Riyadh launches sleeping pods, Bhutan halves tourist fees

As Bali deals with an influx of tourists, Bhutan is making moves to attract more tourists to its shores.

Meanwhile, in Europe, an airline became the first on the continent to introduce a child-free zone on board, and easyJet launched its first flight from London to Cairo.

Here’s a roundup of recent travel and tourism news – in case you missed it.

Riyadh airport launches sleeping pods

News of sleeping pods at King Khalid International Airport spread around the world last week as Riyadh introduced Wassan lounges at Terminal 5 departures.

The capsules are equipped with air conditioning, interactive screens, charging ports and luggage storage space, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The bed is 2 meters long and 1.5 meters wide.

These pods are designed for passengers with short layovers and need to rest between flights, but can also be used for work or leisure. They can accommodate up to 300 passengers per day.

Bali announces $10 entry fee

The Indonesian island has been dealing with unruly tourists this year, with millions flocking to its shores. These include the introduction of stricter policies such as mandatory permits for scooters, no climbing and an entry fee of 150,000 rupiah ($10) per person. The fee was announced earlier this year and must be paid before or upon arrival.

Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, director of the Bali Tourism Office, told media that the move, which will take effect in February, is part of Bali’s efforts to “clean up the tourism environment”. bloomberg last week. He confirmed that the funds will be used for conservation and sustainable development projects.

Bhutan to halve tourist fees

Currently, tourists to Bhutan must pay US$200 per person per night as part of the Himalayan National Sustainable Development Fee. The money, which was raised from $65 last September after two years of Covid-19 restrictions, is aimed at offsetting the carbon generated by tourists.

But the government announced this weekend that it would halve the daily rate from September to a new rate of $100 a night. The change, which lasted four years, is part of an effort to revive the struggling tourism industry.

EasyJet London to Cairo flights

The British low-cost carrier has announced a new route to Cairo, with the first departure from London Luton on October 31. The flight departs 3 times a week and operates year-round.

This will be easyJet’s first flight to Cairo, joining the airline’s Egyptian network after Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada.

Jonathan Rayner, chief commercial officer at London Luton Airport, said: “As the capital of Egypt, Cairo has some truly iconic landmarks and will certainly become a destination of choice for passengers departing from London Luton Airport.”

First European airline to launch child-free zone

Come November, if you’re traveling with children on a Turkish Corendon Airlines flight, make sure you don’t enter the “adults only” area as the airline will be the first to offer child-free seats European airlines.

The service, aimed at passengers aged 16 and over, is the first of its kind on a European airline and Corendon follows in the footsteps of international carriers such as AirAsia.

The system will first be rolled out on flights between Amsterdam and Curacao.

Korean Air to weigh passengers

South Korea’s largest airline has confirmed it will “measure the average weight of passengers and their belongings to ensure flight safety” in the coming weeks. Air New Zealand announced a similar move in June.

Passengers departing from Seoul Gimpo Airport and Incheon International Airport will be required to weigh themselves. However, the airline says anyone who wants to keep their weight secret can opt out if they let staff know.

This process helps airlines update their aircraft weight and balance management standards to determine the weight distribution on the aircraft. These measurements need to be taken every five years.

Updated: August 28, 2023 at 2:09 pm

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