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Desert off-roading final frontier for women in Qatar

A female 4X4 enthusiast is blazing a trail in Qatar's traditionally male sport of off-roading and in a rare move has also become a dune driving safety marshal.

Virus again delays Japan 'Super Mario' theme park opening

Apo - The opening of the first ever "Super Mario" theme park has been delayed again as Japan battles a surge in coronavirus cases, Universal Studios Japan said Thursday.

Wow-ser: Japan 'Super Mario' theme park to open in Feb

Apo - The first ever "Super Mario" theme park will open in February, Universal Studios Japan said on Monday.

Swiss to keep skiing through pandemic, even as EU eyes ban

Geneva - As EU countries debate a bloc-wide ban on ski holidays to curb coronavirus infections, downhill enthusiasts may be tempted to head to non-member Switzerland, where the winter season is well underway.

Holy smoke: Waterpipes keep bubbling in Iraqi shrine city

Karbala - Iraq's Karbala is known as a religious pilgrimage site, visited by millions of worshippers, but shisha-smokers revere it for a different reason: its signature wooden waterpipes.

Austria ski resort virus outbreak mishandled, report finds

Vienna - Local and federal authorities could have contained the spread of a coronavirus outbreak that infected thousands of tourists in two Austrian ski resorts, according to a report published Monday.

'Don't touch the marble': visiting the Taj Mahal in a pandemic

Agra - From Princess Diana to President Trump, everyone wants to visit the Taj Mahal, but in the middle of a global pandemic the bucket-list experience is just a little less special.

Maldives tightens tourist virus rules after spike in cases

Male - The Maldives has tightened entry requirements for tourists after a spike in coronavirus infections at more than a dozen resorts, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

French minister defends 'precious' topless rights after sunbathers warned

Paris - France's interior minister on Tuesday defended the right of women to sunbathe topless on beaches, after a police warning for a group who stripped off on the southern coast sparked a social media outcry.

French passengers sue Costa Cruises over virus ship ordeal

Paris - Around 850 French passengers who were onboard a coronavirus-riddled cruise ship that was turned away from numerous ports in March have filed a collective suit in Paris with 180 complaints, including manslaughter, against Costa Cruises, their lawyer sai...

Unlikely alliance against Corfu luxury resort

Athens - An unlikely alliance of wealthy landowners, environment activists and residents has emerged on the Greek island of Corfu, where a disputed resort officially launched in July after a near-decade delay.

Turkey's Erdogan visits Hagia Sofia after reconversion to mosque

Istanbul - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Hagia Sofia on Sunday just days before the first Muslim prayers are due to be held at the Istanbul landmark since it was reconverted to a mosque last week.

Tokyo on top virus alert level after new cases

Apo - Tokyo is on its highest coronavirus alert level after a spike in new cases, the city's governor warned Wednesday, as experts said the rising infections were a clear "red flag".

Green light for 'colossal' renovation of Paris Gare du Nord

Paris - Europe's busiest train station, the bustling Gare du Nord in Paris, appeared set for a colossal facelift after regional authorities on Tuesday approved a divisive 600-million-euro ($678-million) overhaul.

Australia's Qantas cuts 6,000 jobs over COVID impact

Sydney - Australia's Qantas is cutting 6,000 staff and grounding 100 planes for up to a year in a US$10 billion cost-cutting blitz in response to the COVID crisis, the airline announced Thursday.

Greece is 'ready to welcome tourists', says prime minister

Th - From the emblematic island of Santorini, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday that Greece is "ready to welcome tourists" in complete safety after the coronavirus lockdown, whose impact on tourism will be "significant".

Opera returns to Vienna with hotel 'window concert'

Vienna - Deserted by tourists, a hotel in Vienna gave itself a temporary one-night-only makeover, turning itself into an outdoor concert hall.

Swim, jog, but no sunbathing: France reopens some beaches

Paris - Runners and swimmers rediscovered the sea air Wednesday as France opened a selection of Atlantic coast beaches closed during the coronavirus lockdown, while the Lourdes sanctuary prepared to welcome back Catholic pilgrims this weekend.

China warily takes a holiday from virus anxiety

Shanghai - With optimism and a heavy dose of caution, millions of Chinese hit the road or visited newly re-opened tourist sites on Friday for an extended national holiday in a post-coronavirus confidence test.

Surf's up: Sydney reopens its famous Bondi Beach

Sydney - Hundreds of Sydney-siders rushed into the waves at the city's famous Bondi Beach on Tuesday as Australia took the first steps in easing coronavirus restrictions.

Customers desert South Korea's animal cafes over virus fears

Seoul - A beige feline paces between two Gaudi-style columns at the empty 2 Cats cafe in Seoul, with upturned stools standing on the tables where humans sat to play with them in pre-virus days.

Coronavirus a 'catastrophe' for Paris tourist industry

Paris - Rachid Saidi puts on a brave face at the Paris hotel he manages, forcing a smile even though the coronavirus outbreak threatens his livelihood as tourists avoid the City of Light.

God save the pub: Britons rally to rescue local watering holes

Ryton - In the heart of picturesque old Ryton village in northeast England, pub regulars banded together to save their favourite watering hole, in a cut-throat sector where competition is fierce.

Lost and damaged: Philippine volcano steals livelihoods

Amadeo - Decimated fish, scarred coffee plants and vanished tourists: the Taal volcano eruption in the Philippines has inflicted significant damage on the livelihoods of tens of thousands and is expected to cause more.

Pub 'lockout laws' eased in Sydney to boost nightlife

Sydney - Controversial laws that forced Sydney bars to close early and limited the drinks they could serve in a bid to curb alcohol-fueled violence ended Tuesday after complaints they had ruined the city's once-vibrant nightlife.

Ghent's refreshed 'Mystic Lamb' artwork inspires new adoration

Ghent - The grass is greener, the sky is cleaner and dozens of tiny details have been exposed to delight art historians and inspire the devotion of the faithful.

Antarctica tourism: the quest for Earth's vulnerable extremes

The swimsuit-clad tourists leap into the icy water, gasping at the shock, and startling a gaggle of penguins.They are spectators at the end of the world, luxury visitors experiencing a vulnerable ecosystem close-up.

Despite itchy eyes, tourists flock to Taj Mahal

Agra - Even with pollution cloaking northern India, visitors are still thronging the Taj Mahal, the shining marble mausoleum south of Delhi.

North Korea refuses talks with South over flagship resort

Seoul - North Korea on Tuesday rejected Seoul's request for talks on the fate of a flagship tour complex condemned by leader Kim Jong Un, dismissing meetings as "unnecessary", the South said.

North Korea tells South to raze its buildings at flagship resort

Seoul - North Korea on Friday told Seoul to come and demolish buildings at a tourist resort that were constructed by South Korean companies, days after leader Kim Jong Un called them "unpleasant-looking" and ordered their replacement.
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