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Green

My Failed Attempt At An Eco-Friendly Summer Vacation

Mass tourism developed by taking advantage of cheap and abundant energy. But those days are over and we are all going to have to reinvent how we holiday. But as I found out, that is no easy task.

-Essay-

PARIS — I had a wonderful vacation, thank you for asking. At the same time, I couldn't let go and relax fully because one question has been on my mind all summer. Is my vacation sustainable? In other words, will my kids be able to take the same kind of vacation 20 years from now?

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Fight Over Tourist Visa Ban For Russians Is Taking Everyone For A Ride

High on the agenda of the Prague summit of Europe’s foreign ministers this week was a proposal to ban tourist visas for Russians, as punishment for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But it is ultimately a way to change the subject, and recalls Zelensky’s iconic remark after the war began.

It’s not a new question. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called for a ban on tourist visa for Russian soon after the war began, and this week it became the center of the Prague summit of European Union foreign ministers.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Some European Union nations voiced their support soon after it was mentioned by Zelensky, including former Soviet republics and current Russia neighbors, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They were followed by Finland and the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Poland. Hungary, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. Germany and France are looking for a compromise that would allow for visas for students, workers of culture and science, as well as people who need entry for humanitarian reason. Perhaps most importantly, however, the U.S. took an unambiguous position against the restrictions.

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How Our Post-COVID Travel Fever Is Changing Tourism For Good

Frenzy has replaced frustration, and some have dubbed it "revenge travel." But far away or nearby, people want to move, move, move...to travel! Beyond the ridiculous moniker, “revenge travel,” this never-before-seen rush may bring on lasting changes for tourism.

PARIS — Lilly, a social media manager at a large French-speaking media, was still living with her parents when the first lockdown took the planet by surprise in mid-March 2020.

Lockdown after lockdown, this 23-year-old travel lover waited impatiently. In early Oct. 2021, she finally headed out alone to Thailand, criss-crossing the country with just a backpack and her reporter's notebook. “It was super intense. I met many people there. There were almost no tourists. Life was cheap, I was in my element.”

Responding to a “gentle family pressure”, Lilly eventually came back to France in January. But she had the same goal: Leaving again “far away” next October and broadening her range of destinations: South America, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia where she will join a French-Swiss friend she met during her first trip in Thailand.

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Why The Era Of Low-Cost Air Travel Must End

Many of us have become accustomed to cheap flights, but as prices spiral, it's time to ask about their true cost. And politicians' plan to bring in cheap labor to keep down prices is doomed to fail.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — You get what you pay for. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. It is hypocritical for passengers to complain about the chaos that has dominated airports since the start of the holiday season. These problems could easily have been predicted.

No one can seriously believe that a business model whereby passengers are transported from A to B for such a ridiculously low price is sustainable. When flights cost a fraction of a train ticket, something must be wrong. Costs are either being disregarded or passed on to someone else.

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In The News

Reservations For Nature, Entry Fees For Cities: Is Mass Tourism Reaching A Dead End?

July 9-10

  • In Ukraine, living with Russian troops next door
  • Hollywood’s “coming of old age” problem
  • Game-changing sand battery
  • … and much more.
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Society
Candace Johnson

To California Or Canada? Crossing State And National Borders For Abortions

Among the most immediate effects of the overturning of Roe v. Wade is that women who find themselves in states where abortion is outlawed will travel to where it is legal. But that of course requires the right information and economic means to do so.

GUELPH — After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights for American women, what will it mean for the countries that share a border with the United States? What will be the impact for Americans who want to travel to Mexico or Canada to get access to abortions?

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Weird

Why These 7 Eternal Flames Around The World Keep On Burning

The president of Turkmenistan announced plans this year to extinguish the country's famous "Gates of Hell" gas crater. But it's by no means the only one of its kind. We rounded up the eternal flames still burning in all corners of the globe.

On Jan. 8, Turkmenistan’s leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, known for his authoritarian tendencies, announced on television that he had set his sights on the Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the “Gates of Hell”, a mysterious vat of flames that has been spewing fire for over 50 years in the Karakum Desert.

