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Sarah Hedley Hymers

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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About Sarah
Sarah Hedley Hymers is a broadcast, print and web journalist based between Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and London, UK. Sarah hosts food and travel TV shows for the international channel Euronews; her latest show explored the lesser-known mountainous region of Aseer in Saudi Arabia. She is also a Destination Expert for the Telegraph covering Dubai, Oman and The Maldives. Her latest book, Lonely Planet's Dubai & Abu Dhabi guide, will be released in March 2024.
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Kuwait ranks among world's happiest countries

25 Mar 2024  |  www.connectingtravel.com
The World Happiness Report 2024 has been released, listing Finland as the happiest country for the seventh consecutive year. Kuwait is notably ranked 13th. The report evaluates countries based on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. The rankings are derived from data collected by Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and an editorial board, covering over 140 countries. Despite ongoing conflict, Israel is ranked fifth, with rankings based on a three-year average.

Musafir.com reports 40% YoY increase in 2024 Eid holiday enquiries

07 Mar 2024  |  Connecting Travel
Musafir.com, a UAE-based online travel agency, has reported a 40% year-over-year increase in enquiries for the 2024 Eid holidays. The company has identified travel trends for the Eid and Ramadan period, noting a shift in preferences among UAE residents. Trends include extended vacations, family travel, emerging destinations, and a balance between affordability and luxury. Popular destinations include CIS countries and there is a notable growth in women's group and solo travel. Business travel has also grown by 25% compared to 2023, with a focus on sustainability. Raheesh Babu, COO of Musafir.com, highlighted the diverse travel preferences of UAE residents and the company's commitment to meeting these trends.

Dubai's Maison de la Plage sees 2,000 guests on opening weekend

06 Mar 2024  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Maison de la Plage, Fundamental Hospitality's first beach club and restaurant concept, opened on Dubai's West Palm Beach, attracting 2,000 guests during its opening weekend. The venue offers a blend of French Mediterranean cuisine and beach experiences, with a menu by chef Izu Ani. Fundamental Hospitality plans to open a second beach club, Sirene by GAIA, in Dubai's Jumeirah 1 neighborhood in September 2024.

Michelin Guide launches hotel ratings

10 Oct 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
The Michelin Guide, known for its restaurant rankings, will start rating hotels with the Michelin Key system from 2024. The new guide will evaluate hotels based on five criteria, including local experience contribution, architectural and interior design excellence, service quality, uniqueness, and value consistency. Initially, 5,300 hotels in 120 countries will be assessed. The Michelin Key hotels will be bookable via Michelin's platform, generating commission for the company. This expansion follows Michelin's acquisition of Tablet Hotels nearly five years ago.

UAE's first mega-festival UNTOLD Dubai has sold 10,000 tickets to date

05 Oct 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
UNTOLD Dubai, a four-day music festival set to take place at Expo City Dubai in February 2024, has sold out its first release of 10,000 tickets. The event is expected to attract 70,000 attendees and feature headline DJs like Armin Van Buuren. UNTOLD's European edition in Romania draws 375,000 festival goers annually. The festival is part of Expo City's rebranding efforts post-Expo 2020 Dubai, aiming to establish Dubai as a premier international events hub. Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, emphasized the city's capability to host mega events.

EMEA travellers booking trips further in advance according to Skyscanner

01 Oct 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Global travel marketplace Skyscanner's new report, 'Skyscanner Horizons: Destination & Booking Insights Q1 2023', reveals that EMEA-based travellers are increasingly booking trips to Asia, with significant surges in searches for Taiwan, Japan, and Laos. The report highlights a trend of EMEA travellers planning summer holidays two to three months in advance, with a notable increase in long-haul bookings made more than 90 days ahead. The data indicates growing confidence among travellers to book long-haul trips further in advance as pandemic-related uncertainties wane.

Ras Al Khaimah welcomed more than 1m visitors in 2022

01 Oct 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority reported a 15.6% increase in visitors in 2022, totaling over 1.13 million. December 2022 saw a record-breaking footfall, partly due to the emirate's New Year’s Eve fireworks and drones display, which set two Guinness World Records. The emirate also welcomed three luxury cruise ships and plans to attract more with improved passenger facilities. Future developments include the opening of a multibillion-dollar Wynn Resort in 2026, featuring the region's first casino.

