(CNN) — Countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa, more than 2.3 million Americans traveled by air for Thanksgiving, and in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand and the Philippines revealed new reopening plans.
Here are some of the biggest developments in travel this week:
A new variant triggered flight bans
Only a small number of cases of the new strain, named Omicron, have been identified so far, but the World Health Organization has said it’s a cause for concern and experts warn it could spread rapidly.
Europe soldiered on with its winter season
The opening of Austria’s Ischgl resort has been delayed until December 3 because of the national lockdown.
Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images
US travel disruption continued its record-breaking year
Philippines and New Zealand revealed reopening plans
Foreign vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit the Philippines quarantine-free from December 1, provided they’ve stayed within “green list” countries for at least 14 days beforehand.
Egypt reopened its ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes
The more than 3,000-year-old road, linking two Egyptian temple complexes, was first discovered in the late 1940s and has since undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts.
The site has undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts and today features hundreds of traditional sphinxes and ram-headed statues lined up on its path.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities described the site as the “largest open museum in the world.” According to Reuters, Egypt lost around $9 billion in tourism revenue in 2020, so there will be high hopes for this new project.
A restaurant group is bankrolling family trips home for its staff
In addition to money for flights and those many, many Covid tests, the workers will also receive extra weeks of unpaid leave to help them undergo Hong Kong’s hotel quarantine, which the company is paying for, too. The city’s famously strict entry restrictions mean returning residents have to spend a mandatory two or three weeks in designated hotels.
Black Sheep restaurants will also deliver their employees nightly meals to their quarantine hotels. To qualify for this impressive staff perk, they need to complete one year of service at the company upon their return.
A holiday love story
The loveliest ‘spawning event’ you’ll see this year
Scientists say the event is a positive sign that the reef is able to regenerate despite ecological threats.
In case you missed it
Amsterdam Airport has a pig pilot project
The first recorded flight to the continent was in 1928.
France has suffered a wine ‘disaster’
Strange symbols are carved in the Qatar desert
CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi, Ghazi Balkiz, Chris Dwyer, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Jack Guy, Marnie Hunter, Caitlin McGee, David McKenzie, Sandee LaMotte, Pete Muntean, Francesca Street, Gregory Wallace and Lizzy Yee contributed to this report.