Air tickets set to keep climbing from pandemic low: experts

  by Tangi Quemener Agence France Presse Propelled by inflation, the price of air tickets has begun to take off again after tumbling during the pandemic, a reversal that looks set to intensify due to environmental pressures, experts say. For members of the International Air Transport Association, gathered in Doha for their annual meeting this week, minds are focused on how far such increases risk undermining passenger growth targets. The IATA is also pleading for […]

Spectacular glass-bottomed bridge opens in Vietnam

  Mộc Châu, Vietnam (AFP) — Don’t look down! Vietnam launched a new attraction for tourists with a head for heights on Friday, with the opening of a glass-bottomed bridge suspended 150 metres (490 feet) above a lush jungle. The Bach Long pedestrian bridge — whose name translates to “white dragon” — in northwest Son La province snakes around dizzying cliff faces before spanning a dramatic valley between two peaks, hitting a total length of […]

Virgin Galactic re-opens ticket sales for $450,000

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Virgin Galactic, which last year flew its flamboyant founder Richard Branson to space, will re-open ticket sales to the general public starting Wednesday, for the sum of $450,000. Previously, only people who had paid a deposit to be on a waiting list could buy new tickets — but now sales are once more open to everyone. “We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start […]

Musk to give rare presentation on ambitious Starship rocket

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is set Thursday night to deliver an eagerly-awaited update on SpaceX’s Starship, a prototype rocket the company is developing for crewed interplanetary exploration. The tycoon will make his presentation at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Boca Chica, south Texas, at 8:00 pm local time (0200 GMT Friday), against the impressive backdrop of the spacecraft in its fully-stacked configuration, standing 394 feet (120 meters) tall. It will […]

Rotterdam to dismantle historic bridge for Bezos superyacht

THE HAUGE, Netherlands (AFP) – The Dutch port city of Rotterdam said Wednesday it would temporarily dismantle an historic bridge to allow a superyacht built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to pass. Bezos’s gigantic, 430-million-euro ($485 million) yacht is too big for the iconic Koningshaven Bridge, which dates from 1878 and was rebuilt after being bombed by the Nazis in 1940 during World War II. The shipyard building the three-masted mammoth in Alblasserdam, near Rotterdam, has […]

Vienna-Paris night train is reborn, empty

by Jean LIOU Agence France-Presse On board the Vienna-Paris night train, Austria (AFP) – The timing could perhaps have been better. With a resurgence of Covid-19 gripping Europe, there were no paying passengers for the maiden voyage of the reborn night train linking Paris and Vienna. A return of night trains to the Old Continent is seen as symbolic of the efforts to shift travel from the air back to rail as Europe seeks to meet […]

Virus turns Indonesia holiday island into desert of abandoned resorts

by Haeril HALIM Indonesia (AFP) — Chef Ilhani used to serve up Japanese cuisine to holidaymakers every night, now he makes just $3 a day selling fried snacks on the near empty streets of once bustling Gili Trawangan. The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered almost all the resorts and restaurants across Indonesia’s Gili Islands, famed for their turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and diverse marine life. Situated close to Bali, tourism and the local economy had been […]

Japanese tycoon ‘excited’ ahead of trip to ISS

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AFP) – Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said Tuesday he was feeling “excited” ahead of his mission to the International Space Station, which marks Russia’s return to space tourism. Maezawa, a space enthusiast who made his wealth in online fashion, and his production assistant, Yozo Hirano, will spend 12 days on the ISS. Their Soyuz rocket operated by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency will blast off from the Moscow-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. “I […]

Thailand plots sustainable comeback for DiCaprio beach

by Sophie Deviller and Thanaporn Promyamyai KHO PHI PHI LEY, Thailand (AFP) — While travel stopped and the world locked down, in the dazzling blue waters of Thailand’s idyllic Phi Phi islands, a gentle renaissance was under way. Mass tourism had brought the archipelago, immortalised in Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach”, to the brink of ecological catastrophe. Now Thailand hopes to make Phi Phi the standard-bearer for a new, more sustainable model of tourism as […]

WHO Omicron warning for unvaccinated vulnerable travellers

  by Robin MILLARD Agence France Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The WHO said Tuesday that those not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 who are also vulnerable to the disease, including over-60s, should put off travel to areas with community transmission. The World Health Organization also said blanket travel bans would not stop the spread of the Omicron variant. The new Covid-19 variant of concern, which the WHO says poses a “very high” risk globally, has […]