Last night, V&VPR attended the annual Skift Megatrends event which looked into the future of travel in 2020. As the travel industry’s premier intelligence brand, Skift deciphered and defined trends for the coming year. Here are this year’s key themes:
For years, the travel industry has known that its next big opportunity is Gen Z, as they are a travel-savvy generation and research shows that they are heavily involved in trip planning. This year, many of them are entering adulthood and will soon have the money and autonomy to take control of their own trips and companies need to make sure they entice them through environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. Therefore, the travel industry should be leaning towards transformative travel that gives back to the environment; for example, Dutch airline KLM’s ‘fly responsibly’ campaign, which encouraged customers to invest in its carbon-offset scheme, pack lighter, and even consider flying less!
New concepts of urban living will start to evolve in 2020, ensuring cities are even more attractive destinations for both working, living and visiting. And so, hospitality brands need to rethink the role they play for both visitors and residents. Mixed-use developments that include restaurants, shops, offices, hotels and rental spaces are becoming increasingly popular as they provide a compelling experience for both residents and tourists – offering visitors a true ‘local experience’.
Customer loyalty means more than simply giving them rewards, today it has evolved with consistent engagement, and so travel is evolving to embrace a membership model that touches on aspects of a traveler’s life beyond their trip. This year the travel industry will aim to engage guests through experiences that tie into emerging and existing lifestyles through subscriptions and memberships that put the customer first, such as loyalty programmes, to create lasting relationships with consumers.
Tourism boards and destination marketers are increasingly aiming to protect and not just promote destinations. Sustainable tourism has now come to mean tourism that local residents and stakeholders feel good about and increasingly, the travel industry is striving to ensure this. Skift predicts this shift will happen through the use of technology, data and participation in order to improve a traveller, and residents, experience of a destination whilst ensuring preservation.
It was an incredible night of learning and networking, and we look forward to Skift Forum Asia happening in our home base of Singapore later this year.
Perth is a city with a plethora of beautiful restaurants, bustling cafes and vibrant bars. The V&VPR girls have selected their favourite spots of where to eat and drink:
Famous for its fresh local seafood, invigorating tipples and gorgeous sunset views across the sea, Bathers Beach House holds the key to the perfect summer evening in Western Australia. Diners can order the seafood board to share, featuring an assortment of the day’s catch including flaky grilled fish, tangy squid, buttery prawns and chargrilled octopus. The menu also boasts a fine selection of draught beers and ciders, as well as a curated selection of sundowners to sip on.
Helmed by Chef Matthew Sartori, Wildflower is perched on the top of COMO The Treasury and has gained international acclaim for being one of Western Australia’s top restaurants. Diners will be treated to a curated menu of dishes that evolve according to the seasons. Many of the offerings at Wildflower are made using local produce including wildflower honey, eucalyptus, pepperberries and a myriad of native herbs.
Down by Watermans Bay lies The Little Bay café, a charming dining establishment with lush foliage, minimalistic coastal interiors and a phenomenal ocean view. Guests can expect impeccable service, and a contemporary breakfast and lunch menu that also caters for gluten/dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. Highlights include the Turkish Eggs with dill, Greek yoghurt, and poached eggs served with toasted ciabatta, and the Beef Ragu Pappardelle with beef brisket, radicchio, hazelnut, saltbush and parmesan. Dishes can be paired with the café’s curated wine and cocktail list.
Having started 25 years ago, family owned Vans has become something of an institution in Perth and a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Renowned for curating an ever-changing menu that features the freshest seasonal and local produce, Vans reinvents bistro classics with a twist for an impressive array of contemporary fusion –indulge in Vans’ healthy house made sodas, and the delicious spicy Indonesian style fried eggs. Diners will enjoy a relaxed and bustling atmosphere, with seating areas either indoors or outside.
Overlooking Swanbourne Beach, The Shorehouse is a coastal culinary haven that showcases modern Australian cuisine, combined with a Mediterranean influence from head chef Oliver Gould. Designed as a celebration of coastal living, The Shorehouse features a large deck, whitewashed walls and bright pastel colours for a laid-back beach-side eatery. As well as delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, there is also a ‘small deck menu’ that includes oysters, sandwiches and other seaside-friendly snacks ideal for watching the waves and surfers on an afternoon.
