Museum dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent opens in Marrakech

Museum dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent opens in Marrakech

In October of last year, a museum dedicated to renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent opened in Marrakech, a city he discovered in 1966 and visited regularly till his death in 2008.

Laurent’s love of Morocco is well documented and the ‘Red City’ especially served as a major inspiration, him once stating “Marrakech taught me colour”. The museum itself is situated near sites of great importance to the designer, including Jardin Majorelle, a garden that he and business partner Pierre Berge saved from development in 1980, and the villa that Laurent bought to continue his visits to Morocco.

A unique view of the gardens

A unique view of the gardens

The opening of the new museum coincided with that of Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, which was constructed inside 5 Avenue Marceau, the couture house that Saint Laurent worked his magic for nearly 30 years and which will showcase the creative process used by Laurent to design his most famous pieces.

The Marrakech museum compliments its Parisian counterpart by showcasing a private collection of Laurent’s work with over 5,000 pieces of clothing, including his famous smoking jackets, as well as rotating temporary exhibitions. The museum also reconstructs memories of Laurent’s personal life, with exhibitions including dialogues from the designer himself, magazine clippings, press releases and photographs.

The museum is not solely focused on Laurent; amongst the temporary exhibits are collections from varied – often young and upcoming – designers, such as Moroccan local Noureddine Amir. In addition to the exhibit spaces, the museum building includes a terrace café, research library and auditorium. It also includes a fantastic museum dedicated to Berber culture. Located in the former painting studio of Jacques Majorelle, this section includes more than 600 objects from the Rif to the Sahara Desert, collected by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, which demonstrate the richness and diversity of this still-vibrant culture.

More Information

Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech

Words by Aranya Tatapudi

 

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Leonardo DiCaprio & Seychelles join forces to create marine reserves

Leonardo DiCaprio & Seychelles join forces to create marine reserves

In an agreement the first of its kind in world history, Seychelles is to protect large areas in the Indian Ocean to clear some of its national debt.

The island nation has agreed to preserve 210,000 square kilometres of ocean (almost the entire size of the United Kingdom), comprising of two huge marine parks which will cover 15% of Seychelles’ ocean. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation donated $1 million towards funding the debt swap.

The plan restricts tourism and fishing activities to prevent damage to aquatic life. For a country such as the Seychelles, where tourism accounts for 16% of its GDP, this was a difficult, yet important decision.

“We need to be responsible as we sustainably develop our oceans,” Seychelles Tourism Board CEO Sherin Francis said. “By safeguarding our environment, we can also ensure that we are protecting our people against an uncertain future.”

The World’s First Debt Swap Designed to Protect Ocean Areas

In 2016, The Seychelles government agreed on the debt swap with the Nature Conservancy, a US charity, and other investors.

As part of the $21 million deal, the charity and investors, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, paid off a part of Seychelles’ national debt.

The country will make future debt payments to the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT). The trust will offer low-interest rates on debt repayments. Any savings will fund new projects designed to protect marine life and fight climate change.

What Will Be Protected?

Seychelles will increase its protected waters from 0.04 to 30 percent by 2020.

The first marine reserve includes the Aldabra islands. Aldabra is home to giant tortoises, rare tropical bird colonies and the dugong – one of the Indian Ocean’s more endangered species. This area will be completely protected, with only research and regulated tourism allowed.

The second area will limit the fishing and tourism activities around the waters of Seychelles’ main islands.

More Information

The Seychelles Islands Official Tourism Site

Earth Day: 8 Destinations That Have Sustainability In Mind

Earth Day: 8 Destinations That Have Sustainability In Mind

Each year Earth Day aims to highlight global environmental issues, raise awareness of the impact of climate change and encourage sustainable development. Tourism can play a key role in this approach when travellers can look to offset their carbon footprint when choosing which destinations to visit. From saving turtles in Florida to protecting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to sustainable farming in Arizona, here’s a list of activities in locations all over the world that have the environment and conservation in mind ahead of Earth Day on 22 April 2018.

