Travel Unpacked: Emirates' autism-friendly flights and trending summer destinations

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

Philippines is one of Pinterest's trending summer destinations for 2024. Photo: Unsplash / Alexey Turenkov
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What type of summer holiday are you craving? Perhaps you want to party in India or maybe you prefer to explore dark histories in Edinburgh? Either way, Pinterest has shared plenty of inspiration via its Summer 2024 Travel Trends Report.

In Dubai, Emirates is working to make flying more inclusive for travellers with neurodivergent children, and Beond Airlines is launching new flights between the city and Zurich.

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

Emirates Airline guides families through an autism-friendly route at Dubai Airport

Emirates Airline is taking steps to make flying easier for families with neurodivergent children.

The Dubai airline hosted a familiarisation flight including a check-in experience as part of its commitment to help children with autism and other disorders navigate the airport.

The experience included 30 children and their caregivers who went through the motions at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport using a dedicated Autism Friendly Route. This included access to priority lanes at check-in and passport control and fast-track lanes at security. Travellers using the route also get priority boarding.

Emirates check-in staff and specially trained cabin crew were on hand to support the journey.

Flight EK2605 departed DXB at 11.20am and landed back one hour later to give children a short real-life experience of boarding a flight. This included announcements from the captain, in-flight services and the sounds and sights of a real take-off and landing.

A recent study by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards found that 93 per cent of families with neurodiverse children would take more flights if there were more autism-certified options. Currently, only 13 per cent of families with neurodiverse children surveyed take family holidays because flying is too stressful and triggering for the children’s heightened sensory responses.

Goa, Philippines and Okinawa in Pinterest's trending 2024 summer destinations

Used by millions for travel inspiration, Pinterest has revealed its 2024 summer travel trends report, detailing the types of trips people are looking to take this year and where they want to go.

The social media platform has more than one billion annual travel-related searches and eight out of 10 users employ the app to curate the perfect summer holiday.

In 2024, wellness travel, adventure tours, solo trips and off-the-beaten path experiences top Pinterest users' wishlists. Nature travel and visits to mysterious destinations are also high on travellers' to-do lists. Budget-friendly trips are also in fashion, with Gen Z hoping to forge deeper connections with friends through intimate but non-expensive road trips.

But where are people going for these types of holidays? When it comes to adventure travel, safaris in Tanzania and nature exploration in the Philippines are trending in 2024.

Quiet travel – think digital detoxes, wellness escapes and solo trips – are also on the up with the English countryside and Japan's Okinawa the top trending destinations for serene-minded explorers this summer.

Machu Picchu and Edinburgh are trending destinations for travellers seeking mystery and cultural immersion while Canada's Jasper is on the up for road trips. When it comes to experiential travel, Pinterest's 2024 summer travel trends report found a 340 per cent rise in travel searches for London lifestyle, a 320 per cent rise for South African Food, a 300 per cent rise for Santorini and a 270 per cent rise for Goa nightlife.

Beond launches private jet flights from Dubai to Zurich

The world’s first premium leisure airline is launching flights from Dubai to Zurich.

Beond Airlines aim to offer travellers an experience that is more akin to flying by private jet than premium or business-class travel on legacy airlines.

It will begin direct flights from Al Maktoum International Airport to Zurich on May 3, with two services per week. The new route comes after the airline launched flights between Dubai and the Maldives earlier this month.

Every passenger flying with Beond is a premium traveller, thanks to the aircraft’s all-business seat configuration. Designed to offer a private-jet-like journey, Beond’s cabins have 44 stylish seats that all become lie-flat beds.

“Linking Zurich with Dubai reflects our vision to enhance our network in alignment with our passengers' preferences,” said Tero Taskila, chief executive and chairman of Beond.

“Europe's interest in Dubai as a leading resort and tourism hub is met with equal enthusiasm by those in Dubai for Europe’s unparalleled cultural, shopping and leisure offerings.”

Starting in July, the airline will also become the first in the world to offer travellers Apple Vision Pro headsets on flights. Loaded with films, games and more, they are designed to transform the in-flight entertainment experience.

Six Senses makes its debut in Japan

Six Senses Hotels, Resorts and Spas has made its debut in Japan.

Six Senses Kyoto opened its doors on Tuesday in the historic Japanese city. It's the first hotel in the land of the rising sun for the luxury hotel group famed for its sustainability and wellness offerings.

Located in the heart of Japan's ancient capital, the stunning property has been inspired by the city's golden age of art and culture, with beautiful artworks, graphics and design pieces visible throughout the hotel. In the 81 guest rooms and suites, travellers can escape the bustle of the city in a well-designed sanctuary and take advantage of Sleep with Six Senses – the hotel group's signature programme designed to enhance slumber. Personalised sleep consultations are on hand for guests looking to boost their downtime and treatments include nutritional guidance and meditation.

The hotel's luxury spa is inspired by Kyoto's Zen philosophy and every visitor has the option to undergo a wellness screening, where experts will provide them with key biomarkers before offering personalised recommendations. And when it comes to dining, travellers can enjoy a journey through the ancient Japanese calendar – with seasonality a focus.

Updated: April 29, 2024, 2:27 PM