Month: February 2021

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Visit Maldives Participates in Travel Meet Asia’s South East Asian Event

Visit Maldives Participates in Travel Meet Asia’s South East Asian Event

Together with industry partners, Visit Maldives has participated in Travel Meet Asia’s Southeast Asian event. This event is the second part of a four-part virtual travel roadshow organized by ITB Asia, focusing on different regions of the Asian continent. This includes South Asia, Southeast Asia, Mice & Corporate, and Northeast Asia. Visit Maldives has previously participated in the South Asian rendition of the series.

From the organizers of ITB Asia, Travel Meet Asia’s South East Asia provides up-to-date content on major tourism trends and developments, and an exclusive networking opportunity with MICE, Corporate and Leisure buyers from South-East Asian outbound markets. This two-day event, which would be live from 24th to 25th February 2021, will be attended by 7 Maldivian tourism companies alongside representatives of Visit Maldives, with an aim of providing information about the well-established precautionary standards within the Maldives, the natural beauty of our island-nation, and the unique experiences available in Maldivian establishments.

To boost the visibility in this Southeast Asian region, Visit Maldives has been actively promoting the stringent safety measures undertaken in the Maldives in relation to COVID-19, and ensuring Maldives to be a safe haven for South East Asian travellers through online, social media and digital marketing campaigns. Additionally, large-scaled joint marketing campaigns with prominent names such as TripAdvisor, also promotes the Maldives within the South
Eastern region.

In 2020, 12,746 tourists visited the Maldives from the South East Asian market, which represents a considerable drop from 2019’s value of 87,636 due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, individuals from the region continuously showcase their interest to travel to the Maldives upon ease-down measures being implemented within the region. As such, the goal of slowly, but surely reaching pre-pandemic arrival numbers from South East Asia shows consistent potential.

Hawaii Island Lava flows, coffee and famous pancakes!

Hawaii Island Lava flows, coffee and famous pancakes!

Hawaii Island Places
The largest of all the islands, Hawaii Island continues to grow in size as lava flows into the sea. Beyond the volcano, there's so much to experience here and luxury resorts to eco-adventures.

Akaka Falls
The half-mile hike features both a paved path as well as an off-road trail and begins closer to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park entrance. This route is laden with cinders from the 60-plus year old eruption that is just beginning to show new signs of life as grass and shrubs take root and flourish amid harsh conditions – one should be prepared for anything from blazing heat to torrential downpours.

Downtown Hilo/Farmer’s Market
Historic Downtown Hilo is a quaint destination, featuring centuries-old wooden storefronts  many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places  with sophisticated galleries, shops, restaurants and cultural sites tucked inside. Be sure to visit the Pacific Tsunami Museum for a glimpse into the town’s dramatic past, and the daily farmer’s market, so you can enjoy the seasonal local produce.

Ken's House of Pancakes
Ken’s has been turning out breakfast for hungry locals (a rare find in Hilo). Allow some time to digest their extensive menu, but you’ll probably want to try their famous pancakes or waffles with coconut, passion fruit, or guava syrups.They have more than a dozen egg dishes, on top of the 20 omelettes, to choose from. Whatever you choose, save room for Ken’s macadamia nut pie, a perfect blend of salty and sweet.

Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
Under a canopy of palms trees, this quiet, seaside site evokes a sense of peace and forgiveness. Visitors can walk through the grounds and see stately kii (carved wooden images) surrounding Hale o Keawe, where the bones of 23 Hawaiian chiefs are interred. Another attraction is the massive Great Wall, measuring nearly 1,000 feet long, 10 feet high and 17 feet wide.

Kona Coffee Farm Tour
Kona coffee the economic mainstay of Hawaii Island  is recognized as the best in the world, due to the ideal soil, altitude and microclimates in which it is grown. It’s also recognized as the most expensive, since every step, from planting to picking, is done by hand even after 200 years. You can tour some of the larger coffee farms (reservations are highly recommended) to meet the owners, taste their coffees, and see the different operations that make each farm unique.

Cape Town – The Most Beautiful City In Africa

Cape Town – The Most Beautiful City In Africa

About Cape Town
It’s safe to call Cape Town the most beautiful city in Africa. Dramatic mountain scenery, lovely beaches, an architecturally delightful city centre, designer shopping and that world-famous, flat-topped mountain will both stun and enchant you.

It’s an easy place for tourists, with most attractions clustered close together or linked by a good transport system, with spectacular scenery when you venture further afield. There’s a European feel to the upmarket areas, mixed with African vibrancy in its street life and craft markets.

SA’s main tourist centre offers plenty to see and do, as well as a rich history. Robben Island, where former President Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners were incarcerated during apartheid, is a must-see. Beyond the city are the world-famous winelands and a peninsula that eventually tapers to a windswept point, with some charming towns to visit on the way. All in all, you’re sure to love it.

