DestinationsCatching up on the week’s news from around the globe

Beckham brings the best of British to Macau

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David Beckham is hopping onboard The Londoner Macau.
David Beckham is hopping onboard The Londoner Macau. Photo Credit: Sands China

The Londoner Macao, Sands China's British-themed reimagining of the Sands Cotai Central integrated resort, is ready to launch its first phase, offering the best of Britain—as well as suites inspired by the brand's global ambassador and British footballer, David Beckham.

Representing an investment of approximately US$2 billion and opening progressively throughout 2021, Sands China will unveil the all-suite The Londoner Hotel, the spectacular Crystal Palace atrium, new dining options and interactive London-themed attractions in Q1 next year.

Tourism back to 1990 levels — the year web servers were created

International arrivals fell by 72% over the first ten months of 2020, with restrictions on travel, low consumer confidence and the struggle to contain the Covid-19 virus all contributing to the worst year on record in the history of tourism.

In fact, the numbers take tourism back to 1990 levels.

And in case you can’t remember other events of 1990—or weren’t yet born—it was the year that saw the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and Margaret Thatcher's resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after more than 11 years.

As well, Tim Berners-Lee created the first web server and the foundation for the World Wide Web.

According to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), destinations welcomed 900 million fewer international tourists between January and October this year when compared with the same period of 2019.

This translates, UNWTO says, into a loss of US$935 billion in export revenues from international tourism, more than 10 times the loss in 2009 under the impact of the global economic crisis.

Scanning the skies for trends

Skyscanner rounds up some of the world's most coveted holiday destinations in 2021.
Skyscanner rounds up some of the world's most coveted holiday destinations in 2021. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Maridav

There is plenty of blue sky for tourism destinations in 2021, and Skyscanner has been picking some of the likely winners.

Zooming out: As the world looks to embrace a world beyond the screen, these notification-free nature spots provide the ultimate escape—Atacama Desert Chile, Coral Coast Australia, and the Scottish Highlands.

Sporting heroes in Japan: Almost a year of empty stadiums has led the world to crave the buzz of stadia, those considering an atmospheric adventure will look to the land of the rising sun for an excursion of Olympic proportions.

Recovery bubbles for South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam: Locations that responded quickly to the virus and are maintaining domestic travel ensure their tourism infrastructure thrives. South Korea's once up and coming international travel scene is expected to bounce back with aplomb.

Greece is the word: Whitewashed vistas with deep blue Aegean waters flooded most social media feeds in 2020, where Greece firmly placed itself at the top of almost everyone's travel wish lists.

Swell time ahead: Surfing cruises its way into the Olympics for the first time ever in 2021. With the world embracing outdoor pursuits of the socially distanced variety, California tops the list for swapping sofa surfing for the waves!

WFP (Working from Paradise): There's no question the 2020 office looked a little different this year but the Maldives, the Caribbean and Mexico look set to host the ultimate 2021 office upgrade.

Maldives reaches 100,000 visitors—and counting

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Receiving its 100,000th visitor since reopening borders, Maldives is also the winner of Best Island Destination at Travel Weekly Asia's 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

The Maldives on 6 December broke its record of daily arrivals since its border reopened—a total of 3,006 tourists. Six days later, the island destination recorded its 100,000th visitor.

Maldivian authorities say with its strict health and safety protocols and naturally socially distanced geography, the destination is “leading the charge and providing a prototype for other countries preparing to reopen to international travellers”.

The signature 'one-island-one-resort' concept means that visitors to the country are based in their respective resorts, making it easier for visitors to maintain social distancing, whilst enjoying a safe and secluded holiday.

Incidentally, Maldives was also the winner of Best Island Destination at Travel Weekly Asia's 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards on 11 December, 2020.

Bad luck, no fireworks fun in Bali

It’s likely to be a quiet Christmas and New Year in Bali after the provincial government banned parties and fireworks over the period. It has also threatened to clamp down on drunken behaviour.

As Bali gears up for a domestic tourism surge in coming weeks, those caught violating the new rules will be subject to a number of sanctions, including fines.

There is still, however, a glimmer of good news for the Island of the Gods. Visit the island on an on-site assessment in early December, UNWTO expressed satisfaction with Bali's health and safety protocols, which means the destination could be reopening soon.

Time to take a bath again

Hot spring lovers can now flock back to the famous Goshono-yu, which has reopened after renovations since August last year.
Hot spring lovers can now flock back to the famous Goshono-yu, which has reopened after renovations since August last year.

There’s good news for lovers of Japan’s bath houses.

Goshono-yu, one of seven hot springs (onsen) in Japan's most notable hot spring town, Kinosaki Onsen, has reopened after renovations.

Built in the likeness of Kyoto's Imperial Palace, the onsen's foyer and lounge area are furnished with beautiful screens, and the panels of the high ceiling are painted with Japanese flowers.

Goshono-yu saw about 400,000 such visitors per year until August 2019, when it closed to repair its wooden canopy.

Although it is traditional for an onsen to have an indoor and outdoor section, Goshono-yu is now unique among the seven onsens in Kinosaki to be the only one that is a full-scale, open-air bath.

Guests who stay in a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) receive a pass to all seven bathhouses, which are located within walking distance of one another.

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