From around the world

Plans are under way for an 18-hole floating golf course in the Maldives to come to fruition. Under plans being put forward by Dutch Docklands Company, a series of holes would be built atop floating platforms containing two or three holes.  

Each section would then be connected by a series of underwater tunnels.  

The project – which is estimated for completion in 2015 – is expected to cost $500 million. Backers of the project include Troon Golf, which would lend its expertise in design, construction and management of golf facilities.  

Waterstudio, a Dutch architectural firm with experience in construction projects on rivers and canals, is also onboard.  

The planned floating golf course would be located five minutes from Malé International Airport to give resort guests easy access.  

Developers claim the course will have an environmental impact of zero, using technologies such as water-cooling, sweet water collection floating on saltwater and floating solar blanket fields.  


Carnival Corporation recently took delivery of its 100th ship – the Carnival Magic – in a ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the vessel was built.   

Following the traditional maritime handover ceremony, Carnival Magic debuted with a nine-day Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Barcelona.  

The vessel will be operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, a brand of global cruise operator Carnival Corporation.  

Following the May 1st inaugural voyage from Venice, Carnival Magic will sail a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean departures from Barcelona until October 16th, then reposition to Galveston, Texas.  

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will experience some of the world’s strongest inbound tourism growth over the next five years, research recently revealed at the World Travel Market Vision Conference.   

Nadejda Popova, of Euromonitor International Travel & Tourism Industry, revealed Saudi Arabia and UAE will see consistent growth between 2010 and 2015.  

The Travel and Tourism Global Overview report tips Saudi Arabia to have one of the largest compound annual growth rates in the world of 12.3 per cent for arrivals over 2010-2015 which will result in an additional 9.3 million visitors to the country.  

This makes Saudi Arabia the fifth largest country in terms of absolute arrivals growth over the forecast review.  

This growth is driven mainly by the religious tourism to Mecca and Medinah, supported by infrastructure developments in air transportation and travel accommodation. Saudi Arabia also continues to be one of the most economically stable markets in the Middle East thanks to its status as the world’s leading oil exporter.  

It is investing heavily in economic development, including the creation of six mega cities that will help generate employment, attract investment and drive business tourism.  

The United Arab Emirates will see an annual increase in arrivals during the forecast review period of 6.9 per cent, resulting in 3.6 million new arrivals, being the 14th largest country in terms of absolute arrivals growth over 2010-2015.  

Significant infrastructure developments are taking place in the United Arab Emirates which are expected to contribute significantly to the growing number of arrivals to the country.  

Dubai is also set to seal its position as a global air transportation hub upon the opening of the world’s largest airport, Al Maktoum Airport, with a capacity of 160 million passengers a year.  

Positives for the region are its strong air transportation sector and the 2022 FIFA World Cup taking place in Qatar.  

The “contagion of instability” and oil price rises are potential weaknesses, although Popova did point out that the UAE itself has remained “stable,” during the region’s recent political and civil unrest.  


The growth rates of global passenger aviation fell sharply in March due the Japanese earthquake, disruptions in the Middle East and higher fuel prices, however air freight continued to rebound strongly, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association.   

Compared to February, global passenger demand in March 2011 fell by 0.3 per cent in March, while cargo demand expanded by 4.5 per cent.  

For March, year-on-year growth in passenger demand slowed to 3.8 per cent from the 5.8 per cent recorded in February. Conversely, year-on-year growth in freight markets rebounded to 3.7 per cent in March from the 1.8 per cent recorded in February.  


Airliner landing in stormy weather