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Category: ‘Tourism’

First Ship In Branson’s New Fleet Arrives In UK To ‘Shake Up’ The Booming Cruise Industry

  • Scarlet Lady,  first of new fleet of 4 Virgin Voyages cruise ships arrives in Dover
  • Aims to bring ‘Rock Star’ cruising’ to a booming sector
  • No kids on board as Branson targets an adults-only younger cruising audience
  • On-board formal dinners and dances replaced by gigs, tattoo parlours & vinyl stores
  • Massive Rockstar suites include mini music studios
  • Cruise passenger numbers have doubled in a decade and sector now worth $150 billion

At Sea, 20th February 2020 –  The first of Sir Richard Branson’s brand new fleet of cruise ships which aims to shake up the cruise industry arrives in the UK. Scarlet Lady is the first of four Virgin Voyages ships that will come into service each year for the next four years.

Virgin Voyages aims to do to the booming cruise industry what it did to the airline industry when Virgin Atlantic launched. Its fleet of four ships known as the ‘Lady ships’ will offer adults only, rock ‘n roll cruising to a new audience.

Globally the cruise industry is booming with passenger numbers almost doubling in the past decade from 17.8 million in 2009 to a forecast 32 million this year.

The latest cruise industry report reveals there are now 55 cruise lines globally with a total of 278 ocean ships and another 19 scheduled to debut in 2020 including Scarlet Lady. According to the same report the cruise industry is worth $150 billion worldwide and sustains 1,177,000 jobs.

Branson has spotted an opportunity in this growing sector. The average age of cruise passengers is getting younger and Virgin Voyages believe this new generation of sailors want a different kind of cruise holiday.

Virgin Voyages believes couples in their twenties, thirties and forties want a cruise experience that isn’t either high end formal or family friendly with theme park style rides.

The cruise line, set to make its maiden voyages in April, boasts state-of-the-art technology and opulent features, including a champagne delivery service, to ensure the ultimate passenger experience. 

Other features include:

– 1,330 cabins and 78 Rockstar suites, two of which offer the full rock star treatment with their own music rooms with their own guitars and amplifiers

– No buffets and big dining halls; Scarlet Lady has over 20 eateries ranging from brunch bars to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs

– Traditional tourist excursions at local ports will be replaced with visits to exclusive beach clubs

– Entertainment on board will be more festival-like in its offering with gigs, nightclubs, comedians, drag artists, and a variety of unusual shows

– Scarlet Lady has its own vinyl record shop and the first ever tattoo studio on board a cruise ship

– A major focus on wellness with spas, gyms, yoga, wellness pools and even a mud room

Virgin Voyages are also keen to emphasise the fleet’s green credentials; the company has banned single use plastics on board, is converting engine waste heat into clean electricity and exploring turning on-board waste into energy.

And as you’d expect from Virgin the crew will be dressed in unique uniforms.

Scarlet Lady will arrive in the UK after her five-day inaugural voyage undergoing sea trials from Genoa in Italy where she was built at the Fincantieri shipyard.

From Dover, she will head to Liverpool for two days before heading across the Atlantic for a star-studded reception in New York and then on to Miami where she will based and make her inaugural passenger voyage around the Caribbean in April.

Routes on offer include a five-day sailing to Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and a quick getaway to Key West and Bahamas.

The ship will later be joined by sister liner Valiant Lady which features seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain when she debuts in May 2021.

Ras Al Khaimah New Year’s Eve Fireworks Sets Two Guinness World Records™

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE; January 1, 2020 – Ras Al Khaimah captivated visitors and viewers from around the world as it ushered in 2020 with a New Year’s Eve fireworks performance that welcomed thousands of visitors to the emirate. This year’s fireworks spanned a duration of 13 minutes and set two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ – one for the ‘Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Launching Fireworks Simultaneously’and the second for the ‘The Longest Fireworks Waterfall’. These take the total number of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ set for fireworks hosted by Ras Al Khaimah to five in just three years.

