Colors: Blue Color

Speaking in Victoria, Seychelles, at the Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine announced a partnership with SUNx to build a climate resilience center for the Seychelles and Vanilla Islands.

He also made provision for Maurice Strong Legacy Scholarships, formally launched at this year’s World Travel Market in London and of special interest to the Seychelles because they provide access to a high-profile scholarship for outstanding Seychellois students to further their education in Sustainable Tourism. The long-term aim is to empower tens of thousands of likeminded, connected, committed, graduate trainees and lifetime learners for progressive change.

SUNx is a program of the EU based, not for profit Green Growth and Travelism Institute, and a legacy to the late Maurice Strong – sustainable development pioneer. Its goal is to promote Climate Resilient, Impact-Travel with good & bad effects measured and managed coherently: with Green Growth at the core and, 2050-proof in line with the Paris Accords and the W.E.F. 4th Industrial Revolution. At its heart are SUNx Centers: prefabricated, solar powered climate research and innovation centers for climate resilience learning and capacity building.

Minister Loustau-Lalanne said:

“We believe that this center will become a valuable focal point for subsequent research and action to link issues like coastal protection, greenhouse gas reduction and Impact-Travel, with access to world class experts in encouraging long-term Green Growth and Travelism as well as Tourism and Natural Capital Assessment.”

Professor Geoffrey Lipman, SUNx Co-founder said:

“We are proud to be working in partnership with the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism who are taking a lead in the fight against eXistential climate change. Small Island Developing States, (SIDS), like the Seychelles will feel the effects of climate change first and we applaud the progressive attitude towards developing climate resilience before it’s too late.”

The Spa by Corinthia Hotel Lisbon was awarded “Portugal’s Best Hotel Spa” at the 3rd annual World Spa Awards 2017, which took place at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay alongside the World Travel Awards Grand Final.

The Spa by Corinthia Hotel Lisbon was nominated “Portugal’s Best Hotel Spa” with the votes of leading spa and wellness professionals alongside the votes of hundreds of thousands of spa and wellness consumers from around the world.

Roderick Micallef, the General Manager of Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, said, “We are incredibly proud having won this important and most prestigious award in the Spa industry. This award reconfirms our commitment to deliver guests the very best service and outstanding experiences”.

The Spa also gained recognition earlier this year when it was named “Best Luxury Urban Escape Spa” by World Luxury Spa Awards 2017.

Spread over a generous 37,673 square feet, The Spa presents an exclusive collection from world-renowned spa and skincare brand, ESPA. Recently revamped, The Spa features 13 treatment rooms including two spa-capsule rooms, two couple’s suites with Jacuzzi, steam bath and bathtub, one Vichy Shower room, indoor heated swimming pool, natural solarium, plus the Acqua Therapy Facilities. This latter, one-of-a-kind sanctuary is dedicated to wellbeing and rejuvenation with exceptional heat and sensory experiences such as sensory showers, dynamic pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath, bucket shower, cold plunge, ice fountain and cooling walk.

The Spa is complemented with a state-of-the-art gym offering a full range of high-end equipment from Technogym’s most advanced range, ARTIS.

Working with an expert team of therapists, personal trainers with extensive knowledge in both health and fitness, nutritionists, and beauty professionals, the spa offers a fully integrated approach to wellbeing creating bespoke therapeutic and results-driven experiences.

Claudia Santos, Spa Director, said, “This is the end of a very exciting year for us, winning two of the most prestigious spa awards and launching our signature treatments inspired by our spectacular coastline and the Portuguese culture and history.”

In 2017, the LATA Foundation has donated £50,000 to a range of grassroots social and environmental initiatives in Latin America making it the most successful donor year to date for the charity.

Created by the Latin America travel industry in the UK, the LATA Foundation's mission is to support grassroots projects throughout Latin America to help to transform lives, supply clean water, dental or medical support and offer practical training and skills to empower local communities.

Since it was formed, The LATA Foundation has donated in excess of £223,000 to a wide range of projects in Latin America.

In 2017, LATA has donated to 13 initiatives. Examples include:

The Condor Trust, Ecuador An educational initiative enabling young Ecuadorians from low income families to attend secondary school and/ or have access to higher education. The LATA Foundation has provided funds for the provision of uniforms, books and school materials. Now some of the first students taken on during the early years of the project have graduated from university and flourish in professional jobs, demonstrating how successful the whole cycle of support can be.

