Natural Sanctuary – Bled in Slovenia

By Shereen Shabnam

One of my most memorable travel destinations recently was to Slovenia with Turkish Airlines. The first stop was at a lake town called Bled,a popular tourist destination in Slovenia known for its emerald green lake, a wonderful restaurant on top of a mountain with picturesque views and a medieval castle.

On arrival, we had an enchanting boat ride across the lake, which is the highlight of a visit to Bled. It is best to take some time to take in the ambience, watch the swans and ducks on the lakes and enjoy the lush green mountains in the distance.

A hike up a hill followed the boat ride as we climbed a stone staircase with 99 steps to have lunch with panoramic views and a visit to take pictures of the waterfront, the church of assumption andthe castle of Bled.

The Bled Castle is the oldest castle in Slovenia. There is also a museum at the top with the history of the castle, some interesting fossils and archaeological findings and a tempting gift shop selling food and the arts and crafts of Bled.

Being a food lover, I stopped to taste the famous Kremsnita cake, which was as delectable as the locals claimed and better than any cream cake I have ever sampled during my travels.

Adventure tourists will enjoy the famous hiking trails that start from Bled. They are called Pokljika, Mount Stol and Triglav. For those on the look out for picturesque views, The Vintgar Gorge has a scenic route that is serene with a lovely waterfall.

Some sites I wanted to visit but missed out on is the Postojna Cave Predjama Castle and the Lipica Stud Farm that produces horses for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Visitors from the Middle East who love equestrian sports can enjoy tours, rides and lessons that cover dressage and how to control horses.

Lake Bled is an ideal destination for a perfect summers day. Dress casual and comfortable to make the most of the visit as the activities involve rowing, hiking, exploring and enjoy the photography opportunities.

 

 

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Exploring Taiwan – The Land of Breathtaking Beauty

By Shereen Shabnam

With rich cultural diversity and traditions as varied as it’s beautiful natural landscape alongside tall towers and a thriving business environment, Taiwan is full of surprises for visitors.

My visit began with a tour of the Taipei 101, architecturally created guided with Feng Shui principles as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition with traditional design elements, works of art and modern treatments. It comes with Indoor Observation decks plus a premium multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower with hundreds of stores, restaurants and clubs.

The journey continued with visits to Chiayi, Alishan, Sun Moon Lake and beyond wandering through cultural attractions, lakes, hillside stations, tropical forests and sampling a wide variety of cuisine including ample choice of halal delicacies.

Taiwan offers the gamut of different cuisines and I enjoyed the Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, Japanese dishes alongside the traditional local specialties like Tainan milkfish and desert dumplings in restaurants and night markets in between sight seeing and shopping.

A visit to Taiwanese temples is a must for people watching as they gather to worship, enjoy local festivities nearby and to peruse the local art house often found in each city.

Highlight of the visit was the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated each year on the 15th day of the first lunar month to mark the grand finale of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

This first full moon day of the New Year symbolizes the coming of the spring. People usually celebrate this festival by enjoying family dinner together, eating Yuanxiao (glutinous rice dumpling), carrying paper lanterns, and solving the riddles on the lanterns.

At the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Chiayi, I found the grand celebration with music, dance, light shows, 4D visual effects and the grand lanterns all around me magical. My Taiwanese friends said they sometimes write their wishes on the sky lanterns because it is believed as the lantern fly into the sky; it is a way to pass on your wishes to gods above.

A visit to the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum was a delightin Chiayi County. The museum is set on 70 hectares of land next to a large scenic lake with gardens. It has an unmatched collection of e artifacts and priceless treasures from distant places.

 

Another attractionlocated in Qigu District, Tainan is the Qigu Salt Mountain set close to Qigu Lagoon, the largest inland lake in Taiwan, which is rich in ecological resources and the habitat for winter migratory birds-black-faced spoonbills. There are a number of recreational activities like go-karting, antique machines exhibition and the Doo-doo trains making it an interesting Tainan tourist spot for visitors of all ages.

Other enjoyable excursions included exploring the Sicao Mangrove Preserve and the Taijiang National Parkwith ecological and cultural landscape alongside culture and history. The Alishan National Scenic Area was also memorable. 

