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Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong lift COVID-19 restrictions on inbound travelers after more than 2 years

goodbye covid
  • On Thursday, Japan’s government announced that the country would be reopening its borders to all individual tourists starting on Oct. 11.
  • Taiwan also announced its plan to remove inbound quarantine for international arrivals by Oct. 13.
  • Similarly, the Hong Kong government announced on Friday its conclusion of hotel quarantine for inbound travelers starting Sep. 26.
  • As for mainland China, the government maintains its “zero COVID” policy that still requires travelers to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days at their own expense.

After more than two years of strict border restrictions, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have lifted COVID-19 restrictions on inbound travelers.

On Thursday, Japan’s government announced that the country would be resuming visa-free access for certain countries and reopening its borders to all individual tourists starting on Oct. 11. 

77-year-old woman becomes first Filipino to visit every country in the world

fil traveler
  • Odette Aquitania Ricasa, a 77-year-old woman, became the first Filipino person to travel to all 195 countries in the world.
  • She landed in Kurdistan, Iraq, on Thursday, completing her journey.
  • Ricasa started flying across the globe in 1980. At the age of 40, she was able to start fulfilling her dream of traveling to different countries.
  • Ricasa is also the author of six books, a motivational speaker, an artist and a pianist.

A 77-year-old woman became the first Filipino person to travel to all 195 countries in the world.

Odette Aquitania Ricasa, who is based in Los Angeles landed in Kurdistan, Iraq, on Thursday, completing her journey to visit all of the countries in the world.

Passenger traveling from Bali to Australia fined $1,800 over hidden McMuffins

A passenger flying from Bali to Australia was fined AU$2,664 (approximately US$1,870) after a security dog detected McMuffins and other food items in their luggage.

The passenger, who has not been identified, was found to be in possession of two egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant when they landed at Australia’s Darwin International Airport.

Indian airline removes disabled teenager from flight after claiming he was ‘uncontrollable’

  • Indian airline IndiGo is under investigation after it prevented a disabled teenager from boarding a flight on Saturday at the Ranchi Airport in India due to his “uncontrollable” behavior.
  • Staff members told the teenager’s parents that he would pose a risk to other passengers, although many had allegedly reassured the staff that they had no problems with the family boarding the flight.
  • A passenger on the flight, Manisha Gupta, wrote about the incident in a Facebook post in which they described the staff as displaying “brute authority.”
  • IndiGo responded to the incident in a statement, saying they take pride in being an “inclusive organization” and that the family was provided with a hotel stay and flight for the next morning.

A disabled teenager and his family were prevented from boarding their flight on Saturday at Ranchi Airport in India after staff members said he posed a risk to other passengers because of his “uncontrollable” behavior.

A passenger on the flight, Manisha Gupta, wrote about the story yesterday on Facebook, where she described staff members as displaying “brute authority and power.” Gupta explained that the teenager, who was in a wheelchair, was in “great distress” and showing signs of “hunger, thirst, anxiety and confusion.” She added that the parents were “obviously” capable of handling the incident and managed to calm him down.

Video of Singaporean man leading Christian worship songs on a plane mid-flight sparks debate

  • A viral video showing a Singaporean man and other missionaries singing worship songs mid-flight on a plane has gone viral across Tiktok and Twitter.
  • The Singaporean man has been identified as Jonathan Neo, who claimed on his now-private Instagram reels that he was given permission to sing by the flight crew.
  • The video has sparked debate online among Twitter users, notably Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who is Muslim, who posed the question of how the situaton would have ended if her family had a prayer session on a plane.

A viral video shows a Singaporean man and a congregation singing worship songs on a plane mid-flight. 

The video, originally posted to TikTok and Instagram on April 9 by Jack Jensz Jr., has garnered over 30 million views since being shared on Twitter two days ago.

Highly anticipated Studio Ghibli theme park releases new images, official website

Studio Ghibli
  • Ghibli Park, a theme park showcasing real-life attractions from the beloved films of Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli animation studio, has launched its official website, giving fans a preview of what’s to come.
  • The theme park is located at Aichi Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute, Japan.
  • Three sections of the park — Ghibli's Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest — will open on Nov. 1, while the Valley of Witches and Mononoke Village are expected to open in 2023.

Ghibli Park, a theme park from animation house Studio Ghibli under construction in Japan, recently launched its official website.

“Welcome to the great warehouse of Studio Ghibli’s secrets and iconic architectures you have seen in the films,” the website’s main page reads. 

Canada is Chinese citizens’ least favorite country, according to state media survey

  • Canada fell at the bottom of Chinese people’s list of favorite countries, a recent state poll reveals.
  • A majority of Canadians feel the same way about China, according to another survey.
  • The polls reflect ongoing tensions between Ottawa and Beijing, which escalated with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018.

Canada, once a hot travel destination among Chinese people, has become China’s least favorite country, according to a recent survey from state-run Global Times.

The poll, conducted by the Global Times Research Center with market survey firm DATA100, gathered 2,148 responses across 16 Chinese cities from Dec. 10-15, 2021.

South Korea sends over 170 million photos of travelers’ faces to a facial recognition company

South Korean Airport

Six civic groups in South Korea have come together to oppose the government’s alleged decision  to send the personal data of foreign and local travelers to a facial recognition company.

A human rights violation: Local civic groups  condemned the South Korean Ministry of Justice for sending over 170 million images of foreign and Korean nationals without their consent, reported The Hankyoreh.

Japan May Pay Tourists to Visit With New $12.5 Billion Tourism Plan

Japan Travel

In an attempt to boost tourism in Japan, the country’s tourism agency announced a $12.5 billion plan to subsidize a portion of foreign traveler’s expenses, Forbes reports

When this is happening: Hiroshi Tabata of the Japan Tourism Agency told a news conference last Wednesday that the program could begin as early as July if the COVID-19 cases continue to subside, according to Japan Times.