Travel Unpacked: World's safest airlines revealed and The St Regis Red Sea opens

The National rounds up the most interesting tourism news you might have missed

The St Regis Red Sea Resort has opened on the western coast of Saudi Arabia. Photo: St Regis Resorts
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The UAE has topped a list of countries people don't want to move away from, while Tokyo was the most popular destination for New Year's Eve celebrations.

In Saudi Arabia, the second Red Sea resort has opened its doors and Dubai's Address Fountain Views has a new name.

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

The St Regis Red Sea Resort opens

Saudi Arabia's luxury regenerative tourism project The Red Sea is gradually opening to the public. Six Senses Southern Dunes The Red Sea opened last year and now The St Regis Red Sea Resort has launched, the brand announced on Monday.

The resort is located on Ummahat Islands in the Al Wajh Lagoon on the west coast of the country, featuring 90 one to four-bedroom beachfront and overwater villas, each with a private pool, sundeck and outdoor shower. It is accessed by chartered boat or seaplane from the newly opened Red Sea International Airport.

The hotel's design echoes surrounding coral reefs, marine life and sand dunes, brought to life by architect Kengo Kuma and interior specialists Kristina Zanic Consultants.

Five venues offer al fresco beachside dining and produce sourced from local farms and fishermen, including Japanese-inspired Gishiki 45 and “reeftop” overwater grill Tilina.

Other highlights include The St Regis Spa, a fully equipped gym, outdoor lap pool, paddle and tennis courts, sunrise and sunset yoga, plus a children's club.

It's all powered by 100 per cent renewable energy generated by solar power and one of the world's largest battery storage facilities.

Rates start from $1,866 per night.

World's top 25 safest airlines are revealed, the aviation safety and product rating website, has named Air New Zealand as its safest airline for 2024, replacing last year's winner Qantas in the top spot by a narrow margin.

“Our Top 25 Safest Airlines are all standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation and launching of new aircraft,” said editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas. “The safety margins between these top 25 airlines are very small.”

Etihad Airways comes in fourth place, after Virgin Australia and ahead of Qatar Airways and Emirates – in fifth and sixth position, respectively. All Nippon Airways, Finnair, Cathay Pacific and Alaska Airlines round out the top 10.

Airlines from Singapore, the UK, Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands and the US also appear in the top 25.

Emirates reveals demand for vegan food increases by 40 per cent

Emirates has noted a surge of 40 per cent in customer demand for plant-based meals, the Dubai airline has revealed. To meet this demand, the carrier will introduce a new selection of vegan dishes on-board and in lounges later this year, including snacks such as fruit muffins and vegan pizza, as well as desserts including chocolate pecan cake and pistachio and raspberry tonka cake.

In 2023, Emirates had more than 300 recipes in rotation across 140 destinations, up from 180 in 2022. It served over 450,000 meals on-board, an increase from 280,000 the year before.

In some regions, consumption exceeded passenger volume growth, such as Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, which showed a significant increase of 34 per cent.

Most booked New Year's Eve destinations

The five most popular destinations to usher in 2024 were Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Osaka, according to digital travel platform Agoda.

Tokyo topped the list, as people celebrated Omisoka (New Year's Eve), followed by the Thai capital for its vibrant fireworks displays along the Chao Phraya River. Osaka, which is known for lively street parties, rose to fifth place from eighth, replacing Pattaya, which came in seventh.

“This New Year's Eve, Japan's popularity for domestic and international travellers continued,” said Agoda chief executive Omri Morgenshtern. “People's desire to travel and to learn about new cultures reflects the wide array of experiences people are seeking when celebrating the year end. From Tokyo's traditional bellringing to Bangkok's stunning riverside fireworks, each of these cities offered unique ways to welcome the new year.”

New study ranks countries people don’t want to move from

The UAE has topped the list of countries that people don't want to move from, with more than 99.37 per cent of its population choosing to stay, according to a recent study by Canadian estate agents Top Move.

The research analysed emigration data from various national government databases and a score was calculated based on the percentage of emigrants, happiness level, quality of life and cost of living.

Second on the list is Japan, influenced by its strong cultural ties, favourable quality of life and lowest cost of living among the countries in the ranking.

Germany came third, followed by the US, which has the largest population on the list, and Australia in fifth place.

Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands round out the top 10.

Address Fountain Views rebranded

As of Monday, the Address Fountain Views is being renamed Address Dubai Mall. Located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, the hotel is directly connected to The Dubai Mall and the recently opened Chinatown area through an air-conditioned walkway.

The 193-room property has 783 residences, six restaurants, award-winning spa facilities, a fitness centre, children's club and an infinity pool with views of the Dubai Fountains and Burj Khalifa.

“The rebranding of Address Fountain Views to Address Dubai Mall is more than just a name change; it's a reaffirmation of our commitment to unrivalled luxury and excellence,” said Emaar founder Mohamed Alabbar. “Address Dubai Mall is a magnificent example of Emaar's long tradition of setting new milestones in premium hospitality.”

Updated: January 08, 2024, 2:03 PM