on U.S. airlines fell 4.5 percent in the second quarter from year-ago levels, the government said.

The average price of a domestic roundtrip plane ticket fell to $326 in the second quarter, according to the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That price was 5.8 percent below the all-time, second-quarter high of $346 hit in 2000, but was above the 2005 second-quarter average of $306.75.

Among major airports, the highest average fares were found in Cincinnati. Rounding out the top five were Anchorage, Alaska; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Charleston, S.C.

The lowest fares were found at three Hawaii airports, followed by Dallas Love Field and Chicago Midway Airport.

The drop in second-quarter fares came as the airline industry struggled with record levels of delays. The Transportation Department said in October that more than 25 percent of domestic flights arrived late between January and August — easily the industry’s worst performance since comparable data was first collected.

South Dakota starts a state travel blog

South Dakota tourism advocates have started a Web blog to attract visitors to the Black Hills.

The Black Hills Travel Blog went online in mid-October at www.blackhillstravelblog.com.

It’s updated six times a week with feature stories, personal travel experiences, site profiles and tips. Posts will be written by Black Hills residents and travelers.

Billie Jo Waara, director of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, said the blog “will be a powerful tool in showcasing the Black Hills to the rest of the world.”

Regional attractions include Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Wind Cave and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.

Vegas well-known among U.S. golfers

Las Vegas is the best-known U.S. destination among golfers, but its courses get an average grade for quality and value, according to a new survey.

The online poll conducted in September by Digest Publications Inc. shows Las Vegas ranking first out of 37 golf markets for the number of golfers who know a lot or something about the area.

Las Vegas beat out No. 2 Orlando and No. 3 Hawaii.

But Sin City courses ranked 14th among golfers for quality of golf and 27th for value for money.

Digest Publications publishes four magazines including Golf Digest. The survey was conducted among 2,000 golfers who subscribe or registered when buying equipment.

Coney Island’s Astroland gets another year to run

Coney Island’s Astroland amusement park will get one more summer by the boardwalk.

The park, which opened in 1962, had been scheduled to close forever after Labor Day as part of a redevelopment of the area.

But a last-ditch agreement between new developers in Coney Island and the park’s owners allows the vintage attraction to go for one more season, beginning March 16, 2008.

Eventually, the 275-foot Astrotower and the bumper cars will give way to a glitzy development by Thor Equities, which has spent more than $100 million to acquire about 10 acres of Coney Island real estate in hopes of turning the Brooklyn boardwalk area into a year-round tourist attraction.

The neighboring Cyclone roller coaster, a national landmark that just celebrated its 80th birthday, is scheduled to continue operations regardless of what other changes come to Coney Island.

Associated Press

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