LUX | Exclusive Island Buyout

EXCLUSIVE ISLAND BUYOUT – LUX* NORTH MALÉ ATOLL RESORT AND VILLAS WELCOMES GUESTS BACK TO A SAFE SANCTUARY FROM 15 JULY

LUX* North Malé Atoll Resort & Villas provides an exclusive sanctuary for holidaymakers to enjoy their summer holiday while staying safe with an Island Buy Out Package. Starting at USD 180,000, the package includes roundtrip transfers in a speedboat from the airport as well as daily breakfast, lunch and dinner at any of the resort’s three fabulous restaurants.

Guests will have the run of the spectacular six-hectare island with 67 one- and two-bedroom Beach and Overwater Villas, as well as two of the three-bedroom LUX* Retreats located on the beach and overwater with a private dock.

Discover delightful pop-up treats that LUX* Resorts & Hotels are known for – a movie under the stars; homemade ice creams or sorbets at ICI or uncover secret messages hidden in bottles all over the island.

The surf season is now in full swing with the nation’s most thrilling waves just a mere 40-minute speedboat ride away. The resort even has its own seasonal surf spot, The LUX* Break, which is 5-minute jet ski ride away. After a day of riding the waves, head back to the resort for a spa treatment at LUX* Me Spa and relax with a range of immune-boosting spa treatments.

For those looking for a slower lifestyle, the surrounding atolls and reefs are perfect to explore on the resort’s luxury Lagoon 40 Catamaran with bespoke excursions including shaded picnics on your very own sandbank, or jet ski cruises to explore the neighbourhood.

Carefully crafted gastronomic journeys to satisfy all palates awaits. Glow restaurant dishes up international flavours throughout the day; while INTI, the speciality dinner restaurant, serves up Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Beach Rouge offers a tapas-style Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and a delectable steakhouse menu for dinner.

For people celebrating a special occasion or milestone, the resort’s dedicated events team will be on hand to curate unforgettable moments with floating champagne breakfasts or vow renewal ceremonies with your closest and dearest for a supplement.

“Imagine a pristine island in the middle of the Indian ocean all to yourself, and to add to that, we have multiple dive sites, private surf spots and a sandbank only within five minutes from the resort. This is ideal for any traveller looking to social distance in style, whether it is a family reunion, a celebration or a well-deserved getaway” said John Rogers, General Manager of LUX* North Malé Atoll Resort and Villas.

Collective Care: The Lux Collective’s enhanced global hygiene and sanitisation measures

In addition to recommendations by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the Maldives, the resort’s heightened safety and hygiene practices, known as Collective Care, include hospital-grade cleaning, HACCP certified food & safety standards, minimal contact services such as QR code menus for restaurants and spa, à la carte dining and an in-resort doctor.

The Island Buy-Out Package is available until 31 October 2021 and includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as 60 minutes roundtrip transfers to Velana International Airport, from USD180,000 nett per night for a minimum of 3 nights. Rate is subject to USD6 green tax per person per night.

LUX* North Male Atoll Resort & Villas is now open for reservations for stays from 15 July 2020.

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact the Reservations Team at stay@luxnorthmale.com, call +960 668 2600 or visit www.luxresorts.com

 

Japan’s Favourite Hot Spring Town is celebrating 1,300 Years

Kinosaki Onsen, Japan’s Best Hot Spring Town, is celebrating its 1,300th anniversary this year. The charming village, known for its serene ambiance and its authentic old Japan allure, has been a local favourite since the 8th century when hot springs were discovered in the area.

And whilst wellness and relaxation have remained the obvious drawcards luring local and international visitors every year, Visit Kinosaki points out that the Kinosaki Onsen experience is about way more than simple wellness pleasures.

“Kinosaki Onsen is so much more than just a hot spring town. The town’s 1,300 years of history can be felt at every turn, from the quaint willow-lined streets, its original architecture and heritage to the unique traditions of the locals – it’s a place that will make you step back in time” says Alison Roberts-Brown, former long-term Japan resident and Director of Tourism Garden, representative of Visit Kinosaki in Australia.