Vidarte Space, Brazil Vidarte Space has several projects to help underprivileged children from the favelas of Rio de Janerio. Their main project, the Vidanca Dance School, is located in the Complexo do Alemao favela. It began in 2009 as an initiative to offer children from the favelas the opportunity to express themselves through the art of ballet. The school also provides other activities that these children wouldn't normally have access to. The LATA Foundation is currently supporting the dance and football projects at Vidarte Space and thanks to the support of LATA Foundation donor Las Iguanas, has been able to install a new dance floor, mirrors and ballet barres.

Picaflor House, Peru Picalor House is an educational charity working in the small town of Oropesa and other villages in the surrounding rural area 25km outside of Cusco, Peru, to provide after-school support to students and families. Picaflor also supports the local community through hygiene programmes, taps for teeth washing and stoves for local families, having a far-reaching positive impact on the wider community. The LATA Foundation supports Picaflor House with English teaching resources such as text books and audio materials as well as financing an English language coordinator to help implement a new English teaching plan. The English teaching programme is core to Picaflor's strategy as it one of the key skills needed by students in their state education and in the local employment market.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar, already a culinary hotspot on the island, is proud to announce the launch of their Swahili cook school, the Mosha Cookery Studio. Built in the traditional style, with a rustic thatched roof but state-of-the-art cooking facilities, the studio has been dedicated to native Tanzanian Sous-chef Rose Mosha, who has been developing the cooking classes over her six years with the resort.  They are now a much in-demand signature fixture, teaching eager students from around the world how to prepare mouthwatering traditional dishes and sample the best that the 'Spice Island' has to offer. Chef Rose says “I am delighted to be able to showcase the best of Swahili cuisine at the Mosha Cookery School and inspire guests with my personal favourites and treasured family dishes which have been passed down from generation to generation”.

After picking fresh herbs and vegetables in the kitchen garden heaving with sage, basil, mint, coriander and thyme, Chef Rose - a gifted and eternally patient teacher - guides guests through the method of creating a three course meal, peppering practical tips and advice with insights into ingredients and stories about her own family recipes. The rich culinary heritage and history of Zanzibar combines Swahili, Persian, Portuguese, Arab and Indian influences, introducing guests to a heady mix of fragrant cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, green and black pepper and vanilla as well as an exotic tropical array of fruits and vegetables, from  gleaming chillies, aubergines and tomatoes, to okra, lychees, star fruit  and baobabs to name a few.

The studio has five live cooking stations centred around communal learning, meaning those with a competitive edge can even challenge friends and family, MasterChef style!  Tantalizing dishes on the menu include pweza wa nazi, an octopus curry prepared with fresh coconut; authentic lamb samosas; chicken biryani or pan fried fish with coconut sambal.  Afterwards guests can reward themselves with a seat at the Mosha Cookery Studio Dining Table to taste the fruits of their labour paired with wines chosen by the sommelier.

Avid fishermen – or gourmands looking for 'line to fork' eating – have the opportunity to head out in a local fishing boat and try their luck with traditional fishing materials and methods before returning to the resort to grill their catch. Budding pastry chefs will enjoy the Just Desserts class, in which sweet creations such as kaimati (a crunchy dumpling in a sugar syrup) or kashata (caramelized, candied nuts) are delicately perfumed with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, whilst early birds can create a brunch menu, enjoyed with a glass of chilled bubbly.

Perfect for individual foodies or groups travelling together, the school caters for amateurs, enthusiasts and accomplished cooks alike. Available for all age groups, the studio even offers fun kids' cooking classes for budding young gastronomes from the age of four and above.

Guests will depart Essque Zalu with a 'Taste of Zanzibar' spice gift bag, a collection of Chef Rose's recipe cards, personalized aprons and Chef hats, and all the inspiration to continue their Swahili culinary odyssey back at home.  Duarte Correia, General Manager at Essque Zalu, said of the new facilities “I am proud of the vast array of cultural activities we offer at the resort, which enable us to cater to guests' desire for immersive experiences which complement their enjoyment of activities around the island”.

