Thursday, 30 November 2017

You're Welcome

HOT on the heels of being awarded the accolade of most beautiful country in the world, #Scotland is now officially the most welcoming country in the world, according to Rough Guides. 

Scotland has natural beauty in spades, munros, lochs, stunning isles and more, with a personality to match; consider everything from ceilidh-ing with strangers to chats with Glaswegian taxi drivers!

As Rough Guides states, “Whether you’re propping up a bar in Edinburgh or trekking the hills of Glen Coe, you’re sure to feel a warm Scottish welcome from whomever you meet.”


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Over the rainbow

THE Vinicunca Mountain, also known as the Rainbow Mountain, is no longer a secret tucked in the central Andes of #Peru. It has become an alternative attraction to the famed Machu Picchu citadel, and nowadays you can find day tours to visit this geological wonder. In fact, it’s becoming one of the top activities to do while in Cusco.

Locals say that the Rainbow Mountain used to be covered in glaciers that melted due to global warming, thus its late touristic discovery. The minerals in the Rainbow Mountain caused the sandstones to acquire a red rust-like color that contrasts the yellow, maroon and turquoise stripes, caused by the presence of other minerals combined with weathering; truly a geological wonder.

The Rainbow Mountain is now more accessible than ever thanks to http://RainbowMountain.Center, where you can book a day trip that leaves from Cusco early in the morning and arrives four hours later to the towns of Chilca or Japura situated at the bottom of the mountain. From there you’ll hike five miles for about two or three hours until you reach the peak. It sounds easy, but it’s actually challenging due to the elevation (17,000 feet).



Getting to the top of the Rainbow mountain involves a steep hike that could be extremely challenging for individuals who are not fully acclimatized to the altitude. It’s recommended you spend at least a couple of days in Cusco prior to the excursion.

Horse rentals and muleteers are also available for travelers not wanting to hike in high altitude. Locals rent horses to take you and your gear up and down covering 98% of the entire trek. There are 2 very steep sections that everyone has to hike on their own for about 10 minutes each in order to protect the horses from exhaustion.

Once you reach the Rainbow Mountain, the most scenic view is to trek to the top of the opposing mountain in order to take the classic Rainbow Mountain picture that is currently so popular in social media. From this summit, you can see the entire Red Valley below. Venturing into the Red Valley below makes you feel as if you are in a completely different planet as the vibrant red and yellow rocks and multi-color sediments create a truly unique environment unlike any other on planet earth.


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New Adina Apartment Hotels to open in Leipzig, Hamburg and Munich

TOGA Hospitality (now TFE Hotels) opened its first hotel in #Germany in 2007 at the famous Berlin Wall crossing point Checkpoint Charlie in the Mitte district, known as Berlin’s beating heart. 

The group created a new niche for high quality apartment hotels and today the brand is flourishing there, working towards opening its tenth hotel in Germany, which is set to open in Munich in 2019. 

The Adina Apartment Hotel Leipzig opens in November 2017 in the city’s historic city centre and beside the medieval market square. Adina Apartment Hotel Hamburg Speicherstadt opens in February 2018 in the centre of Germany’s second largest city, between the famous redeveloped warehouse district ‘Speicherstadt’ and the main shopping district.
 

 
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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Jordan and Israel by pedal power

SPICEROADS Cycling, one of the world’s leading #bicycle adventure tour operators, has announced that #Jordan and #Israel will be the latest additions to a range of itineraries now covering 32 destinations.

These tours mark the first launched under the new segments "Road" and "Trails," introduced as part of the rebrand which SpiceRoads Cycling underwent earlier in 2017. "By clearly segmenting our tour types, we can make sure that we cater to the specific needs of different kinds of bikers in today's cycling culture," says Maria Deevoy, Marketing Manager at SpiceRoads Cycling.

The Road Biking tour also marks the 7th and 8th destinations in which SpiceRoads has launched road cycling, having branched out from their road cycling base, Thailand in 2015, the company followed with Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Japan and Malaysia; often combining with multi country tours.

