Regional News • Asia
Gallery in Nepal to display art made of rubbish left on Mount Everest
Trash on an Everest trail
Trash on an Everest trail Credit: Rick McCharles (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Trash collected from Mount Everest is set to be transformed into art and displayed in a nearby gallery, to highlight the need to save the world's tallest mountain from turning into a dumping site.

Everest has long struggled with its status as the "world's highest garbage dump", but now at least some of the huge amount of rubbish left behind by visitors each year will be put to good use. More than 600 people attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest each year, and each climber discards, on average, 8kg of rubbish consisting of oxygen canisters, tents, food containers and even human waste.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Hundreds of British tourists disappeared from Swiss quarantine
Hundreds of British tourists disappeared from Swiss quarantine
Credit: / Catharina Short Sundberg

Hundreds of British tourists have disappeared during the night from the Swiss ski resort Verbier despite being in mandatory quarantine because of the new Covid-19 variant.

Authorities had identified 420 guests from Britain who had been quarantined before Christmas, he said. About 50 left immediately, he said, and of the 370 others, less than a dozen were still there on Sunday.

Some have since reported back from France, Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the municipality of Bagnes, to which Verbier belongs, said today.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Germany, Italy, France urge to shut ski slopes until Jan 10; EU waves off
Germany, Italy, France urge to shut ski slopes until Jan 10; EU waves off
Credit: unsplash/

Germany joins Italy and France in their demand to ban ski resorts from opening until January 10, stating it would be a "great risk, even crazy, to open ski-slopes."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and multiple prime ministers addressed an appeal to all citizens to refrain from "all not absolutely necessary professional and private journeys, in particular, tourist journeys to foreign countries, especially considering the start of the ski season."

"The Federal Government is asked to come to coordinated regulations at European level in order to prevent ski tourism from being permitted before 10 January", the paper continues.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides opposes a Europe-wide ski ban over the Christmas holidays, saying that "there is no formula that applies to all EU countries because every country has a different situation."

Lifestyle • Travel
"Very nice" catchphrase from Borat adopted by Kazakhstan for tourism campaign
"Very nice" catchphrase from Borat adopted by Kazakhstan for tourism campaign
Credit: User Skssoft on de.wikipedia; Michael Bulcik / SKS Soft GmbH Düsseldorf / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)

After banning the first Borat movie featuring the fictional Kazakhstani journalist Borat in the country, Kazakhstan has now picked up the catchphrase "very nice", that the character uses repeatedly, for a tourism campaign to attract new people coming and visiting the country.

The deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, Kairat Sadvakassov, has stated that "Kazakhstan's nature is very nice. Its food is very nice. And its people, despite Borat's jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world,".

Lifestyle • Travel
Japanese tourist is the first visitor to Machu Picchu following the Covid-19 closure
Japanese tourist is the first visitor to Machu Picchu following the Covid-19 closure
Credit: Jesse Katayama (Instagram)

The Japanese Jesse Katayama was the first visitor on Machu Picchu, after months of Covid-19 closure.

Katayama had a entry ticket and permit to enter the UNESCO World Heritage site on March 16, the same day the Peruvian government opted to close the site. His original plan was to spend three days in the area, but with flights cancelled and movement limited by the virus, Katayama was stuck there for months.

"I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go, but thanks to all of you who pleaded with the mayor and the government, I was given this super special opportunity," he wrote on his Instagram account.

Business • Economy
Airbnb seeks to raise roughly $3 billion in IPO
Airbnb Office
Airbnb Office Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Reuters report that home rental company Airbnb is aiming to raise around $3 billion in its upcoming initial public offering. Back in August, the company announced it had filed confidentially for the IPO.

The company aims to achieve a valuation of more than $30 billion in the IPO, a value substantially higher than the $18 billion Airbnb was valued at in April.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is delaying its annual Carnival parade for the first time in a century
Viradouro parade during the 2020 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro
Viradouro parade during the 2020 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro Credit: Raphael David | Riotur

Rio de Janeiro delayed its annual Carnival parade, that would take place in February 2021, as Brazil continues to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The League of Samba Schools (LIESA) announced that the spread of the coronavirus has made it impossible to safely hold the parades, and it is studying the possibility of holding the parade on another date.

Jorge Castanheira, the president of LIESA, said Thursday: "We only imagined the parade with a vaccine. Failing to get a vaccine or action plan that will guarantee safety for everyone by mid-September, it will be difficult to present in the current mold. After that, it may not be possible to present the carnival as it is known today. In today's condition it is ethically unlikely to have the parade."

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal reopens after six-motnh-long closure
India: Taj Mahal reopens after six-motnh-long closure
Credit: Chowdavarapu

The Taj Mahal has reopened its doors to visitors after a six-month-long closure. To ensure people's safety, various Coronavirus measures have been implemented, e.g. reduced capacity, temperature checks and mandatory face masks.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
England puts Portugal back on Covid-19 quarantine list
Torre de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal
Torre de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal Credit: Berthold Werner (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

British transport minister Grant Shapps announced that travellers from mainland Portugal to England would have to quarantine from 03:00 UTC on Saturday. The announcement comes just weeks after the country was put on the safe list.

Travellers from the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Madeira are still allowed to skip quarantine.