Record-breaking temperatures, combined with severe drought, have fueled bushfires across Australia, which have been blazing since September.
Over the past two weeks, the fires have further intensified; so far, at least 24 people (including 3 volunteer firefighters) and an estimated half a billion animals have been killed, and over 63,000 sq km of land has been destroyed.
Here are some ways you can help:
Direct donations to charities and organisations who are responding to the crisis:
- Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief – the Australian Red Cross are supporting thousands of people and offering emergency assistance in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia. The Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery also offer psychological first aid to reduce trauma, and emergency assistance such as cash grants for those who have lost their homes
- Salvation Army – Salvation Army teams are providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders in various locations across Australia, with additional teams on standby
- NSW Rural Fire Service – New South Wales is the worth-hit state, with over 1,300 houses having been destroyed to date. Donations made to NSW RFS or other local Rural Fire Brigades directly benefit volunteer firefighters, who are playing an integral role in combatting bushfires
- NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) – WIRES have been rescuing and caring for native animals for over 30 years. Thousands of volunteers are dedicated to rescuing and caring for sick, injured and orphaned animals –in December 2019, they attended over 3,300 rescues
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital have been working alongside National Park teams to rescue koalas from fire grounds. Once admitted, the koalas are rehydrated and treated for burns. Some of the funds raised will also be used to create a ‘Koala Ark’ to rehabilitate surviving koalas
- Adelaide & Hills Koala Rescue – Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue are the largest group of experienced & dedicated Volunteer Koala Carers and Rescuers in South Australia
Shop sensibly through fashion brands who have pledged to donate a portion of sales to help the charities and organisations who are on the frontline:
- Frank Body – for the entire month of January, skincare brand Frank Body will donate 100% of all sales of their A-Beauty scrub to Wires, the Country Fire Authority and the NSW Rural Fire Service
- Lee Matthews – Australian fashion brand, Lee Matthews, will be donating 50% of all sales online and in-store to a different charity every day this week (ends 12th January)
- Barrineau – until 12th January, all sales made by US-based hangbag company, Barrineau, will be donated to WIRES Wildlife Rescue
- MLM Label – 30% of all online sales made before 12th January will be donated to Red Cross Australia and WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Buy from the Bush – new social initiative, Buy from the Bush was created in October to showcase small businesses based in drought-affected areas, which have been impacted by the fires. Buy from the Bush shines a spotlight on these businesses in order to help stabilise the economy and invest in the future of these communities.
Dine to donate – several Australia-based restaurants and chefs are planning special dining events and menus, the profits of which will be donated to help the relief efforts:
- Cook for the Bush – Nomad (Sunday 12th January) – beginning at 10am, Cook for the Bush will see some of Sydney’s top chefs collaborate on a custom à la carte brunch menu that’s available until 3pm, as well as a range of takeaway baked goods.
- Icebergs Sundays Icebergs Dining Room and Bar (12th January) – this iconic, Insta-famous hangout is hosting another of its popular Icebergs Sundays shindigs, with all bar proceeds being donated to Rural Aid Australia
- Isabel Bondi – Isabel Bondi will donate all profits and tips made until 19th January to WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Our thoughts are with Australia and all those who have suffered. We believe that every little helps, and urge you to take action today.
Wellness has become such an integral part of travel and living in recent years. From immersive ecotherapy initiatives to retreats designed by wellness experts, the world’s top hospitality brands have all jumped on the bandwagon to meet the undeniable growing interest for wellness programmes.
Rise in slow wellness travel
2020 sees more travellers making a move towards sustainable travel. This includes making more conscious efforts to reduce ones carbon footprint by choosing travel routes that require less air travel, or participating in undertourism by taking trips to lesser-visited destinations. The Sanchaya at Bintan makes the perfect getaway for conscious Singaporean travellers, being just a 50-minute ferry ride away.