Like most things in Cape Town, the weather has a Mediterranean feel. Winter, which lasts from June to September, is often mild, with temperatures around 18 °C, but there can be sharp cold fronts off the Atlantic Ocean, strong winds and a fair dose of rain. Summer (December-March) is dry and hot, especially in the City Bowl. Late spring and early summer can also bring strong winds.

South African plugs are a rare breed, with three fat round pins, so buy an adaptor at the airport. Many hotels have installed European and UK-style sockets too and stock adaptors at reception.

Mobile networks have the city covered. Roaming calls and data are expensive, so buy a local SIM card to make local calls. (You’ll need to show your ID to purchase one.) There are plenty of wi-fi hotspots in town and hotels, but you might find the speeds sluggish, compared with your own country.

Public transport
Unusually for South Africa, Cape Town has an extremely efficient and widespread public transport system. The MyCiTi bus covers the city centre and suburbs (including tourist hotspots like Camps Bay) and is fast, reliable, fairly cheap and easy to understand. Buy a bus card from one of the stations, load it with cash and swipe your way on and off each bus. , then swipe your way on and off each bus. It runs out to tourist hotspots like Camps Bay too.

Maldives breaks record again welcoming over 5,100 tourists on a single day

Maldives breaks record again welcoming over 5,100 tourists on a single day

The Maldives welcomed another record-breaking number of over 5,100 tourist arrivals on a single day. The Ministry of Tourism revealed that on 21st February 2021, the island nation
witnessed over 5,100 tourist arrivals. The previously held record was observed on 14th February 2021, in which the Maldives observed a total of 4,856 tourist arrivals. The statistics
published by the Ministry of Tourism reveals that a total of 147,744 tourists arrived in the Maldives between 1st February and 17th February.

India and Russia are the leading source markets. Recent statistics reveal that India overtook Russia as the leading source market in the past few weeks. 32,970 tourists and 32,019 tourists arrived from India and Russia respectively. The third top source market for the Maldives is currently Ukraine.

Maldives reopened the borders on 15th July 2020 with stringent safety measures. All visitors arriving in the Maldives are granted a 30-day free on-arrival visa with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility within the country.

While tourists are not required to quarantine or test on arrival, they are required to complete an online health declaration form within 24 prior to departure and produce a negative PCR test conducted at least 96 hours prior to their departure.

Maldives is gaining recognition in the efforts to make the island nation a safe destination for travelers. The country received the “Safe Travels Stamp” by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in recognition of the efforts to implement enhanced health and safety measures, in line with the WTTC global Safe Travels protocols.

Additionally, Velana International Airport received the ACI Airport Health Accreditation for consistent measures, which are in line with ACI’s standards in the “new normal” during the pandemic. Velana International Airport is the second airport in the Asia Pacific Region to receive the Health Accreditation.

The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with Allied Insurance, has also introduced the first COVID-19 Travel Insurance in Maldives. This policy covers charges for services including isolation costs, medical treatment and transportation costs to isolation/medical facilities and consists of two plans; “Allied Inbound” and “Allied Inbound Plus.” The package covers 7 or more days and can be purchased before arriving in Maldives through the Allied Insurance website. More information can also be acquired through the toll free hotline 1600.

Rail Europe – Top 5 Things To Do And See In Lille

Rail Europe – Top 5 Things To Do And See In Lille

At under 1 hr 30 mins  from London by train, Lille is the perfect place to visit for a day trip. You can spend the morning shopping in the old town, drop into Meert for coffee and waffles, have a hearty plate of moules frites (mussels and chips) for lunch, then pop into the massive Carrefour hypermarket, next to the station, to stock up on fabulous French produce, and still be back in London in time for dinner.

Top 5 things to do and see in Lille

Palais des Beaux-Arts

Located just south of the old centre of Lille, the Palais des Beaux-Arts museum is huge, second in size and number of exhibits only to the Louvre. It’s also a lot less crowded than the Louvre so, if you want to see fabulous paintings, sculpture and other artworks without having to queue for hours, hop on a train and spend your day here.

Saint Maurice church

You’ll probably come across this church at some point as it’s slap bang in the middle of the old town. However, appealing though it is from the outside, it’s worth popping in for a visit. Entry is free and the interior is surprisingly light and airy for a gothic church.

La Vieille Bourse

The impressive 17th century Old Stock Exchange building is one of the best reminders that Lille, and most of Flanders, belonged to the Spanish crown up until 1667. Built around a cloistered courtyard to protect traders from the elements, the building is made up of 24 individual houses, with an archway on each of the four exterior facades leading into the inner courtyard.

Wazemmes market

Wazemmes is a working-class neighbourhood to the southwest of Lille centre, about a 20-minute walk from the Grand Place. The food market takes place every day, except Monday, in a covered building that dates back to 1869.

Grand Place

This is the main central square in Lille, and is actually officially called Place du Général de Gaulle, in honour of the former French president who was a native of the town. There are some great examples of 17th century Flemish buildings around the square, including the Old Stock Exchange. The Grand Place is a good starting point for a visit to the old town.