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Bhutan: Breathtaking treks and outdoor adventures in a destination leader in conservation

Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas, is a global leader in environmentally sustainable development. The country is known for its long-term conservation goals to maintain its pristine landscapes and rich biodiversity, with the national constitution stating a requirement of a minimum of 60% of the country’s land is forested at all times. The country is home to less than 800,000 inhabitants and over half of Bhutan is designated to national parks, forests, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. Bhutan is therefore able to achieve carbon neutrality, with trees taking in almost 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Bhutan is an advocate of sustainable tourism activities, including exploring the natural and untouched landscapes throughout the country on foot. Druk Path Trek is one of Bhutan’s most popular short treks which takes visitors through stunning blue pine forests, along high mountain ridges and next to a number of lakes. Travellers also have the chance to see alpine yak pastures where nomads can be spotted in their natural habitat. The six day trek passes by a number of ancient lhakhangs, dzongs and villages and ranges at altitudes between 2,400 and 4,200 metres. The final descent of the trek leads into the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu.

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Arizona: Agritourism, sustainable farming and fresh local produce on Mesa’s fresh foodie trail

Travellers can grab a hold of the grain, and get their hands dirty picking the day’s harvest, before heading to the kitchen to put together a menu with seasonal, local produce. Visit Mesa has launched the Fresh Foodie Trail™, a self-guided route that connects many of the culinary stop offs in Arizona’s third-largest city. The food-centric experience advocates long-table dinners and invites visitors to learn why their food choices matter. Pasta making classes with ancient grains, watching the cold-pressing of fresh olives, foraging for the freshest produce –in an educational trip that highlights the green and sustainable methods of producing and enjoying food. Serving as a culinary gateway to Greater Phoenix, the neighbouring farms in and around Mesa provide a bounty of seasonal goods for visitors to enjoy year-round. Citrus in January, peaches in May, olives in October and even, heirloom wheat in the winter. During the trail, travellers will stop off at True Garden, which features revolutionary hydroponic gardening techniques, where visitors can learn about organic growing practices and sustainable farming. True Garden uses 95% less water and 90% less space than a traditional garden, and contains no harmful chemical, pesticides or herbicides. Another stop off, Mesa Urban Garden was created to inspire sustainable urban living through education, community involvement and creative cooperation to strengthen families and enhance and beautify the region.

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Queensland: Go green on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

One of the seven wonders of the natural world, Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef (stretching for 1,800 miles) is a must-see for holidaymakers. Eco-conscious visitors have a number of different options when it comes to enjoying everything the Reef has to offer in a sustainable manner, including a stay on Lizard Island – the only resort located on a 1,013-hectare National Park on the Great Barrier Reef itself. The resort offers complete luxury on the world’s largest and most diverse reef system and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top hotels. All activity on the island is undertaken with full commitment to protecting, nurturing and maintaining the critical balance between the resort and the diverse eco-system of Lizard Island and its surrounding waters. The island is also home to the Lizard Island Research Station which attracts reef researchers from all over the world. Tours to the Research Station are conducted twice a week and are available for all Lizard Island guests, where they can learn more about the reef. Alternatively, there are a number of other sustainable islands guests can stay on when visiting the reef including Bedarra – Australia’s most sustainable island resort – Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island. Those looking to visit Queensland over peak holiday periods can also volunteer at some Queensland National Parks including Lady Musgrave Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, where they can camp for free in exchange for volunteering as campground hosts, providing island interpretation with a conservation message. There’s also a chance to make the trek to Deepwater National Park to help nesting loggerhead turtles. Andy Ridley, the CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, has recently been appointment CEO of newly launched concept “Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef” – a global social purpose movement founded to empower individuals from every place and all walks of life, to collectively change the world and ensure future generations can continue to learn about, protect, and enjoy our greatest natural inheritance, the Great Barrier Reef, which visitors can also sign up to.

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Nevada: Discover Animal Ark – a safe haven for injured, abandoned and otherwise non-releasable wildlife

The Animal Ark located north of Reno, aims to inspire environmental stewardship through wildlife education and provides a haven for North American predators, who otherwise would not be able to survive in the wild. Every effort is taken to stimulate their natural habitat with native trees, plants and boulders. Set in Nevada’s high desert, the sanctuary uses environmentally-friendly power, and can supply almost all the energy required to run, through solar panels and wind generation. The sanctuary holds a number of events to educate visitors on the fascinating animals, such as Ark at Dark where guests will hear the wolves and coyotes howling into the night as they take a nocturnal nature walk, see Cheetahs race around the Ark track at sunset or visit during Harvest Festival where animals receive carved out pumpkins filled with their favourite food.

