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Our top stories from the world of Travel and Tourism

BAROS MALDIVES AMONG THE BEST

Baros Maldives has been voted as a winner in three Top Hotel categories in the presentation of Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards to trip hotels for 2014.

The luxury resort has been acknowledged as Number 20 in the Trip Advisor list to the World’s Top Hotels, as well being rated the second top hotel in the Maldives and the sixth out of all hotels in Asia.

A guest’s comments read as follows: “We spend the whole week just marveling at the natural beauty. It was possible to believe that nowhere else existed or mattered. A real escape.”

In the Travelers’ Choice recommendations of Asia’s Top Luxury Hotels, Baros Maldives was placed 11th, as well as being third out of all the luxury hotels in the Maldives.

The Travelers’ Choice awards are determined by assessing comments from guests who have stayed at the hotel and provided reviews, feedback and opinions. These annual awards reflect “the best of the best” for service, quality, and customer satisfaction.

Baros Maldives is a boutique resort created on a lush, uninhabited island isolated in a lagoon and ringed by a vibrant house reef, only a short speedboat cruise from the Male International Airport.

Some of its luxuriously appointment island villas have private swimming pools and all adjoin a golden sand beach.

The resort has three gourmet-standard restaurants, two bars, and an exclusive spa set in a garden of serenity. – TTN Middle East April 2014

AVANI SEPANG GOLD-COAST RESORT – OPENING OF THE MONTH GLOBAL

Avani Hotels & Resorts has added its fifth property, Avani Sepang Gold Coast Resort in Malaysia. The resort is located on the country’s west coast in the state of Selangor, close to Sepang International Circuit – home to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Pix – and 45 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The resort has relaunched under the Avani flag following the completion of the first of two phases of a significant refurbish moment programme. – Arabian Travel News April 2014

NOVOTEL & ADAGIO ABU DHABI AL BUSTAN – NEW OPENING REGIONAL

Located in the heart of the capital and 20-minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, Novotel & Adagio Abu Dhabi Al Bustan has opened its doors. The four-star, 361 room hotel features six food and beverage outlets, seven meeting rooms, a ballroom, plus recreation and wellness facilities, which include a spa and massage rooms and outdoor pool. – Arabian Travel News April 2014

EU VISA RULING ENHANCES DUBAI’S POPULARITY

The number of European countries that are exempt from requiring a pre-entry UAE visa has been increased following a new ruling by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Effective March 22, the ruling allows for citizens from an addition 13 European member states, on top of the already approved 15 states, access to visit the United Arab Emirates without having to apply for a visa.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) directors general Helal Saeed Almarri note that it had already been well received by the travel sector, adding: “Through our network of offices across Europe, we will use ruling to further promote Dubai’s attractiveness as a destination for both leisure and business.” – Arabian Travel News April 2014

OPENING OF THE MONTH: NOVOTEL Al BARSHA DUBAI

Accor Middle East has opened its latest property in Dubai. Novotel Al Barsha is a four-star property featuring 465 guest rooms.

The hotel consists of 376 rooms and 90 suites, five restaurants and bars, and banqueting and meeting facilities.

Its spa and fitness facilities include a range of Techno-gym equipment, seven massage rooms, a designated relaxation area, two sauna, two steam baths and an outdoor swimming pool.

The Novotel Al Barsha is Accor’s fifth Novotel property in the UAE and the 13th region-wide (three in Saudi Arabia, one in Bahrain and four in Egypt) representing 2,547 rooms. – Arabian Travel News December 2013

OPENING OF THE MONTH: THE RITZ-CARLTON DEBUTS HOTEL IN INDIA

Ritz-Carlton has opened its first hotel in India. The 227-room hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Bangalore and designed in the style of the Mughal era.

A full range of business facilities will be accessible to guests, including a variety of meeting rooms and a 600 sqm ballroom. In addition, the hotel will include the Ritz-Carlton’s Spa by ESPA which will offer its award-winning treatments.

The hotel will also feature seven fine-dining restaurants that will be run by Michelin Star chef Anupam Banerjee. In addition, it will also have the city’s highest rooftop bar. – Arabian Travel News December 2013

ETIHAD AIRWAYS LAUNCHES NEW ROUTES

Etihad airways will launch non-stop daily flights to Medina, the regional capital of the western Saudi Arabian province of Al Madinah and the second holiest city in Islam after the Holy city of Makkah. With the addition of the new service, which will start on February 1, 2014, Etihad Airways will offer 50 weekly flights to four destinations in Saudi Arabia which, along with Madinah, include Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah.

Flights between Abu Dhabi and Madinah will be operated by an A320 aircraft fitted with 16 pearl Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats, offering a total 1,904 seats per week.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer, said:”Saudi Arabia has always been a key market for Etihad Airways and Medina is therefore an important strategic destination for the airline. Our new flights will cater to the Saudi Arabian population living in the UAE, as well as to the growing numbers of business and religious travelers looking to fly to the city.”

The new service to Madinah will be Etihad Airways’ ninth destination in the Arabian Peninsula, joining Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, and Sana’a.

The airline will also increase its Abu Dhabi-Colombo service from seven flights per week to a double daily schedule from February 26, 2014.

Operated with an A320 aircraft fitted with 16 Pearl Business Class seats and 120 Coral Economy Class seats, the service will add over, 1,900 seats per week on the Abu Dhabi-Colombo route.

Etihad Airways also announced that it has temporarily suspended its three weekly passenger flights and two weekly cargo flights to the Libyan capital, Tripoli following safety and operational challenges which the airline has observed in recent months at the city airport.

Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ chief operations officer, said: “As the safety and security of our guests, employees and assets remains our number one priority, our assessment of the existing situation at Tripoli airport does not provide the level of assurance we require to ensure safe operation of our flights. Once we are satisfied that the arrangements at Tripoli airport meet our requirements, we will resume services.” – TTN Middle East December 2013

CAMBODIA TOURISM TO SEE RISE IN INVESTMENTS

Foreign investors have reignited interest in various cities across Cambodia after the recent re-election of Prime minister Hun Sen.

The country has experienced stable economic growth since a 2010 overhaul of land laws which attracted big foreign investors.

Developers are looking to invest in the tourism industry while also improving the general infrastructure of the cities.

Current land prices are showing potential for significant appreciation, encouraging foreign developers to invest in the country’s prime tourist destinations.

Once such destination is Siem Reap Metropolis, which will feature two hotels, three shopping complexes, seven condominium projects, as well as an indoor theme park designed around the heritage of the Khmer empire. – Arabian Travel News December 2013