By Maureen O’Hare, CNN
Could better days be ahead? Travel and tourism are is expected to return to near pre-pandemic levels this year, and a senior health official has said Europe may be on the verge of entering “a long period of tranquillity”.
Here’s the latest from CNN Travel this week.
Omicron is still raging, but the journeys are moving forward. Travel and tourism could generate $8.6 trillion globally this year, according to a new study by the World Travel & Tourism Council. That’s just 6.4% below pre-pandemic levels.
More and more countries have announced reopening plans. Denmark, whose population has a high vaccination rate of 81%, became the first EU country to lift all Covid-19 restrictions, while Morocco announced plans to reopen to tourists on February 7. . (You can listen to Anthony Bourdain’s take on Tangier on the “Parts Unknown” podcast.) Even cautious New Zealand is gradually opening its doors.
Does this mean a return to normal? Europe, for its part, could be in store for “a long period of tranquility”, said Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, on Thursday.
Hopefully the rest of the world enjoys some peace as well.
The deepest high-speed rail station in the world
Some 102 meters (335 feet) below the Great Wall, China has built another engineering marvel. The three-storey Badaling Great Wall Station serves the historic Beijing-Zhangjiakou Intercity Railway and is built under Badaling, the most popular section of the centuries-old wall.
Building a complex railway station, with a 7.5 mile long (12 kilometer) system of tunnels, under a UNESCO World Heritage Site was no easy task. Here’s how they did it.
This groundbreaking station is just another achievement for China’s rapidly developing high-speed rail network – the largest in the world by some distance. Take a look at its evolution in the 21st century.
Airliner battling winds tilts sideways and aborts landing
There have been some tricky maneuvers in the skies this week.
Footage has emerged of a pilot making a difficult landing in strong winds at London’s Heathrow Airport – appearing to almost tip over in the process.
And on a United Airlines flight from Ghana to Washington Dulles, passengers and a crew member put their medical training to use when a woman gave birth mid-flight.
Mexico deemed ‘very high’ risk for travel
Another week, another group of new countries was added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Level 4” high-risk travel category.
Most of the planet is now colored red – or level 4 – including the United States.
Tourism favorite Mexico has settled there, along with 11 other destinations, including Brazil, Chile, Singapore and the Philippines. No location dropped a level this week.
With nearly 130 destinations now officially classified as “avoid travel” for US citizens, Americans could consider traveling to the Caribbean archipelago of Puerto Rico. The destination has one of the highest vaccination rates in the United States and travel requirements have just been relaxed.
The most beautiful ski resorts in Europe
These 10 gorgeous downhill ski resorts have it all: world-class skiing, breathtaking scenery, and traditional charm.
Tell us your stories
Travel not only allows us to connect with the world around us, but also with people we might never have met otherwise.
CNN Travel shares the real-life stories of our readers through our Chance Encounters series. There’s the 50-year pen pal friendship that started with a message in a bottle, the couple who fell in love after he saved her from drowning and the Pan Am flight attendant who married a CIA officer she met on a plane.
We want to hear about your memorable relationships and remarkable travel experiences. Contact us here.
Get ready, travel
If Goldilocks were choosing luggage, she’d opt for a backpack: Small enough to carry on, but big enough for your essentials, they’re perfect. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a CNN-owned product review and recommendation guide, have rounded up 22 of the best backpacks on the market today.
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