WASHINGTON - Washington saw an increase of about 1 million visitors last year, one of its largest in a decade, counting a record 18.9 million tourists at the nation's capital in 2012, officials announced Tuesday.
Statistics released by the tourism bureau Destination D.C. show a 5.5 percent increase in total visitors compared with 2011. A study found domestic visitation grew by 4.2 percent to reach 16.8 million U.S. visitors last year.
Growth in international visitors was a major factor driving increased visitation, said Elliott Ferguson, the president and CEO of Destination D.C. Officials estimate Washington had 2.1 million international tourists in 2012. The number of visitors from China increased by about 92 percent, and Washington saw double-digit increases from other countries as well, Ferguson said.
Space Mountain reopens at Disney
ANAHEIM, Calif. - One of Disneyland's most popular rides has reopened after the company declined to appeal a workplace safety case.
The attraction was closed in April after state officials said safety rules were violated when a contractor fell and suffered broken bones while cleaning Space Mountain's slanted roof.
The contract company was fined nearly $61,000 for the safety violations. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health proposed a nearly $235,000 penalty against Disney in connection with the contractor's injury.
Disney did not appeal by Friday's deadline, but the company said it continues to meet with the state agency about the citations.
Disney closed two other rides - the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland and Soarin' Over California in Disney California Adventure - to evaluate the safety of employees who maintain them.
Both attractions have reopened.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Gov. Susana Martinez has kicked off the state Tourism Department's newest promotion, a contest that invites travelers to share their stories and pictures for a chance to win $5,000.
The 14-week "New Mexico True Stories" contest is an extension of the New Mexico True campaign the state launched with ads last spring in Texas, Colorado and Arizona.
The campaign encourages people to post pictures and stories about their travel in New Mexico. The top vote-getter will win $5,000. Prizes of $450 gas cards will also be given out. And the top 20 stories will be featured in the state's 2014 Vacation Guide.
PHILADELPHIA - Wheelchair attendants at Philadelphia International Airport say defective equipment, lack of training and exposure to bodily fluids have led to unsafe working conditions for employees and the disabled passengers they transport.
Wheelchairs often have bad brakes, broken handle grips or other problems, according to employees of PrimeFlight, which contracts with airlines to provide the service.
Attendants said they have not been properly trained to aid passengers with disabilities, including helping them to use the restroom.
And there is no health or safety protocol for cleaning wheelchairs soiled by sick passengers, they added.
A representative of Tennessee-based PrimeFlight did not immediately return a request for comment.