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'The World Has Finally Opened Up'; Travel Numbers Rising As COVID-19 Restrictions Loosen Worldwide

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As the worst of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have passed, Americans are finally returning to the roads and skies to travel, many of which converged at the L.A. Convention Center Sunday for the 16th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show.

Over 350 destinations were represented at the show, which was crowded throughout the weekend as Angelenos begin to venture out both within and outside of County limits.

Featured destinations included Japan, South Korea, Croatia, the Bahamas, Florida and more as both domestic and abroad options were available to offer additional information to potential tourists.

CBS News Correspondent and Travel Editor Peter Greenberg was a keynote speaker at the event Sunday, and he took the time to speak with CBS reporters in attendance at the convention center.

"What you're seeing now is most countries are starting to relax or eliminate the testing requirements and quarantine protocols" he said.

As a response, people around the world have started to explore their options for travel after more than two years of being stuck at home.

"I like to have a couple of big trips a year," said a man in attendance. "So, I'm trying to get best ideas, best practices and I'm excited to get back. I have a big trip planned for Italy and Greece. ... I want to book some more for next year."

Greenberg did note that any Americans planning to travel still have to produce a negative COVID-19 test for at least 24 hours before returning stateside.

Destination experts aplenty were in attendance as well, as they provided invaluable information on how to take advantage of the low prices and less congested transportation options.

"I like to travel, I like road trips. So, I'd like to explore more in the country," said one woman who took advantage of the event Sunday afternoon. "Just get out and see after being locked down for so long."

However, some factors are still having a distinct effect on travel, including the War in Ukraine; travelers heading towards Europe have had flights rerouted over recent weeks. The gas crisis has also raised prices substantially for several travel options.

Greenberg is confident that Americans will still be eager to start visiting foreign places, joking that "We're creatures of habit. We will not be denied our cars. We will not be denied our car trips, and if we have to strap four people in with grannie on the roof and do a remake of 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' we're still gonna hit the road."

"It's not just something that people just like to do, it's something they need to do," Greenberg concluded, noting that travel is beneficial for a variety of reasons including happiness, stress relief and increase in creativity.

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