Travel Unpacked: New liveries revealed at Dubai Airshow and Iceland’s Blue Lagoon closes

As Dubai Airshow begins, regional airlines are unveiling new liveries.

In Saudi Arabia, Red Sea Global has launched another luxury hotel project, while in Iceland and Japan seismic activity is affecting tourism.

Here’s a round-up of recent travel and tourism news – in case you missed it.

Regional airlines reveal new liveries at Dubai Airshow

As Dubai Airshow kicks off on Monday, regional airlines are revealing new livery designs.

Emirates is opening the flying display of the first afternoon with a special fly past of Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777 in the airline’s newest signature livery, followed by the UAE’s air-display team Al Fursan.

Air Arabia, the Mena region’s first and largest low-cost carrier, will display the latest addition to its distinctive livery on its A321 neo-LR aircraft, which features the airline’s 20th anniversary emblem.

Elsewhere, Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new airline, unveiled the second of its permanent dual-livery designs on Monday morning. It continues the carrier’s indigo theme with lines inspired by the twisting canopies of traditional Bedouin tents and curves of Arabic calligraphy.

The airline, launched in March, revealed its first livery at the Paris Airshow in June.

The Dubai Airshow, now in its 18th year, is one of the world’s largest air shows and has more than 1,400 exhibitors from dozens of countries.

Red Sea Global announces new home-grown hotel

The developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destination, The Red Sea, has announced a new luxury hotel brand under its umbrella.

Called Shebara, it will open next summer on Sheybarah Island in Al Wajh Lagoon.

This comes a few weeks after it announced its first hospitality project, Thuwal Private Retreat, a 1.7-hectare sandy islet with exclusive suites and a villa available only for buyout.

The new resort, which was revealed at London’s World Travel Market, will have 73 rooms, including stainless steel overwater and beachfront villas, with guests arriving via 45-minute boat ride or 20-minute seaplane journey. It will feature two pools, two restaurants, a spa and fitness centre.

It’s being designed by Killa Design, the same architects as Dubai’s Museum of the Future, and will be powered by its own dedicated solar farm.

The island also features a 30 to 40-metre reef drop-off close to the beach.

The first hotel to open at The Red Sea, Six Senses Southern Dunes, is now welcoming guests. The Red Sea International Airport has also been receiving flights since September.

Digital nomad visas on the rise around the world

A new report by the World Tourism Organisation that analysed 54 global destinations has found that nearly half now have digital nomad visas valid for up to one year.

These visas allow people to live and work in a foreign country while maintaining employment or conducting freelance work for overseas employers or clients.

This rise has gone hand in hand with an increase of digital nomads and destinations are working to meet the demand.

The study looked at seven key areas: Application process, duration of visa, taxation, insurance, accommodation, minimum income requirements and criminal records check.

It found 47 per cent of the destinations offer visas for up to 12 months, 39 per cent exempt remote workers from tax payments and 17 per cent do not have minimum income requirements. A whopping 80 per cent of destinations take one month to process applications, while 76 per cent have online applications. Only 6 per cent do not have visa fees.

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is temporarily closed

As seismic activity plagues Iceland, the country has temporarily closed the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool.

It’s located in the south-west of Reykjanes Peninsula, which is also home to Keflavik International, the country’s main airport. Iceland is one of the most active geological areas on the planet – it has about 30 active volcanic sites and this particular area is rife with lava fields and cones.

Ahead of the spa’s closure, the Icelandic Met Office had measured about 1,400 earthquakes in 24 hours. Now the country has declared a state of emergency with the IMO saying there is a considerable risk of an eruption.

Authorities have ordered thousands of people living in the town of Grindavik to leave as a precaution.

The owners of Blue Lagoon said they would close the site until Thursday out of concern for employees.

The world’s newest island forms in Japan

An unnamed island has formed off the coast of Japan as a result of an undersea volcanic eruption.

The world’s newest island is located near to the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,200 kilometres south of Tokyo, reports the Japan Times.

Iwo Jima is an active volcano and tremors have been detected there every few minutes since October 21, according to the country’s meteorological agency.

Its appearance was documented in photographs by the country’s Maritime Self-Defense Force on November 1. These images show a small eruption and a dark cloud of ash above the new land, which forms part of the Ogasawara Island chain.

It consists mainly of rock masses right now, but could grow larger if volcanic activity continues, according to the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo.

World’s first inland surfing resort makes waves

By next September, Scotland will be home to the world’s first inland surfing resort.

Lost Shore Surf Resort will be a family-friendly £55 million ($67.2m) development in Ratho, near Edinburgh, spanning 24 acres and featuring a 250-metre artificial beachfront.

It’s set to become “Scotland’s newest premier tourism and leisure destination” and will have Europe’s biggest surfing lagoon.

Images have been released of the project, which show it will also consist of luxury lodges, accommodation pods, restaurants, a spa and shops.

Local media reports that the resort will incorporate technology that can produce up to 1,000 customisable waves per hour. Surfers will be able to catch wave rides of up to 22 seconds with more than 20 varieties of wave.

Wetsuits that will ensure people stay warm in all weather will also be on hand, as well as heated indoor changing rooms.

Wellness is a clear travel trend

The wellness tourism market is forecast to more than double from 2022 to 2027, according to an annual report by the Global Wellness Institute.

The analysis looked at the state of the global wellness sector, including tourism, which has 36 per cent annual spending growth and 30 per cent trip growth per year from 2020 to 2022.

The growth rate came second only to the wellness property market and ahead of mental health, spas, traditional medicine, nutrition and fitness.

The report notes that wellness tourism, spa and thermal / mineral spring markets were the hardest hit by the pandemic, given widespread travel restrictions. The three sectors grew rapidly in 2021 to 2022, but haven’t quite recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

There are expected to be dramatic spending jumps, however, from $651 billion last year to $868bn this year and $1 trillion next year.

Updated: November 13, 2023, 9:09 AM

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