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Travelbag reveals top travel trends for 2018

WITH nearly 40 years of experience creating tailor made holidays to long haul #destinations worldwide, the experts at Travelbag always have their finger on the pulse of what’s next in travel.  From blockbuster breaks, party pilgrimages and ‘skip-gen’ #holidays, here are Travelbag’s top seven predictions for 2018 travel:

Into the Blue (Planet II) - David Attenborough’s masterpiece Blue Planet II is doing anything but floundering. Travelbag is seeing an increase in bookings to Borneo to encounter gentle green turtles and to Tanzania for a jaws-dropping look at whalesharks in their natural habitat. Since the programme aired, Travelbag experienced a zing in website traffic to its Australia packages from holidaymakers keen to explore Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef on the planet.

Foodies Go Four Wheels - Travelbag reports a growing interest in tailor made self-drive tours to South Africa, Australia and the USA, especially for the more discerning foodie looking to travel to all ends to taste the next culinary craze. These travellers know exactly where they want to travel, and what they want to eat, but they want the expertise of a Travel Expert to handle the logistics, such as flights, car hire and multiple hotel bookings, and to also provide the all-important support and booking protections. Travelbag recommends America’s Deep South where the culinary curious can hit the open road to sample all sorts of delights, such as fried okra, honey baked ham, pecan pie and seasoned fried chicken.#

Blockbuster Breaks - 2018 is set to be another blockbuster year in film and will once again motivate holidaymakers to walk in the footsteps of their favourite on-screen characters. Travelbag predicts the Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, will see cinema buffs booking a ticket to South Africa where the film was shot. The spotlight shines on India’s tangled jungles for a second year in a row with the new live-action remake of The Jungle Book, directed by Andy Serkis and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Rohand Chan, Matthew Rhys, Christian Bale and Tom Hollander.

Skip-gen Travel - Marcel Proust said, ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’ Active and adventurous grandparents with extra cash and endless free time are taking the grandkids along for the ride in 2018. Travelbag predicts that Vancouver, South Africa and Queensland will be the top long-haul destinations for skip-gen holidays because they are easy to explore independently, there is no language barrier and they offer abundant wildlife viewing to make memories that last a lifetime.

Party Pilgrimages - With Chile’s 200th year of independence, New Orleans 300th birthday, the Winter Olympics in South Korea and Mauritius’s 50-year anniversary, 2018 will be the year of epic world parties. Voted the best place to go in 2018 by Lonely Planet, Chile has so much to offer intrepid adventurers. After experiencing Santiago’s roaring food and arts scene, Travelbag recommends a night in the Atacama Desert, famed as a stargazing mecca, a winery tour to taste some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon, and an outdoor adventure in remote Torres del Paine National Park.

Long Haul City Breaks - Culture vultures are avoiding Europe’s overcrowded and frenzied capitals in the summer months and heading further afield. Travelbag’s Travel Experts say larger and newer planes have made the longer journey more comfortable for travellers, while new low-cost airlines are making long haul city breaks more affordable than ever. 

World wanderers can coffee-shop crawl in New York, get their art fix at the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town and shop ‘till they drop in Toronto’s trendy Queen West neighbourhood.

Cheap Thrills
- With never ending changes to exchange rates across the globe, money saving, savvy travellers want to find a destination where they will be guaranteed the most bang for their buck. In a surprise take-over, Tokyo was voted the cheapest destination in this year’s Post Office Long-Haul Holiday Report, in partnership with Travelbag. There has never been a better time to visit the Japanese capital.
www.travelbag.co.uk

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Domestic leaisure travel leads in the U.S. despite Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

DOMESTIC leisure travel led all travel segments in September 2017 despite the destructive hurricanes that pummeled U.S. states and territories during a normally busy season, according to the latest Travel Trends Index (TTI).

The increase marked the 93rd consecutive month of travel growth. However, overall travel volume grew at a slower year-over-year rate in September than in August.

Domestic business travel dipped modestly, likely due to a calendar shift in Jewish holidays and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.