Another breath taking experience was of course Taiwan’s largest Lake, the Sun Moon Lakelocated in the mountains of Nantou. I took a late afternoon boat tour and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The area around the lake is home to tribes and scenic views. Leaving Taiwan was not easy especially from the Sun Moon Lake.

From the UAE, getting to Taiwan was fairly easy on Emirates Airlines, which flies to direct to Taipei daily. The city is a great starting point to get to the other popular tourist spots.

 

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Vibrant Kathmandu – The Charming city of Nepal

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By Shereen Shabnam

Exploring the city and outskirts of Kathmandu is an exciting and an intoxicating experience for visitors from around the globe with bustling streets, a large variety of flora and fauna, medieval temples and some of the best hiking and walking trails.

The city has character with old charm architecture intricately carved wooden doors and windows, lively narrow streets filled with shops dedicated to small yet thriving specialist businesses full of different colours, smells with sounds of tourists mixed with locals.

Although I have visited Nepal a number of times, this year I attended the Himalayan Travel Mart, organised with the objective to establish Nepal as a Gateway to the Himalayas and as a destination capable of hosting events at international level. The travel mart hosted around 74 Buyers from 36 countries and over 50 sellers, representing the Himalayan Region, Bhutan, India, Tibet, Indonesia and Nepal.

It is best to arrange a sightseeing tour of Kathmandu City with a visit to the Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu DurbarSquare),an ancient durbar (palace) with its numerous old palaces, temples and pagodas. Visit the famous Temple of Living Goddess “Kumari”,and the Kasthamandap Temple, believed to be constructed from the wood of a single tree from which Kathmandu derives its name.

Nepal is a Himalayan Kingdom often referred to as the “Land of Mount Everest” and the “Land of Living Goddess-Kumari”. Abroad, the country is also associated with the heroism of its brave warrior ancestors – the talented “Gorkhas”.

My favourite part of the adventure was visiting a monastery in the mountains and meeting the resident monks. A definite must visit is the Boudhanath Stupa – an ancient colossal stupa and the center of Tibetan Buddhism in the world and the Pashupatinath Temple -the Temple of Lord Shiva situated on the bank of the Bagmati River.

The excursions take time but if you want good views, head toSwayambhunath Stupa, which is situated atop a hill from where you can get a bird’s,eye view of Kathmandu Valley. I also enjoyed the views from the Namo Buddha Stupa, which offers a serene ambience ideal to meditate in.

I fell in love with the local cuisine and yet surprisingly had some of the best international cuisine in the city as well. Who would have thought that the best pizza I would ever eat will be in a quaint restaurant called Fire and Ice in the streets of Kathmandu.

We visited an orphanage as well after a visit to a monastery. The orphanage is part of a CSR initiative called Mission Himalaya, which focuses in providing free education, free healthcare and poverty relief aid to the needy people from the remote and under-developed regions of Nepal.
I spent the last few days exploring the shops and markets with two fashionable and seasoned travellers and together we got fascinated and taken in with the beautiful gemstones, the colourful pashmina shawls, the soothing musical instruments and comfortable yet classic clothes designed to stay trendy for years in places like Indra Chowk to luxury boutiques.

The wide variety of products in all price ranges is attractive to all ages and tourists often head to the Thamel area for souvenirs and handicrafts.

Going back to Nepal ended up being a therapeutic and calming holiday cum work destination that I needed and meeting travel aficionados from all over the world who are passionate about the Himalayas was definitely an added bonus. I look forward to my next visit already.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #travel addict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #Planespotters #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

Classic Elegance – Luxury at every turn at Villa Magna, Madrid

By Shereen Shabnam

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On the way to my Spanish home recently, a stop in Madrid led me and my family to discover the luxury Villa Magna in Madrid where the ambience celebrates the old and new in a space that only be described as classically elegant.

In the last century, where this modern building stands today on the Paseo de la Castellana, was the Palace of Anglada which was demolished in the 1960`s. The hotel on the same site shows the same sophistication and after an extensive renovation, the luxury hotel has become a home to regular visitors who love the Bauhaus concepts and Chinese screens that combine to create a welcoming and luxurious atmosphere.