The history of Kinosaki Onsen began with a Buddhist monk named Dochi Shonin who travelled the country to help the suffering and ill. His travels eventually brought him to Kinosaki Onsen, where he was instructed by the local oracle to pray for 1,000 days to save the people from suffering. On the 1,000th day, hot spring water came forth. This hot spring water soon became famous throughout the region and the country for its incredible healing powers. Eventually, word reached the emperor of the time. After confirming the authenticity of Kinosaki’s onsen, he gave the title of Guardian Temple of Kinosaki Onsen to the temple erected by Dochi Shonin for the protection of Kinosaki, its hot spring waters, and its people. This temple, called Onsenji Temple, houses a designated national treasure that is only fully displayed once every 33 years for three years at a time (Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu or 11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy in English) and can currently be seen on display in the temple until April 2021.

For the 1300th anniversary, various facilities throughout Kinosaki Onsen are offering special events/items, including special menus at select restaurants, a stamp rally, and limited-edition sake & sweets.

There are very few onsen in Japan that are as old as Kinosaki and have an actual recorded founding date. Kinosaki has been found noted in various historical documents that can authenticate its founding date to 720 AD.

Every year on April 23rd and 24th, a festival called Onsen Festival is held to commemorate Dochi Shonin. The Buddhist monks from Onsenji Temple walk around town to each of the seven public onsen to pray for safety and prosperity of Kinosaki Onsen. This year, due to the coronavirus, just one of these monks performed the rituals at each onsen. In addition to praying to Dochi Shonin, he included a prayer regarding the coronavirus, praying for it to cease soon.

While COVID-19 is keeping folks around the world at home, Visit Kinosaki will be posting photos and videos, as well as live videos of the area in a new corner called ‘Virtual Travel’ on Visit Kinosaki’s Facebook and Instagram pages, so that you can virtually travel while the world is navigating towards a brighter future. Kinosaki Onsen and Toyooka City have been preparing to make the return to travel as safe as possible with new guidelines and efforts. When the time is right to travel again, Visit Kinosaki would love for you to come and celebrate the town’s anniversary.

For more information, visit https://visitkinosaki.com/

 

RESORT DAY PASS EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO THE WESTIN RESORT NUSA DUA, BALI

To ensure that more people have the opportunity to enjoy its renewing facilities, The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali has launched an exclusive Resort Day Pass.

The Resort Day Pass will enable non-staying guests to access the resort’s swimming pools including the kids water slide and the adjacent stretch of white sand beach from 7AM to 7PM with complimentary use of towels and sun-loungers.

The Resort Day Pass is available at only at IDR 400,000 subject to 21% tax and service per person and it includes Westin signature Sangria. Guest will also be able to enjoy Food & Beverage credit with the same value at the Resort’s dining venues including the beachfront Ikan Restaurant. This Resort Day Pass will be a perfect weekend getaway with family as it offers free access for kids below 12 years as well as welcome beverage for kid and ice cream hours. Should guests wish to enhance their relaxing moment, the offer also includes access to Tennis Court and the use of bicycle.

Visitors bearing a Resort Day Pass are welcome to unwind in true tropical style and order refreshments as they please. Food and drinks from outside are not permitted.

For more information, please visit the website www.westinnusaduabali.com or follow the resort’s social media channels Facebookwww.facebook.com/westinbali and  www.instagram.com/westinbali.

 

Red Carnation Hotels Honoured in 25th Travel + Leisure 2020 World’s Best Awards

Ashford Castle named No.1 Resort Hotel in the UK & Ireland, The Oyster Box ranked No.1 Top Resort Hotel in Africa

 

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is honoured to have two of the jewels in its collection awarded number one in their regions in the 25th anniversary Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. Ashford Castle was named ‘No. 1 Resort Hotel in the United Kingdom and Ireland’ and The Oyster Box, Durban’s most beloved hotel, hit the No. 1 spot in the ‘Top Resort Hotels in Africa’ category.