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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Helsinki sees growth in cruise visitors in 2017

INTERNATIONAL cruises to the Baltic Sea are growing in popularity. The summer cruise season in #Helsinki too was extremely busy, as international cruise ships brought a total of 478,000 cruise visitors to the Finnish capital. This represents growth of almost 17 percent compared to last year, when Helsinki attracted 409,000 cruise visitors. 

This year’s figure also beats the previous record of 436,500 cruise visitors, which was set in 2015. A total of 266 cruise ships visited Helsinki in 2017. Although this is fewer than the record set in 2013, the record number of cruise visitors in 2017 reflects the growing capacity of international cruise ships. Helsinki also anticipates a busy cruise season in 2018.

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Above the clouds in comfort with Lufthansa




LUFTHANSA has revealed one of its best-kept secrets and unveiled the concept for its brand new Business Class. It will be available on regular routes for the first time in 2020, with the roll-out of the Boeing 777-9. The new seat is the key element of the service and comfort level in the cabin, which have been improved even further. It was developed with the goal of facilitating the best and soundest sleep up above the clouds.

The brand-new Business Class seat was developed exclusively for the German premium airline together with Lufthansa’s customers. Over 500 guests provided in-depth support during the development phases. Privacy and an optimum of comfort for sleeping are two of the most important needs of passengers on international routes – both are handled perfectly with the new Business Class concept. 

 The new Business Class will also be setting standards from a technological point of view. Thanks to digital interfaces, all the functions of the seat as well as the in-flight entertainment system can be controlled using the passenger’s personal device. Smartphones and tablets can be recharged at the seat using wireless technology. And in the future, anyone who wants to watch one of the movies from the extensive entertainment program will experience the blockbusters on much larger screens, in full HD.   


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Aloha: enjoy the festival spirit

A trip to #Hawaii is made complete by the islands’ ‘Aloha’ spirit.

Encompassing all things Hawaiian – the state-wide festivals bring together music, dance and history throughout the year on various dates. The festivals are a must for travellers looking to experience the true Hawaii. 

www.alohafestivals.com


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Monday, 27 November 2017

Backpack your snowboard

HEADING off to the slopes this winter then pack light with this latest backpack for your snowboard. 

Board Bootie is the lightest, most convenient protective cover for a snowboard which can also be used as a backpack for carrying the board. Developed
 to protect a rider’s investment in a snowboard and to provide a more convenient way to transport a board to the slopes.



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Hiking & Cycling in Hong Kong


HONG KONG may be known as a modern and cosmopolitan city, famous for its myriad skyscrapers, shopping options and dining hotspots, but the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is aiming to shed light on a different side with the launch of their latest campaign Hong Kong’s Great Outdoors. 

The new campaign encourages Aussies to don their active gear and set out to explore a more organic side of the city, one that is far removed from its buzzing urban centre. To show visitors what they are missing out on, the HKTB has recruited a handful of local photographers, including: landscape photographer and a Hong Kong National Geographic 2013 photography winner, Will Cho; veteran outdoor sports photographer, Elvis Mo; a Nature Conservancy 2017 photography winner, Jessica Li; and renowned photographer, Romain Jacquet Lagreze, best-known for his “Vertical Horizon” photo series, showcasing the geometric lines of Hong Kong.

HKTB’s newly published guidebook “Your Guide to Hiking & Cycling in Hong Kong”. The guidebook is available from visitor centres around the city or as an e-version and is divided into three different themes: Hiking in Heritage; Picture-Perfect Vistas; and Geological Wonders, with each section detailing suggested trails, along with the estimated time required and difficulty levels. Visitors are free to escape the hustle and bustle of the city at their own leisure and discover the surrounding beauty whether it be spectacular cityscapes; remote beaches; rustic villages; serene islands; or historical and cultural landmarks. The guidebook also features cycling trails for those who are keen to explore at a slightly faster speed.