The first record of the evening was achieved by a firework display using 173 PyroDronesTM, all simultaneously executing a stunning firework display. The PyroDronesTM carried fireworks that could be initiated remotely from the air. The display ushered in the New Year by creating a visual ‘2020’ in the sky followed by an elegant chandelier draped with a beautiful cascade of pyrotechnic sparks ending with the recreation of the monuments of Ras Al Khaimah. The display leveraged advanced pyrotechnics and integrated wireless technology lighting up the shores of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

The second record was for the ‘Longest Fireworks Waterfall’ creating a cascading effect of brilliant white sparks strung across a distance measuring 3,788.86 metres to form a continuous waterfall, breaking the previous record of 3517.23 metres previously held by Fukuoka, Japan. To qualify for the record attempt, each of the waterfall fireworks was required to measure no less than 28 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, with the display required to last at least 30 seconds

The event was verified by an official adjudicator from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ for the ‘Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Launching Fireworks Simultaneously’ and the ‘The Longest Fireworks Waterfall’.

Following the fireworks gala, the organisers received the Guinness World Records titles from the adjudicator.

In 2019, Ras Al Khaimah welcomed visitors from around the world to its NYE event that set two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ – for the ‘Longest chain of fireworks’ and for the ‘Longest straight line of fireworks’. The 2018 celebration set a new world record for the ‘Largest aerial firework shell’.

Crowds thronged the main venue of Al Marjan Island, the lifestyle development by Marjan, the master-developer of Ras Al Khaimah, from early in the evening as well as at viewing decks along the coast at Al Hamra. Marjan worked closely with Ras Al Khaimah’s government entities to set up the public viewing areas across Al Marjan Island. More than 27,000 additional public car parking spaces were provided to welcome the guests.

For the first time, Ras Al Khaimah also hosted the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner that was headlined by multi-Platinum singer, songwriter, and fashion icon, Najwa Karam, and celebrity singer Waleed Al Shami.

Various government entities contributed to the success of the event in Ras Al Khaimah including Marjan, Ras Al Khaimah Police, Ras Al Khaimah Government Media Office, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce, Public Works, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, Al Hamra and others.

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World’s Busiest Airport Goes Plastic Free In 2020

Dubai Airport Partners With Costa, Pret And Giraffe To Herald New Era Of Plastic-Free Air Travel 

– Phasing out of single-use plastics at world’s busiest international airport due to begin on January 1, 2020

– Coffee giant Costa backs initiative by launching new fully-sustainable coffee cup

– McDonald’s is replacing a total of 5,608,740 items with recyclable materials at Dubai’s two airports DXB and DWC

– Other major food outlets, such as Pret a Manger, McDonalds and Giraffe join pledge to ban single-use plastics in their concessions at DXB and DWC

Change is coming to the world of air travel.

In just over three weeks’ time, plastic cutlery, drinking straws, take-away food packaging and polythene bags will start to disappear from cafés, restaurants and shops at the world’s busiest international airport.

The reason for this is Dubai Airports’ pledge in June 2019 to ban all single-use plastic from January 1, 2020.

With 90 million passengers passing through Dubai’s two airports – DXB and DWC – every year, consuming tens of thousands of plastic items from straws to water bottles to coffee lids on a daily basis –  the plastic-free initiative presents a huge logistical challenge to the management team and to every business in their supply chain.

But with the UAE alone producing around 7 billion tonnes of plastic waste every year1 – it’s a challenge they fully intend to meet, rolling out the ban with a phased approach with the aim for completion scheduled by the end of the 2020.

Pressure is growing for corporations and individuals to act more responsibly and adopt more sustainable practices to fight against plastic pollution and preserve marine life. The changes happening on such a huge scale as a result of Dubai Airports’ ban could soon become a template for other major transportation hubs and organisations around the world to follow.

Already 95% of Dubai Airports’ commercial partners have signed the pledge to stop using disposable plastic in their outlets.

Notable amongst them is Costa Coffee which has committed to replacing its plastic-lined cups with a 100% renewable, plant-based “smart” cup. The coffee giant sells over 2.6 million cups of coffee in Dubai’s airports a year – that alone has a great impact on change. This will be followed later next year by the introduction of a coffee cup lid made entirely from wood and paper fibre instead of single-use plastic.