Furthermore, Red Carnation Hotels was listed as number four in the ‘Top 25 Hotel Brands in the World’ and London’s illustrious Milestone Hotel & Residences in Kensington was also listed as number three in the ‘Top London City Hotel’ category.

The awards, voted for by readers of Travel + Leisure, judge hotels on a variety of characteristics including their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and value. With excellence at the heart of everything the collection does, Red Carnation and its individual properties have always scored highly in the awards, year on year. The hotels are landmarks of history and tradition, each lovingly and individually designed with an abundance of original art, antiques and handcrafted furniture. Generous hospitality, passionate staff and world-class dining are also the hallmarks of every stay at Red Carnation. Under the direction of President & Founder, Mrs Beatrice Tollman, the collection also works tirelessly to deliver sustainable luxury and to protect the natural and cultural heritage in each location of its 20 properties around the world.

Ashford Castle is exceptional in every sense. The remarkable, 800-year old property is widely recognised as Ireland’s top castle destination and was once home to the Guinness family. Set in 350 acres of woodland on the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo, the multi award-winning hotel offers exquisite interiors with unique artwork and sumptuous fabrics adorning each of its 83 individually designed rooms. Guests can enjoy extraordinary dining experiences, myriad estate activities including Ireland’s first School of Falconry, an indoor cinema and a state-of-the-art spa.

With all the charm of a bygone era, Durban’s 86-room Oyster Box is the epitome of modern elegance and comfort. Considered a national treasure, South Africa’s most cherished hotel stands majestically on Umhlanga’s beachfront, overlooking the Indian Ocean and the iconic Umhlanga lighthouse. Renowned for exceptional cuisine and the hottest spots in town for sundowners, the hotel’s facilities also include an award-winning Spa, two swimming pools and a 24-seater movie theatre.

The Milestone Hotel & Residences has an enviable location in London’s royal borough, opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens, and just a short stroll from the Royal Albert Hall and many of the city’s finest museums. This elegant and historic hotel blends old world charm, beautiful and rich furnishings and exquisite original artworks with outstanding cuisine, an unmissable afternoon tea and an experienced and passionate team who truly embody the Red Carnation philosophy: “no request is too large, no detail is too small”.

Jonathan Raggett, Managing Director of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, said:

“We are incredibly honoured to have been recognised in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards again this year. Our teams work tirelessly to deliver unsurpassed guest experiences every day and these accolades are a testament to their hard work and dedication, and to the vision of our President & Founder, Mrs Tollman, whose lifelong pursuit of excellence and passion for hospitality is the life blood of Red Carnation Hotels. To see Ashford Castle and The Oyster Box top the lists in their respective categories and to have the wider collection so highly rated within the top hotel brands in the world makes each and every one of us extremely proud, and I would like to thank Travel + Leisure‘s readers for all of their support.”

In a further success for the TTC family of brands, Red Carnation Hotels’ sister companies Uniworld and U by Uniworld this year took home the second and third spots in the top river cruise category.

For more information about Red Carnation Hotels please visit www.redcarnationhotels.com. For details about Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Awards please visit www.travelandleisure.com/worldsbest.

The Gold Coast put on the charms…

Queenslanders are being urged to holiday on the Gold Coast as the first burst of campaign activity launches to support struggling operators looking to capitalise on a tourism-led recovery.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said the new campaign launched on 15 June, is the first step in revitalising Gold Coast’s tourism sector with the push set to be extended interstate once border restrictions are lifted.

“Now that intrastate travel restrictions have eased, we’ve wasted no time in rolling out our ‘Come Back and Play’ campaign to tempt holidaymakers to explore their own backyard, as Aussies emerge from lockdown,” Ms Battista said.

“Gold Coast operators are desperate to clawback the economic losses they sustained as a result of the COVID-crisis and we know pent-up demand for travel will continue to grow as social and travel restrictions are further relaxed.

