Archive by Category "News from around the World"

New Bali Tourist Tax Will Go Live Next Week

Starting on Feb. 14, all inbound foreign tourists will be required to pay Bali’s new tourist tax.

The tax, which is 150,000 rupiah around ($9.60 USD or $12.90 CAD), will apply to all visitors, including children, heading not only to mainland Bali, but also to any of its surrounding islands including Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida. It also applies to all visitors, including those coming via land, cruise ship, or airplane.

Bali says the taxes will go towards “protecting the nature of Bali,” including the environment and the culture on the islands.

the foreign tourist fee will be used to: 1) protect Bali tradition, culture and local wisdoms; 2) supporting sustainable tourism; 3) implementing quality tourism governance; 4) creating cleanliness, safety and comfort for tourist; and 5) build quality public transportation facilities and infrastructure,” Love Bali, the destination’s tourist board, said when it initially announced the tax last year.

Bali has set up a space on Love Bali to pay the tax—credit cards, bank transfers, BPD Bali Channel, and more are all acceptable forms of payment.


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Crossing the desert is set to become much more stylish with the announcement that Saudi Arabia will be launching its own luxury answer to the Orient Express.

Set to move on the tracks for the first time in late 2025, the Dream of the Desert train will see travellers explore the Kingdom from the capital city of Riyadh to the northern city of Qurayyat on the Jordanian border.

Interiors are expected to draw inspiration from Saudi style and tradition with 40 luxury cabins, accommodating 82 passengers, making up the train. Reservations are scheduled to open by the end of the year for one or two-night trips available to book.

Arsenale Group will be charged with the construction of the train which is already underway after striking a SAR 200 million (Dhs196 million) deal with the state-owned Saudi Arabia Railways. The Italian company is currently collaborating with the Accor Group for the Orient Express – La Dolce Vita that will see 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, an ‘Honour Suite’, and a restaurant carriage travel across 14 regions and 131 cities of Europe by the end of 2024.

Dream of the Desert is the latest announcement from the Kingdom as it looks to diversify its economy over the next decade through the tourism and culture sector with Vision 2030. The programme has seen the country already launch giga-projects like Qiddiya CityThe RigExpo 2030 Riyadh and submit an official bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034. 

Headline Image Credit: Arsenale S.P.A. | Saudi Arabia Railways

Image Credit: Shutterstock


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Beirut – FLIGHTS

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has cancelled flights to and from Beirut on Wednesday due to the security situation in the Lebanese capital.

This content was published on January 3, 2024 – 09:48. January 3, 2024 – 09:48


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Venice Combats Overtourism: Caps Tour Group Sizes and Bans Loudspeakers

Venice authorities are limiting the size of large guided tour groups. Over the weekend, the municipal government approved a measure to ban guided groups of more than 25 people starting June 1. Portable loudspeakers used by tour guides will also be banned.

The rules signal to uncertified tour guides that they “will no longer be tolerated,” said commerce councilor Sebastiano Costalonga in the government’s statement online.

The rules will be enforced in Venice’s historic center and on Murano, Burano, and Torcello islands.

Limiting large group tours will preserve Venice’s old infrastructure, reduce overcrowding, and support residents’ quality of life, said tourism councilor Simone Venturini.

Overtourism Puts Venice in Danger

In the spring, Venice will test out a roughly $5.50 (5 euro) admission fee for day-trippers. The fee’s aim is to discourage daily tourism during peak periods.

Venice has faced preservation challenges. Overtourism, climate change-induced sea level rises, extreme weather and construction threaten the historic city and its lagoon – the two together are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A July 2023 UNESCO paper recommended Venice and its lagoon be added to the World Heritage’s list of endangered sites. UNESCO ultimately didn’t add them.

Credit: Skift. Dawit Habtemariam, Skift, January 2nd, 2024 at 2:38 PM EST


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Iceland volcanic eruption ‘imminent’

Iceland has declared a state of emergency with an ‘imminent’ threat of a major volcanic eruption.

It ‘could obliterate the entire town of Grindavik’ authorities say.

Rumblings began three weeks ago with thousands of earthquakes recorded since.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office believes there is a ‘considerable risk of an eruption based on the speed of the underground magma buildup.

Grindavik was evacuated on Saturday.

It is located about 50 kilometres from capital Reykjavik.

Authorities also upped the alert level for aviation to orange level, although flights are still operating and the airport is still fully functioning.

A major eruption of the Eyjafjallajökullin volcano in 2010 caused havoc with air travel, grounding more than 100,000 transatlantic and European flights.

However, there is no evidence to suggest this will be at the same level, a Met Office spokesperson said.

Still, volcanic activity could last for weeks, they said.

