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With only a short while to go until the next public holiday in the UAE, travel is on the agenda again. According to online travel agency Musafir, travellers jetting off for Eid Al Adha are favouring short getaways with 45 per cent of the company's bookings for trips of four or five days. Popular destinations include Georgia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan perhaps because of the destinations' rather straightforward entry rules for most visitors.

Staycations in the UAE are also proving popular over the coming pubic holiday, when much of the country will enjoy a long weekend. According to Musafir, coastal favourite Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah are the top choices, while dnata Travel, the UAE’s longest running travel server provider, told me this week that they’re seeing strong staycation demand in Ras Al Khaimah and across Dubai.

The summer holidays are also around the corner, with many people planning overseas travel. Happily, I’m one of those, with a trip to Ireland and Scotland on the cards. In the emerald isle, I’m looking forward to a stay at Anantara The Marker Dublin, located in the city's bustling Docklands neighbourhood. And in Scotland, I’ll be catching up with friends and family, as well as squeezing in a lovely little country escape to Crossbasket Castle – a historic 17th century landmark that has been turned into a hotel and recently undergone a £15 million expansion.

And it seems I won't be alone in my destination choice, as the UK, including Scotland, is the fifth-most popular destination for travellers this season according to dnata. It's beaten only by Thailand, the Maldives, the USA and Turkey, in that order. Holidaymakers who are flocking to Thailand for their summer escape may be able to take advantage of the country's new tourism regulations that extend stay limits from 30 days to 60 days for on-arrival visas from several destinations.

In the Maldives, dnata has seen a 108 per cent increase in bookings between June and September, something that it puts down to a notable number of new hotel openings in the Indian Ocean hotspot. Once a destination for honeymooners, the archipelago now offers something for everyone and even has its own electric go-kart track, with the circuit opening this week at Siyam World Maldives.

If wildlife holidays are on your radar, it might be time to turn to AI to plan your getaway. HerdTracker, the world's first AI Wildlife Tracker tool, can predict safari hotspots in East Africa up to 12 months in the future. Combining a decade's worth of sighting data to map the movements of two million animals migrating across the Serengeti and Masai Mara, it's the perfect tool for travellers who can now accurately pinpoint the movements of the herd to book safari camps and lodges nearby.

Following dramatic turbulence stories in the world of aviation, with incidents involving Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines, some light relief came courtesy of Saudi Arabia's newest airline Riyadh Air this week, after it announced that celebrated designer Mohammed Ashi will create uniforms for its cabin crew, ahead of its inaugural flight next year. The Saudi talent will unveil the uniforms during Paris Haute Couture Week next month, with creative direction that reflects the carrier's dual-livery design, which is inspired by the twisting canopies of traditional Bedouin tents and curves of Arabic calligraphy. Dubai's Emirates was also turning its attention to fashion, with the launch of a new collection of shoe styles for its female cabin crew. The Spanish-manufactured, 100 per cent leather shoes in the airline's signature red colour now come in a variety of heights, widths and shapes, allowing its staff to choose what best reflects their personality and comfort levels.

Until next time, stay safe, travel well and keep up to date with all the latest travel news and stories online.

Hayley Skirka
The National Travel desk

 

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT: Jomsom, Nepal

Jomsom was previously off-limits to travellers, but has now rolled out the red carpet. Photo: Shinta Mani Mustang
Jomsom was previously off-limits to travellers, but has now rolled out the red carpet. Photo: Shinta Mani Mustang

Closed to foreigners for decades, Nepal's Jomsom in the remote Mustang region is known for its marvellous setting in the Himalayas, with extensive views of Annapurna. Formerly a place popular with pilgrims and backpackers, the destination is turning its tourism offerings around with the launch of one of the country's most upscale resorts – the Shinta Mani Mustang hotel. Bibek Bhandari heads to the hamlet for five days of ultra luxury and wellness coupled with a real immersion in the region's fascinating indigenous culture.

 

TRAVEL NEWS THIS WEEK

Nujuma Ritz-Carlton Reserve opens in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea
Top 10 Eid Al Adha short breaks less than five hours from the UAE
Umm Al Quwain to open new luxury eco-glamping site in mangroves
Visa-free Eid escapes and the best summer flight deals
 

TOP TIPS

The Tasmanian Grand Circle tour starts and ends in Hobart, Australia. Photo: Unsplash / Matt Palmer
The Tasmanian Grand Circle tour starts and ends in Hobart, Australia. Photo: Unsplash / Matt Palmer

Three of the world's most scenic road trips

  • Hobart in Australia has topped a list of the world’s best-ranked road trips from car rental company Discovercars. The state capital of Tasmania sits at the foot of Mount Wellington / kunanyi and travellers can take the 21km road to the top of the 1,270 metre mountain, passing sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations along the way. The Tasmania Grand Circle tour starts and ends in Hobart, and takes drivers on a spectacular whirl around the island via national parks, untouched beaches and nature reserves.
  • Head to Portugal’s Madeira for an island road trip to remember. Capital Funchal has been named the second-best place in the world for a road trip, with travellers loving the easy accessibility from the city to the beautiful rolling hills around the island, backed by the Atlantic Ocean. Drive past the Laurisilva Forest, a Unesco World Heritage Site and a subtropical rainforest ecosystem that has been around for millions of years and looks almost otherworldly.
  • Greece’s Kefalonia was the third-ranked road trip destination in the study. The island gained international fame after the 2001 film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed on its shores, and it is excellent for road trips. Drive out to Sami, on the island’s north coast, park up and go explore the Cave of Melissani, with its stunning underground blue lake. A morning drive to the Argostoli harbour is also worth it to see fishermen dock their boats and wild sea turtles swim up to the harbour in the hopes of catching some scraps.
 

THE LAST WORD

“All of our reserves are ultra-luxury, and they're also designed to be in very remote, private places for people who are explorers and actively seek out these locations,”

Tony Coveney, general manager at Nujuma, Ritz-Carlton Reserve and the St Regis Red Sea Resort