“The $1.5 million campaign is part of a four-phased plan to trigger a tourism-led economic recovery by reminding Aussies there’s no better place to holiday than in Australia’s favourite playground.

“We are focused on reanimating Gold Coast’s economy to support the one in seven Gold Coasters employed in the tourism sector, alongside our operators, who have felt the brunt of devastation over the past five months.”

The 14-week campaign adapts core experiences and creative components from Destination Gold Coast’s previous successful domestic marketing campaigns that resulted in a record-breaking 14.2 million visitors to the Gold Coast throughout 2019.

Compelling vision of the Gold Coast will be broadcast across free-to-air TV and radio, digital and social media placements to entice audiences to come and play with a range of holiday deals.

Ms Battista said the latest campaign will leverage appetite for drive holidays and primarily target high-spending travellers from Brisbane and regional Queensland.

“Our chief priority is to jump-start the domestic market by stimulating demand, visitation and expenditure for the city,” she said.

“In the immediate term this will be to attract intrastate visitors eager to explore attractions and experiences and engage in activities they’ve missed out on, like dining in at a restaurant or café.”

Destination Gold Coast’s suite of ‘remind’ videos released last month captured the hearts and minds of more than 5 million Aussie and Kiwi viewers during various stages of lockdown, presenting a tactical opportunity to appeal to a captive audience.

A wealth of recent research consistently shows the Gold Coast near or at the top of the list for post-COVID interstate travel.

Ms Battista said the Gold Coast had unfortunately been unable to fully capitalise on the demand as a result of border closures and was hoping interstate travellers would be welcomed back as soon as it was deemed safe to do so.

“Intrastate travel is a welcome step for Gold Coast tourism’s road to recovery, but it is not enough to make up for the shortfall of an estimated financial loss of $310 million per month, after the region arguably the most impacted by the pandemic, was decimated in its wake,” she said.

Twelve experiences, events and products from across the Gold Coast that feature in the campaign include:

  • Rainbow Bay, Coolangatta
  • Sea World, Main Beach
  • Warner Bros. Movie World, Oxenford
  • Miami Marketta, Miami
  • SWELL Sculpture Festival, Currumbin
  • Jumpinpin, South Stradbroke Island
  • Curtis Falls, Tamborine Mountain
  • Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Tallebudgera Valley
  • Gold Coast Broadwater
  • Dreamworld, Coomera
  • Tallebudgera Creek
  • Sea World Cruises, Main Beach

https://www.destinationgoldcoast.com

New Program to Support Domestic Business Events Sector in Australia

A new $1.5 million program launched today will help the domestic business events sector get back on its feet in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and drive new business to regions around Australia.

Tourism Australia’s Business Events Boost Program will provide convention bureaux, convention centres, professional conference organisers and event managers with the opportunity to leverage the agency’s expertise and help win new domestic business.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said that getting the domestic business events industry up and running as quickly as possible would be critical to the industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Business events are one of the most crucial sectors of our tourism industry delivering huge economic benefits to communities around Australia,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with the widespread cancellations of many domestic business events and a significant number of international events postponed.

“With restrictions now starting to lift and interstate travel starting to re-commence, this program will help venues and destinations to better market themselves in what is a highly competitive industry and secure lucrative corporate meetings, annual conferences, exhibitions and incentive events.

“Business events have major flow-on effects by helping to fill hotels, bars and restaurants, and will provide a much-needed boost to businesses and local economies as they rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Business Events Boost Program aims to provide industry with the skills and resources it needs to drive new business for Australia through a range of marketing and distribution initiatives.

The program represents a shift in focus towards the domestic business events space and forms part of a broader recovery strategy being delivered by Business Events Australia to support Australian industry through this time and to ensure Australia continues to be recognised as a quality business events destination.

“With international travel restrictions likely to be in place for some time yet, the recovery of Australia’s business events industry will be driven by domestic activity as soon as it is safe and practical to do so,” Penny Lion, Executive General Manager of Events at Tourism Australia, said.