It’s official: Basel’s Fasnacht has been recognised by UNESCO as an element of
intangible cultural heritage. With this decision, the International Committee has
paid tribute to the rich traditions and uniqueness of Basel’s Fasnacht, which is only the second-ever element of Swiss heritage to be awarded the UNESCO label for intangible cultural heritage.
At its meeting on 7 December 2017 on Jeju Island (South Korea), the Intergovernmental Committee decided to include Basel’s Carnival in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The list comprises cultural forms of artistic expression such as dance, theatre and music, as well as oral heritage and traditions, and handicrafts. After the Winegrowers’ Festival in Vevey, the Basel Carnival is the second element of Swiss cultural heritage to be included in the list.
Daniel Egloff, Director of Basel Tourism, is clear: "As well as its significance locally and
nationally, this recognition is also extremely important from the perspective of international tourism. We are really proud, and see considerable potential for making
Basel’s Carnival an even stronger feature on the tourist map"
Basel Carnival is part of the city’s identity – culturally speaking, it is at the heart of its creative energies and represents three days when the city goes wild. And it’s not only local people who keep the tradition of the carnival alive: every year, thousands of tourists come especially to Basel to be part of the festivities.
Whether local or tourist, everyone is amazed by the uniqueness, quality and sheer diversity of the event.

With the Arctic Circle a far cry from most peoples' reach of places to visit, it may come as a surprise that another great place to catch nature's very own theatrical performance is along the northern reaches of Scotland. Bunk Campers, Scotland's largest campervan rental company, offer a practical and budget alternative for enthusiasts wanting to experience the Northern Lights.

With transport and accommodation in one, a campervan is an alternative to car hire & B&B and gives customers freedom to move around and photograph the Northern Lights as they appear from one location to the next. All Bunk Campers campervans & motorhomes for hire can be taken on ferries to the Scottish Islands, meaning enthusiasts are within easy reach of even the most isolated locations and the best views of the Aurora Borealis.

With on-board camper heating, customers can stay warm even in the coldest winter nights and enjoy all the perks of home; including comfortable beds, cooking facilities, dining area and electric hook up (shower and toilet in larger models).

Bunk Campers offer a wide range of 2-6 berth vehicles to suit all tastes and budgets from their Scotland depot located close to Edinburgh airport. Rental rates during the winter period start from only £45 per day with additional long rental discounts of up to 10% available for those wishing to take an extended trip.

To inspire enthusiasts, Bunk Campers have put together 5 tips to chase the Northern Lights in Scotland on a budget.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association announced today that Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York, will be among the keynote speakers at the association’s 35th anniversary convention at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto (9-12 May 2018).

Houdart works on the Free & Equal campaign, an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for LGBTQ equality. He also leads the UN global Standards of Conduct for Business, which were launched in September and address LGBTI discrimination.

“In his role with the UN, Fabrice calls upon companies worldwide to stand up against discrimination in the workplace and respect the human rights of LGBTI employees, customers and community members,” said John Tanzella IGLTA President/CEO. “This aligns perfectly with IGLTA’s membership of global tourism businesses, which are committed to providing a welcoming experience for all travelers.”

IGLTA’s Annual Global Convention is the premier educational and networking event for the LGBTQ tourism industry, and includes an appointment-driven buyer/supplier marketplace with hosted buyer program, a networking session with global media outlets, and a roundtable for small business owners. The educational programming focuses on the latest LGBTQ travel trends and marketing strategies, as well as issues impacting tourism businesses. All general session content will be presented in Spanish as well as English.

Travelers interested in exploring the rich cultural history of the French-Creole Caribbean nation of Haiti are being wooed by one of its distinguished hotels.

Located in the capital, Port-au-Prince, the 60 year-old Le Plaza Hotel, a boutique 95-room property, wants travelers in North America, Europe and beyond to experience the diverse offerings of the country which, along with the Dominican Republic, is part of the island of Hispaniola.

"We are increasing our marketing activity to show travelers what makes us unique and special in the Caribbean," said Marc Pierre-Louis, General Manager of Le Plaza Hotel.