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Santa heads south

SANTA is heading south and ditching his usual sleigh for a more traditional mode of island transportation for his annual visit to Waikiki Beach. As part of the #Waikiki tradition, Outrigger invites holiday-makers to take part in the festivities at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort this holiday season with a can’t-miss arrival by Santa in canoe, followed by hula dancing, a delicious breakfast and a meet-and-greet with Mr. Claus himself! 

To celebrate the one-of-a-kind occasion, guests and elves alike can head to the shores of Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort on Saturday, Dec. 9, to cheer-on Saint Nick as he paddles to shore. Santa and his helpers will ride the waves right onto Waikiki Beach to be warmly greeted by a keiki hula group. Following, children and families are encouraged to meet Santa and pose for pictures with the “Hawaiian Kana Kaloka” in the resort’s lobby for a merry and memorable morning.

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Saturday, 25 November 2017

Edinburgh Airport sees another record month

IT'S the seventh consecutive month with over one million passengers using Scotland’s busiest airport.  A total of 1,226,109 people came through the terminal in October, an increase of 8.5% on the same month last year.

Growth in passengers came from the following:


  • Ryanair’s six new routes to Milan Bergamo, Girona, Porto, Vigo and Warsaw Modlin which launched in March and the new three per week service to Eindhoven, which launched on the 1st of September.
  • Overall more people flew with easyJet with more flights operating to city destinations such as Geneva, Amsterdam, London Gatwick, Paris CDG, Basel and Prague. Bilbao was launched on 30th April and has proved popular with the Edinburgh market.
  • Jet2.com operated more services to popular holiday destinations including Las Palmas, Malaga, Pula, Split, Tenerife and Las Palmas. Girona, Almeria, Fuerteventura, Murcia and Naples which have all launched since last year were also popular.
  • More passengers travelled between Oslo and Edinburgh with Norwegian as more flights operated and the aircraft were fuller than last year. The new services to Stewart International (New York), Providence Rhode Island and Bradley International (Hartford/Connecticut) further boosted passenger numbers.
  • Eurowings launched a new six per week service to Munich in March to join its services to Cologne and Dusseldorf.
  • Flybe’s London Heathrow service which launched for the start of the Summer season in March 2017.

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A gentle wander in Oman

IF you love to shop, whether it be pottering through ancient alleyways in a traditional souk, visiting local villages for one of a kind pottery pieces, sifting through shelves of high quality silver then #Oman is the place for you. From traditional #souks and local villages here is the low down on where to shop in Oman. 

Muttrah Souq Since ancient times the traditional market places in Oman have been much more than a place to do trade. Omani souqs are places for social gatherings and there is nowhere better to experience this than Muttrah Souq. The oldest marketplace in the capital, Muttrah Souk- located behind Muttrah Corniche, is a maze of tightly packed, narrow lanes that lead in and out of each other revealing gold, silver, textiles, pottery and dates, together with piquant aromas of incense, spices and varying qualities of frankincense, which waft through the alleyways. Also plentiful, are traditional coffee pots and plates, along with handicrafts, incense burners, Bedouin jewellery and silver khanjars – traditional Omani daggers worn by men. Gold and silver are well priced and are mainly sold by weight. The best time to visit is either early morning or late afternoon. 


Nizwa Souq Once considered a symbol of wealth, Silver has been one of Oman’s most precious metals for four thousand years. Visitors to Nizwa, a place famous for the work of its silversmiths, will find some superb silver pieces at Nizwa Souq. Don’t miss the Friday cattle market where you will witness locals converge to sell or buy a prized new cow, goat or camel.  Afterwards take in the views of Nizwa fort with a delicate cardamom scented Omani coffee and Oman’s most famous Halwa (local sweet) from Al-Saifi’s store. 

Bahla Souq Based in the centre of this mystical village is Bahla Souq, where if you are lucky you can witness the modern form of magic that takes place daily with master potters creating their wares. Many of the incense burners, pots and dishes you see around Oman originate from Bahla so it is a treat to be able to visit the source and Bahla Fort is also well worth a visit. 