“We are very pleased to be launching the Business Events Boost Program as part of our overall strategy to help the Australian business events industry recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and  are looking forward to partnering with them to deliver initiatives to help kickstart domestic business events.

“The program is a domestic iteration of our already successful and internationally focussed ‘Advance Program’ and will provide the industry an opportunity to access funding for innovative marketing and distribution initiatives.”

The new Business Events Boost Program will be run by Tourism Australia’s dedicated business events unit, Business Event Australia, throughout FY2020/21. Applications are set to open on 1 July 2020 and close on 30 September 2020.

More information, including details on eligibility criteria, can be found at: Australia.com/businessevents

G Adventures unveils new ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy

New safety measures to be implemented across all G Adventures tours 

As the tourism industry looks to the future of travel following the COVID-19 pandemic, G Adventures has unveiled a new ‘Travel with Confidence’ policy which introduces new safety procedures across all future G Adventures trips. Designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both travellers and employees, while continuing to deliver the adventure of a lifetime, the policy includes new social distancing and hygiene measures that will be in place from the moment travellers join a trip until they depart.

Working with G Adventures’ global supplier network, the new policy encompasses transportation, where travellers eat, accommodation and activities on the ground. It also highlights the importance of G Adventures’ small group offering, which helps facilitate many of the new safety measures, as well as the key role played by the dedicated CEOs (chief experience officers) to provide increased reassurance, local knowledge and support to travellers whilst on a trip.

“Our new Travel with Confidence policy allows us to reassure our travellers that when they are ready to travel again all the necessary procedures are in place to keep them safe on their adventure,” says G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip.

“G Adventures has always run small group tours which by nature mean our travellers have more freedom and space, even before social distancing came into play. Our incredible CEOs have been committed to delivering the best possible experience to our travellers around the world for thirty years. Their local knowledge, expertise and support will play a more important role than ever in helping travellers to feel safe while in destination, so they can focus on enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.

“We have always selected our accommodation, restaurant and food service partners based on their high standards and local roots and we are working closely with them to further optimize their health, safety and cleanliness procedures. This means our travellers can continue to experience these local gems while feeling confident that their safety is being taken care of,” Poon Tip continues.

Focused on reducing risk, the Travel with Confidence policy utilizes the benefits provided by G Adventures’ small group tours, including staying at smaller hotels with fewer guests, while ensuring travellers can continue to foster great connections and access places often overlooked by larger groups.

As part of the new policy, G Adventures’ CEOs will receive increased training beyond their existing first aid and safety training to ensure they are up to date with all new safety procedures and are able to assist travellers should they feel unwell while on tour. Their local knowledge allows for greater flexibility when it comes to knowing the best time to visit certain highlights to avoid crowds whenever possible, and suggesting restaurants with the strictest hygiene practices or those where travellers can reserve a table or room in advance. Equipment used during activities will be subject to increased cleaning measures, while hand sanitizer will be provided wherever possible throughout trips. Travellers will be encouraged to bring their own face coverings such as buffs, facemasks or bandanas, as well as personal hand sanitizer to ensure additional levels of protection.

Increased hygiene protocols will also be included on G Adventures’ fleet of small, private vehicles and boats, with the introduction of daily deep cleaning, compulsory hand sanitizer use before every embarkation, assigned seats for travellers, and facial coverings being recommended while on board. Additional cleaning will take place in high traffic areas on board boats and, to support physical distancing, travellers will be assigned seating during certain meal times. Local transportation has always been a unique part of the cultural experience on many of G Adventures’ tours. In support of this new policy, when it is used, precautions will be followed in adherence to local health and safety regulations to keep travellers safe and sound.

On land itineraries, al fresco dining options and “grab and go” boxes are two new options being introduced as part of increased food safety. Family style or self-serve buffets will be avoided and separate tables or dining areas will be offered wherever possible in restaurants.