Celestyal to sail from Doha in November

01 Oct 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Celestyal has announced its first Arabian Gulf cruise, set to sail from Doha, Qatar in November 2024. This marks the cruise line's transition to a year-round global operation. The seven-night Desert Days itinerary will include stops in Bahrain, Dubai, Khasab, Sir Bani Yas Island, and Abu Dhabi, running through January 2025. Chief Commercial Officer Lee Haslett expressed pride in the milestone and hinted at more upcoming surprises for 2024.

SalamAir to operate year-round Muscat-Beirut flights

30 Sep 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Oman's first low-cost airline, SalamAir, will permanently operate flights from Muscat to Beirut every Saturday starting 30 September 2023, with additional flights during the New Year holiday period. The decision comes in response to high demand and successful bookings for holiday and summer season flights. The service aims to cater to Lebanese expats, tourists, and business opportunities, enhancing connectivity and economic benefits for both countries. SalamAir's network includes 41 destinations since commencing operations in 2017.

Capital Travel releases Prophet Muhammad's birthday holiday packages from AED1,599

29 Sep 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Capital Travel, a UAE-based travel agency, has introduced two new holiday packages to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on 29 September. The packages include a three-night/four-day trip to Tbilisi for AED1,599 and a four-night/five-day trip to Colombo for AED2,259, both available from 15 to 30 September 2023. These packages offer inclusive deals with flights, four-star hotel stays, and daily breakfast, aiming to provide travelers with memorable experiences in these vibrant destinations. Capital Travel is a subsidiary of Tourism 365 under the ADNEC Group.

Interview: Phil Dickinson on Qatar’s Post-World Cup Tourism Strategy

24 Sep 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Phil Dickinson, Vice President of International Markets at Visit Qatar, discusses Qatar's tourism strategy post-FIFA World Cup 2022. The country has seen a strong start to 2023 with events like Shop Qatar and the Qatar International Food Festival driving record arrivals, particularly from GCC markets. The new half-a-billion-dollar Grand Terminal has boosted the cruise sector, with major lines like MSC, Costa, Aida, and Tui servicing Qatar. MICE and Indian weddings have also been significant tourism drivers. Upcoming events include the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix and the MotoGP Qatar Airways Grand Prix 2023. Qatar Airways, the world's best airline, and Hamad International Airport, the world's best airport, support the tourism infrastructure. Qatar is actively promoting in priority markets through representative offices, PR, media, trade shows, and familiarization trips.

Ras Al Khaimah hires Beautiful Destinations to promote emirate

15 Sep 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Beautiful Destinations, a major online travel influencer and marketing agency, has partnered with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority to create a short-form video campaign aimed at promoting the emirate. The campaign, which will be featured on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, includes 30 pieces of content designed to inspire travelers through cinematic-style videos. Raki Phillips, CEO of RAKTDA, highlighted the record-breaking visitor numbers in the first half of 2023 and the effectiveness of short-form video in marketing. Ras Al Khaimah was featured in Time magazine's World's Greatest Places of 2022 and CNN Travel's Best Destinations to Visit in 2023, and it has seen significant growth in tourism and hotel infrastructure.

Banyan Tree reveals plans for Bluewaters Island hotel takeover

15 Sep 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Banyan Tree Group is set to make its Dubai debut with a new hotel on Bluewaters Island, taking over the site of Caesar’s Palace Dubai. The hotel, to be rebranded as Banyan Tree Dubai, will open in late 2023 and will feature 179 rooms, 30 suites, a four-bedroom villa, and 96 private residences. The resort will offer a luxury wellness oasis with Asian-inspired hospitality. The project is a result of a partnership with ACCOR and Ennismore, and is part of a strategic agreement signed in 2016. Dubai Holding's CEO Amit Kaushal highlighted the importance of the collaboration in enhancing Dubai's hospitality landscape.

