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Israel announces that it is now open for tourism and assures that all tourist areas are completely safe.

In a significant development, Israel announced on Thursday that it is now open for tourism. The region had been largely inaccessible to tourists due to recent conflicts centered around Israel. According to the latest reports, flights to Tel Aviv were suspended during this period, but airlines are gradually resuming services. Air India is set to restart its nonstop flights between Delhi and Tel Aviv five times a week beginning May 16. Pini Shani, Israel Tourism’s Deputy Director-General and Head of Marketing Administration, reflected on the recent events, particularly the turmoil on October 7, 2023, in the Gaza area. He expressed optimism about the revival of tourism in Israel, noting that Ben Gurion Airport is now fully operational. Major cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Galilee are bustling with activity day and night, attracting thousands of tourists.

Schengen-like visa to enable travel across all six Gulf countries.

In a recent announcement at the Arabian Travel Market, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority revealed that the unified GCC tourist visa system will be established by the end of this year by the regional countries. Emphasizing the importance of e-service, he assured travelers that efforts are being made to ensure simplicity while maintaining security standards. Al Midfa expressed optimism about the positive impact this initiative will have on regional economies during a panel discussion with other tourism officials. Meanwhile, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, disclosed that the regional tourist visas will be named GCC Grand Tours, allowing tourists to stay in the six GCC countries for more than 30 days. He emphasized that this move will make travel to the region more convenient and affordable.

UAE introduces 10-year Blue Residence Visa; essential details you need to know

In a significant step toward cultivating a culture of sustainability, the UAE Cabinet has greenlit a 10-year Blue Residence visa for individuals who have made exceptional contributions to environmental protection. This decision was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, following a Cabinet meeting at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Underlining the UAE’s steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability, the Prime Minister emphasized, “The sustainability of our economy has become linked to the sustainability of our environment, and our national directions in this area are clear and consistent.” He reiterated the country’s determination to safeguard the environment, embrace cutting-edge international technologies, and enhance its higher education systems.

Canada will resume sending invitations for parent sponsorship under the Super Visa program starting May 21, allowing grandparents and parents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to visit for extended periods.

To be eligible for a super visa, the applicant must be the child or grandchild of a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or registered Indian. The super visa allows multiple entries for a period of up to ten years, with each entry permitting a stay of up to five years. The Super Visa is different from a regular visitor visa, as it allows qualifying parents and grandparents to visit family in Canada for longer periods. Only biological or adopted children can invite their parents or grandparents on a super visa, and they may also invite their parents' or grandparents' spouses or common-law partners.

Mexico's tourist train project poses a threat to the fragile cenote ecosystem and tourist attractions.

The original plan for the railway was to construct part of it next to a major highway, aimed at bringing prosperity to one of Mexico's poorest regions. However, environmentalists claim that the government moved the section into the jungle to avoid conflict with hoteliers concerned about traffic delays during construction. Critics accuse President Lopez Obrador of rushing the project to completion before his term ends in October. Environmentalists have labeled the construction work as "ecocide," stating that the project lacks proper environmental impact studies. They argue that the construction has led to the destruction of 8.7 million trees and irreversible damage to the underground ecosystem. President Lopez Obrador has dismissed these claims, referring to the activists as "pseudo-environmentalists" and accusing them of profiteering under the guise of defending nature.

The United States and Britain have issued travel warnings as Kenya and Tanzania brace for the impact of Cyclone Gombe.

Kenya's capital Nairobi is among the areas expected to experience heavy rains over the next three days, the Kenya Meteorological Department reported on X. The department warned of strong winds and large ocean waves along the country's coastline. The forecaster urged residents to be vigilant for flash floods and lightning strikes, adding that strong winds could "blow off roofs, uproot trees," and cause other damage. The heavier-than-usual rains have also claimed at least 29 lives in Burundi, with 175 people injured, and tens of thousands displaced since September last year, according to the United Nations.

Japan is experiencing a surge in foreign tourists spending on traditional items such as kimonos, knives, and meals, thanks to the weakened yen.

Foreign tourists are flocking to Japan in record numbers, and thanks to a sliding yen, many are living like kings, splurging on everything from kimonos to knives and lavish meals. "I bought three pairs of shoes, which is something I would never normally do," said Katia Lelievre, a 36-year-old tourist from France, laughing, in the bustling Asakusa area of Tokyo, famous for its Buddhist temple and souvenir shops. "The brands available in Japan are the same as in Europe -- Converse, Nike, and Adidas -- but because of the exchange rate, 'it was really worth it' to buy," she told AFP.

The European holiday hotspot Capri is transforming into a dormitory for tourists due to the influx of mass tourism in Italy.

Last week, Venice became the world's first city to implement an entrance fee for visitors during peak periods. In response to overcrowding, Florence banned new holiday lets in the city center, and the Cinque Terre park on the Italian Riviera started charging 15 euros for access to a popular coastal footpath. Following suit, Capri has doubled its visitor fee from 2.5 euros to 5 euros. This fee applies to outsiders catching a ferry from nearby Naples or Sorrento from April through October. "We are aiming to encourage more people to visit during the winter," said Capri Mayor Marino Lembo, sitting in his office with the distant smog of Naples visible on the horizon.

To curb tourist overcrowding, the Japanese government has announced plans to restrict access to certain areas around Mount Fuji

To deter overcrowding and address disruptive behavior by tourists at a popular photo spot overlooking Mount Fuji, Japanese authorities have decided to install a massive barrier. This barrier will be a 2.5-meter (8ft) high mesh net, stretching 20 meters in length. Construction is scheduled to commence next week in Fujikawaguchiko town. This decision reflects the unfortunate necessity due to the actions of some tourists who have consistently failed to follow rules, resulting in littering and disregard for traffic regulations. It is the latest effort to combat over-tourism in Japan. Earlier this year, residents of Kyoto's geisha district took similar steps by restricting access to small private alleys to preserve their community.

New US regulations mandate airlines to automatically refund passengers for flight changes, providing more transparency and ease during flight disruptions.

The final regulations, released Wednesday, specify the circumstances under which passengers are entitled to refunds for all travel to, from, and within the US. The aim is to simplify the refund process, ensuring passengers receive their money back promptly and consistently, regardless of the airline. According to the Department of Transportation, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, 87% of all air travel service complaints were related to airlines and ticket agents rejecting or delaying refunds. Passengers deserve to receive their money back when an airline owes them — without any hassle or negotiation, stated US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.