G Adventures will work with accommodation providers to introduce increased daily cleaning, with disinfection of surfaces inside traveller rooms and extra cleaning on high contact areas such as light switches, door handles and TV remotes. In addition, no hotel staff will be permitted to enter guests rooms once it has been cleaned to avoid contamination. To support social distancing, those travelling solo and sharing a room will have the same roommate assigned for the entire trip wherever possible. Travellers who desire their own space will be able to take advantage of increased availability of solo rooms and more affordable ‘My Own Room’ rates.

Before starting their trip, travellers will be able to speak with G Adventures’ team of Global Connection Officers, who are available 24/7 on the phone to assist with any safety or health queries. Any traveller feeling unwell in the lead up to their trip will be able to take advantage of G Adventures’ Book with Confidence policy, which provides the flexibility and freedom to delay until they are feeling better (terms and conditions apply).

For more information on the new Travel with Confidence policy visit: https://www.gadventures.com/travel-with-confidence/

Virtual Yoga @ Necker Island

Virtual yoga sessions may well have become a sign of the times right now, however when that live yoga session is coming directly from one of the most exclusive private islands in the world, it might just have something slightly special.

Virgin Limited Edition, who own an award-winning collection of luxury retreats around the world is launching virtual yoga, live from Necker Island, its stunning private island in the iconic British Virgin Islands.

Renowned for not only being the home to Sir Richard Branson, the beautiful 74 acres of private paradise and unquestionably the most idyllic place in the British Virgin Islands, is also home to yoga teacher Katie Doo.

Whilst Katie typically spends her days offering group and private yoga lessons exclusively for the guests of Necker Island, Virgin Limited Edition will be sharing a series of live yoga sessions from Katie, directly from the stunning surrounds of Necker Island.

Katie has more than 10 years’ experience in wellness and beauty and has spent the past year ensuring her skills, combined with the exquisite surrounds of Necker Island, enable her guests to truly switch off, relax and unwind.  And whilst we might not have such a beautiful location to enjoy right now, Katie’s yoga sessions will not only bring her expertise and love for the practice to Instagram; but also the picture-perfect setting of the British Virgin Islands, to us at home.

“The practice of yoga has completely transformed my life”, says Katie.  “I truly believe that great energy is contagious, and yoga enables us to magnify our feel-good vibrations.  It allows us to escape to a special place, especially during a time when life is not quite normal, and exercise becomes an even more important part of our mental wellbeing.

“I couldn’t be happier than to share my practice of yoga and help bring that special place into people’s homes, combined with the incredible location I’m so privileged to spend my days.”

Virtual yoga sessions will be for all levels of fitness and yoga and will start on Thursday 18th June and run weekly for four weeks.

When:          Every Thursday at 17:00 BST, starting 18th June 2020 for four weeks

Where:        Instagram @VirginLimitedEdition

Virgin Limited Edition has been running a succession of virtual programmes including its hugely successful sofa safari from the stunning plains of the famous Maasai Mara at its tented safari camp, Mahali Mzuri, as well as Ulusaba, its luxury private game reserve in the Sabi Sand, South Africa.  Despite the fact that it is still difficult to travel right now, this virtual series of videos have allowed us to still dream of travelling.

Additional Virgin Limited Edition’s Lives:

 Live game drive from the magic of the bush at Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

When:          Every Monday at 3:00pm BST

Where:         Instagram – @VirginLimitedEdition

Live game drive from the majesty of the Maasai Mara at Mahali Mzuri

When:          Every Wednesday at 3:00pm BST

Where:         Facebook – @VirginLimitedEdition

For more information on Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Mahali Mzuri, Necker Island or Virgin Limited Edition call T: 0800 716 919 (UK toll free). Alternatively e-mail enquiries@virginlimitededition.com.

AlUla re-opening October 2020

In October 2020, AlUa, an undiscovered wonder of the world which includes a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will officially re-open and welcome visitors.

While some attendees of AlUa’s Winter at Tantora annual arts festival have been granted access to the archaeological sites in the event’s first two years, now for the first time, AlUla’s landmarks of unprecedented historical and cultural significance and its 250,000 years of human legacy are going to be accessible for all visitors all year round.