Quick and easy wellness sessions
An increasing number of wellness clubs seek to provide effective sessions for busy working professionals, through quick sessions that can easily fit into packed schedules. For example, the hour-long restorative infrared sauna session at Pure Wellness Studio located along Duxton road, aids in boosting sleep, skin health and muscle recovery.
Spiritual healing for the soul
New-age wellness practices have begun to find footing as well. Individuals have started seeking out the best places to experience crystal healing, sound baths, and aura readings. These sessions use positive healing energy to restore balance in mind, body and spirit.
Solo female travel for strong women
As travellers seek more control over their travel experiences, more solo-travel itineraries have been made available in the last year. Solo female travel in particular has started picking up, and more travel companies have met this demand by offering bespoke experiences for women who seek such experiences.
Benefits of eco-therapy
The benefits of embarking on off-the-beaten path hikes, forest bathing or even keeping indoor plants can have numerous proven health benefits. If you’re considering taking a digital detox and heading outside, you’ll be happy to know that indulging in eco-therapy not only keeps you positive, but relieves stress and boosts immunity.
Renowned for its sprawling vineyards, bustling markets and tasteful bars and restaurants, Perth positions itself as the quintessential holiday getaway just a stone’s throw away from Singapore by plane. Here are some of the V&VPR girls’ top picks for travellers making their first foray into this mesmerizing part of Western Australia.
WHERE TO GO
Located along the streets of Fremantle, this prominent weekend market has a rich history spanning more than a century since its humble beginnings in 1897. Open every Friday to Sunday, the market features a range of stalls selling unique and locally made gifts, products and souvenirs as well as a range of eclectic food offerings and fresh produce.
Cottesloe Beach comes alive in the summer with snorkelers, swimmers and surfers. This beloved seaside destination is a favourite for both locals and tourists alike, and boasts sapphire blue waters, stunning trails along the coast and beachside dining establishments with a view. Travellers making a trip down in March will be able to catch Sculpture by the Sea, a free exhibition on Cottesloe Beach with giant sculptures dotting the coastline.
Nestled in Caversham, Swan Valley – the oldest wine region in Western Australia, is Mandoon Estate, Western Australia’s most awarded boutique winery. Guests can take part in a private wine tasting in an underground cellar, tour the grounds of this iconic destination, or go on a 30-minute chopper flight over picturesque Perth. More adventurous travellers would enjoy the Bush Tucker Tasting, which will give them insight into the area’s history and culture whilst tasting local indigenous food.
Just 45 minutes by ferry from Perth city is a little island paradise. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of smiley, furry marsupials – namely the quokka – Rottnest Island brings together the best of both worlds for lovers of nature and wildlife. Guests can frolic on the beach in the summer, go whale-watching in the winter, glamping on the island’s beachfront estate, and meet friendly wild quokkas (who are apparently the world’s most photogenic animal).
3-hours from Perth city by car lies the Margaret River region, an area south of Perth that’s well known for its premium wineries, picturesque coastlines, and natural limestone caves. Travellers can stop at Canal Rocks along the cape-to-cape track taking in grand views of the swirling Indian Ocean; have lunch at Leeuwin Estate, an established winery with an international reputation; or go on tours of Lake or Mammoth Cave – natural limestone caves that formed thousands of years ago deep below Australian soil.
Conscious tourism is taking root globally, with travellers more aware than ever of the impact that their holiday can have on the environment and local communities. Brands are doing their part in refocusing their guest experiences, and leading the charge is Capella Hotels and Resorts, who are recognised for offering meaningful hospitality experiences, curated for the curious mind.
Committed to the craft of the stay, Capella Ubud, Bali — as part of their ongoing efforts to contribute to a more sustainable future and environment — has pledged to donate 1% of the total room revenue that is generated from all of the bookings that are made through its website for stays from 1-31 December 2019 to Trash Hero Indonesia, a national chapter of Trash Hero World.
Trash Hero World is a global voluntary movement made up of non-profit, community-based organisations with the mission to bring communities together to clean the environment. The movement aims to reduce waste through trash clean-ups, educational workshops on the environmental impact of trash, and long-term sustainable programmes that empower communities to better reduce and manage waste.