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Namibia: The top destination for an eco-holiday in 2018

Climb the highest sand dunes in the world. Descend to the floor of the deepest canyon in Africa. Immerse yourself in the past at one of the Africa’s richest rock art sites, and watch wildlife shimmer against one of the most spectacular pans on earth. Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul. Namibia is the place to go for an eco-holiday in 2018. Namibia was the first African country to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution and today more than 40% of the country is under conservation management. The outcome? Namibia is now home to the last free-roaming populations of black rhino and desert elephant, as well as 25% of the world’s cheetah, making it a superlative destination for responsible wildlife holidays. The best place to spot the endangered desert rhino is from the luxurious Desert Rhino Camp, situated in the private and protected 400,000-hectar Palmwag Rhino Reserve, operated in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust and Wilderness Safaris. The rhino viewing is done on foot discreetly and respectfully. Travellers can stay in one of the eight large Meru-style tents, enjoy guided nature hikes with local conservationists and savour picnics in remote locations around the secluded property. A portion of revenue from Desert Rhino Camp goes to the Save the Rhino Trust to contribute towards its conservation operations.

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Palm Beaches, Florida: Save the loggerhead turtle

The Loggerhead Marinelife Centre is designed specifically to rehabilitate loggerhead turtles, and offers an array of conservation activities for visitors. Its mission combines the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles, replenishing dwindling numbers. Now internationally recognised as the most densely populated nesting beaches for loggerhead turtles in the world, The Palm Beaches serves as an international hub for sea turtle education, ocean research and conservation. The non-profit educational facility located on the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach County also houses a variety of exhibits, including live sea turtles and other coastal creatures, as well as a state-of-the-art full service veterinary hospital, exhibit hall, outdoor classroom, research lab, and resource centre. Exhibits include a prehistoric Archelon sea turtle replica, salt water aquaria and displays of local wildlife, as well as educational displays about South Florida’s marine environment and how to conserve it

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Ontario: Celebrate sustainability in Ontario with the 125th anniversary of Canada’s provincial parks

Home to 334 stunning provincial parks, Ontario, along with the rest of Canada, will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its provincial parks in 2018. This anniversary is particularly significant for Ontario as the province’s Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893, was Canada’s first. Year-round activities are planned to commemorate this historic milestone including unique pop ups and new initiatives. There are a number of eco-friendly accommodation options in or near these parks including Killarney Lodge in Algonquin Provincial Park and Elmhirst Resort in Muskoka. The parks offer visitors the chance to get back to nature and explore some of the planet’s wildest depths with a number of hiking and biking trails, canoe and boating routes and the chance to spot the stars and Northern Lights in some of the world’s clearest skies.

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Mauritius: Explore an eco-adventure park

A world biodiversity hotspot known for its natural beauty, Mauritius is on a crusade to reduce the eco-footprint for the benefit of the island. Volcanic mountains, savannah-style plains and pockets of ancient forest with endemic plants and wildlife offer plenty of opportunity for green adventure, from birding and zip-lining to blue marlin fishing and nature treks. For those interested in learning more about the island’s natural environment, some Sugar Estates have opened as eco-adventure parks offerings treks, horse riding, mountain biking and safaris to spot deer, monkeys and wild boar. Angsana Balaclava, a resort in the North of the island attained bronze benchmark status from Earthcheck and are planning a coral planting project. The resort also employs a marine biologist who will guide guests on snorkelling trips. Meanwhile, Shanti Maurice, has campaigns to conserve Mauritius’ coast and the Shandrani Resort & Spa has trained ‘Shandrani Rangers’ for coral conservation. The Attitude Hotel group has inaugurated Nauticaz, its educational and research centre which is open to guests and locals, one of its most important features is the equipper marine laboratory set up to monitor and protect coral reefs and the islands ecosystems.

