Travel Unpacked: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's subscription service and top Eid Al Adha breaks

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

Tourists enjoy the view of the Acropolis in Athens. The Greek capital is one of the most-searched destinations for Eid Al Adha by UAE residents. AFP
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Just in time for peak summer travel, a flight subscription service has been launched in the UAE by ultra-low-fare airline Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. A regional first, the service allows users to travel monthly at a set price, with fares unaffected by seasonal changes or last-minute hikes.

Ahead of the Eid Al Adha holidays, meanwhile, travel platform Skyscanner has unveiled which destinations UAE residents are searching for the most. The list is diverse, spanning destinations in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

For something a little out of this world, a Michelin-starred chef has given a sneak peek into what he's cooking up for the maiden Spaceship Neptune flight that's set to take adventurers to the edge of the Earth next year.

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

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi flight subscription service

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has launched Wizz MultiPass, a subscription service that allows travellers to fly multiple times to international destinations at a fixed price. Charged monthly, fares bought with the Wizz MultiPass remain consistent and will be unaffected by seasonal changes or last-minute price hikes. The fare also includes all taxes and other fees.

Travellers have multiple package options, from one-way or return flights or tickets that include Wizz Priority and/or additional baggage allowances. Wizz Priority ticket holders are entitled to priority check-in and boarding and are allowed to bring an extra trolley bag in addition to the free carry-on bag into the cabin.

Wizz Multipass packages for international flights from and to the Abu Dhabi are:

– Ticket only: Dh259 one-day and Dh519 return

– Ticket + Wizz Priority: Dh369 one-way and Dh739 return

– Ticket + 20kg checked-in bag: Dh423 one-way and Dh847 return

– Ticket + Wizz Priority + 20kg checked-in baggage: Dh533 one-way and Dh1,067 return

A joint venture between UAE holding company ADQ and Wizz Air in Hungary, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi flies to 36 destinations in 25 countries from the UAE capital. Destinations include Alexandria in Egypt, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Amman in Jordan, Ankara in Turkey, Athens in Greece, Baku in Azerbaijan, Kutaisi in Georgia and Male in Maldives.

More information on Wizz Air MultiPass is available here

London is most-searched destination by UAE travellers looking for Eid Al Adha break

Travel marketplace platform Skyscanner has unveiled London as the top destination for UAE residents searching for Eid Al Adha break options.

Eid Al Adha, which is expected to be on June 16, will be the next big public holiday as it falls on a Sunday.

According to Skyscanner, the most popular departure date during this period is June 14, which is a Friday.

Besides London, the most-searched destination for Eid Al Adha is Athens, followed by New York. Cairo and Manchester round up the Top 5 in fourth and fifth places respectively.

More than half of UAE travellers, 53 per cent, are searching for trips that are one week or less, while 33 per cent of travellers are looking for trips that are more than one to two weeks, Skyscanner added.

“We're witnessing a dynamic shift in travel preferences among UAE residents,” said Ayoub El Mamoun, a travel expert at Skyscanner. “The surge in popularity of these five trending destinations showcases the adventurous spirit of UAE travellers.”

Data was collected between April 1 and 29 for departures between June 14 and 21.

Skyscanner also revealed top trending destinations during the same period, with New York at No 1, followed by Tokyo, Athens, Dublin and Male, capital of the Maldives.

Glow-in-the dark dishes and space junk on maiden spaceflight menu

Danish Michelin-starred chef Rasmus Munk has offered a peek into what he's preparing for guests aboard the world’s first floating spaceport, set to take off on its maiden flight in 2025.

Operated by luxury spaceflight operator Space Perspective, a Florida-based start-up, six guests will ascend aboard Spaceship Neptune to the stratosphere, where they will enjoy an immersive dining experience from the edge of the Earth.

The bio-fuel-powered balloon-like vessel can accommodate up to eight guests and one pilot.

Munk, 33, will travel with the guests and serve the meal himself, from a small kitchen. He told the Associated Press his menu will be inspired by the impact of space innovation.

Though mysterious about his menu, Munk said he’s planning to incorporate glow-in-dark stars made from aerogel and jellyfish protein.

“We are also working on an edible piece of space junk from a satellite,” he said. “And then, we want to talk about some of the things going on the planet … from deforestation to temperatures rising and the rubbish in our seas.”

Munk’s Alchemist restaurant in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, has held two Michelin stars since 2020, and last year was ranked fifth best restaurant in the world.

Tickets on the Spaceship Neptune cost $495,000 each. Space Perspective said more than 1,000 have already been sold.

The flight won’t technically reach “space”. Spaceship Neptune will ascend to around 30 kilometres, well below the Karman line, the boundary separating Earth's atmosphere and outer space, which is some 100 kilometres from Earth.

Record number of applications for UN's Best Tourism Villages

More than 260 applications from 60 countries, a record number, have been received for UN Tourism's Best Tourism Villages.

Now in its fourth year, the annual listing was launched by UN Tourism, a specialised agency of the UN, to drive rural development and well-being via tourism. Applications are assessed by an independent body on various criteria including cultural and natural resources, economic sustainability, infrastructure and prioritisation of tourism by their governments.

A number of villages in the region have already made it to the Best Tourism Villages list, including AlUla in Saudi Arabia, which was listed in 2022. Oman's oasis Misfat Al Abriyeen was included in 2021 along with the heritage village of Rijal Alma’a, also in Saudi Arabia.

Popularly known as the “gingerbread village” because its buildings look like they are made of gingerbread, Rijal Alma'a is nestled in the mountainous Asir region of Saudi Arabia.

A a pristine example of the kingdom’s diverse heritage and culture, the village consists of several towering houses and palaces, each constructed out of natural stone clay and wood. UN officials said the Saudi village is “an outstanding example of rural tourism”.

This year's Best Tourism Villages will be announced in the fourth quarter of the year, UN Tourism said.

Updated: May 20, 2024, 11:37 AM