The proceeds from Capella Ubud’s month-long promotion will be specifically utilised to support the Trash Hero Kids program, the Trash Hero Learning Center and the upcoming publication of the Trash Hero Kids Book, intended to educate the younger generation on waste management.
Capella Ubud luxury tented camp is set in the heart of a verdant rainforest, bringing the rich heritage of Bali to life in a truly remarkable natural setting. Inspired by the first Europeans to settle in Bali in the 1800’s, celebrated architect and designer, Bill Bensley, has created the stunning rainforest camp as a tribute to their spirit of adventure, while preserving the local flora and fauna through the conscious idea of ‘minimal intervention,’ meaning that all trees and local plants were left untouched and protected throughout the build process. This one-of-a-kind hidden sanctuary offers an authentic insight into the way of life in Bali, combined with today’s modern conveniences and technology.
Due to Cape Town’s proximity to mountains and stunning coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to burn off the calories. Where better to start than with a hike up Table Mountain. The walk up takes roughly four hours, but for those looking for a more challenging ascent, there’s the India Venster Trail which involves a bit of actual climbing. The views from the top, especially on a clear day, are out of this world. You’re able to look far towards the Cape of Good Hope and up north towards Namibia. Keep a look out for wildlife as the trail is full of exotic animals.
For those looking for a less challenging hike, the Lion’s Head trail is another alternative with equally stunning views. The descent from Table Mountain is straightforward as you hop on a cable car that takes a few minutes (V&VPR insider tip: to save time, buy cable car tickets ahead of schedule).
There are two amazing places in Cape Town to catch the sunset: one is Signal Hill, and the other is Clifton Beach. Both offer uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition to the stunning vistas of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, a visit must be paid to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which are at the foot of Table Mountain. The park is vast, and it is also a great place to sit back, relax and admire the vivid variety of flora. Do note that some of the resident Egyptian Geese might ask you to leave in a not-so-polite manner. A great way to get a full view of the park is to head to the boomslang – named after a snake, it is a treetop walkway that gives an obstacle-free view of the park and of Table Mountain behind it.
A trip to South Africa or the Southern African continent, in general, is not complete without a safari. Just an hour and a half outside of Cape Town is the Aquila game reserve. The Game Reserve boasts a large variety of wildlife including the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and if you’re lucky, you might be able to spot all five. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the work they do and the conservation efforts they lead.
While South Africa and Cape Town are amazing, it is essential to take into account the history of the country, particularly during the Apartheid regime during visits to different parts of the city. A way to learn more about the past is a visit to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held from 1964 for 18 years of his 27-year sentence. The tour takes roughly three hours including the ferry transfer, and it starts with a tour of the prison where a former political prisoner of the island leads the tour. You learn a lot about how poor conditions were and see Mandela’s cell. The rest of the visit is on a bus around the island where people still live on the island today as it is now a site of animal conservation. The highlight of the island tour is getting the best view of Table Mountain and a family of Cape Penguins that chill by the seaside.
Whether it be for work or leisure, Cape Town is an exciting city. With amazing delicacies, soaring mountains and stunning coastlines, the city have so much to offer. It is waiting to be discovered and savoured.
As the end of 2019 approaches, Scott Dunn has forecasted what’s hot and trending in 2020 within the world of luxury travel. The world is at our fingertips, and travelling to far-flung places has never been so easy. Scott Dunn predicts next year’s go-to travel destinations – hosting a plethora of luxury hotel openings, and plenty of natural wonder.
Israel is one of Scott Dunn’s up and coming destinations for next year, due to more flight connections between Asia and Israel than ever, and with the increased sophistication of Asian travellers. Travellers are wanting to delve beyond the footsteps of Jesus to visit Israel’s more remote locations, such as the Negev Desert. 2020 sees the opening of Six Senses Shaharut, Arava Valley – the new cliff-top lodge will provide unprecedented clarity of the Negev’s famed night sky. Guests are invited to partake in a range of incredible exclusive activities, from discovering Negev winemaking to journeying in a hot air balloon above the desert’s expansive rocky scenery.