AlUla is in North West Saudi Arabia and is accessed via air from Jeddah or Riyadh, and by car from Medina, Tabuk Airport, and the Red Sea. With a focus firmly on conservation and responsible tourism, since 2017 The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has been transforming AlUla into a must-visit culture and heritage destination.

Visitors will be able to access the main heritage sites, cultural touring options, and a range of adventure experiences.

Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Officer, RCU said, “With the rebound of the travel sector undoubtedly starting close to home, KSA residents within a drive or a short flight of AlUla will get a head start on experiencing the raw, natural beauty and monumentality of landscapes in their backyard.”

Overnight visitors can choose from five accommodation providers each with its own take on desert luxury. AlUla’s accommodation stock is set to progressively increase to more than 9400 rooms by 2035.

The four key heritage sites that visitors will be able to access are, Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008; Dadan, probably one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; Jabal Ikmah, often referred to as the ‘open-air library’, offering insights to ancient beliefs, rituals and practices of every-day life; and Old Town, the ancient walled city of AlUla which has been at the crossroad of civilisations from the twelfth century CE.

AlUla’s immersive experiences will also extend beyond the heritage sites.

Walks, treks and trails will be available both guided by the local Rawi (Arabic storyteller) or self-guided for visitors who want to delve deeper into the stories and customs of the region.

“We are developing immersive, light-touch experiences that harness the power and silence of the landscapes, experiences like guided stargazing in a desert night sky that has inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature for millennia.”

Adventure tourists will also be catered for, whether it’s tearing around the sandscapes in a desert buggy, or taking to the skies in a vintage light air-craft to see volcanic craters and key hole tombs in the lava fields of Harrat Khaybar.

For families, Hijrat Noura, or Princess Noura Farm, located close to Hegra offers a chance to get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna.

Winter Park, an experience developed for the Winter at Tantora festival will also make a come-back as a more permanent attraction offering a casual open-air atmosphere for food trucks and art installations.

After a day of sightseeing, visitors can stroll through the cool and sheltered oasis – a green canopy of palm grove where the air is perfumed with the scent of dates, orange and mint grown nearby.

Dining options include local restaurants, many featuring produce sourced from nearby farms.

For the business tourism market, Maraya, a wonder of the architectural world, is a multi-use 500-seat events venue that is covered in 10,000 square metres of mirrors, reflecting the surrounding landscape. Maraya is scheduled to re-open in December 2020.

“A visit to AlUla is a transformative experience to all who have visited. Its vast open spaces, its secrets of civilisations gone by and the pure wonder of its landmarks – both old and new,” said Mr Jones.

ABOUT THE ROYAL COMMISSION FOR ALULA
The Royal Commission for Al-Ula(RCU) was established on July 20th, 2017 to protect and safeguard Al-Ula, embarking on a long-term plan to develop and deliver a sensitive, sustainable transformation of the region, reaffirming it as one of country’s most important archaeological and cultural destinations and preparing it to welcome visitors from around the world.

New Caledonia Goes Virtual

New Caledonia Tourism has launched a new virtual hub filled with immersive videos and images to discover a taste of the South Pacific destination until borders reopen. Head to newcaledonia.travel to explore the flavours of New Caledonia with recipes inspired by the destination, chill out with a range of relaxing music videos set to soothing views of New Caledonia’s landscapes or get your adrenaline pumping with a 360 degree video experience – such as skydiving over New Caledonia’s UNESCO World Heritage listed lagoon.

“While international borders remain closed, New Caledonia Tourism wants to keep the dream of travel alive for our Australian neighbours. This is just a taster of what travellers can enjoy in New Caledonia, and we look forward to welcoming visitors again soon to discover all they’ve experienced virtually and so much more,” said Emilie Hess, Director of New Caledonia Tourism, Australia.

New content will be launched on the hub and via New Caledonia’s social media each week. Follow #NewCalUploading on Facebook and Instagram to join the conversation.

For more information, visit newcaledonia.travel.