World Travel News

Dubai to hold auditions for a new reality TV show set on Palm Jumeirah

Dubaiians! Fancy yourself as the next big reality TV star?

Well, now is your chance. World Travel News can reveal that the kingdom of bling is set for its own reality TV show like hit programmes Made In Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex.

London based Production Company,  Arrow Media, is launching a new reality TV series centred around the lives of British expats who live on The Palm and is looking for “individuals with big personalities and an interesting story to tell.”

Arrow- which describes itself as “ one of the UK’s most ambitious creative forces”  - is the company behind Ultimate Airport Dubai (a popular series which allowed unprecedented access into one of the world’s busiest airports), the National Geographic Channel’s Animal Fight Night and Channel 5’s Don't Tell The Doctor.

It isn’t the first time that The Palm - three palm-shaped man made islands that are often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world owing to the fact that they, along with the Great Wall of China, can be seen from space - has caught the imagination of reality TV makers.

The Real Housewives of Cheshire and The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills have both filmed episodes on the islands, while American socialite Paris Hilton famously searched for a new best friend back in 2011’s Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF.

If you live, work or play on the Palm and think you have got what it takes to become the next Spencer Matthews, Mark Wright, Binky Felstead or Sam Faiers, email

The search for the cast of a Dubai reality show comes in the wake of the news that the former fishing village has been selected to host World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony ( on the 31st October 2017, at Armani Hotel Dubai.

This will be the second time that World Travel Awards –  widely dubbed the 'Oscars of the travel industry' –  has visited Armani Hotel Dubai, following a glittery ceremony back in 2011.

Announcing the decision, World Travel Awards Founder and President Graham Cooke said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to return to Armani Hotel Dubai.

I can think of no better partner for our Middle East event than the Armani Hotel Dubai, whose only goal is to ensure guests are spoilt non-stop and leave with a smile.”


Hong Kong holds strong as major gateway

The Hong Kong Tourism Board has welcomed renewed competition and extra capacity out of Melbourne following the launch of Virgin Australia’s direct route into Hong Kong.

The new path will bring 71,500 additional seats to Hong Kong each year, contributing to further growth in total air capacity out of Australia.

Andrew Clark, Hong Kong Tourism Board Regional Director, said:
“Hong Kong’s status as a key hub for international visitors has been made stronger by the launch of Virgin Australia’s new flight from Melbourne. It’s been a long time since we’ve had solid competition on this route and we anticipate strong lead-in fares across all airlines off the back of it.”
Last year, Hong Kong welcomed almost 576,000 total visitors from Australia who spent, on average, a total of HK$3.9 billion from January to December 2016. The tourism board expects these numbers to increase in 2017 and beyond, particularly in the wake of the news that the city has been selected to host World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony 2018.

The Asia & Australasia leg of the travel industry’s leading awards programme – frequently dubbed the Oscars of the travel industry – will take place at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong ( on 3 September 2018.

“Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world and it’s no surprise given half the world’s population is within five hours’ flight time.  The city is extremely accessible with a world-class rail system and express link from the airport; it’s one of the safest cities in the world, the dining scene is outstanding and there’s so much to uncover, from local culture to hiking across its many islands and beaches,’ said Clark.
Hong Kong International Airport is planning an expansion project to keep up with demand which will see the development of a third runway, due for completion in 2024.   Better transport links from Hong Kong to mainland China will also provide greater access. Meanwhile the world’s largest sea bridge will link Hong Kong to Macau onwards to Zhuhai on the mainland and a new high-speed rail network will connect Hong Kong to Guangzhou in one hour, scheduled to open in late 2018 with plans for future high-speed connections to Shanghai and Beijing.

Rwanda Day returns to Belgium

Thousands of Rwandans from around Europe descended on the Belgian city of Ghent last Saturday (10 June) for Rwanda Day.

The event was attended by Paul Kagame - president of Rwanda - who used the occasion to highlight Rwanda’s history, celebrate the progress that has been made and outline plans for the future to build a prosperous nation.

Past Rwanda Day events have been held in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Dallas, Toronto, London, Boston, Brussels, Belgium, Paris, Chicago and Amsterdam - and have attracted thousands of Rwandans living abroad who want to connect with their home country.

Rwanda Day Belgium was held a few days after Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair, launched its inauguraldirect flight to Europe.

Elsewhere World Travel Awards - the travel industry’s leading awards programme - recently revealed that Rwanda will host its prestigious Africa Gala Ceremony 2017(

The glittering awards ceremony will take place at the five star Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre - which features the first convention centre in Rwanda with room for up to 5,000 delegates – on 10 October 2017, with hundreds of hospitality leaders from across the region expected to be in attendance.