From the moment we were picked at the airport by a private chauffeur to the moment we left, the experience we had was more than amazing. The Concierge led us to the most interesting exhibitions and fashionable boutiques in Madrid but the highlight of the excursions was our teenage daughter experiencing the VIP shopper experience at El Corte Ingles…a must for all GCC visitors.

The hotel lobby is warm and welcoming with a large window offering a marvelous view to the Magnum Patio. To add a sophisticated touch the walls were adorned with Bauhaus and Vienna Secession designs. Different styles also combine among the furnishings: Louis XVI rosewood consoles, exotic screens and rugs with their geometric shapes give warmth to the marble floors.

The Restaurante Villa Magna has beautiful natural light, complimented by the choice of light colours and a large framed mirror that reflects the space as a painting. The beauty of the carpentry work and the relaxing upholstery combine to make a perfect ambience relaxing.

The Lounge, off the Lobby of the Villa Magna, is the ideal setting to meet friends, discuss business or enjoy a relaxing meal at any time of the day. We spent our lunchtime mainly there with a selection of snacks, light lunch dishes whilst enjoying views onto the Lounge Terrace and Paseo de la Castellana beyond.

The room we stayed in was spacious, comfortable and washed with soft lighting, bright colours and warm fabrics. It was tastefully done and every detail was taken care of…from attending to my love for chocolates to the availability of prayer mats in the cupboard.

 Our day excursions meant revisiting our favourite Madrid attractions starting from the “Art Triangle” the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, the Mercado and the Reina Sofia Museum to walking through Plaza Mayor and retail streets dotted with local and international brands.

The Villa Magna´s Fitness Club is equipped with the latest Technogym equipment and a team of fitness experts to provide a personalized fitness programme. The Wellness Club is a quiet area to be pampered with luxurious body treatments and skincare in a retreat of tranquility and naturally I opted for a massage on arrival.

Withthe city’s main shopping streets and attractions at the doorstep, the Villa Magna offers the most exclusive and ideal place to stay while visiting Madrid.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #travel addict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #Planespotters #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

Rose Park Hotel – Al Barsha

By Shereen Shabnam

Inspired from past success in hospitality and the enviable reputation for delivering excellence in guest service over the last 10 years, the award-winning Rose International Hotels Management recently introduced us to the Rose Park Hotel in Al Barsha.

Over a sumptuous lunch, Thameem Razick, Director of Sales & Marketing at Rose Hotels & Hotel Apartments tells us that the 4 Star hotel is the newest addition to the growing portfolio managed by Rose International Hotels Management.

Located close to Mall of the Emirates and only a metro ride away from Dubai’s tourist attractions and business centers such as the Dubai World Trade & Exhibition Centre, the hotel is the ideal base from which to explore the surrounding areas. Rose Park Hotel – Al Barsha gives guests a 360 degree access of Dubai. The cozy new hotel is easily accessible to the Ski Dubai, the largest Ski zone at Mall of the Emirates, one of the iconic shopping malls in Dubai, the Jumeirah Beach and to Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City.

Thameem hopes that locals, hotel guests and visiting tourists will enjoy the hotel’s exceptional hospitality services and feel at home during their stay in the city. The hotel’s target market includes travelers and tourists from GCC, Asia, Europe and CIS and fast growing markets such as Eastern Europe, Far East and Latin America who visit UAE for business or pleasure.

Combining fully equipped business space with luxurious rooms and premium facilities, the hotel meets the needs of those travelling for work as well as leisure. The 4 Star hotel comprises of 168 contemporary bedrooms with a choice of deluxe rooms, including 24 suites, all equipped with high speed internet and 49”inch LED TVs. Dining options include the ‘Bombay Urban Cafe’ restaurant with its lavish, fine dining ambiance. There is also a business lounge for busy executives.

A well-appointed meeting room with a capacity up to 20 – 25 guests ensures all business meetings can be handled with ease. Guests can benefit from complimentary access to the hotel’s health and leisure facilities, take a dip in the swimming pool on the deck while sipping fresh juices amidst Dubai’s panoramic skyline view. Accessible 7 days a week, guests can keep fit with gym equipment, weights, sauna and steam room.

