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Best Of 2011: The Biggest Travel Stories Of The Year

Posted: 12/13/11 08:22 AM ETUpdated: 12/14/11 08:44 AM ET

2011 Best Travel

Another year down, another year closer to the Mayan apocalypse. And, what a year it was.

Sure it was often punctuated by celebrities getting kicked off planes and the TSA patting down some old lady or child, but there were still those stories that shaped the face of travel both here and abroad. Events like Hurricane Irene and the Japanese tsunami severely impacted transportation and tourism. So, too, did the introduction of the much-anticipated Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will change the face of the skies.

In the spirit of remembering the trip around the sun that was 2011, here are the 11 biggest news stories of the year. Think we missed one? Share your thoughts in the comment below.

Tsunami Hits Japan & Tourism Industry
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On March 11 an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan, which triggered a tsunami that decimated part of the country's north.

It's no surprise that tourism to the country was hard hit, and is still recovering. Celebrities like Lady Gaga lent a supporting voice, and the country promoted tourism by giving away 10,000 airplane tickets to international tourists. The situation also opened the door for voluntourism efforts in the country.

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images
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Filed by Rebecca Dolan  |