More Information

Hills Balfour

Tourism Council of Bhutan

Visit Mesa

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Travel Nevada

Desert Rhino Camp

The Loggerhead Marinelife Centre

Ontario Travel

Tourism Mauritius

Australia Day: Inventions you didn’t know you had Oz to thank for

Australia Day: Inventions you didn't know you had Oz to thank for

It’s time to thank the many Australian inventors who have quite literally changed our world… here’s a list of the top 14 essential gizmos and gadgets that can trace their roots Down Under (and which without – our day-to-day lives would be very different).

The Electric Drill

Hailing from Scotland (but an honourary Aussie), Arthur James Arnot touched down on the sun-kissed soil of Australia in 1889. He came to build a power plant for the Union Electric company in Melbourne, but fate had other ideas, and he created one of the most useful tools that is still used universally today.

The drill designed by Arnot wouldn’t exactly fit in your toolbox today as it was designed to drill rock and coal so was rather cumbersome. Yet, within six years, a miniature version was on the market.
And the rest, as they say, is history.

Wi-Fi

Sullivan had his eyes to the skies in 1977. His work as an electrical engineer led him to investigate how a tool called a Fourier Transform, which breaks waveforms down, could be applied to radio astronomy.

His discoveries turned out to have a much wider application. They formed the core technology, patented in 1996, which made wireless LAN fast and reliable.

And today there’s just the small matter of 8 billion devices using Wi-Fi across the globe, with more than $420 million having been banked thanks to the patent held by the national science agency, CSIRO.

Plastic Banknotes

Way back in 1968 the increasing number of forged and counterfeit bank notes led to a skilled team of individuals being appointed to develop an alternative to paper banknotes: polymer banknotes.

These notes incorporate many security features not available with paper banknotes and last significantly longer.

It took twenty years until the world’s first ever plastic banknote was released into circulation in Australia during 1988.

Worldwide now you will find some three billion polymer notes in service in 22 countries, including right here in the UK.

Google Maps

Australians Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma co-founded a mapping-related startup in 2003. It wasn’t long before their invention, quite literally, placed Australia on the map.

Google bought the company in 2004 and, using the Where 2 Technologies software, created Google Maps, which is now used all over the world. In fact, it has almost replaced the paper map entirely in some countries.

There are 4,632,704 live websites that currently integrate Google Maps, and who knows how many of us have reached our intended destination thanks to it?

There’s more!

Here are some other notable inventions we have Australia and Australians to thank for.

  • Pharmacologist and pathologist Howard Florey shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for his work extracting penicillin
  • David Ronald de Mey Warren invented the ‘black box’ flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder in 1958
  • Ian Frazer invented a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer in 2006
  • Notepads (1902)
  • The tank (1912)
  • Aspirin (1915)
  • The pacemaker (1926)
  • The wine cask – or Goon Bag, as it is affectionately called in Australia (1965)
  • The bionic ear (1978)
  • Dual-flushing toilets (1980)

Post thanks to Distant Journeys

The Top 6 Hikes in Hawaii

The Top 6 Hikes in Hawaii

Hawai‘i offers some of America’s most exciting and varied hiking trails, with routes traversing volcanic craters, jungle ridges, bamboo forests, waterfalls, sandy beaches and rugged coastlines.

Each of the six islands offers travellers something unique and enticing, giving hikers the chance to explore scenes that have been used as the backdrops of Hollywood blockbuster films, including Jurassic Park, or spot whales from the shore.

Comprising beginner trails, moderate treks, and more challenging routes, the volcanic archipelago is a haven for those looking for a walk with a view, as well as an opportunity to find out about the culture and history of the islands.

Lāna‘i

Where: Pu‘u Pehe

Level: Easy

kvb-waimea_canyon-091315_0Situated between Mānele Bay and Hulupo‘e Bay, hikers can climb to the Pu‘u Pehe viewpoint to see the giant 80-foot islet rising from the sea. The 20-minute walk to the viewpoint is particularly well rewarded at sunset and some lucky visitors will even see spinner dolphins off the coast. Dubbed as ‘Sweetheart Rock’, the landmark boasts a wealth of Hawaiian culture and folklore.