Centrally located in Al Barsha, across the street and a minute away from Sharaf DG Metro station, and adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road, guests can have a warm and relaxing haven to stay in. With its calming ambiance mixed with intriguing design elements, guests are in for a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Rose International Hotels Management continues to strengthen its portfolio with a focus on acquiring and managing properties. Since 2006, the group has been in the forefront of the development of luxurious commercial properties across key locations in UAE & Oman. The group has about six more hotel properties in the pipeline with around 687 keys, which will be delivered before Dubai Expo 2020. These are being developed in Science Park, Al Barsha, Sheikh Zayed Road, Jaddaf, Bur Dubai and in Oman – Ruwi.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #travel addict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #Planespotters #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

 

Pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Shereen Shabnam

Dubrovnik in Croatia is a city for all seasons and one of the world’s most prominent tourist destinations. Surrounded by unique medieval ramparts, Dubrovnik attracts visitors for its rich history, mild climate, traditional hospitality and its many festivals, open-air events and architectural treasures.

I explored Dubrovnik, a UNESCO registered protected world heritage site during the evening and in the day taking in the charm of bustling streets, art and different cultural events.

Walking along the promenade during the day meant coming across various art and artefacts on sale as well as live music performances. The open air performances add character to the different areas of the old town classical and jazz music and brings rhythm and charm into an already dazzling atmosphere.

While wandering through the markets, we toured the filming location of the ‘Game of Thrones’ television series and enjoyed some retail therapy of the related merchandise for fans back in the UAE.

The best part of Dubrovnik was exploring the old city, which had interesting markets, art galleries and city walls with fortresses offering beautiful views of the city, the open sea and the Island of Lokrum.

For panoramic views of Dubrovnik, visitors can take the cable car and set out on a scenic adventure that includes breathtaking views of the old town and enjoy the sunset. Make time to head to the Island of Lokrum and Elaphiti Islands or visit the Trsteno Arboretum, which is a protected monument of nature.

Dubrovnik is a great destination for adventure sports or active tourists who enjoy horse riding, hiking, cycling or sailing. A jeep safari or a canoe tour is also an interesting way to explore the area.

Dubrovnik was a gastronomic delight with an abundance of fresh and delectable food, often seasoned with olive oil. Try the naturally grown vegetables like courgettes, cabbage, aubergines tomatoes as well as seafood prepared in a simple way.

I had a full day exploring the old town and came across a Salvador Dali exhibition, which was an unexpected delight. Visitors who enjoy experience centres will enjoy The Cultural History Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Archeological Museum exhibition at Fortress Revelin, the Dubrovnik Natural Science Museum and the Dubrovnik State Archives.

The natural scenery in the area and panoramic views of the coast on the way to the old town in Dubrovnik were definitely some of the most memorable moments in Croatia.  I am already planning my next venture into the land of fortresses and medieval architecture.

Turkish Airlines recently added Dubrovnik, Croatia to its expanding network with three weekly flights for visitors intending to explore this beautiful city.

 

#travel #hospitality #TravelJunkie #TravelTheWorld #wanderlust #globalista #wanderer #explore #discover #travel addict #destinations #adventure #GoingPlaces #aircraft #ShereenShabnam #Tourist #LuxuryTravel #Planespotters #TravellingIslander #TravelDiary #Fijian #AmazingPlaces #TravellingFijian #Globetrotter #SeeTheWorld #flight #Traveller#OffTheBeatenTrack #Shereen_Shabnam

 

Picturesque landscapes – New Zealand

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New Zealand has to be one of my top five destinations not because it is on the way home for me when I travel back to Fiji Islands but the terrain truly is breathtaking. From spectacular glaciers, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forests, volcanic plateaus to miles of coastline with beautiful sandy beaches.

New Zealand has two main islands, the North Island and the South Island and many smaller islands lie offshore. The country enjoys varied landscape and dramatic geographical features and is a popular location for tourists as well as the production of TV programmes and films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

Maori Culture is an integral part of New Zealand society. Perhaps the most well known piece of Maori culture is the Haka, a Maori war dance that is performed at many important events, including before each All Blacks game of rugby. It is captivating and one of the things we look forward to during the Dubai Rugby 7s.

Like Fiji, Maori culture has roots in the Polynesian islands but Maori natives have their own particular style developed over centuries. Maori people still consider family and community to be paramount and aspects of this can be found in their art, music, dance and dress. Maori men and women are known to tattoo their faces and bodies with beautiful intricate patterns throughout history.