Scott Dunn predicts a revival of destinations with bespoke itineraries that go beyond the typical tourist traps for guests to re-discover timeless destinations such as Greece. With journeys to the less-known islands of Naxos, Milos, Paros and Sifnos for a more authentic experience of Greece, visiting secluded bays, exploring traditional villages and sampling the local cuisine. Scott Dunn is one of just a few travel companies that curate itineraries on these hidden islands and organises exclusive experiences such as a private guided gastronomical tour of Naxos, off-road 4×4 explorations of Milos’ untouched beaches and ancient chapels, and speed boat trips to uninhabited Grecian islands.
With an increasing number of guests choosing to re-visit a destination, Scott Dunn curates itineraries for a deeper journey to rediscover an old favourite in a new light. China is often associated with its major cities and well-known historical sites, however for 2020 Scott Dunn is shining the spotlight on rural China. For a chance to escape city life, Scott Dunn allows guests to reconnect with nature and be fully immersed in the country’s landscape through a new partnership with Caravan Liotard. The camp is inspired by the French writer Constantin de Slizewicz and the traditions of the Tibetan caravans along the historic Tea Horse Road, the elegant bell tents invite travellers to indulge in the simplicity and beauty of the surrounding countryside.
FOOD, CAFÉS AND BARS
A popular spot among locals for food in the city centre is the Eastern Food Bazaar, it’s home to mostly Indian cuisine but also features Middle-Eastern food, but a local speciality that is a must-have is Bunny Chow. It is a South-African dish, which consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with a spicy vegetable curry.
Just a stroll away is Honest Chocolate Café, which is a chocolate shop and café by day and gin bar by night. If you haven’t had your fill of bunny chow yet, grab the Honest café’s dessert version of a bunny chow – a banana bread that is cut open and is filled with chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream (a vegan option also available).
To go with this sinful treat is an equally sinful vegan chocolate milkshake with their own homemade chocolate and coconut milk.
Another dining destination is the Old Biscuit Mill in the Woodstock neighbourhood of Cape Town. It is an old steel mill that has been converted into a marketplace with stalls selling clothes, camera equipment, crafts, wine, beers and spirits.
However, the best part of the Old Biscuit Mill is the food hall with a wide variety of food and cocktails to boot. V&V insider tip: go to for the fresh pizza (made in an authentic brick oven), the shakshuka stall, the mac and cheese station and the bourbon bar.
When it comes to nightlife, nothing the scenes on the famous Long Street, which is home to a host of bars and clubs. One of the bigger bars there is Beerhouse which is a taproom that features 25 beers on tap and 99 varieties of bottled beer. The outdoor seating is the best place to sit back and relax and enjoy the New Orleans style vibe.
Infrared therapy has taken off in the US, UK, and Australia in recent years as a health and wellness trend. This new style of therapy uses infrared lamps which emit waves that heat the body, penetrating deeply into joints, muscles and tissues. Singapore finally has our first dedicated infrared sauna studio with Pure Wellness Studio.
Tucked away in a conservation shophouse in the buzzy Duxton neighbourhood, the quiet sanctuary is home to the boutique space that boasts three sauna cabins, featuring the latest full spectrum infrared technology that heats the core of the body and can penetrate the skin up to 7cm, providing a deeper cleanse as compared to traditional saunas. With skin as the body’s largest detox organ, designed to eliminate toxins safely, this makes sweating, a powerful tool for detoxing — leading to increased health and wellness benefits.
Originally founded in Melbourne, Australia, Pure Wellness Studio Singapore was launched locally by founders Maxie Chan and Rachel Lim, after they experienced the benefits of infrared therapy first-hand.
As a holistic wellness space, Pure Wellness Studio also curates a series of workshops and classes with two sessions every month that are meant to revitalize. Starting the series in November is a multi-level Vinyasa Flow class (6 November) that will challenge the body and awaken the spirit, and a Crystal Reiki Healing session (20 November) that introduces guests to positive energy interaction that is said to promote physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Sound healing and meditation classes will also soon be introduced.