O‘ahu

Where: Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head)

Level: Easy – Moderate

Offering travellers panoramic 360 degree views from the top of the iconic state monument, Diamond Head is a must do hike whilst in O‘ahu. The trail consists of stairs, tunnels and old military bunkers before reaching the 760-foot summit, which offers views of Waikīkī, Wai‘anae, the Pacific Ocean and the Ko‘olau Mountains. Visitors can learn about the history of the dormant volcano, including how the trail was originally built in 1908 by the US army as a military base, and the background of why the crater was given the name Diamond Head.

Island of Hawai‘i

Where: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Level: Easy – Difficult

Home to two volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, the national park offers hikers the chance to explore over 150 miles of walking trails. The 333,000-acre park includes a number of easy routes such as Crater Rim Trail to Waldron Ledge, moderate hikes including Pu‘u Huluhulu, and challenging routes such as the Kīlauea Iki Trail. Visitors will have the chance to see volcanic craters, steam vents and sulphur crystals up close, whilst spotting native birds and animals in the rainforest.

Moloka‘i

Where: Hālawa Valley

Level: Moderate

hawaii-volcanoes-national-parkThe hike to Mo‘oula Falls is approximately 1.7 miles each way, passing by rivers, native wildlife and fauna. Hikers will also see ancient Hawaiian temples as they pass deep inside the valley, believed to be relics from when Polynesians first settled on the island.

Kaua‘i

Where: Waimea Canyon

Level: Moderate

On the southwest side of Kauai in Waimea, the canyon is dubbed ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. Stretching 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, the Canyon offers numerous trails for hikers to traverse, including the Iliau Nature Loop and Kukui Trail.

Maui

Where: Haleakalā National Park

Level: Moderate – Difficult

08561Visitors can join a guided tour or take part in a self-guided hike in Haleakalā National Park. Hikes vary from a short half hour circuit, to a three-day camping trip, offering visitors the chance to explore some of the park’s 30,000 acres. The volcanic crater, towering at over 10,000 feet above sea level, is known as ‘the house of the sun’. Hikers can marvel at the spectacular light show as the sky fills with an array of colours during sunrise and sunset or take advantage of the stargazing opportunities at nightfall.

More information

Go Hawaii
The Official Hawaiian Islands Tourism Board

 

Got the hiking bug? Join our adventurous presenters to discover the best treks around the world in this epic episode of GlobeTrekker.

Best Treks

The Great Barrier Reef undergoes world’s biggest IVF procedure

The Great Barrier Reef undergoes world's biggest IVF procedure

A ground-breaking coral reef experiment, likened to the world’s biggest IVF procedure, could be the answer to a healthy future for the Great Barrier Reef which, at 70 million football fields in size, is the world’s largest living organism and a natural asset valued at $56 billion.

Professor Peter Harrison, the marine scientist who co-discovered coral spawning 35 years ago, conducted the oversized “fertility treatment” at the Heron Island Research Station with help from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The experiment was first trialled in November 2016 when millions of microscopic sperm and eggs were harvested from last year’s annual coral spawning event, and placed into giant tanks for fertilisation. The subsequent coral larvae were then planted back onto the reef.

Professor Peter Harrison on Heron Island

Professor Peter Harrison on Heron Island

Based on the learnings from the 2016 trial, Professor Harrison this month captured and reared more larvae, taken from the 8th-9th November 2017 spawning event, in a larger-scale study that has already shown signs of successful larval settlement. This time round, mesh tents were used to veil the planted larvae to prevent them from floating to the surface, which Professor Harrison says assists the larvae to attach and settle onto the reef and form juvenile colonies.

“This is the first large-scale study of its kind and our research shows that we can help corals reproduce successfully by increasing larvae settling on the Great Barrier Reef and allowing them to develop into juvenile corals,” said Professor Harrison. “From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner plate size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”

“The success of this project on Heron Island could increase the scale of coral restoration on the Great Barrier Reef in future; if we can fast track coral growth and regeneration and apply this to other areas of the reef, we hope to see larger areas of healthy coral that can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Heron Island

Heron Island

The success of the larval reseeding project at Heron Island is a marker of hope for restoring areas of the Great Barrier Reef previously affected by coral bleaching. Like any parent-to-be, Professor Harrison will continue to anxiously monitor the growth of both coral colonies and refine techniques for future application to other areas of the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said Heron Island, once rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world, was well qualified for pioneering reef studies. “It’s not only tourists who come from all over the world to experience the sheer magic of the Great Barrier Reef at Heron Island, marine scientists also flock to the island to access one of the best reef research laboratories in the world, the University of Queensland Research Station,” said Anna.