Nature has blessed New Zealand with some spectacular geothermal areas and relaxing hot springs, as well as providing electricity and heating in some areas. Rotorua is the centre of geothermal tourist activity, with plenty of mud pools, geysers, and hot springs in its active thermal areas–not to mention its trademark ‘Sulphur City’ smell.

First settled by Maori who used the hot springs for cooking and bathing, Rotorua soon attracted European residents. The reputed health benefits of its hot pools quickly earned the area the name of ‘Cureland’.

In addition to Rotorua, you can enjoy hot springs and other thermal activity in most regions of the North Island north of Turangi, as well as in Hanmer Springs and the West Coast in the South Island. The sandy beaches on the coast are perfect for swimming, surfing and sunbathing.

If you love nature, visit the Abel Tasman National Park to explore the most beautiful beaches, bays and lush forests NZ has to offer.  The Abel Tasman is quite like paradise and New Zealand’s only coastal national park. Enjoy long stretches of deserted golden beaches, turquoise clear waters with a fantastic variety of adventure activities.

For extreme adventure, adrenaline attractions are plenty in New Zealand. You can leap from an airplane for a sky diving experience, get dropped off by a helicopter on unique and rugged terrain and ski the slopes at a dizzying altitude, jump off a bridge or suspension pod attached only by a bungy cord to your ankles, or ride the Nelson Fly by Wire reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour.

New Zealand’s Southern Alps have a number of glaciers, the largest being Tasman glacier, which you can view by taking a short walk from Mount Cook village. New Zealand’s most famous glaciers are the Franz Josef and Fox on the South Island’s west coast.

Health resorts and spas are ideal for spiritual retreats, rejuvenation, beauty treatments or as a getaway to improve your health and well being and New Zealand has plenty of these on both main islands.

If you are in Auckland, drive or take the ferry from Auckland City to historic Devonport, explore the naval caves at North Head, and admire the city view. Spend some time at Cheltenham or Devonport Beach. Browse through the boutique shops and cafes and visit the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, the official museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

If you have kids, they may enjoy the Kelly Tarltons SEALIFE Aquarium. An all-weather visitor attraction, you can see the world’s largest penguin colony, over 30 exhibits and more than 80 different marine species.

For a self-guided tour of Auckland City, visit the Aotea Square, which is used for a myriad of activities including festivals, parades and community events. Auckland’s newest waterfront neighbourhood Wynyard Quarter provides free activities for families in the weekends and school holidays as well.

Weather in New Zealand can change unexpectedly. As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last up until 9.30pm. Which can be a good thing, as you do need more hours in the day to explore the many attractions New Zealand has to offer.

 

Celebrate the beautiful culture of Oman with Atana Hotels

Atana Shereen Shabnam

For ultimate relaxation, Oman is the best place to head out to in the Middle East – from here in Dubai, it usually takes me a minimum of 6 hours to get Muscat so going to Musandam or Khasab is even faster. I love Khasab and Musandam as it reminds me of the tranquility back in Fiji and now I have more reasons to enjoy peace weekends with the new Atana Hotels in the area.

Travellers will be delighted to know that Atana Hotels will operate in Oman, focusing on traditional Omani hospitality at an international standard, in the Governorate of Musandam, Khasab, Oman. With two diverse hotels, Atana offers a gateway to the delights of the Musandam peninsula for families and adventure-seekers and a window into the diverse culture and traditions of the community.

Guests at Atana Hotels will find that the culture of Oman, interwoven with contemporary elements is celebrated from the design and layout of the buildings, clustered around a courtyard and ‘oasis’, to the Omani flavours in the restaurant, enhanced by the cultural activities on offer in the hotels.

Enjoying colourful landscapes, spanning green mountains to azure seas; its welcoming people and their communities, Atana Hotels supports local initiatives and the community in a variety of ways.

Newly introduced for 2016 are weekly cultural nights at Atana Musandam, featuring Omani artists and musicians showcasing their work with an Oud player and local ladies demonstrating the preparation of traditional Omani desserts, with the opportunity for guests to sample the unique flavours as well as learn how to prepare the recipes handed down through generations.

