Travel unpacked: Riyadh launches sleep pods while Bhutan halves tourism fees

Travel unpacked: Riyadh launches sleep pods while Bhutan halves tourism fees
As Bali deals with an influx of tourists, Bhutan is introducing initiatives to attract more travellers to its shores.

Meanwhile, in Europe, one airline has become the first on the continent to introduce on-board child-free zones, and easyJet has launched its first flight from London to Cairo.

Here's a round-up of recent travel and tourism news – in case you missed it.

Riyadh Airport launches sleep pods
News of King Khalid International Airport's sleep pods went global last week, as Riyadh introduces Wassan Lounge in departures at Terminal 5.

The capsules come equipped with air-conditioning, interactive screens, charging ports and storage space for luggage, reported Saudi Press Agency. The beds are two metres long by 1.5 metres wide. The pods are designed for passengers who have short layovers and need to rest between flights, but can also be used for work or leisure. They can cater for up to 300 passengers per day.

Bali announces $10 entry cost
The Indonesian island has been dealing with unruly tourists this year, as millions flock to its shores. This has included introducing stricter policies, such as mandatory licences for scooters, a ban on mountain hiking and an entry fee of 150,000 rupiah ($10) per person. The fee, which was announced earlier this year, must be paid before or on arrival.

The move will come into effect in February and comes as part of Bali's efforts to “clean up its tourism scene,” said Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, Bali's head of tourism office, in an interview with Bloomberg last week. The funds will be used for conservation and sustainability projects, he confirmed.

Bhutan halves tourism fees
Visitors to Bhutan currently have to pay $200 per person per night as part of the Himalayan country's Sustainable Development Fee. This was raised from $65 last September after two years of Covid-19 restrictions, with the money meant to offset carbon generated by tourists.

But the government announced this weekend that it will halve this daily fee, with a new rate of $100 per night from September. Lasting for four years, the change is part of an effort to boost a struggling tourism industry.

London to Cairo flights for easyJet
The British low-cost airline has announced a new route to Cairo, departing from London Luton for the first time on October 31. The flight will take off three times each week, and will operate year-round.

This will be the first time easyJet flies to Cairo, joining Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada on the airline's Egyptian network.

“As the Egyptian capital, Cairo is home to some truly iconic landmarks and is sure to be a destination of choice for passengers travelling from London Luton Airport,” said Jonathan Rayner, chief commercial officer at London Luton Airport.

First European carrier to launch child-free zones
Come November, if you're a passenger with children in tow on Turkish-owned Corendon Airlines, make sure you don't end up in the “Only Adult” zone, as it becomes the first European carrier to offer child-free seating.

The service, which is accessible to passengers aged 16 and over, is the first of its kind for a European carrier, as Corendon follows in the footsteps of international carriers such as AirAsia.

It will first be introduced on flights between Amsterdam and Curacao.

Korean Air to weigh passengers
South Korea’s largest airline has confirmed it will be “measuring the average weight of passengers along with their carry-on items for flight safety” within the coming weeks. This follows a similar move announced by Air New Zealand in June.

Travellers flying from Gimpo Airport and Incheon International Airport – both in Seoul – will be asked to let themselves be weighed. Though, the airline said that anyone who wants to keep their weight private can opt out if they let staff know.

This process helps the airline update its Aircraft Weight and Balance Management Standards, determining weight distribution on aircraft. These measurements need to take place every five years.
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