At Le Plaza Hotel, guests can bask in warm Haitian hospitality, exceptionally high levels of guest service and organic ambience. The family-run hotel offers comfort and convenience with an outdoor pool, fitness room, business center and internet access in all rooms and public areas.

The property, which hosts a live twoubadou band on Sunday nights, is gearing up for a strong winter season with special offers to celebrate the holidays, including entertainment and festivities for everyone.

"Le Plaza is continually revitalizing our hospitality product and experience to showcase our rich history and culture, including the incredible artistic repertoire of the Haitian people," Pierre-Louis reported, noting that today's discerning travelers are looking for more than sun, sand and sea.

The hotel is just a few minutes' drive from the iconic Mupanah (Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien), the National Museum of Art and Marché de Fer (a public market dating back to 1889), which guests are encouraged to visit.

In addition to learning about Haiti's history, visitors can get a taste of authentic Haitian Creole cuisine at Le Plaza. "We offer a holistic travel experience and we look forward to welcoming many more travelers from around the world, including members of our vast Haitian Diaspora," Pierre-Louis stated.

Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS finished the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Wednesday 6th December taking Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 11 days 00 hrs 03 mins 08 secs. CQS committed to a southerly route for the 3,000 nautical mile race and despite sustaining sail damage in a vicious 40 knot squall, the canting keel 98ft Maxi led from start to finish. Ingvall is no stranger to taking line honours in prestigious offshore races, twice taking the honour in both the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This was Ludde Ingvall's 16th transatlantic.
Once dockside at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Ingvall was full of enthusiasm for the RORC Transatlantic Race and his team:
"We have had a fantastic trip, even though the slow start meant we didn't have a fast race, but I love it. It is great to be back in the Atlantic and especially nice to be first. Much more fun than being last! We have a young crew on board and it is especially rewarding to give them this chance and 'pass it on'. Sailing is an amazing sport, but big boat opportunities for young sailors are few and they did really well. Just think, we have eight nationalities on one boat and everybody was focused on the same finish line. We worked as a team, looked after each other and it was tough at times."
CQS Crew: Skipper Ludde Ingvall; Co-Skipper Kenneth Thelen; Logan Andresen; Martyn Baker; Philip Barnard; Hans-Christoph Brumberg; Charles Egerton-Warburton; Robin Elsey; James Espey; Liam Gardner; Paul Heyrman; David Kenefick; Rokas Milevicius; James Oxenham; Malcolm Paine and James Tomlinson.
After the Australian Maxi had safely moored at the impressive Superyacht Dock, CQS received a warm welcome from RORC Race Officer Steve Cole and Glynn Thomas, General Manager at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Patricia Maher, Chief Executive Officer at Grenada Tourism Authority presented Ludde Ingvall and his team with a basket of Grenadian produce.
CQS has now set the bar for the best corrected time under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The defending champion, Marten 72 Aragon, skippered by Jochen Bovenkamp and Canadian Southern Wind 96 Sorceress, skippered by Daniel Stump are likely to be the next yachts to finish. The Maxis have close company from two high-performance offshore racing yachts, Tilmar Hansen's German Elliott 52 Outsider and the provisional overall leader, Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine. All four yachts are expected to finish the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Friday 8th December.
 

Citizens of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique now have an opportunity to add to the legacy of the Underwater Sculpture Park. The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) in collaboration with the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park Management Inc. (GUSMI) have launched a sculpture design competition. The initiative invites Grenadian nationals to submit designs for new sculptures that will be added to the park over the next five years as part of a strategic development plan.

Speaking at the launch of the design competition member of the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park Management Inc. Phil Saye underscored the importance of the attraction to the country’s tourism product. He said, “ We are happy that Jason DeCaires Taylor chose Grenada for his first sculpture park and since then we have become world famous for this attraction. Over the years, we have added to the park, but this is an opportunity for us to keep the attraction exciting.”

Saye was high in praise of the public/private partnership with the GTA and noted that the park has enhanced the marine eco system by supporting coral reef regeneration.

Providing an overview of the design competition was GTA Product Development Manager Kirl Hoschtialek. She urged citizens to showcase their talent to produce extraordinary designs that, “are unique and representative of Grenadian folklore, history, culture or the environment.”