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal will reopen despite India's high Coronavirus cases
India: Taj Mahal will reopen despite India's high Coronavirus cases
Credit: Chowdavarapu

The Taj Mahal will reopen on September 21st," mit Srivastava, deputy director of Uttar Pradesh state’s tourism department has announced. Masks, social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols will be required for visitors. Instead of the usual daily 20,000 visitors, only 5,000 will be allowed. Visitors will have to buy tickets only as no physical tickets will be sold.

Business • Economy
Airbnb files to go public
Airbnb files to go public
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it had confidentially filed to go public. Reports indicate the company could have an IPO as soon as the end of the year.

The company had been privately valued at $31 billion before this year and it must now convince investors that it can thrive and turn a profit in a new era of limited travel.

Lifestyle • Travel
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Credit: Marco Verch (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

TUI, the world's largest travel operator, suffered a 98.5% drop in revenues due to Covid-19 restrictions. The group posted a €1.42 billion loss between April and June.

On Wednesday, TUI secured a second credit line from the German government, adding to a €1.8 billion loan taken on in April, and while the CEO said it might not need to use the latest line, the focus is now on debt.

In May the company stated it would need to cut 8,000 jobs and save €300 million a year to help it withstand the crisis.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over Covid-19 compliance
Boeing 737 Ryanair
Boeing 737 Ryanair Credit: Dylan Agbagni (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

ENAC, the Italian air transport regulator, has threatened to suspend Ryanair from flying to Italy over what it claims were "repeated violation of anti-Covid-19 health measures drafted by the Italian government".

Ryanair said in a statement that ENAC’s assertions were "factually incorrect" and that the company "complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government."

Italian rules require passengers to maintain distance from others unless other precautions are taken including controlled boarding and disembarkation to avoid close contact, temperature tests and the wearing of face masks.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
United Kingdom removes Andorra, Bahamas and Belgium from safe travel list
Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps Credit: Richard Townshend (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced Thursday that Andorra, the Bahamas and Belgium were removed from the Covid-19 Travel Corridors list. The decision means passengers arriving from those countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

On Twitter, Shapps said: "Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
EVA Air will have a Hello Kitty-themed flight to nowhere on August 8
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting Credit: Jeffhuang0627 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

EVA Air announced Monday it will be celebrating Father’s Day, August 8 in Taiwan, by selling tickets to a Hello Kitty flight to nowhere. The company is looking for innovative ways to get in the air again despite travel restrictions to other countries.

The Hello Kitty-themed plane will take off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport and will land three hours later back at the same location.

During the flight, guests onboard will be treated to a special amenity kit filled with gifts, and be given the chance to purchase Hello Kitty duty-free items at a steep discount. The company also announced passengers would be served a meal designed by Michelin three-star chef Motokazu Nakamura.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian government lifts four-month ban on foreign air travel
Temperature screening at São Paulo International Airport
Temperature screening at São Paulo International Airport Credit: Ricardo Stuckert

Despite still having a daily average of more than 1,000 deaths by Covid-19, the Brazilian government decided to reopen its borders to foreign visitors arriving by plane. Jair Bolsonaro signed, this Wednesday, an ordinance revoking the ban that was in place since the end of March.

The ordinance states, "The foreign passenger on a visit to the country for a short stay, of up to ninety days, must present to the transport company, before boarding, proof of purchase of health insurance valid in Brazil and with coverage for the entire period of the trip, under penalty of being prevented from entering national territory by the migratory authority due to provocation by the health authority ".

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German Government advises against travel to Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos

Germany's Foreign Ministry issued a notice warning against tourist travel to the Spanish regions of Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia after a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Ministry website states: “We currently advise against unnecessary tourist trips to the autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre due to high infection numbers and local lockdowns,”.

Bernat Sole, Catalonia's foreign affairs chief, said: "We do not get into evaluating the decisions by other countries but we obviously don't share it. The Catalan government is responsible … and we are working to protect the life and health of people that live here or are visiting us,".

Lifestyle • Travel
Croatia sees decline in tourists as pandemic worsens
Croatia sees decline in tourists as pandemic worsens
Credit: / Colton Jones

Tourism in Croatia is on the decline as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, July saw 1.8 million tourists enter the country, 51 percent compared to last year's numbers. The most popular destinations were on the Dalmatian coast, with Rovinj, Umag and Split among them.

Tourism is a significant part of Croatia's GDP. Many businesses rely on the influx of tourists in the summer, with July being one of the busiest months.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK government implements two week quarantine for returners from Spain
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport Credit: Arias

The government of the United Kingdom has announced that a mandatory two-week quarantine will be implemented for all returners and travellers from Spain following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Health Minister Robin Swann has stated that "the advice from the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser is that a negative Covid-19 test immediately on return from Spain would not exclude infection - so a period of self-isolation would still be required" and that "public health considerations must take priority".

Lifestyle • Citytrips
France: Disneyland Paris, Eiffel Tower reopen
View from the Eiffel Tower
View from the Eiffel Tower Credit: Boitor

Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios have partially reopened on Wednesday after almost four months. Other tourists attractions are also being reopened. The top floor of the Eiffel Tower is now open for visitors but is restricted to maximum of 250 people.