Travel Counsellors UAE celebrates continued success at 2023 annual conference

14 Sep 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Travel Counsellors UAE held its 2023 annual conference at Park Hyatt Dubai, celebrating a 27% increase in sales year-on-year. The event featured speeches from notable figures like Holly McCann and Donna Benton, and included a supplier trade show with over 40 partners. The conference concluded with an awards ceremony recognizing top performers. Travel Counsellors UAE, established in 2012 as a joint venture with dnata, continues to expand, recently opening a second branch in Abu Dhabi.

Buenos Aires’ Tres Monos wins Art of Hospitality Award 2023

13 Sep 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Buenos Aires bar Tres Monos has been awarded the Art of Hospitality Award in 2023 by The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy. The award recognizes the bar where the best hospitality experience was received during the voting period. The winners of the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards 2023 will be announced on 17 October in Singapore, with additional awards and rankings to be revealed ahead of the event.

The Lodge at Blue Sky wins World’s 50 Best Hotels One to Watch Award

12 Sep 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
The Lodge at Blue Sky, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, has been awarded the One to Watch Award in the inaugural World’s 50 Best Hotels 2023 listing. Located in Utah, the lodge is celebrated for its luxurious and sustainable design, offering unique nature-led adventures and a variety of outdoor activities. The recognition highlights the lodge's commitment to providing a one-of-a-kind guest experience, blending luxury with environmental consciousness.

Aman appoints Maria Sharapova as Global Wellness Ambassador

12 Sep 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Aman has entered a multi-year partnership with former tennis star Maria Sharapova, appointing her as the Global Wellness Ambassador. Sharapova will co-create wellness retreats at various Aman properties, focusing on performance and recovery. This collaboration enhances Aman's wellness offerings and leverages Sharapova's expertise in wellbeing practices. Aman’s 34 hotels and resorts, including Amanpuri in Thailand and Amanbagh in India, are known for their transformative wellness immersions.

Emirates airline partners with New South Wales

11 Sep 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Dubai-based Emirates has announced a strategic partnership with Destination NSW, enhancing its Dubai-to-Sydney route with three daily flights, including a double daily A380 service. The collaboration, supported by the NSW Government Aviation Attraction Fund, aims to rebuild aviation capacity to pre-pandemic levels and promote New South Wales to international travelers. Highlights include Sydney's famous beaches, cultural scene, and attractions like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as the diverse natural landscapes and cultural experiences across the state.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts reaches more than 100 properties in Turkey

11 Sep 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has expanded its presence in Turkey, surpassing 100 hotels with recent openings including the Days Hotel by Wyndham Istanbul Esenyurt and others. As the largest international hotel company in Turkey, Wyndham's portfolio is the fifth largest globally. The expansion aligns with Turkey's growing tourism, particularly from the Gulf and Middle Eastern countries. Panos Loupasis and Dimitris Manikis of Wyndham expressed commitment to the market and the significance of the milestone coinciding with the Republic of Turkey's 100th anniversary.

Anantara Kihavah Maldives unveils refurbished over-water pool villas

11 Sep 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Anantara Kihavah Maldives in Baa Atoll has completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of its Over Water Pool Villas, aiming to position them among the most luxurious in the Maldives. The renovation, led by Atelier Pod, features a wooden cabin aesthetic with smart technology and local materials. The villas now have lighter color schemes, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, and glass-bottomed soaking bathtubs. The extended decks include new seating, larger hammocks, outdoor rain showers, and updated infinity pools. A new villa category for families has also been introduced. General Manager Sjefke Jansen highlighted the enhancements and the introduction of the One Bedroom Family Over Water Pool Villa.

Hotel Review: Amankila, Bali

23 Aug 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Amankila, located in East Bali, offers a serene and luxurious resort experience with hillside villas, sea views, and a private black sand beach. The resort features a three-tier infinity pool, complimentary water sports, and cookery classes. Accommodations include traditional Balinese teak suites with modern amenities such as Japanese Toto toilets. The Restaurant and The Terrace offer international and Italian dining options, while The Bar and The Beach Club provide drinks and light bites. Activities include spa treatments, water sports, and excursions to snorkelling sites and cultural landmarks. The resort emphasizes relaxation and rejuvenation, with limited entertainment options to encourage a peaceful stay.

