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Travel roundup: three bits of hot travel news.

On the ground

Chernobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, will be officially opened to tourists next year by the Ukrainian government. Some operators already offer tours within the sealed-and-evacuated 48-kilometre zone around the reactor that exploded in 1986, but officials say they are illegal and safety is not guaranteed. Emergency-situations experts are developing travel routes said to be medically safe and informative for visitors. Hundreds of thousands of people have been resettled because of radiation contamination.

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At the airport

The world's airlines hope to adopt Walt Disney World's admission system to speed passengers through security. The International Air Transport Association has unveiled its "checkpoint of the future" vision. Just as tourists give a finger scan to enter Disney parks, air travellers seven to 10 years from now may identify themselves with a fingerprint, biometric passport or mobile-phone boarding pass. Most passengers would then stroll through a tunnel where their unopened hand luggage would be scanned. They would emerge with immigration clearance and board their plane with another fingerprint.

In the air

North America and Europe no longer dominate world aviation. Instead the Asia-Pacific region will account for half of global airline profits this year. It also boasts the four top airlines in terms of market capitalization, says Giovanni Bisignani, the International Air Transport Association's director-general. They are Air China, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and China Southern. If airline ownership restrictions were abandoned, he said, some North American airlines may be bought by Chinese companies.

Sources: IATA, Associated Press

Special to The Globe and Mail

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