Bits and BobsCatching up on the week’s news from around the globe.

Is Norway's new passport the most stylish in the world?

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Norway's new passports embrace a minimalist look.
Norway's new passports embrace a minimalist look. Photo Credit: Catharina Caprino/Neue Design Studio

Norway recently unveiled the new look for its passport.

The travel document was redesigned to make Norwegian passports more secure while creating a sense of connection with and identity for the Norwegian people.

In came Oslo-based Neue Design Studio, which was tasked to give the Norwegian passport a design overhaul after winning the government competition in 2014.

The minimalist covers are coloured differently for standard, diplomatic and immigrant passports, and the country's simplified crest and words are embossed in gold on the bottom left corner.

Different look when the Norwegian passport is placed under UV light.
Different look when the Norwegian passport is placed under UV light. Photo Credit: Catharina Caprino/Neue Design Studio

Inside the passport, the double-page spreads are illustrated with panoramic illustrations of Norwegian landscapes, including fjords, mountains and lakes.

When the pages are placed under a UV light, the landscape transitions from day to night scenes, with images of the famed northern lights show up as ribbons of fluorescent blue and green.

Fancy your own island paradise on the Great Barrier Reef?

JLL Hotels is selling Dunk Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on behalf of its owners. Included in the offer are 135 hectares of freehold developable land along with significant in-place infrastructure, including a commercial grade airstrip. 

Previously owned by Qantas and international cruise line company P&O, the former Dunk Island Resort operated as a 4.5-star family resort featuring 160 guest rooms, a 9-hole golf course, multiple food and beverage outlets, tennis courts and day spa.

A deal to buy the island last year for a A$31 million (US$22.5 million) fell through, leaving the owners to take the island back to market.

Dunk Island awaits a new owner.
Dunk Island awaits a new owner. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Two dumped after One mistake

Two Air India crew members have been suspended after leaking photos of the interior of new Air India One, the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft used by the prime minister, president, and other state officials.

The pair were accused of violating security by distributing photos of the aircraft’s cabin.

The new Air India One comes with state-of-the-air defence systems and a new interior.

Aqua’s new era a little Nera

Aqua Nera, Aqua Expeditions newest expedition vessel, will launch its inaugural voyage come 3 April 2021 on the Amazon River. The 20-suite river ship, built in Vietnam, is currently sailing the full length of the Amazon river to her home port of Iquitos, Peru, after an epic 19,866 km journey across the world.

“Our team has used the past months wisely to refine our operations to the highest safety standards, so we will be at our very best to welcome guests back onboard,” said Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO and founder, Aqua Expeditions.

Aqua Nera has been lifted into the water to continue her sail up the Amazon.
Aqua Nera has been lifted into the water to continue her sail up the Amazon. Photo Credit: Aqua Expeditions/Facebook

Aqua Expeditions will resume its Peruvian Amazon operations with the first departure of Aria Amazon scheduled for 18 December.

As well as the Amazon, Singapore-based Aqua Expeditions offers small ship cruises along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia and the coastal waters of Eastern Indonesia.

Isolation celebration for the Maldives

The Maldives has teamed up with Skyscanner to advance its claim to be one of the world’s safest destinations during Covid-19.

The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC) campaign will focus on highlighting the unique geographical formation of the island nation and the isolation and seclusion it provides as a result.

Skyscanner will highlight the safety credentials of the Maldives on its website. The Maldives reopened to international travellers in July.

APAC carriers rated tops for safety

The Safe Travel Barometer, which measures Covid-19 health and safety protocols, has released its latest airline audit covering traveller welfare, service excellence and overall travel experience.

Worldwide, Emirates led the way with a Safe Travel Score of 4.4 out of 5, ahead of Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

Air China took top spot in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by China Southern and Singapore Airlines. All three airlines had a rating of 4.1 out of 5.

All carriers on the Asia-Pacific leaderboard had a rating of 4.0 and above, including India’s Vistara, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Eva Air, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Qantas. One low-cost carrier made it to the APAC leaderboard, India’s IndiGo.

“Initiatives of 72 airlines were evaluated across APAC, out of which 11 airlines (15%) achieved a Safe Travel Score of 4.0 or above – the highest ratio worldwide,” said Chetan Kapoor, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Safe Travel Barometer.

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