“Researchers on the island are looking at innovations like larval reseeding to help coral reefs rebuild and adapt so they can live through everything the world is throwing at them and to survive into the future.”

Acropora valida

Acropora valida

Professor Harrison and the team at the Heron Island Research Centre worked alongside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on the project, which was made possible through a donation by Stephen Fitzgerald, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Australia and New Zealand.

More Information

Tourism and Events Queensland
The official site of all things Queensland and tourism.

 

 

The world’s most welcoming cities

The world's most welcoming cities

Online travel specialists TravelBird have released a study ranking international cities according to how welcome they are in relation to their levels of over-tourism. Reports this summer have shown how over-tourism is dampening the spirits of local communities and affecting visitor experiences.

To create the ranking, the study first analysed the global top 500 tourist destinations (taken from the UN-WTO) based on factors that can make a visitor feel welcome, such as a welcoming port of entry (such as an airport or train station), citizens’ happiness, safety, openness to host tourists, and English language proficiency. Furthermore, they ran an expert poll asking over 15,000 travel journalists how welcoming they found each city based on their personal experiences. The study then weighted all of these factors with a formula that measures over-tourism in each destination to determine the final ranking of 100 cities. This research highlights a precise selection of popular cities around the world in order to give an international overview, meaning there are undoubtedly many welcoming cities not included.

When a city reaches its capacity for the number of tourists it can carry, issues such as overcrowding, lengthy queues at attractions, and increased living costs start to occur. This can negatively affect the daily lives of local residents, and therefore, impact how welcoming the city is to tourists. To determine a quantifiable figure for an issue as complex as over-tourism, the study specifically looked into the tourism carrying capacity of each city. This was calculated by comparing the following factors: number of residents compared to the number of tourists during the peak season, which indicates levels of overcrowding. Next they looked at number of licensed hotel beds in addition to the number of peer-to-peer rental beds (per square kilometre), which indicates if the city has adequate tourist accommodation. Following this, they conducted a second representative poll which asked local residents how tourism has positively or negatively impacted their daily lives, and used this data to create a weighted average that contributed to the city’s total over-tourism score.

The top 20 most welcoming cities in the word:

  1. Singapore, Singapore
  2. Stockholm, Sweden
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. San Francisco, USA
  5. Rotterdam, Netherlands
  6. Lisbon, Portugal
  7. Tokyo, Japan
  8. Oslo, Norway
  9. Zurich, Switzerland
  10. Orlando, USA
  11. Hamburg, Germany
  12. Copenhagen, Denmark
  13. Dublin, Ireland
  14. Toronto, Canada
  15. Nice, France
  16. Bruges, Belgium
  17. Geneva, Switzerland
  18. New York, USA
  19. Berlin, Germany
  20. Phuket, Thailand

Findings from this study:

  • Copenhagen, Denmark is the most welcoming city according to travel experts.
  • Singapore scores the best for port of entry.
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE is the safest city in the index.
  • Oslo, Norway is the happiest city.
  • Dublin, Ireland scores highest for English proficiency.
  • Doha, Qatar, Manama, Bahrain and Lima, Peru have the lowest levels of over-tourism.
  • The Netherlands is home to cities that feature in both the top 10 and bottom 10 for over-tourism. Amsterdam ranks as the 3rd worst city for over-tourism, while Rotterdam ranks as the 4th best city for low levels of over-tourism.

To read more about the study, click here.

 

main image: Stockholm, courtesy of Thomas Fabian, Flickr creative commons

 

The festive season in… Wales

The festive season in... Wales

The Brecon Beacons National Park, located in South Wales, is a treasure trove for visitors. From adrenaline-fueled abseiling and mountain biking, to scenic walks and pub lunches, visitors can explore the destination year-round.

Christmas is a particularly magical time to visit the National Park as the market towns come to life with festive markets, food celebrations and Santa grottos in underground caves.