Ibra Souq One of Oman’s most interesting souqs is at Ibra, where the Wednesday market is a ‘ladies only’ event. Operated by women, the souq’s specialties cater to women and include silks, handicrafts, Bedu jewellery and sandalwood. Although the real highlight, is viewing the women shopping and chatting with their colourful attire. 

Al Hafah Souq Set amid Salalah’s coconut groves in Oman’s southern Dhofar region is Al Hafah Souq, one of the best markets to buy perfume or high-grade frankincense, myrrh and rose. Once worth more than gold, frankincense is in high demand along with the brightly-painted Dhofari incense burners. Local vendors also sell regional food including hummus and mishkak — Omani barbecue meat cooked over a spit. 


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Picture Credit: By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany - Nizwa Souk, Oman, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24520873



Up in the air . . .

FINNAIR is to add 100 plus weekly flights for 2018/19 European Winter. Finnair will continue to grow its operations during the 2018/19 European Winter season with additional capacity on existing routes in Lapland, Russia and the Baltic countries. 

Finnair General Manager – Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Geoff Stone said Finnair would serve both Kittilä and Ivalo, in Finnish Lapland, with additional daily non-stop flights over the European Winter. Mr Stone said schedules for flights to Lapland airports were being aligned for more convenient connections and increased options for customers.

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Friday, 24 November 2017

Giant of the Ice Age travels Down Under

THE Ice Age world of woolly mammoths is brought back to life for the first time in Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age, exclusive to the Australian #Museum. 

Meet the most complete and best preserved mammoth ever found in the flesh: a 42,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth named #Lyuba (pronounced Lay-oo-bah), whose name means “love” in Russian. 

This is the first time the world’s most intact mammoth – who was discovered in 2007 with her flesh, internal organs, bones and milk tusks all perfectly intact – has travelled to the Southern Hemisphere from Siberia.

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Happy in Hawaii



THE 50th US state, comprising six islands and located in the Central Pacific, is a destination worth visiting in 2018.  Attracting travellers from all over the world, #Hawai‘i is home to dramatic landscapes, white sandy beaches, volcanoes, lava fields, waterfalls and canyons. Visitors can surf, sample local cuisine, explore iconic historical landmarks, visit blockbuster filming locations or snorkel with manta ray all in a week’s getaway.

Hosting international sporting events, major art and film festivals, cultural celebrations and ancient native traditions, Hawai‘i boasts a wealth of exciting calendar events.  2018 includes a variety of signature events in March and April:


Prince Kūhiō Festival, O‘ahu - The festival consists of a series of events, ceremonies and activities celebrating the birthday of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole. The annual Prince Kūhiō Commemorative Parade and the Prince Kūhiō Ho‘olaule‘a and Hō‘ike‘ike takes place in March (2018 dates tbc). The event provides an opportunity for Native Hawaiian artists, musicians, cultural specialists and artisans to share aspects of Hawaiian Culture with visitors and locals alike. princekuhiofestival.org

Honolulu Festival, O‘ahu - Taking place from 9-11 March 2018, the Honolulu Festival highlights the cultural links and relationships between Hawai‘i and the Pacific Rim region. Performers from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Hawai‘i, and the mainland United States collaborate to showcase dance performances and traditional art demonstrations. All events throughout the three day weekend are free of charge and a great opportunity for visitors to get involved and learn about Hawai‘i’s history and heritage. www.honolulufestival.com

Merrie Monarch Festival, Island of Hawai‘i - The annual festival, taking place from 1-7 April 2018, honours the legacy left by King David Kalākaua. Celebrating traditions, native language and arts, the weeklong festival features a hula competition and parade. Individuals will have the chance to compete for Miss Aloha Hula by performing hula kahiko, hula ʻauana and chanting. http://merriemonarch.com

Waikīkī SPAM JAM, O‘ahu - With nearly seven million cans of Spam consumed each year in Hawai‘i, the street festival attracts over 25,000 people each year. Taking place on 28 April 2018, a multitude of Spam inspired dishes are served at Honolulu’s restaurants, alongside performances from hula dancers and local musicians. The family friendly day is free and a great attraction for all to enjoy. spamjamhawaii.com


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Team Scotland Flying High With Glasgow Airport

COMMONWEALTH Games Scotland is pleased to announce a new partnership with Glasgow Airport as Team Scotland continue preparations for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow Airport serves almost 10 million passengers per year and will be the departure point for all athletes and staff travelling with Team Scotland to the Gold Coast Games. In the lead up to the Games, Glasgow Airport will proudly display its support of Team Scotland with in-airport branding and will feature the team in High Flyer magazine.