The burning crater is one of the central Asian country’s few tourist attractions, yet President Berdymukhamedov has ordered it extinguished once and for all, saying the methane-belching pit was bad for the environment and locals’ health, while also representing a lost opportunity for the impoverished nation to capture marketable gas.

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Economy
Frédéric Schaeffer

China’s Zero COVID Policy Starts To Scare Away Foreign Business

For almost two years, the country where COVID-19 emerged has been living virtually cut off from the rest of the world. And in the realm of business, China's zero COVID policy has had serious consequences on foreign workers and companies, which may last beyond the pandemic.

It is 4:30 a.m. as the ambulance cuts through the Shanghai night on its way to a hospital in the Pudong district. Disembarked in an isolated building, the Frenchman was first sprayed with a disinfectant before undergoing two serological tests, a PCR test in the nose, another in the mouth and then a lung X-ray.

There is no face in front of him. The staff is masked, visor in front of the eyes and dressed in a full protective suit. There were few words exchanged, but the young man understood that he had tipped into another dimension.

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Economy
Jean-Marc Vittori

COVID Economics: Signs That Switch To Remote Work May Not Stick

We’re nearly two years into a global pandemic that has seemingly changed everything in our economy from how we shop to where we eat. COVID-19 indeed may transform our economic lives entirely – except how we work.

PARIS — We’re not done with this story yet.

In France, the number of new COVID-19 patients has jumped by 50% in a week, hospitals are once again under increasing pressure, and the government still needs its special council that is responsible for crisis public health decisions. Around the world, the new Omicron variant, first detected a month ago, could prove to be more contagious, though, it is not yet known whether the variant is more dangerous or resistant to the vaccines that billions of people have received.

We've now been living with this unprecedented pandemic for almost two years. It can no longer be said to be a footnote or a strange blip in time, as we might have believed during the first lockdowns of spring 2020. The more time passes, the more COVID-19 is profoundly changing our lives.

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Coronavirus
Carl-Johan Karlsson

Keep Calm And Travel On? Why We Can't Return To Global Shutdowns

The Omicron variant has sparked a new wave of COVID-19 travel restrictions, but the chances of returning to worldwide shutdowns are slim for a series of reasons.

SOFIA — Two weeks ago, I was swabbing my nose in a minuscule London hotel room, trying to navigate the faulty app that came with my COVID-19 home-test kit. Home ... as in, I need this damn test to be able to fly home.

After re-installing the app and re-reading the instructions, I called the phone number for the support line and got a friendly female voice with a Cockney accent. I asked if they'd had similar glitches in the past. “We get a lot of calls,” she said. “Bit of a pain, innit?

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Coronavirus
Shabir A. Madhi

Omicron Guidance For The World From A South African Epidemiologist

A South African researcher of infectious disease sees specific steps that governments should and shouldn’t be taking in light of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

South Africa reacted with outrage to travel bans, first triggered by the UK, imposed on it in the wake of the news that its genomics surveillance team had detected a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa has been monitoring changes in SARS-CoV-2 since the pandemic first broke out.

The new variant – identified as B.1.1.529 has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation and assigned the name Omicron.

The mutations identified in Omicron provide theoretical concerns that the variant could be slightly more transmissible than the Delta variant and have reduced sensitivity to antibody activity induced by past infection or vaccines compared to how well the antibody neutralises ancestry virus.

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food / travel
René Armas Maes

Premium-Economy Pivot? Airlines Adjust Seat Size, Hope For Travel Rebound

Airlines are eyeing premium economy seating options to woo money-conscious business class travelers, and possibly weary economy passengers, back to air travel.

-Analysis-

SANTIAGO — Back in May, I wrote that full-service airlines should start analyzing the costs, benefits, and impact of the demand of business travel, and see whether they would profit from reducing seats in executive class cabins, and from developing products like the premium economy class, which lies between business and economy in terms of comfort and price. They should start doing this in the last quarter of 2021 — I wrote back in May — especially considering that the demand for business class seats and its revenues were unlikely to recover in the following 12 months. And that is what is happening now.

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