Pret a Manger, McDonalds and Giraffe are also on board, alongside around 290 other retail and F&B outlets, and have started the process of eliminating consumer-facing plastic items from their concessions and replacing them with more sustainable alternatives in just 6 months.

New research commissioned by Dubai Airports highlights widespread public support for recycling initiatives.

In Britain, almost half (49%) of air travellers say they carry a reusable water bottle, almost a third (31%) say they will choose to eat in a restaurant to avoid plastic packaging and 1 in 5 (20%) say they don’t buy items at the airport containing  non-recyclable materials.

But it is clear that passengers feel airports could be doing more on the issue with 86% saying that they need to be more vocal about what they are doing to recycle waste.

 

Facts:

– 5,500 tonnes of single use plastic is estimated to be generated at Dubai Airports each year

– Already changes are being made at Dubai Airports, with 29 metric tons of plastic bottles being recycled from the security check points so far this year (an average of 11,000 bottles per day)

– So far, in total around 280 tonnes of single use plastic have been recycled in 2019

– Starting March 2020, Dubai Airports will recycle a minimum of 2,000 tonnes of single use plastic per year – over 40% of the current volume being generated, and equivalent to 3.5 Airbus A380s

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Epic Nationwide Celebrations And Dazzling Burj Khalifa Show Mark One Year To Go Until Expo 2020 Welcomes The World

– Mariah Carey and Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi perform live in Dubai extravaganza

The UAE marks the milestone moment at fun, free events across all seven emirates

Everyone is invited to play their part in exciting journey to the World’s Greatest Show

DUBAI, 20 October 2019 – The UAE came together this evening to celebrate One Year to Go until Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors, with spectacular events in all seven emirates marking the milestone moment in style and offering a tantalising taste of what’s to come at the World’s Greatest Show.

Global superstar Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 Ambassador Hussain Al Jassmi headlined celebrations in Burj Park, Downtown Dubai – treating the audience to hour-long sets packed with their greatest hits.

All eyes turned to Burj Khalifa at 2020 (8.20pm) for a mesmerising LED and fireworks show that launched the 12-month countdown to 20 October 2020, when the largest event ever staged in the Arab world will open its doors for an unmissable 173 days of inspiration, innovation and fun for all the family.

Top-class events were held simultaneously from 1700 to 2200 in the six other emirates, at Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

All seven free, family-friendly celebrations underlined the nation’s ever-growing excitement and pride as it prepares to host the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Each drew a bustling crowd and featured musicians, painters, poets and other figures from the UAE’s flourishing cultural scene, as well as great food, craft areas for children, live streams of Dubai’s headline acts and plenty more.

Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said: “This was a wonderful ‘Be There’ moment for the nation after we launched our newest campaign – ‘Be There for the World’s Greatest Show’ – only last week. Tonight gave the entire UAE and the wider world a tantalising glimpse of what Expo 2020 Dubai will offer in just 12 months from now – and proved exactly why everybody will want to be there for an unmissable landmark in our history.”

An appearance from Bollywood actress and singer Shraddha Kapoor added further star quality to proceedings at Burj Park, while five UAE-based musicians of diverse genres performed a song they had written especially for the One Year to Go celebrations. Their collaboration will feature in a documentary titled ‘Musical Encounters’ to be released shortly.

Across all seven emirates, performances by 100 artists from 26 different nationalities highlighted the nation’s rich talent pool and multicultural modern society, as well as the global appeal of Expo 2020.

More than 100,000 plastic bottles were saved during the national celebrations as part of the ‘Be Water Wise’ initiative – a collaboration between Expo 2020 and the UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia UAE, to raise awareness about water scarcity and single-use plastic. In line with Expo’s subtheme of Sustainability, free drinking water and 98 per cent biodegradable and compostable paper water bottles were provided to all visitors, performers and staff.

Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together 192 participating nations and an anticipated 25 million visits, showcasing the best in technology, architecture, gastronomy, culture and more while also exploring how humanity can shape a more sustainable tomorrow through the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

Everyone is encouraged to join the journey to Expo 2020 through a variety of options from Expo Live’s pioneering social projects helping communities around the globe, to the volunteers programme, which will see a diverse mix of 30,000 UAE residents and expats become the ‘face’ of the next World Expo.

More details are being announced about The World’s Greatest Show of human brilliance and achievement on a continuous basis. Stay in the know by visiting expo2020dubai.com or follow any of Expo’s social media channels.

About Expo 2020 Dubai 

Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together millions of people for the World’s Greatest Show, celebrating human brilliance and achievement under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

– The six months from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 will be a moment in time to be part of an unparalleled event. We are extending a warm Emirati welcome to the world:

– 25 million visits are expected, with many visitors expected to come more than once

– 70 per cent of visitors anticipated to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos

– An entertaining global celebration with something for everyone, Expo 2020 will wow visitors with 60 daily events across 173 days, showcasing the best of music, technology, creativity and culture, while 200 F&B outlets will feature famous chefs and cuisine from every corner of the world

– Expo 2020 will be an endless journey of discovery. Visitors will have access to the latest innovations and breakthroughs, with more than 200 participants – including 192 nations, multilateral organisations, businesses and educational institutions – coming together to highlight real-life solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges

– Expo 2020’s sub-themes of OpportunityMobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to make a conscious effort to think and live differently, and give them renewed optimism that, through collaboration, it is possible to make a lasting change to the world

– The first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) will be located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South

The Expo 2020 Dubai Media Information System, Tawassul, is now available by registering at https://media.expo2020dubai.com. Tawassul is your essential tool to access important information and updates on topics such as media accreditation, licences and permits, press releases and visual assets.

The Expo 2020 Global Media Briefing, taking place in Dubai from 20-22 October 2019, will provide hundreds of members of the media the latest updates and insights on the event. To register, email: media.services@expo2020.ae.

Visitwww.expo2020dubai.com

Follow: Twitter: @expo2020dubai | Facebook: @Expo2020Dubai | Instagram: expo2020dubai

About World Expos

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.

NEOM Showcases Stunning Coastline With Saudi Arabia’s First Ever International Beach Sport Tournaments

NEOM SHOWCASES STUNNING COASTLINE WITH SAUDI ARABIA’S FIRST EVER INTERNATIONAL BEACH SPORTS TOURNAMENTS

            • IWWF NEOM Wakeboard Cup
            • FIFA-endorsed Beach Soccer Cup Tournament (4 Day International)
            • Beach Rugby Exhibition Matches
            • Beach Tennis Invitation Event

NEOM, Saudi Arabia – NEOM’s ambition to turn the gigaproject into a world sports powerhouse took a leap forward this week with the hosting of its first officially-endorsed international events – the first of their kind to take place in the new destination, which is being developed in the North-Western corner of Saudi Arabia along the borders of Egypt and Jordan.

Athletes from 16 nations have taken to the crystal-clear waters of the pristine beaches of Gayal in NEOM, situated on the Gulf of Aqaba, to compete in the IWWF NEOM Wakeboard Event.

The off-shore action was but one part of a sporting spectacular that also included a FIFA-endorsed Beach Soccer Cup tournament. The four-day international event included teams from Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt, England, Oman and the UAE.

Oman won in style in a thrilling final that saw them beat Egypt 5-4 after extra time.

Other events included exhibition Beach Rugby matches with players from Saudi Arabia and an all-female set of match officials, plus a Beach Tennis invitation event starring male and female players from the region.

NEOM has been described as ‘the world’s most ambitious project’ – a land of the future created to empower global talents and maximise human health and potential. Sport is an integral part of the NEOM philosophy, both at the elite level and at grass roots.

NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said “As we build the land of the future, we see sports as an integral part of the NEOM offering, leveraging our unique pristine land to host international sporting events both for professional and everyday athletes, as well as those who choose to visit and live in NEOM. Sport plays a leading role in the realisation of our dream to inspire us all to live healthier lifestyles.”