With ‘revenge travel’ waning, experts share how to adapt to the market

30 Jun 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
A Bankrate report indicates that economic challenges are leading travellers to alter their plans, with a significant percentage unable to afford summer holidays. Travel industry experts suggest adapting to the market by leveraging technology, offering a range of options for different budgets, utilizing loyalty programs and discounts, and maximizing profitability through cross-selling. The concept of 'revenge travel' is diminishing, and the industry is advised to prepare for a competitive environment.

The World's 50 Best Restaurants Extended List Has Been Revealed

20 Jun 2023  |  Connecting Travel
The extended list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, ranking from 51 to 100, has been revealed, featuring 12 new entries from 11 cities, including Dubai's Ossiano led by chef Gregoire Berger. The top 50 winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 20, 2023, in Valencia, which will be streamed live on YouTube.

Interview: Gede Suteja on making a name in the wellness sector

13 Jun 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Gede Suteja, the general manager of COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, discusses the unique selling points of the wellness retreat, including its environment, wellness programs, and cuisine. The retreat competes with other global wellness retreats and luxury hotels in Ubud. Suteja outlines the support offered to the travel trade, including industry rates and global sales offices. Key source markets are identified, with a focus on expanding in the Middle East, India, and China. The hotel's sustainability practices and strategies for increasing occupancy and revenue are highlighted, along with staff retention methods. New developments, such as a tennis court and enhanced wellness programs, are in the pipeline.

What foodies need to know about the World's 50 Best Restaurants ranking

08 Jun 2023  |  Connecting Travel
The World's 50 Best Restaurants ranking has expanded to include a list of the top 100, with the latter 50 revealed on June 8, 2023, and the top 50 to be announced in Valencia, Spain on June 20. The list is based on votes from over 1000 judges including food journalists and chefs, who can only vote for restaurants they've visited in the past 18 months. The extended list features notable restaurants such as Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen and Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare. Dubai's Ossiano and potential Middle East contenders like Orfali Bros Bistro and Fusions by Tala are highlighted, along with London's Brat, Lyle's, and Core by Clare Smyth. Bangkok is also recognized with four entries on the extended list, and the article suggests securing reservations at Kol in London and exploring Bangkok's culinary scene.

Kimberly Rose Kneier on Rising Wellness Trends in 2023

19 May 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Kimberly Rose Kneier, Director of Wellness at COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, discusses the emerging wellness trends in 2023, including the importance of social connections, nature, and authentic cultural experiences in wellness travel. She highlights the integration of technology in fitness and nutrition, such as the COMO Shambhala Anywhere app, and the focus on food quality in their cuisine. Kneier also mentions upcoming wellness programme enhancements at the estate, like the introduction of ice baths and a hyperbaric oxygen machine, and the increasing public interest in comprehensive wellbeing.

Interview: Cruise Master's Ashok Kumar shares key sales insights for agents

10 May 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Ashok Kumar, founder and managing director of Cruise Master, discusses the growth and opportunities in the Middle East cruise industry, highlighting river cruising and new home ports in the GCC as emerging segments. The UN World Tourism Organisation notes the cruise sector's significant economic contribution, with a forecast of 4 million new travelers by 2025. Kumar addresses the industry's goals, including environmental sustainability and technological advancements, while acknowledging challenges such as geopolitical issues, extreme weather, and the need for adequate port infrastructure. He also mentions the negative impact of the pandemic on cruise-dependent destinations and the role of new technologies in improving the onboard experience.

Interview: More cruise agent training is essential, says Lakshmi Durai

10 May 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Lakshmi Durai, CEO of CruiseXplore, discusses the key factors shaping the cruise industry, including sustainability, technological advancements, and the rising demand for unique travel experiences. She emphasizes the importance of training travel agents to sell the right cruise for each customer, highlighting the need for continuous education in the post-pandemic market. Durai outlines the company's goals for 2023/24, which include expanding cruise vacations to more Middle Eastern guests and supporting travel agents through product presentations, webinars, and events like the Dubai-based Cruise Travel Mart.