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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Glorious views and golf

THE countdown to the 2nd Messinia Pro-Am tournament at Costa Navarino has now begun. Taking place February 21-24 it has already received extensive interest globally, counting participants from 14 countries.

This year has seen a much higher interest from golfers; so far, more than 35 teams have registered. Each of the 50 teams will consist of one professional and three amateur golfers who will compete in three rounds at the two 18-hole signature golf courses. The Dunes Course and The Bay Course are set amidst the eternal olive trees overlooking the stunning views of the Ionian Sea and the Bay of Navarino.

Costa Navarino is a prime, sustainable destination in the Mediterranean, located in the Greek region of Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese. One of the most unspoiled and breathtaking seaside Mediterranean landscapes, this area has been shaped by 4,500 years of history. Its philosophy is driven by a genuine desire to promote Messinia, while protecting and preserving its natural beauty and heritage.

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Taking South African Spas to a new level


FAIRLAWNS Boutique Hotel and Spa, tucked away in the leafy residential outskirts of Sandton, Johannesburg, #SouthAfrica already has numerous awards under its belt for its breath-taking Balinese-style spa with exotic gardens. Now it is set to raise the benchmark yet again – as the hotel has purchased an adjoining property and will be launching its new green space extension early next year - yet another milestone on the R25-million reinvention journey of this stylish boutique hotel. 

At an incredible 1.5 acres, it will be the largest and most exclusive spa and wellness space in all of Johannesburg - where guests can truly retreat from the daily grind and just unwind, digitally disconnect - and reconnect with nature to revitalise body and soul. The new extension will include an undercover heated hydro pool, rim flow Jacuzzi, Sentō bath (Japanese style herbal bath), relaxation lounges and salas, a private dining sala for 12 guests.


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Still smiling . . .



THE Smiling Seahorse, a French run scuba diving company operating dive cruises in #Thailand and #Myanmar announced that it has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award.

The Smiling Seahorse operates liveaboard #dive cruises for the last 6 years out of Ranong. Running trips in the best spots of Thailand (namely Surin and Similans Islands) and of Myanmar, also known as Burma, Mergui Archipelago is a new destination offering wonderful dives to the adventurous divers.

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Names New Ship to Launch in 2020


REGENT Seven Seas Cruises, the most inclusive luxury experience, has announced the name of its new ship, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020. The second Explorer-class ship will embody and enhance the elegance, style and luxury that brought forth the high-end features and amenities that have made sister-ship Seven Seas Explorer renowned as the most luxurious ship ever built with her launch in 2016.

The naming of a ship is an important milestone in maritime tradition and it is my pleasure to announce that the name of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new ship to launch in 2020 is Seven Seas Splendor,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.


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Sweat it out in Finland



WHAT do a gondola, the Finnair SkyWheel and a fast food restaurant all have in common? In a country home to over three million saunas it is perhaps no surprise that Finland’s most famous export, the sauna, can be found in unexpected places.  In #Finland, the sauna is an integral part of daily life offering physical and spiritual cleansing, promising an array of health benefits. For many Finns, the sauna is a sanctuary – a place for mental and physical purification and renewal.

In Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena, home to the Jokerit ice hockey team, guests can stay warm at the ice rink with a private sauna. A selection of VIP Skyboxes include saunas fitted with windows so guests can keep their eye on the puck whether they are entertaining clients and colleagues or enjoying a night with family and friends.

