Costa Crociere ceo Michael Thamm and Debora Serracchiani, president of the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of cruising in Trieste.

New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Andrew Stoner, announced that Sydney-based consulting company MI Associates will work with Destination NSW to produce a 10-year Cruise Development Plan.

The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing fee changes for agricultural quarantine inspection (AQI) at US ports of entry. For passengers on international cruises, there would be a $2 fee per person.

The need for Customs and Border Protection to be flexible with staffing and facilities requirements to serve the cruise business was underscored in written testimony by the American Association of Port Authorities for a Senate hearing Wednesday.

The curfew in Thailand's key tourist areas including Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui has been lifted but a 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. curfew continues in Bangkok, according to a Destination Asia (Thailand) update.

The curfew in Thailand has been reduced, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the country by day and by night, ground handler Destination Asia said. As of Wednesday, the curfew was cut back to 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Bangkok and the rest of Thailand remain calm following the imposition of martial law on May 20, ground handler Destination Asia reports, however a curfew remains in effect which curtails some activities.

Destination Asia Thailand reports operations continue as normal so far in Bangkok following the Thai army's overnight surprise declaration of martial law.

The International Maritime Organization's chief is pressing for a clear, concise response to the Costa Concordia incident and said IMO's credibility depends on it.

If all goes to plan, the capsized Costa Concordia may soon be raised from its precarious perch off the island of Giglio. The operation to right the ship was given the go-ahead for this month by Italy's Civil Protection Authority during a meeting Friday in Rome.

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