Watch highlights from Rwanda Day 2017 here:

View the post here:

Ramadan rules

Etiquette tips for those travelling to Islamic destinations

Most travel websites will tell readers to avoid travelling to Islamic destinations during Ramadan. (which Muslims mark by fasting from sunrise to sunset) which, this year, commences the evening of Friday 27 May.

Not so at World Travel News for while Ramadan can pose a few problems for tourists (no eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight), the reality is that the positives gained by travelling during this time far outweigh the negatives.

It is only by visiting places such as the Maldives (please hyperlink to and of course Dubai and the UAE (please hyperlink to during the holy month that you can truly gain an insight into Islam - and in doing so help dispel the myths and stereotypes that are perpetuated in the Western media.

Instead of zealous extremists, you’ll find family orientated locals generous both in spirit and pocket (Islam dictates that Muslims must give some of their wealth to those in greater need), whose hospitality towards you will be interrupted only by the sound of one of the five daily calls to prayer.  Just remember to observe our ‘Ramadan rules’ below to avoid causing unnecessary offence…



·        Feel free to smoke, drink and eat in the privacy of your hotel room. Most hotels serve food during the day in a closed-off area, although alcohol won’t be served until after 7pm.

·        Be patient with Muslims that you meet. Even the most kind-hearted, patient person can become grumpy on an empty stomach.

·        Enjoy the lavish Iftars (the meal that is eaten after sunset following a day of fasting) that take place in virtually every hotel. It’s a fabulous opportunity to experience some traditional Islamic entertainment and widen your cultural horizons.

·        Do start your Iftar with a date – traditionally associated with the breaking of the fast. According to legend, dates were the humble offerings that the Prophet ate for his own Iftar.

·        Make a contribution to charity. Ramadan is not just about fasting and feasting; it’s also a time of giving.

·        Relax. Ramadan is a month during which the pace of life legitimately slows down.


·        Eat (that includes chewing gum), drink or smoke on the streets or in public (think the beach, in your car etc.) between sunrise and sunset. Not only is it disrespectful but you will get a warning from the police if you’re lucky or even worse, a spell behind bars.

·        Dance or burst into song at any time. Most nightclubs will be closed and while you will find that many bars do open their doors to the thirsty public after 7pm – sometimes allowing background music – don’t expect any live music, DJs or entertainment.

·        Play loud music in your car (if you have hired one), on the beach, in the park or even at your hotel.

·        Wear local dress (read a headscarf or veil) as some Muslims may think that you’re mocking them. But do dress more modestly than usual and avoid wearing tight or overly revealing clothes in public.

·        Swear in public. Blasphemy is never welcome but during the holy month of Ramadan it’s considered particularly insulting.

·        Travel on the roads during Iftar (the daily breaking of the fast) unless you have to. Roads are usually choc a bloc with Muslims heading home for their first meal in 12 hours.


Kaye Holland

Shop to it in Dubai

If shopping was an Olympic event, Dubai would be guaranteed a gold medal.

Fantastic retail therapy is undoubtedly one of the sun kissed emirate’s major attractions. As such, there’s a whole host of super-sized shiny malls dedicated to the joys of consumerism from the Mall of the Emirates (where you can shop and ski under one roof) to the elegant, Egyptian themed Wafi City Mall and the mammoth Dubai Mall that’s also home to an aquarium and Olympic sized ice rink.

While these glittering mega malls pull in the punters at any time of year, they’re particularly attractive during the summer months – partly because people seek refuge from the blistering sun in shopping centres, and partly because of the annual extravaganza that is Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS).

This shopping festival, which this year will run post-Ramadan from 1 July 12 August, has done wonders to lure in the tourists while preventing expatriates and Emiriatis alike from fleeing the UAE, in what was a traditionally lean time.

During DSS, shoppers can expect discounts galore in almost every outlet, plus a myriad of entertainment options including live music, dance performances and other fun filled activities for all the family. Presiding over all the action is the popular, canary yellow mascot, Modesh – which means ‘amazing’ in Arabic. For more information, click here  

But if you can’t wait until July, then book yourself on the next flight to Dubai and make most of the current three day Super Sale - a Dubai tourism initiative that sees over 250 brands offering shoppers unto 90 per cent off on an array of merchandise ahead of the holy month of Ramadan - in a bid to further enhance Dubai's position as a year-round shopping destination.

Of course it’s not solely the spectacular shopping festivals that have once again thrust this dazzling desert kingdom back into the spotlight.

The former fishing village has been selected to host World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony 2017 on the 29 October at Armani Hotel Dubai.

This will be the second time that World Travel Awards – the travel industry’s leading awards programme - has visited Armani Hotel Dubai, following a glittery ceremony back in 2011.

Announcing the decision, World Travel Awards Founder and President Graham Cooke said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to return to Armani Hotel Dubai.

I can think of no better partner for our Middle East event than the Armani Hotel Dubai, whose only goal is to ensure guests are spoilt non-stop and leave with a smile.”