Visitors can even enjoy a sauna as they soar above the beautiful Helsinki skyline in the Finnair SkyWheel SkySauna. Spot Helsinki’s most famous landmarks, look out over the open sea and the surrounding islands along the south coast of Finland from the private sauna in the heart of Helsinki which can accommodate up to 20 people.

Roasting sausages on an open fire is often a key part of the Finnish sauna experience, but one newly-opened sauna will give Finns a different dining experience. Guests visiting the Mannerheimintie Burger King branch in Helsinki can enjoy a Whopper while they relax in a 15-person sauna that comes complete with a TV, Burger King bath robes and towels.

Further North, the world’s first sauna gondola takes guests through the breathtaking Lapland landscape at Ylläs ski resort, 718 metres above sea level. On a 20-minute roundtrip journey, guests can enjoy the majestic scenery from the comfort of the four-person sauna gondola.



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Qatar Airways continues expansion in Europe and Russia

QATAR Airways has announced that it will increase daily frequencies to the Scandinavian capitals of Stockholm and Oslo, alongside the Italian cities of Milan and Rome. Due to an increase in demand to key European destinations, especially from the Asia Pacific region, flights to Rome, Milan and Stockholm will increase to 17 per week from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, while flights to Oslo are set to increase from seven to 10 frequencies per week.

The award-winning airline has also announced that double daily flights to the Russian capital Moscow will increase to three times daily from 14 December, just five days before Qatar Airways’ inaugural daily flight to the Russian city of St. Petersburg. 

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

JR East and JR Hokkaido to launch new rail pass

JR East and JR Hokkaido are launching the "JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass," a discount pass for travel in Tohoku and South Hokkaido from February 2018.

The JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass gives you unlimited rides on the Shinkansen and Limited Express trains in the Tohoku and South Hokkaido areas, including Sendai, Aomori, Sapporo, Hakodate, and New Chitose Airport.

It costs 20,000 yen (About £135.00) and is valid for 5 flexible days with reserved seats.


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New i-SITE Visitor Centre opens in New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND'S newest i-SITE Visitor Centre opened in Foxton on Saturday 18 November. Named Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, the Visitor Centre embraces the town’s unique Māori and Dutch heritage, and is situated on Wharf Street in view of the iconic De Molen (windmill).

More than a million international visitors a year visit an i-SITE during their travels in New Zealand. The i-SITE provides valuable information on attractions in their local communities and across the country, inspiring visitors to stay longer and spend more while in New Zealand. The addition of the Foxton i-SITE Visitor Centre brings the total number of i-SITEs nationwide to 81.


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World first solar train arrives in Byron Bay

FOLLOWING six years of planning, restoration of a 1949 heritage train and 3km of railway line, the construction of two platforms and a train shed and the upcycling to produce the world’s first solar train, the two carriage rail motor has arrived in Byron Bay. 

The monumental project comes from not-for-profit heritage rail organisation Byron Bay Railroad Company. Their Byron Bay train will take locals and visitors between Byron township and the burgeoning North Beach precinct incorporating the Byron Arts Estate, the Sunrise residential community and Elements of Byron resort. The 3km journey along the coastal track will cost just $3 for adults with some concessions provided for children.

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Air Portugal flies backwards . . .

TAP Air Portugal, the 72 year-old Portuguese national carrier, on Friday, flew passengers from Lisbon to Newark via the 70s! The A330 aircraft had been painted in the livery design the airline used from the mid 1950s to mid 70s. 

The “retro flight” might have felt like taking a trip back through the 70s for passengers. The cabin crew wore the airline’s most emblematic uniforms, designed by French stylist Louis Féraud. And even the interior of the cabin, the headrests, meals and even the in-flight entertainment have all been remade, in 70s style.

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Fun-filled destinations

THE World’s Most Fun-filled #Destinations explored a range of metrics from the number of amusement parks to the number of bars and restaurants, whilst taking into consideration the square km of these destinations. The Top 5 countries that should be on your bucket list include: 

The Netherlands – While also the number one for culture, the Netherlands boasts a huge array of museums and concert halls. 

