Travel updates and inspiration from the past week
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Newsletter

This week’s newsletter is making its way to you from Riyadh, where I’ve spent the past few days at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 22nd World Summit.

The event was a jam-packed affair, with nearly 3,000 tourism professionals from 140 countries converging on Saudi Arabia. It took place as new research commissioned by the council found that international travel has reached its highest point since the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 63 per cent of people planning an overseas leisure trip in the next 12 months.

During the summit, the WTTC released what is officially the first industry-wide climate report for travel and tourism. It found that the industry accounts for 8.1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. While that's lower than previous estimates, its also high enough to ring alarm bells for the industry, which needs to decouple its growth rate from energy consumption for a greener future.

Saudi Arabia took its role as host to announce plans to welcome 100 million travellers by 2030, a goal that would make the kingdom one of the top five tourist destinations in the world. With several development plans in the works, including the announcement of a new airport in Riyadh earlier this week, and no less than nine luxury hotels bound for AlUla, the kingdom is clearly taking its tourism plans seriously.

AlUla's new eco-glamping experience will open to overnight guests visiting the historic region in Saudi Arabia next month. Photo: Royal Commission for AlUla

Supermodel Elle Macpherson, former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and actor Edward Norton were among the big names who took to the stage during the summit, which was packed full of debate, dialogue and ideas. Delegates were also treated to a surprise dinner show from Latin superstar Enrique Iglesias, who performed in the beautiful grounds of the Hittin Palace – organisers revealed that it will soon to be one of the kingdom's newest boutique hotels.

Elsewhere, there was big news for British Airways and American Airlines this week as the two carriers revealed their new home at New York's JFK airport. The revamped Terminal 8 has new check-in areas, upscale lounges and a concierge service, and will welcome travellers from December 1 following a $400 million joint investment by the Oneworld Alliance partners.

And with a long weekend under way in the UAE for National Day, many people are jetting off for a few days while others are looking forward to a change of pace and perhaps a change of scenery a bit closer to home. For a Dubai escape that will keep the whole family happy, check out this list of the city's best hotels for those travelling with children.

As always, if you’re travelling, enjoy, be responsible and stay safe.

Keep up to date with all the latest travel news and stories online and follow us on @luxuryexplained on Instagram for daily lifestyle content.

Hayley Skirka
The National Travel desk


 

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT: Perth, Australia

Rockingham's crystalline waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkelling and stand-up paddle boarding. Photo: Ronan O'Connell

It is widely derided as Perth's worst neighbourhood, yet in reality, Rockingham is one of the city’s best attractions due to its rare wildlife and pristine beaches. About 47 kilometres south of downtown Perth, the capital of Western Australia, Rockingham is a working-class area with world-class attributes. It has 35km of magnificent beaches, a scenic waterfront dining precinct, a wild peninsula with great hiking trails and a marine park where tourists can dive with dolphins, meet the world's smallest penguins and soon swim alongside seals. Ronan O'Connell offers an insider's guide.

 

TRAVEL NEWS THIS WEEK

Story Image Elle Macpherson talks about her travel habits in Riyadh
Story Image Marriott to open four new hotels in the UAE
Story Image Sheikh Hamdan reposts playful video of Emirates plane pretending it's a bird
Story Image Saudi Arabia to reopen Diriyah to the public for the first time in a decade
 

TOP TIPS

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, Mexico has begun welcoming guests. Photo: Four Seasons

Three new far-flung spots to explore

  • Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, Mexico has begun welcoming guests. The property is set within a pristine coastal reserve that for centuries has been completely off the grid. Only 2 per cent of the surrounding 3,000 acre private reserve is being developed, promising guests a true immersion in nature. The resort offers 157 cliffside and beachfront rooms, many with private pools, along with a golf course, transformative spa and wellness experiences, three pools and three nearly-deserted beaches for watersports and long days spent lounging in the Mexican sun.
  • The first and largest purpose-built spa in Victoria Falls has opened on the grounds of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge complex, which includes Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites and Lokuthula Lodges. Set within indigenous woodland, The Victoria Falls Safari Spa was built in response to growing demand for wellness travel. Its bold and colourful design incorporates traditional Ndebele elements and is furnished to reflect the rich textures of Africa. It offers authentic wellness experiences built on indigenous botanicals, seed oils and healing practices, and is open to residents, in-house guests and visitors from other hotels.
  • Situated on Cuba Street, in one of Wellington’s most charismatic neighbourhoods, Naumi Wellington is the newest boutique hotel to open in the New Zealand capital. It offers 62 oversized rooms, more akin to studio apartments than traditional hotel guestrooms. Statement furniture and art work by local creatives adds to the property’s eclectic vibe, while bold colour blocking takes its inspiration from nature, incorporating shades of lilac, avocado green, rusty red and subtle turmeric. Restaurants include Lola Rouge, a celebration of South-East Asian flavours and The Parlour, a pastel-hued space inspired by light-filled Parisian conservatories.

 

THE LAST WORD

“Tourism has made a substantial contribution to humanity’s social and economic progress. Whether you belong to Saudi Arabia, China, the US or South Korea – there are no boundaries. We need to become global citizens. We have so many problems – health issues, political issues, environmental issues – but with global citizenship we can solve them.”

Ban Ki-Moon, former UN secretary general