There is no limit to the number of entries per person or school and the competition is open to all age groups. The submission must include a short description (1-2 paragraphs) and a drawing or rendering of the design. It must also be easily reproduced by the sculptor in concrete and stand between 6 – 9 feet tall. All entries should be jpeg/pdf format and should not exceed 1MB in size.  All submissions must be the original work of the participant.

The competition offers attractive prizes. The first place prize is EC$ 5000, second place EC$ 3000 and 3rd place EC$ 2000. If a student wins, then the prizes will be split between the winner and the school. The deadline for submissions is January 20,2017 and the winner shall be announced by January 30, 2017.

Entries must be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Entry forms and competition rules can be downloaded from the GTA’s Tourism Awareness Campaign microsite at www.puregrenada.com/tacampaign.

A Jamaican farmer who had a life-threatening case of leptospirosis is thankful for healing, following a pioneering intervention by doctors at Health City Cayman Islands.

Clester Christie came to Grand Cayman for work but fell seriously ill a few days after his arrival. Fortunately for the 31-year old, Dr. Nelson Iheonunekwu, an Internal Medicine and Nephrology Specialist at the Health Services Authority (HSA), recognized Christie's vitals were falling fast and quickly referred him to the East End, Grand Cayman facility.

At Health City, doctors confirmed the HSA's diagnosis that Christie was suffering from a complication of the zoonotic bacterial infection Leptospirosis, called Leptospirosis Pulmonary Hemorrhagic Syndrome, which is a rare bacterial disease that forms blood clots in the lungs of the afflicted.

Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Chief Cardiac Surgeon and Senior Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon at Health City, accepted the emergency case from Dr. Iheonunekwu.

"He came here [and at] that time he was in a very critical stage. I would say his oxygen level, his saturation level was in the 50s, so if he stayed like that a few more hours he would have arrested ... within half an hour we took him to the operating room," Dr. Chattuparambil said.

The Health City team hooked Christie up to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine via the venovenous route to support his lungs, marking the first time Health City doctors had used ECMO in this manner. For previous patients, ECMO had been used to support both the heart and lungs.

A ground-breaking coral reef experiment, likened to the world's biggest IVF procedure, could be the answer to a healthy future for the Great Barrier Reef, which, at 70 million football fields in size, is the world's largest living organism and a natural asset valued at $56billion.

Professor Peter Harrison, the marine scientist who co-discovered coral spawning 35 years ago, conducted the oversized “fertility treatment”, at the Heron Island Research Station, with help from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The experiment was first trialled in November 2016 when millions of microscopic sperm and eggs were harvested from last year's annual coral spawning event, and placed into giant tanks for fertilisation. The subsequent coral larvae were then planted back onto the Reef.

Based on the learnings from the 2016 trial, Professor Harrison this month captured and reared more larvae, taken from the November 8-9, 2017 spawning event, in a larger-scale study that has already shown signs of successful larval settlement.

This time around, mesh tents were used to veil the planted larvae to prevent them from floating to the surface, which Professor Harrison says assists the larvae to attach and settle onto the Reef and form juvenile colonies.

“This is the first large-scale study of its kind and our research shows that we can help corals reproduce successfully by increasing larvae settling on the Great Barrier Reef and allowing them to develop into juvenile corals,” said Professor Harrison.

“From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner plate size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”

“The success of this project on Heron Island could increase the scale of coral restoration on the Great Barrier Reef in future; if we can fast track coral growth and regeneration and apply this to other areas of the Reef, we hope to see larger areas of healthy coral that can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

The success of the larval reseeding project at Heron Island is a marker of hope for restoring areas of the Great Barrier Reef previously affected by coral bleaching.

Like any parent-to-be, Professor Harrison will continue to anxiously monitor the growth of both coral colonies and refine techniques for future application to other areas of the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said Heron Island, once rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world, was well qualified for pioneering reef studies.

“It's not only tourists who come from all over the world to experience the sheer magic of the Great Barrier Reef at Heron Island, marine scientists also flock to the island to access one of the best reef research laboratories in the world, the University of Queensland Research Station,” said Anna.

“Researchers on the island are looking at innovations like larval reseeding to help coral reefs rebuild and adapt so they can live through everything the world is throwing at them and to survive into the future.”