Cyprus – With 188 national attractions, 31 casinos and 32 museums, Cyprus was not overlooked in terms of its flow of culture and entertainment. 

Belgium – Despite its small size, Belgium ranks third with 295 national attractions, 50 museums and 45 amusement, animal and water parks. 

United Kingdom – From concert halls and art galleries to Michelin Star restaurants and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there’s a lot of culture to explore across the UK. 

Germany– With the second highest number of Amusement, Animal and Water Parks, Germany has plenty of fun to throw yourself into.


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Under the sea

THE Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium Jerusalem are now running preview tours of the new aquarium before it is officially open to the general public on a daily basis. The preview tours are suitable for adults and children aged 5 and older and last for around 90 minutes. The tours are available multiple times a week in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

These tours offer participants not only a chance to see the fish already inhabiting the pools at the aquarium but also a “behind-the-scenes” look at running of the aquarium that will not be available to the general public without an additional cost once the aquarium is fully operational.

The 6,000 square-meter aquarium will feature dozens of tanks of varying sizes, showcasing thousands of Israel’s fish and marine creatures from the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The Israel Aquarium is the world’s only aquarium dealing with the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and one of the main goals is to bring awareness to the urgent need for maintaining and protecting the sea fish, coral, mammals and other animals in the surrounding waters.


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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Up in the air . . .

ETHIOPIAN Airlines, the largest Aviation Group and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline, is pleased to announce that it has won Airline of the Year Award, for the sixth consecutive year in a row, by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) during its 49th Annual General Assembly held on November 13, 2017, in Kigali. The AFRAA annual awards recognize excellence in service delivery, innovation and competitiveness in airlines, individuals and service providers in the African aviation industry.


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Snorkel your way to a holiday in the Maldives

IN the joyous spirit of Christmas and to celebrate the season of giving, Coco Collection is offering the opportunity to play an online game for the chance to win a holiday in the #Maldives. 

Designed to follow the journey of a guest who is out snorkelling at a reef and is keen to leave the ocean debris free, the game encourages you to help the guest pick up marine debris floating around the reef, and dispose of them so that they do not harm the marine life. Once the reef is clean, a friend will show up to guide you to enter the raffle and win a stay at the luxurious boutique resort, Coco Bodu Hithi.

The raffle will be closed for entries on 27th November 2018 and the winner will be announced through our social media platforms on 29th November 2018. The lucky winner stands a chance to visit Coco Bodu Hithi for 7 nights with full board meal plan and return speedboat transfers, and stay in an Island Villa. 


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Cumbria rewards winter visitors

CUMBRIA Tourism has launched the Love Cumbria rewards card for visitors, to give them easy access to some of the special seasonal experiences they can enjoy during the winter months.

From now until mid-March visitors to the Lake District, #Cumbria can take advantage of over 40 exclusive winter warming offers to a host of quality attractions, restaurants and seasonal treats making it the ‘must have’ holiday accessory of the season. The card can either be bought online or at a participating outlet around the county.

The Love Cumbria card includes ‘2 for 1s’ and up to 25% off entrance to popular attractions, cafes and restaurants. For just £10, the card gives 2 people easy access to the offers for a 2 week period from the date of arrival in the Lake District, Cumbria.

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Cruise News

World Dream, the newest mega ship of Asia’s luxury cruise line Dream Cruises made history as the first-ever cruise ship to be christened in Hong Kong on Friday, 17 November 2017. In celebration of this monumental occasion, Dream Cruises launched an innovative “#TogetherWeBuildDreams” campaign, which engaged cruise enthusiasts from around the world to build a large-scale replica of World Dream, in attempt to break the current world record of the largest LEGO® ship. 

After two months of relentless effort, the giant ship model, collectively built by over 1,000 cruising guests, members of the public, as well as Mr. Andy Hung and Legend Creative, the first LEGO Certified Professional in Greater China region and his team, was officially unveiled at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal today. The attempt was declared successful upon onsite adjudication and the official Guinness World Records certificate presentation.

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