Interview: Rotana president and CEO on Rotana's investment potential

09 May 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Rotana, under the leadership of President and CEO Guy Hutchinson, is experiencing growth with plans to expand into Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UK, including the launch of luxury hotels and the new brand Edge by Rotana. At the Future Hospitality Summit in Saudi Arabia, Hutchinson highlighted the hospitality industry's boom and Rotana's focus on sustainable travel and cultural understanding in investment. Saudi Arabia is noted for its investment potential, with Rotana planning to triple its room count in the Kingdom. Trends in luxury tourism and 'bleisure' travel were identified, and Rotana's pipeline includes new luxury resorts and digitally enabled hotels in the UK.

John Bevan on the trends impacting travel agency bookings

01 May 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
John Bevan, Divisional Senior Vice President for Travel at dnata Travel Group, shares insights into the travel industry's consumer demand and trends. The company experienced a positive year in 2022 and anticipates continued growth in 2023, aiming to reach or surpass pre-Covid levels. Expansion plans include strengthening B2B businesses and aligning with Dubai's tourism strategy to attract 25 million tourists by 2025. dnata Travel's survey indicates a shift towards earlier bookings, with a 17% increase in summer 2023 bookings compared to the previous year. Popular destinations include the Maldives, Mauritius, and Thailand, with Indonesia and Singapore also trending. Challenges include the cost of air travel, but growth is promising with new routes and aircraft. dnata Travel Group's strategy involves leveraging its global partnerships and experience to provide unrivaled travel content and services across all markets.

Eid sees boom in outbound travel bookings

15 Apr 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
UAE travel agencies report a 25% increase in travel bookings for Eid Al-Fitr, with FlyDubai offering special rates to 20 destinations. Short-haul trips to Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Egypt are popular, while medium-haul destinations like the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal are also seeing increased interest. Skyscanner data shows that most UAE travelers are planning trips of one to two weeks. The gap between Eid Al-Fitr and summer holidays is expected to create a double peak in travel from the GCC, with additional interest in Asian destinations. The Arabian Travel Market is set to see higher participation, indicating continued growth in outbound travel.

Jennifer Lopez has partnered with Virgin Voyages to create a five-day sailing itinerary designed to inspire women

14 Apr 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Jennifer Lopez has partnered with Virgin Voyages to create a five-day sailing itinerary called 'Limitless Voyage,' aimed at inspiring women. The cruise, taking place from April 14 to 19, 2023, will feature panel discussions, wellbeing programs, fitness classes, and more, all designed to empower and energize participants. Fifty cabins will be donated to Latina entrepreneurs through Lopez's philanthropic project, Limitless Labs. Virgin Voyages founder Richard Branson and Lopez both expressed excitement about the partnership and its potential to inspire and uplift.

NCL cements position in Middle East at Cruise Travel Mart 2023

23 Mar 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) participated in Cruise Travel Mart 2023 in the UAE, targeting the Middle East cruise market. NCL showcased its latest products, including the new ship Norwegian Viva, which will sail the Mediterranean. The event was an opportunity for NCL to engage with travel agents and discuss industry trends. NCL's The Haven by Norwegian, a luxury ship-within-a-ship concept, was highlighted for appealing to younger affluent clients and larger families traveling with domestic staff. Kevin Bubolz, NCL's vice president, emphasized the UAE's importance as a market and destination, and the interest in The Haven's exclusive services. A nine-day sailing through Italy, Greece, and Croatia on Norwegian Viva was recommended for the summer.

Dubai’s Burj Al Arab to host the Grand Ball of Monte Carlo

17 Mar 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
The Grand Ball of Monte-Carlo will be hosted in Dubai for the first time on March 17, 2023, at the Burj Al Arab's Al Falak Ballroom. The event, with a 'princes and princesses' theme, will feature performances by international artists and is directed by opera singer and UNICEF Ambassador Delia Grace Noble. Attendees will include high-net-worth individuals, members of royal families, designers, and film stars. The ball originated in Venice, supported by Monaco's Mayor Georges Marsan and the Italian Ambassador to Monaco, and is held under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. If successful, the event may become an annual fixture on Dubai's social calendar.