After a couple of challenging years for the health of the Great Barrier Reef, the staff on Heron Island are also looking forward to sharing a message of hope with their guests.

The resort's Marine and Activities Manager, Alison Cross, said that travellers to Heron Island come for the technicoloured underwater marine world just footsteps from the resort rooms.

“We get divers, snorkelers and first time marine enthusiasts and most are aware of the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef so they are fascinated to learn that studies are being done right here to protect its future,” said Alison.

“The Great Barrier Reef is Australia's greatest treasure and once guests see its beauty, they fall in love and become passionate advocates for its protection.”

Professor Harrison and the team at the Heron Island Research Centre worked alongside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authorityhe project, which was made possible through a donation by Stephen Fitzgerald, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Australia and New Zealand.

Colourful culture has long been part of the tradition of the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba but for those who think this just refers to its annual carnival extravaganza, think again.

The island has a vibrant arts scene, with studios dotted around the island producing amazing work, from glass and ceramics to driftwood creations. And all welcome visitors, whether it is to browse, buy or take part!

For example, Vela Aruba, based on Palm Beach in front of the Marriott Resort, is a hip water sports company which has branched into offering a driftwood workshop one evening a month.  Artist Maja Lepsanovic hosts the workshop under the stars on the beach, where locals and visitors learn to paint on driftwood, turning the salvaged, weathered pieces into colourful artwork—a truly authentic piece of Aruba to take home! www.velaaruba.co

Husband-and-wife duo Ciro and Marian Abath launched Terrafuse in 2008 as a non-profit organization promoting glass art, ceramic art, and other art forms on Aruba. Terrafuse is located at Ciro and Marian's property along the road to Alto Vista, the village at the western end of the island.

Behind their quaint traditional 'cunucu' house are three studios. Ciro and Marian appreciate the special spot they have created and enjoy sharing it with the local community and visitors, who are encouraged to participate in glassblowing, bead-making, and ceramics workshops on the grounds. www.terrafusearuba.com

Meanwhile, Cosecha Store & Creative Centre is located in the heart of Aruba's southern 'Sunrise City' of San Nicolas. It is a platform for local artists and craftspeople to exhibit and sell their work. All arts and crafts sold here are certified by the national seal of craftsmanship, Seyo Nacional pa Artesania, established by the government of Aruba through the Department of Culture.

The centre also offers workshops featuring hands-on experiences in a variety of art disciplines presented by local artisans, including the occasional sip-and-paint wine and art concept, as well as workshops for children.  www.arubacosecha.com

Also in San Nicholas, the up and coming art hub of the Caribbean, Espacio Azul is a space positioned as an intersection of artists and craftspeople from the Caribbean and Latin America. More than 100 Aruban, Caribbean, and Latin American artists are featured here.  Workshops and sip-and-paint events are also held here.  www.espacioazularuba.com

Neo pop artist Elisa Lejuez wows with colour, mixed media, and silkscreen printing.  Her works have been featured in exhibits throughout the Dutch Caribbean, Miami, New York City, and Amsterdam, and have been bought by private collectors, international resort chains, and various Aruban restaurants and businesses. Elisa hosts workshops and sip-and-paint classes (by appointment) for groups at Atelier Elisa Lejuez in Noord, in the western area of the island, opposite the entrance to the Tierra Del Sol golf course. www.elisalejuez.co

The WOW Cyclothon is in its 6th year amidst breath-taking surroundings

From 26 – 30 June 2018, WOW air is once again hosting the perfect summer challenge, the WOW Cyclothon 2018. Iceland's biggest cycling event attracts cyclists from around the world for the endurance race, with participants set the task of completing the route in under 72 hours.

The Ring Road route of 1,358 kilometres scours around the entirety of Iceland and hundreds of competitors will pedal spoke-tacularly to lay claim to the title of the fastest team, while also raising funds for a good cause.

Setting off under the summer midnight sun, the non-stop relay race is one of a kind in Iceland. Last year, 144 teams took part, with 1,300 individuals taking to the Nordic roads.  Teams can consist of four or ten cyclists who must cycle in relay style non-stop over the whole route (with a support vehicle).