Here are a roundup of festive activities to do in the Brecon Beacons this winter:

Hay Festival Winter Weekend
23-26 November 2017

father-xmasThe world famous Hay Literature Festival’s Winter Weekend promises an array of literary talks and events throughout the book town alongside a food and vintage festival. To get visitors and locals alike into the Christmas spirit, festivities include local choirs singing, mulled wine, mince pies and late night shopping. Over 40 exhibitors will attend the food festival and those looking to pick up a vintage bargain will be able to do so on Sunday 26 November at the fashion fair. 

Royal Welsh Winter Fair
27-28 November 2017

2013-10-16-9e18aRecognised as one of the most popular attractions on the British agricultural show calendar and the finest prime stock show in Europe, the best Welsh food producers get together to showcase their produce. Christmas shoppers can explore the hundreds of trade stands, demonstrations and exhibitions while enjoying the festive atmosphere. The two day event includes cookery, produce, handicraft, poultry, horticulture, floral art and meat products competitions, a firework display, Christmas gifts and a
Santa’s grotto. 

aberfoodfest-1Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival
10 December 2017

The annual Christmas Food and Drink Fair showcases over 90 stalls and exhibitors from all over Wales, including fresh and cured meats, poultry and game, cheeses and chocolates, cakes and desserts, wines and liqueurs, ales and cider. The festival includes bite-size chef demonstrations throughout the day and the chance to spend time with food experts and learn the newest seasonal tips. 

Dan-yr-Ogof Cave and Cathedral Cave Christmas Experience

about-02Forget a Santa’s grotto in a high street store and instead head deep underground and explore a magical world in the caves and caverns in the Brecon Beacons. Children can step right into a Welsh mountain and discover the ancient caves whilst visiting Santa in his authentic grotto. Furthermore, families can call by the National Showcaves Centre and marvel at one of the largest collections of life-sized dinosaur models in the world. Kids can also enjoy a trailer ride to look at the animals, including the Shire Horses, on the Morgan Brothers’ farm. The caves are open every weekend in December. 

Christmas at The Angel, Abergavenny

angel_xmas426panelThe Angel Hotel offers a number of special Christmas packages and events, including The Après Ski Bar – a popup bar bringing the ambience of alpine ski lodge to Abergavenny and serving Swiss fondue, sausages and steins. Every weekend leading up to Christmas, Santa will be in his grotto outside the hotel with a horse and carriage. Christmas packages include a glass of mulled wine and a minced pie on arrival, a three course dinner in the Oak Room and full English breakfast. 

The historic translocation of Africa’s rarest antelope

The historic translocation of Africa's rarest antelope

Conservation-led travel company andBeyond recently celebrated the success of its breeding programme for Africa’s rarest antelope species by translocating four Ader’s duiker to a brand new breeding site on the island of Zanzibar. With only between 300 and 600 Ader’s duiker remaining in the wild, the breeding programme has been up and running since 2005, when five of the little antelope were introduced onto &Beyond Mnemba Island, a private island paradise situated off the coast of Zanzibar.

With no natural predators and a plentiful supply of food, the duikers have bred extremely well, with the estimated population on Mnemba growing to 35. As a result and at the request of the Minister of Natural Resources and Fisheries in Zanzibar, four animals were recently translocated from the island to form a new breeding population on Unguja Island.

Mnemba-Island-Lodge-view-from-the-sky-3.jpgA team of experts was assembled on Mnemba Island for the translocation in early June, consisting of representatives from Zanzibar’s Department of Natural Resources, as well as Dr Dave Cooper, Head Veterinarian for the Provincial Conservations Department in South Africa, as well as Les Carlisle, andBeyond Group Conservation Manager. The translocation techniques used were influenced by prior research carried out by University of South Africa researcher Lorraine Braby, who had collared a number of the little animals to collect information on their diet and behaviour as part of efforts to improve the outcomes of the breeding programme. Darting the duiker had proved to be most stress-free method of capture and was therefore chosen for the translocation.