Hotel Review: Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

01 Mar 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Sarah Hedley Hymers reviews the Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, detailing the luxurious opening gala, the resort's amenities, dining options, and accommodations. The resort is praised for its thoughtful touches, such as goodie bags with high-end products, a variety of dining experiences, and comfortable suites with eco-friendly practices. The location on West Beach is highlighted as ideal for both local residents and international tourists seeking a beach holiday.

Destination Mina Seyahi launches water bottling facility

24 Feb 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Destination Mina Seyahi, encompassing W Dubai – Mina Seyahi, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark, has partnered with BE WTR to install the 'BiG 1500', an automated bottling facility providing local filtered water in reusable bottles. This initiative will replace 1.5 million single-use plastic bottles annually, supporting the Dubai Can and Dubai Sustainable Tourism initiatives. The water is purified using an innovative filtration system, and the project will extend to employee areas by Q4 2023. Mike Hecker of BE WTR and Tolga Lacin of Marriott International praised the environmental benefits and alignment with sustainable tourism.

Air Arabia delivers record 2022 net profit of AED 1.2 billion

13 Feb 2023  |  Connecting Travel
Air Arabia announced a net profit of AED 1.2 billion for 2022, a 70% increase from 2021, with turnover reaching AED 5.2 billion. Passenger numbers nearly doubled to 12.8 million. The airline expanded its fleet, launched joint ventures in Armenia and Pakistan, and is planning Air Arabia Sudan. It received awards for punctuality and service quality. The Board proposed a 15% dividend following these results.

Jumeirah Group expands presence in Europe with Geneva acquisition

08 Feb 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Jumeirah Group has acquired Le Richemond, a historic hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, signaling its ambition to invest in major tourism destinations and diversify its portfolio. The property will undergo extensive renovations to introduce Jumeirah's signature wellness, fitness, and dining concepts, with completion expected in 2025. This acquisition marks Jumeirah's entry into Switzerland and adds to its existing European properties. Katerina Giannouka, CEO of Jumeirah Group, emphasized the strategic significance of Geneva for both summer and winter tourism.

Aman introduces new itineraries to mark 35th anniversary

07 Feb 2023  |  Connecting Travel
Aman celebrates its 35th anniversary by offering guests curated luxury trips, including a private jet itinerary across South East Asia and an around-the-world trip from New York to Tokyo. The itineraries leverage multiple Aman properties as bases for exploring regions, such as Southeast Asia and Indonesia, as well as Sri Lanka's South Coast. Travel agents can explore partnerships by contacting Harriet Rowlinson, Aman's global head of Marketing and Communication.

Saudi Tourism Authority reinforces commitment to Indian market with trade engagements

07 Feb 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) is actively engaging with the Indian market through multiple trade events and roadshows in major Indian cities. The strategy aims to increase awareness of Saudi Arabia as a unique and diverse tourism destination. Alhasan Aldabbagh, President of the Asia-Pacific region for STA, emphasized the importance of India as a key source market and highlighted the country's rich heritage, unique landscapes, and expanding entertainment scene. The engagements are designed to build relationships with local suppliers and support travel trade professionals in showcasing Saudi Arabia's offerings.

Mountains and traditions: the tourist attractions of Saudi Arabia's Asir

06 Feb 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
Saudi Arabia's Asir region offers hiking trails and trendy cafes, with Al-Soudah mountain as a starting point for visitors. Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman to climb Everest, praises the exclusive nature of the area. Local guide Zaki Al Arifi provides tours revealing the authentic Asir. Abha, the capital, features modern shopping centers, street art, and traditional markets. The Joy Venue cafe and Art Street are highlighted as cultural spots, while the Fatima museum preserves local women's art. Rijal Almaa, known as the 'gingerbread village', is famous for its red brick facades and flower-crowned men who celebrate with festivals in the summer.

Asir, a hidden paradise under the Saudi sky

06 Feb 2023  |  es.euronews.com
Asir, a Saudi region, is celebrated for its unique environment and mountains, including Al Soudah, the country's highest peak, ideal for hiking. Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman to climb Everest, often returns to explore Asir's rugged trails. The region is also known for its culinary specialties, cultural atmosphere, and family-friendly destinations like the Abha dam. Asir's landscapes feature canyons and waterfalls, and the Al Dhabbab walk offers stunning views of Abha. The Fatima Museum showcases the traditional Al Qatt-Al-Asiri mural decoration, recognized by UNESCO. Rijal Almaa, 60 km west of Abha, is known for its charming gingerbread-like appearance and the summer tradition of men wearing floral crowns.