The B-category offers the shortest distance per person for 10 riders and means less experienced cyclists can take part too. Many corporate participants join for team building purposes and the route offers captivating landscapes to traverse. The solo category is available for ultra-cyclists looking to take on the challenge of a lifetime in unpredictable circumstances.

The race begins in Reykjavik, gliding past glaciers, waterfalls, coastline, fjords, national parks and volcanos in nothing short of stunning fashion. On the eastern side of the route, for 29km, a gravel section requires a mountain bike, adding another string to the endurance challenge's bow.

Keen cyclist and founder/CEO of low-cost airline WOW air, Skúli Mogensen, began the WOW Cyclothon in 2012. He competes each year along with co-founder Magnús Ragnarsson, even finishing in the second placed team in 2012.

Skúli Mogensen said: “Cycling is one of the most exciting ways to experience a country, especially one with such awe-inspiring scenery and terrain as Iceland. The WOW Cyclothon has continued to be well received and has grown every year. The solo finishers continue to impress me, but most importantly everyone who joins in contributes to a great cause. We look forward to welcoming many more entries for another successful year.”

As the main race sponsor, WOW air awards flight tickets as prizes for each member of the winning male and female teams. Open to cyclists of all abilities with a range of bike types, registration closes on 1 May and costs around £512 (70,000 ISK) for teams of four, £915 (125,000 ISK) for teams of ten, and £220 (30,000 ISK) for a solo effort.

The WOW Cyclothon aims to promote healthy living and promotes outdoor activities in Iceland. At the last WOW Cyclothon, £145,847 was raised for ICE-SAR Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue.

As Pure Grenada looks forward to strong projected growth for the 2017/18 cruise season, tourism officials are particularly enthusiastic about the luxury brands coming to the destination. In the past two weeks, Grenada welcomed two inaugural luxury cruise ship calls. The first was the Viking Sea on November 2 and MS Europa 2 on November 14.

Viking Cruises is a luxury brand that was for the second consecutive year, named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2017. The Viking Sea has a passenger capacity of 930 and crew capacity of 550. The inaugural call was welcomed by a delegation which included the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), local agent Huggins Grenada Ltd, the Grenada Ports Authority and Immigration officials.

Ship Captain Bent Ivar Gangdal was presented with commemorative plaques from each stakeholder. Then, on November 14, the MS Europa 2 called at the Melville Street Cruise Terminal, with a passenger capacity of 516 and a crew capacity of 370. The German based Hapag Lloyd Cruise Ship has been awarded the highest distinction as the only 5-stars-plus cruise ship worldwide in the new edition of the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2018 guide.

A delegation consisting of the Ministry of Tourism, GTA, local agents Huggins Grenada Ltd, the Royal Grenada Police Force and Grenada Ports Authority boarded the ship to commemorate the inaugural call. Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Arlene Buckmire Outram welcomed the captain and crew to Pure Grenada by presenting a plaque to mark the occasion.

Commenting on the recent inaugural calls from the luxury cruise lines, GTA CEO Patricia Maher said, “ Pure Grenada is delighted to be attracting these high end smaller cruise ships to our shores. It is a testament to the high quality experiences offered on island from personalised chocolate tours to delicious rum tasting, to our adventure tours on land and sea and to our warm and friendly people who welcome the guests wholeheartedly.”

Not everyone knows that Pablo Picasso was of Ligurian origins. Around the year 1807 his great-grandfather Thomas Picasso left his house in Sori and moved to Malaga. It was here that he married and had five children, including Maria Picasso, Pablo's mother.

In 1954 Picasso wanted to discover the origins of his family and decided to explore and research in the Ligurian communes of Sori, Recco, Avegno and Camogli.

The exhibition will be held in Palazzo Ducale in Genoa from November 10th 2017 to May 6th 2018 and will host fifty paintings from the Picasso Museum collection in Paris. The curator of the exhibition is Coline Zellal.

Visitors will be able to discover artworks that the famous Spanish painter always kept guarded in his houses and ateliers, taking them with him on his travels.

The exhibition is divided into thematic sections that retrace the artist's life and work. Also on display are several photographs showing him alongside his works.

Visitors can admire the artist's paintings, ranging from his early nineteenth-century African inspired works as well as his famous pieces from the seventies, following the main landmarks of his artistic path and presenting some of his most well-known themes.