TripAdvisor adds new tool

Travelers hitting the road during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak are concerned about overcrowding, but TripAdvisor has launched a new platform to help avoid those issues in cities around the United States.

Engineers with TripAdvisor, Slack, Amazon Web Services and nine other technology companies developed the platform, dubbed Crowdfree.me, to help tourists avoid crowds at both businesses and public places, such as parks and beaches.

TripAdvisor spokesperson Brian Hoyt said the technology uses historical traffic data and anonymized cellphone location pings to create a map showing how busy an area is based on the time and the day of the week.

Data is updated once each day and more recent information is weighted higher than older data. When using the congestion feature, users will be able to click on a location and view how crowded it is via an overlay of a heat map that indicates the density of crowds in public areas through a color-coded system.

Epcot to add jazz exhibit

ORLANDO, Fla. — Epcot is adding an exhibit about jazz, featuring a character from Disney-Pixar’s “Soul” film, inside the American Adventure attraction next month.

“The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” includes Joe Gardner, the lead character of “Soul,” voiced in the film by Jamie Foxx.

“Jazz is the story of America. It unites people from every walk of life. It’s a living, breathing art form that’s always evolving and always changing,” Carmen Smith, creative executive vice president for creative development and inclusive strategies at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a video posted on the official Disney Parks Blog.

The exhibit will be a “musical tour across America,” Smith said, including New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Multiple jazz museums are participating in the project, she said.

No Cayman cruises this year

The Cayman Islands has for years been a top Caribbean cruise destination, but that status will not continue when sailings resume sometime this year. The country’s premier announced this past week that cruise ships will not return to the territory in 2021.

Alden McLaughlin, the Cayman Islands premier, said in a news conference that although he is “optimistic” the territory’s vaccine program will enable the resumption of some tourism activity in March, cruise travel will not be a part of the initial equation.

Cruising “is not on our radar at all at this stage,” McLaughlin said in a local news report. He added that he does not anticipate cruise tourism to the country resuming “on any sort of significant level before next year. The cruise ship business is not really within our contemplation at this stage.”

From news services