Airbnb drops COVID cancellations

Airbnb is tightening its cancellation policy — it will no longer accept "COVID-19-related circumstances" as a reason for a refund for bookings made on or after May 31. The company said on its website it was making the change because of widespread vaccinations in most of the world and "this new way of living" with the virus. Airbnb said nearly two-thirds of listings on its site let visitors cancel at least five days before check-in and get a full refund. Consumers can filter a search to find listings that allow free cancellations. Airbnb suggested that customers consider travel insurance — a product that the company plans to sell "in the coming months."

Associated Press

Flight of the Condor

Germany's Condor Airlines is returning to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with nonstop summer service to Frankfurt for the first time since 2019. A Google Flights search showed the MSP-Frankfurt route running three times a week from May 27-Sept. 19, with fares starting at a nice $478. Frankfurt is the fifth European city to see restored direct flights from MSP since COVID-19, following London, Paris, Amsterdam and Reykjavik. (Still missing in action: Aer Lingus service to Dublin.) The route also re-establishes Frankfurt as a budget gateway to much of the rest of Europe, courtesy of partners such as Lufthansa, Croatia Airlines, SAS and LOT Polish Airlines.

Simon Peter Groebner

New Zealand's return

New Zealand is throwing open its borders after more than two years — and there may never be a better time to visit. Tourism operators have rehired guides, dusted out souvenir shops, and gotten ready to welcome back international visitors since May 2. But they don't expect a rapid return to the old normal, when hordes of foreigners packed the most popular sites and stretched infrastructure. In fact, the government wants to move away from mass tourism. Like Australia, New Zealand relies heavily on Chinese tourists, who are unlikely to be allowed to leave their country until 2023. There is also reluctance to commit to long-haul travel among U.S. tourists. Many travelers may also wait until the summer season begins in October.

Bloomberg News

Purer Michigan

The state of Michigan and the National Park Service are collaborating on a suite of "innovative mobility technologies" to make it easier for visitors, regardless of crowds and their own physical mobility, to safely traverse Michigan's national parks. The partnership will research projects that could improve visitor access, relieve traffic congestion, improve safety and limit emissions. They also will identify opportunities for electric vehicle infrastructure projects. Michigan has five national parks: River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park and Keweenaw National Historical Park. Visitation has skyrocketed, particularly at Pictured Rocks, which will charge entrance fees for the first time this year.

Detroit News