Travel briefs

Sunday, September 15, 2002

New York City testing high-tech video systems inside taxis

NEW YORK -- For many New York City taxi passengers, the view out their windows usually provides plenty of entertainment.

Now there's something to see inside the cabs.

The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission has launched a test program to place video screens inside taxis. The videos offer information on cultural and sporting events, museum exhibits, concerts, movie listings, restaurant reviews and other helpful information.

"This is a great use of technology," says TLC Commissioner Matthew W. Daus. "It's entertaining, interesting and allows taxi passengers to maximize their time in transit while promoting New York City in a positive way."

Daus says there are seven companies providing screens on a contractual basis with private cab owners. The cab owners expected to earn about $100 a month from the video companies for allowing the screens in their vehicles. The video companies will generate income from the advertisements shown on the screens.

He expects 350 cabs to have video screens installed by the end of the month.

The commissioner says public service announcements also will be a key component of the video messages.

The TLC will seek feedback from passengers on the video screens on its Web site before determining whether to expand the service.

There are 12,178 cabs in the city, says TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg.

Louisiana has highest percentage of black tourists, study shows

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana led the nation in the percentage of black tourists last year, tourism officials say.

According to a study of tourism trends by the Travel Industry Association of America, 13.4 percent of Louisiana's tourists in 2001 were black.

The TIA study said Louisiana and other Southern states have a large share of black tourists because they have higher-than-average populations of African-Americans.

The report said that though black visitors to Louisiana were up 11 percent between 2000 and 2001, non-minority travel declined 14 percent. The report said pleasure travel to the state by black visitors was up by 10 percent, but business travel by the same group declined 51 percent.

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who oversees the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said 2.7 million black tourists visited the state last year, up from 2.5 million in 2000 and 1.9 million in 1999.

Non-minority tourists numbered 18.1 million in 1999, 19.7 million in 2000 and 16.9 million in 2001.

--From wire reports

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