The required darting equipment and drugs were provided by andBeyond and, with the placement of the tranquiliser dart on the little animals absolutely critical, the expert skills of Dr Dave Cooper were called upon to dart four duikers. With the little animals running off into the dense forest covering Mnemba on darting, they were quickly tracked, blindfolded and carried back to the loading area. The darts were then removed, the wounds treated and a sedative administered to calm the duiker before the antidote to the immobilisation drug was administered.

Once all four of the little animals were successfully crated, the crates were taken by boat from Mnemba to the main island of Zanzibar. The last leg of the duiker’s trip to their new home was by vehicle.

The historic translocation process, which marks the first time that Ader’s duiker have been moved from Mnemba, is aimed at creating a brand new population of the endangered antelope on Zanzibar, while also ensuring that the number of animals on Mnemba does not exceed the resources available on the island. It is estimated that 25 to 30 duiker remain on the island and, should the animals continue to breed at the same rate, andBeyond plans to translocate 10 to 12 of the little antelope every year.

More Information

andBeyond
andBeyond is one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, designing personalised high-end tours in 15 countries in Africa, five in Asia and four in South America.

The best places to spot humpback whales in Hawaii

The best places to spot humpback whales in Hawaii

Calling all wildlife lovers: from Hilo to Hanalei, Hawai‘i boasts one of the largest seasonal populations of North Pacific humpback whales in the world as they commence their annual winter migration from the Gulf of Alaska to the North Pacific Ocean.

Visitors travelling to the volcanic archipelago between November and May are in for a treat as thousands of 45 tonne magical mammals fill the tropical waters surrounding the islands.

It’s possible to get up close and personal with the humpback whales, or koholā as locals fondly refer to the guardian animal, on a boat trip – or you can even view whales breach from the shore!

The largest concentration of whales reside between the shallow ‘Au‘au Channel between Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. Below is a list of some of the boat tours available this season:

humpback whalesAtlantis Cruises
Hawai‘i’s largest company offering ocean tour experiences has just launched daily whale watching cruises. While searching for humpback whales, guests can enjoy a buffet lunch and panoramic cruise on board the 150-foot Majestic. A naturalist is on hand to provide guests with educational information about the whales’ behaviour and biology. Tours start from $40 for children and $69 for adults.

Pacific Whale Foundation
Certified Marine Naturalists provide an innovative and educational whale watch eco tour, offering sailings from both Mā‘alaea and Lahaina Harbours. Guests can choose from a number of different excursions, ranging from sunrise cruises, whale safaris and sunset cocktail sailings. Tours start from $35.

Lāna‘i Ocean Sports
Tours depart from Mānele Small Boat Harbour and include whale watching expeditions, as well as snorkelling excursions, PADI certification courses and private tours.

humpback whalesCaptain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch
For more than 35 years, Captain Dan McSweeney has been known for his pioneering efforts on behalf of whales and dolphins. The tours specialise in whale watching and learning adventures and visitors are guaranteed sightings or invited to come along again for free. Tours start from $110.

For those looking to remain on land, check out the top humpback whale spotting viewpoints:

The Makapu‘u Lighthouse Trail, O‘ahu
The lookout point is at the most eastern part of O‘ahu, just off Kalaniana‘ole Highway after Waimānalo and Sandy Beach. Boasting spectacular views of Moloka‘i, the channel is also a popular route for migrating whales and the state park provides telescopes for those wanting a closer view.

Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Island of Hawai‘i
Pu‘ukoholā, ‘the hill of the whale’, offers a great free observing spot with its elevated views over Kawaihae Harbour. Located next to Spencer Beach Park, there are plenty of picnic tables and a campground, allowing visitors to maximise their experience whilst whale watching.

humpback whalesKīlauea Lighthouse, Kaua‘i
The elevated peninsula offers an excellent viewing point for whales spouting and breeching just offshore from the lighthouse (an entry fee of $5 is required to enter the lighthouse). Visitors should also keep their eyes peeled for Hawaiian monk seals and native birds.

As well as whale watching, Hawai‘i offers marine lovers an array of unique experiences and animal encounters, including the chance to see Hawaiian spinner dolphins, green sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals and swim with manta ray. Furthermore, visitors can snorkel with the world’s most exotic fish and enjoy the abundance of marine life.

More information

Go Hawaii
The Official Hawaiian Islands Tourism Board