This week in travel: Mask mandates and tourist tax


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(CNN) — The US mask mandate for planes and public transportation has been struck down, Venice is introducing an entry fee for tourists, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport is getting an $8.5 billion makeover.

Here are the big stories in travel this week.

Masks and mayhem

Canceled flights. Understaffed airports. Soaring car rental costs. Despite restrictions easing and Covid rates settling, it’s set to be a challenging summer for travel.

A federal judge ruled Monday that the government’s mask mandate for airplanes and public transport was unlawful, but two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it had asked the Department of Justice to appeal the ruling.

Meanwhile, video has emerged that appears to show former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson hitting a fellow airplane passenger.

Airport makeover

Chicago O’Hare International Airport was for decades the world’s busiest airport, but became notorious for congestion and poor customer satisfaction. A new $8.5 billion makeover is set to transform this huge Midwestern hub.

Tourism dollars

Global travel and tourism GDP could be back to 2019 levels by next year, says a hopeful new forecast by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
It also reckons tourism will be a driving force for the global economic recovery, creating one in three of all new jobs. Some US airlines are also expecting record revenue.
In Venice, however, some of those tourism dollars will come from a new €10 entry fee (about $11) that will be introduced next year. It will be the first city in the world to introduce an entry fee. However, Wales and Edinburgh are some of the other European destinations considering a tax on tourists.
The CDC has overhauled its travel warning list, meaning many countries that previously carried a “do not travel” advisory are now simply “be up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before visiting.”

Future of cruising

Our new Monthly Ticket series continued this week with a look at the world’s most incredible cruise ship cabins. We’re talking $200,000 mattresses, cashmere bedding, hot tubs, in-suite slides and TVs so large they’re home cinema level.

Unusual airlines

Smintair — short for Smoker’s International Airways — was the second of two smoking-themed airlines that failed to raise enough capital.

Karlheinz Schindler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Did you know that the restaurant chain Hooters once had its own airline, complete with tank-topped “Hooters girls”? Or that a Florida airline named Smokers Express tried to offer passengers on-board steaks and burgers with a side of free cigarettes?

No sand? No problem

A luxury private island resort in Panama has revealed a new "aerial" beach.

A luxury private island resort in Panama has revealed a new “aerial” beach.

Bocas Bali

Panama’s Bocas Bali resort had everything — except for a beach. So they built one, 90 feet (27 meters) long and, unusually for sandy shores, over water.

In case you missed it

Can the world’s largest plane ever fly again?

Two strangers met on a New York dance floor on Easter weekend in 1998.

Across Canada by rail.

Best water bottles

The ideal reusable water bottle is light, durable, easy to drink from, doesn’t leak and keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have tested water bottles on the market in 2022 and selected the best of the best.

Top image: Venice will be introducing a entry fee for daytrippers from 2023.

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