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Minor Hotels to debut in Paris with three NH Hotels

Thailand based hotel group Minor Hotels announced its upcoming debut in the French capital with a trio of four-star Paris hotels.

The group will launch three NH Hotels in Q1 2024, with one of the properties to be rebranded as NH Collection in 2025 following a renovation.

It debuts with the 207-key NH Paris Gare de l’Est and the 103-key NH Opéra Paris Faubourg.

The third property has 80 rooms and will open as NH Paris Champs-Elysées.

This will then be launched in 2025 as NH Collection following a renovation.

“We believe this is an amazing opportunity to grow with two of our brands in the second most visited city in the world and home to the 2024 Olympics,” said Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels.

The three Paris hotels will join Minor Hotels’ six properties across France in Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Nice.
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COP28 will convene in the UAE in November 2023. COP28 UAE brings the world together at a critical moment for global transformative climate action.

COP28 UAE will be held at Expo City Dubai, a state-of-the-art destination built to promote sustainability and international action.

COP 28 will take place from 30 November until 12 December 2023. Pre-sessionals will take place from 24-29 November.

WHO CAN ATTEND. THE GREEN ZONE? The Green Zone is open to delegates and guests of the Blue Zone, Public and Private Sector, NGOs and the General Public. Further information regarding access to programmed or ticketed events will be shared once finalized and tickets will be available through the COP28 UAE website.

Intertravel will be pleased to offer or tailor-make the COP28 Package to Dubai. We are just an email away.

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PASTA DAY, October 25th

Carb lovers of the world, behold: October 25 is World Pasta Day.

People have been eating pasta since at least 5,000 B.C.

World Pasta Day is a celebration created with the intention of showing how pasta is a healthy, sustainable food, spread across all continents and able to satisfy all types of cuisine, both the high end and the simpler, more homemade.

Interesting facts about pasta?

  1. Pasta originated in China Not Italy. Pasta was known in Ancient Greece and China.
  2. It is a Cultural Legacy, Symbol of Italian Cuisine and National Pride.
  3. There are more than 600 shapes and sizes.
  4. There’s a shape for every sauce.
  5. Spaghetti Bolognese is Not Traditional Italian.
  6. The name pasta came from the Latin word for dough.
  7. Italians eat an average of 26 kilos per person per year. Venezuela comes 2nd with 13.2 kilos.
  8. “Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.” (Sophia Loren).
  9. The European Patent Office lists 797 spaghetti related inventions, including 21 types of curved or rotating fork for eating spaghetti.
  10. In Italy, it is considered impolite and “illegal” to cut your past.
  11. Do NOT break your Pasta before cooking it.
  12. Pasta is Healthy.
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ETIAS Visas to Europe

ETIAS, European Travel Information and Authorisation System, will become operational in 2024, according to official EU sources. Visa-free visitors to the European Union will soon need to register online before travelling to Europe. Although the exact launch date is not yet known, ETIAS is expected to be fully operational in 2024.

Applicants from the visa waiver countries will have to provide the following information when applying for an ETIAS:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Gender
  • Nationalities
  • Contact details (home address, email address, phone number)
  • Parent(s) first name(s)
  • Education and occupation information
  • Country of first entry
  • Passport details

APPLYING FOR ETIAS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE CONFIRMED TRAVEL PLANS: If you do not have confirmed travel plans, you can still apply for ETIAS.

You need to state which European country you will enter first however, once you have your authorisation, you can travel to any of the ETIAS countries.


In addition to providing the basic information listed above, applicants must declare if any of their family members:

Are citizens of a European country requiring ETIAS

Have freedom of movement in the EU

Information about the family member will be requested.

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SITA partners with Volocopter on digital infrastructure for vertiports

Volocopter, the pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM), and SITA, the world’s leading IT provider to the air transport industry, have entered a partnership, with SITA selected as Volocopter’s preferred digital and IT systems partner for vertiports. Under the agreement, SITA has become the latest investor to join Volocopter’s Series E funding round, cementing the strategic vision espoused by this partnership. 

 UAM will offer a new form of sustainable aviation, replete with multiple mobility options to cities worldwide. The company’s launch product, the VoloCity electric air taxi, will operate routes in congested megacities to offer future passengers stable, quiet, and safe flights. Flights can be hailed via designated boarding points (or “vertiports”). The partnership therefore has the potential to shape aviation industry standards.

Volocopter is known for its integrated UAM ecosystem approach. Its digital operating system, the VoloIQ, connects all partners, thus enabling a holistic service. The VoloIQ therefore enables a digital-first approach that will translate to end-to-end passenger air transportation experiences. This cloud-based system is in the process of being certified by the relevant aviation authorities.

For more details, please click on the link:

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