Toiletries provided in the rooms and suites are sourced and produced in Oman by Al Husn Toiletries, and the laundry bags are hand-crafted by local women from the Khasab Women’s Association, supporting the colourful textile cottage industry which is still very much part of the local community.

For added ambience, Omani’s in traditional dress light torches around the courtyard at sunset, guests can relax over coffee and dates whilst listening to the performance of an oud player, indulge in henna painting and breathe in the scented aromas of the bakhour (perfumed incense) spread around the courtyard to greet the starry nights of the region.

 

Egypt Tourist Authority Launches New Campaign

 

ETA-Arab Campaign - Red Sea Riviera 1

I love travelling to Egypt and some of my most memorable holidays have been in Assawan, Luxor, Horgada, Sharm Al Sheikh and of course Cairo. My favourite will always be the Nile cruise though. To drive more people to experience the charm of the beautiful, history laden nation, the Egypt Tourism Authority (ETA) has unveiled a new campaign titled “This is Egypt” (#thisisegypt),

In a change from previous ETA campaigns, #thisisegypt will be digitally-led, focusing on peer-to-peer advocacy and under-pinned by digital media spend, whilst traditional advertising methods will form a secondary promotional level.

Targetting the Arabic traveller from the Middle East region, #thisisegypt will harness the power of digital in a region where internet penetration is 5.8% higher at 48.1% than the world average* and social media sites such as Facebook play a significant role in 88%** of internet users’ daily lives.

The campaign focuses on personalising the Egyptian experience by encouraging the wider Arab audience to consider the variety of holiday which can be enjoyed in Egypt from a vibrant city break in Alexandria or Cairo to luxury beach getaway in Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh. The campaign will highlight past-times which particularly resonate with an Arabic audience from shopping and dining to enjoying luxury accommodation and exciting nightlife.

ETA-Arab Campaign - Cairo

The campaign will highlight Egypt’s touristic destinations into four main geographic attractions: the Nile Valley, the Red Sea Riviera, the White Mediterranean and the Western Desert. The four destinations will be promoted across different audiences and seasons based on each of the targeted markets’ unique attraction points.

The hashtag, #thisisegypt, originally began as a grass-roots movement developed by Egyptians, but now will be adopted and refined by the ETA to boost tourism by portraying an experiential and authentic image of the country to the world.

The three-year campaign will focus on attracting and engaging diverse audiences, with a focus on millennials*** who are driven by personal experience, passion and adventure. Recent studies have shown that millennials take a higher number of trips annually compared to other age groups, driven by the aforementioned factors. Millennials also have the highest level of influence in their respective communities, which indirectly affects the travel decisions of their peers – upon which this campaign heavily relies.

The campaign comes as Egypt continues to work around the clock to enhance safety and security procedures to ensure the well-being of all travellers. The country recently passed an assessment by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with inspectors from Russian, Dutch, Emirati and Italian airlines, and is also collaborating with delegations from the United Kingdom, Germany and Russia to implement the strongest security measures possible. As it launches the #thisisegypt campaign, Egypt has pledged to do all that is possible to provide all visitors – internal and external – with a safe and enjoyable experience in the country.

A Fortnum and Mason experience

Shereen Shabnam Catherine

This week was awesome as I spent some quality time my awesome editor from MADAME magazine at the new 9,400 sq ft Fortnum and Mason store and café next to The Address Downtown Dubai. The iconic British brand opened its second store in Britain last year, after having a single outlet for nearly 307 years and now they have ventured into Dubai….so we in Dubai are extremely lucky to the brand right at our doorstep (I can say that now that I live in Downtown)

As expected, the store had its usual iconic hampers, teas and preserves but we also loved the stock of scented candles and soaps. The ground floor is more of a retail space, similar to the London stores’ food hall.

Fortnum and Mason

Upstairs, The Tea Salon is inspired by the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly and its here both me and Catherine became trendy models for the official photographer as we sampled the exotic Royal blend tea and enjoyed the beautiful views of the Dubai Fountain.

Royal Blend shereen shabnam

We decided to burn some calories from the delectable pastries by taking the stairs to the 3rd floor Ice Cream Parlour, which is touted to offer the finest ice cream in the world. This I have to try on my next visit and will strive to think of better ways to burn calories after I have my Fortnum & Mason indulgence with my little British diva next weekend.

cafe area shereen shabnam