Austria has introduced unprecedented new Covid measures, Ireland’s under a midnight curfew, but India has reopened to vaccinated tourists.
Here are some of the biggest developments in travel this week:
It’s beginning to look a lot like … lockdown
Nights are drawing in, there’s frost in the air, and Austria has become the first European nation to reimpose a national lockdown this winter. That means tourism will be temporarily suspended, according to the country’s official travel portal.
One silver lining during lockdown: Ski lifts will continue operating, according to a spokesperson for Austria’s ministry of health. People exercising on the slopes will have to show proof of either vaccination or a certificate of Covid recovery. FFP2 masks are also mandatory on the slopes, the spokesperson said.
Austria also plans to become the first country in the continent to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all eligible people.
Next door, Germany is also fighting a Covid surge. Munich’s legendary Christmas market has been canceled for the second year in a row and Berlin has banned unvaccinated people from entertainment venues, restaurants and bars.
But things are picking up in Asia
India suffered greatly when it was hit by a calamitous second Covid wave this spring, but it now has some of the lowest case rates in the world, earning it a CDC Level 1 rating as a low-risk travel destination. On Monday, it opened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign tourists on commercial flights for the first time since the pandemic began.
Elsewhere in the region, Cambodia has ended quarantine for vaccinated travelers and the Philippines says it will reopen to tourists “soon.”
Ireland is now a Cinderella state
Irish revelers now need to leave their Prince Charmings and hurry home from the ball. On Thursday, Ireland imposed a midnight curfew on bars, restaurants and nightclubs, just a few weeks after nightclubs reopened for the first time since March 2020.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands has returned to partial lockdown and Hungary and the Czech Republic are among four new additions to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest-risk travel category.
Thanksgiving travel will near pre-pandemic levels
In the United States, there’ll be a lot more turkey shared compared to last year, as holiday travel is expected to be back almost to the good old days of 2019. Here are our tips on handling the rush.
Around 53.4 million Americans are likely to be on the move, among them Jamal Hinton, who will be continuing his tradition of visiting his “Grandma Wanda” in Arizona. The pair met in 2016 when Wanda Dench accidentally sent the teenaged Hinton a Thanksgiving invite meant for her grandson and an unlikely friendship blossomed.
This is what you could be sitting on in 2025
Inside the business class of 2025
When you’ve been sitting on your sofa for close to two years, a new era of 2025 business travel can seem very far away – but designers are already working away like Christmas elves on the luxury airplane seats of the future. We’re talking lightweight structure, extra space, bigger and better screens and plenty of wireless charging. Sustainability, ethical sourcing and the reduction of carbon emissions are key concerns.
Thailand’s Maya Bay is set to reopen
Officials in Thailand have announced a reopening date for one of the country’s most famous attractions. Maya Bay, a resplendent cove made famous by “The Beach” – a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio – will reopen to tourists on January 1, 2022. This particular closure wasn’t Covid-related, though; It’s been off limits to tourists since 2018 as officials embarked on a rejuvenation program aimed at reviving the area’s decimated corals.
A chance encounter
Photos: Their flights were canceled and they spent 24 hours falling in love
Aircraft hangar, but make it bouncy
When snowstorms stopped Jennifer Lowther flying to her best friend’s wedding, a total stranger came to her rescue, taking her on a breakneck journey and setting in motion a love story that’s still going strong after 18 years.
Isn’t building traditional airport infrastructure such a drag? That rigmarole can go on for years. Thank goodness for inflatable hangars, which can be up and running in no time.
In case you missed it
United Airlines will once again serve hard liquor on its flights
Go easy, now. We don’t need any more unruly passengers.
The crowds will be back in Time Square this year for NYE fun
New York’s mayor has announced a “big, strong, full strength” in-person celebration, but you’ll have to be vaccinated to get in.
Black Santas are appearing in US Disney parks this season for the first time
Twitter users say they’re “crying happy tears.”
National Geographic has revealed its top destinations for 2022
Two American tourists broke into the Colosseum to drink beer
This is not what we meant by al fresco.
CNN’s Nina Avramova, Natasha Chen, Karla Cripps, Stephanie Halasz, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Niamh Kennedy, Lilit Marcus, Artemis Moshtaghian, Rob Picheta, Nadine Schmidt, Kristina Sgueglia, Francesca Street, Manveena Suri and John Walton contributed to this report.