Hotel Review: Inside Atlantis The Royal, Billed as the World's Most Luxurious Hotel

05 Feb 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, an ultra-luxury hotel, celebrated its grand opening with a star-studded event featuring performances by Beyoncé and appearances by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Jay-Z. The hotel boasts extravagant amenities, including Sky Pool Villas, deep plush bathmats, and a variety of dining options such as Heston Blumenthal's Dinner and José Andrés' Jaleo. With 17 F&B outlets, designer boutiques, and a comprehensive wellness center, Atlantis The Royal aims to attract a diverse luxury clientele.

Queen Mary 2 makes maiden call at Dubai Harbour on annual world cruise

03 Feb 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Dubai Harbour, a new seafront district in Dubai, has welcomed the Queen Mary 2 on its Centenary World Voyage. The vessel, known for its British heritage and as the only ocean liner offering regular transatlantic crossings, is the largest ever built. Dubai Harbour expects to welcome over 300,000 passengers during the 2022/23 cruise season. Officials from Dubai Harbour and Cunard exchanged plaques to commemorate the maiden call. Angus Struthers from Cunard and Abdulla Binhabtoor from Shamal Holding expressed positive sentiments about the partnership and the facilities at Dubai Harbour.

Aman Resorts launches luxury skincare range

30 Jan 2023  |  www.connectingtravel.com
Aman Resorts has introduced Essential Skin, a luxury skincare line consisting of five products made in Japan. The range aims to enhance natural skin barriers, hydration, and protection against environmental stressors. It includes a cleanser, toner, serum, face cream, and eye cream, with prices ranging from $95 to $270. The products contain ancient purple rice bran extract and indigo extract, known for their antioxidant properties and support for collagen production. The launch is part of Aman's strategy to increase brand loyalty and revenue by becoming a part of guests' daily routines.

Top 20 Safest Airlines in the World in 2023

16 Jan 2023  |  connectingtravel.com
Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were ranked third and fourth respectively on AirlineRatings' list of the 20 safest airlines for 2023, with Emirates in seventh place. Qantas was ranked the safest airline. The rankings were based on various factors including fleet age, pilot training, profitability, safety initiatives, audits, Covid-19 procedures, crashes, and serious incidents. The top 20 airlines have very small safety margins between them, and the way flight crews handle incidents is a key differentiator of airline safety.

The Social: Travels with Sarah Hedley Hymers. monthly radio show

Dubai's cultural attractions: From Quranic Park to the Museum of the Future

26 Aug 2019  |  euronews
The article discusses various cultural attractions in Dubai, highlighting the city's efforts to blend tradition with tourism. Quranic Park is a new attraction offering green space and insights into Islamic beliefs through exhibits like the Cave of Miracles. Al Shindagha Perfume House, part of a museum complex, showcases the history of fragrance in the region. The Coffee Museum, owned by Khalid Al Mulla, displays coffee-related artifacts and emphasizes the importance of coffee in Arabian hospitality. The article also teases the upcoming Museum of the Future, which will focus on innovative technology. These attractions reflect Dubai's rich heritage and its role as a welcoming host to visitors.

Dubai's surprising underground dining scene

28 May 2019  |  The Telegraph
The article explores the diverse culinary scene in Dubai, contrasting the opulent dining experiences offered by celebrity chefs with the rich tapestry of authentic, family-owned eateries that cater to the emirate's large expatriate population. The author reflects on their own experience dining at a high-end restaurant and feeling underwhelmed, suggesting that the true gastronomic achievement of Dubai lies in its variety of traditional dishes from around the world. The piece highlights several establishments, such as Ravi Restaurant, Al Ustad Special Kabab, and Kabab Erbil, which serve authentic cuisine from their respective cultural backgrounds. The author also shares their experience with Frying Pan Adventures, a company that offers food tours in Dubai, and concludes by celebrating the city's role in allowing immigrants to share their culinary heritage.
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