“It’s great testimony to the spirit of NEOM that we are hosting a World Cup and International Beach Soccer Tournament at such an early stage in our development,” said Jason Harborow, head of NEOM’s Future of Sport sector. “As we evolve, Beach Sports will be an important part of our offering and major events will be high on the agenda.”

NEOM’s Beach Sports events follow the wildly successful Wing Suit & Climbing Challenge in April, which showcased NEOM’s incredible mountains to over 300 million people in 105 countries around the globe.

In the meantime, further world-class events are planned to reinforce NEOM’s reputation as the world’s most exciting and visually spectacular sporting destination.

 

About NEOM:

NEOM is the flagship project of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

A vast destination designed to welcome and celebrate the world’s athletes, sports enthusiasts and thrill seekers. NEOM was announced to the public on October 24, 2017, by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).

The name “NEOM” is derived from two words. The first three letters form the Ancient Greek prefix neo- meaning “new”.

The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Mostaqbal (Arabic: مستقبل), an Arabic word meaning “future”.

As the name suggests, it will be the land of the future where the best ideas, most promising start-ups, established companies, future industries and the best talents are joined to create solutions for the key challenges facing humanity.

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“Visa For Venice” – New Campaign To Preserve City For The Future

Venice, Italy – Venice’s idyllic canals and quaint alleys make it a dream destination for many travelers but with over 20 million visitors each year, the unique charm of the city is under threat.

On June 13, Visa and the City of Venice hosted a ceremony at Venice City Hall to announce the launch of “Visa for Venice”, a three year programme that will help Italian merchants showcase their businesses to international visitors, while helping protect their city’s most treasured sites.

The new programme encourages locals and visitors alike to pay with Visa at businesses throughout Venice. The incremental revenue generated from this campaign will be contributed to a newly established fund that will be used to safeguard the city for the future.

Donation kiosks are now set up around the city where both locals and tourists can choose to make a contribution directly to the fund.

For those outside the city who would like to make a difference, donations will soon also be accepted through a web-based donation page.

New Survey Results

In a recent survey of international travelers, Visa found 68% think about their impact on the local community when planning a trip outside the U.S. and 77% agree that travelers have more of an impact today than five years ago.

Not only is there a strong awareness, an astounding percentage of international travelers surveyed want to make difference and are willing to use their spending power to lessen their impact and support the local community. This willingness includes:

– Purchasing items from local artists and eating local food (92%)

– Spending money at businesses that support sustainability locally (90%)

– Making a donation to ensure historic monuments are preserved (84%)

– Forgo a specific activity that has a negative impact on the environment or community (83%)

– Spending a little more on something if it means having less of an impact on the local community (83%)

– Spending more time in less touristy attractions to lessen impact (78%)

– Forgoing ground transportation in favor of biking or using mass transit systems (73%)

– Volunteering while in the local area (66%)

International travelers showed a very strong desire to support local businesses and indicated they are most likely to choose local, independent businesses for dining and shopping if the:

– Location was easy to find (50%)

– Business had great online reviews (44%)

– Business accepted credit or debit cards (44%)

Methodology: Visa commissioned a survey of 500 adults 18-65 years old in the U.S. who had traveled outside the U.S. in the past two years. The survey was conducted by Logica Research on behalf of Visa in May 2019.

Additional Messaging

The global appetite for international travel has never been stronger. In fact, according to the WTTC, international arrivals reached 1.3 billion last year, on pace to grow to 1.8 billion border crossings by 2030.

Visa is the most widely accepted payment network – enabling safe, secure, seamless cross-border transactions, all over the world. It starts when consumers plan and book their journey, and more importantly, continues through all phases of travels.

Travelers deserve the same payment benefits and conveniences they enjoy in their home country when traveling abroad and Visa is making that a reality.

By removing the barriers to how, where, and when you can pay abroad, travelers have peace-of-mind knowing they can use Visa virtually anywhere in the world, securely and at any time, while focusing on enjoying the experiences in front of them.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

Photo Image: Candre Mandawe

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