Insights

Is privacy the new ultimate luxury?

With safety and privacy at the forefront of travellers’ minds, the future of travel could forever change.

From the growing demand for private jet travel and chauffeured door-to-door services spanning destinations in near total seclusion to luxury hotels and private villas offering greater sanctuary than ever before, exploring the world in unparalleled privacy could be a transformative step forward.

So how to embrace a hyper-private mode mindset and where will it take us in the future?

Getting off the grid

Perhaps no form of travel personifies escapism more than air travel. And the aviation industry is leading the way in terms of new travel concepts that have privacy at their heart. 

“Before, you had many people who could afford to fly privately but instead flew commercially,” said Ryan Waguespack, senior vice president of the National Air Transportation Association. “They viewed it as a luxury they didn’t need. Now, many see it as the essential way to travel because of the safety it offers.”

The safety aspect is clear but the convenience and seclusion that private flight offers too are undeniable benefits. In fact, most private jet companies noted an increase in business in 2020. And, as CNBC reported last year, prices for certain flights are now 30% to 50% cheaper than they were the previous year, bringing private-jet tickets closer in line with first-class or business-class seats.

“We are registering a 27% Year on Year increase in bookings over the past three weeks alone,” said Bernhard Fragner in March 2020, CEO of GlobeAir, Europe’s leading private jet charter operator. According to a report by GlobeAir, passengers travelling by private jet have a 30 times lower risk of contagion than if they were to fly commercial.

Concepts such as jetpooling – sharing the cost of a private jet with people you know rather than braving the uncertainties of commercial travel if you’re not chartering on your own – have seen significant growth over the last year too. So much so, that referral/invitation-only London-based Minerva Private Travel & Lifestyle Management are now offering private jet shares for the first time.

Another rising trend that brings a previously unforeseen degree of seclusion has been the sale of prepaid cards that offer just a limited number of hours flying – around 10 or more hours. Distant are the days when to fly privately you had to own the plane or own a fractional interest in one – this concept has brought more people (often those with a slightly lower net worth) into the market who find they can fly in privacy for leisure as well as business trips.

From the very first minute

The private mindset isn’t just limited to the skies, however. 

The convenience of travelling in total privacy can now begin from the very first minute of your journey.

With professional chauffeurs able to pick you up at your front door in a high-end car of choice, you can avoid crowds and enjoy safe travel between destinations in a fully private space with the finest onboard entertainment. 

Whether it’s from Los Angeles to San Francisco or even New York to Miami, long-distance services allow clients to save time by skipping airports or train stations and instead enjoy a seamless door-to-door pick-up and drop-off — no change of transportation needed.

“Buyers are now proposing travellers consider ground transportation for longer trips,” said Neil Hammond, partner with business travel consultancy GoldSpring Consulting.

“Generally we find that for a 200-mile trip, people would rather fly than drive, but now people may realise driving is more efficient, and some of this change could be here to stay. They are equally as worried about disruption and delay as catching the virus. With roads less congested, driving offers a better option.”

With world-leading services such as ROLZO taking convenience and privacy to an entirely new level, this mode of travel could see exponential growth in the coming years.

The hyper-private mindset is ultimately about a change of scene and finding a safe haven. But, what do those secluded safe havens look like?

Finding your sanctuary

“While people are eager to get back to traveling, physical distancing will not go away immediately when restrictions lift; it’s now a mindset,” explained Misty Belles, Managing Director of Global Public Relations at luxury travel company Virtuoso.

“Villas and property buyouts are the perfect solution for those who want to travel, but still keep their distance from other guests,” continued Belles. “People are even taking over small boutique hotels.”

Take for example Sweet Bocas, a colourful self-sustainable villa that’s perched on stilts and surrounded by shimmering turquoise waters. Located on the Caribbean coast of Panama, the overwater home is only accessible by boat – perhaps another way of travel that may see greater traction in the coming years?

“Customers are now seeking more privacy as well as having exclusivity, when it comes to things like amenities and outdoor space,” says Rosella Beaugié of luxury villa company The Thinking Traveller. “Villa holidays are the ideal choice for these travellers because they offer more secluded and intimate settings while providing access to amenities and services typically offered by hotels (think: private chefs, housekeeping and wine tasting).”

As for hospitality in the city, the benefits of seclusion can be felt simply by renting out a private residence in a 5-star hotel managed property such as London’s One Denman Place. And with exceptional door-to-door services like ROLZO able to facilitate effortless travel like never before, the possibilities are endless.

With the option of a private flight and/or a chauffeured service taking you to your sanctuary, adopting a hyper-private mode mindset is a new art de vivre that will likely reshape the choices we make on how we travel for years to come. 

Insights

Is the future of travel passport-less?

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is one of Winston Churchill’s most famous quotes, allegedly said during the darkest days of World War II. And while there are many ways to read Churchill’s celebrated lament, we should just go to the simplest one – dramatic change means opportunities for growth.  

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for the travel industry, it has given fresh insights into long-established practices, and may act as a scientific and technological accelerator. 

And with the upcoming introduction of vaccine passports, travel looks to be one of the first sectors to benefit from this forward thinking. But the changes don’t stop there. Will we eventually enter a pioneering world of passport-less travel?

What Is a Vaccine Passport Exactly?

Essentially, it’s digital documentation to prove that an individual has been vaccinated against a virus – in this case COVID-19. With data usually presented as a QR code, it can be stored on your phone as part of a digital wallet or on an app.

‘We will beat this crisis and reconnect our world’ reads the optimistic headline on the website of the International Air Travel Association (IATA), and it’s their app that could kickstart the rejuvenation of global travel. With 290 airlines calling themselves members, the IATA travel app will allow governments and airlines to digitally collect, access and share information on the status of individual passengers’ Covid-19 test and vaccination.

In fact, as far back as November Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had been talking about asking people to have a vaccination before getting on their aircraft. “For international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity,” he said.

But it’s not just airlines who are playing their part – individual countries will also need to decide what their policies will be at the borders. And with summer approaching, it’s imperative for countries who rely significantly on tourism to have all their processes in order.

Tourism provides 27 million jobs throughout Europe and generates around 10% of the E.U.’s GDP, so countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy will be desperate to encourage the return of summer tourists with the vaccination passport appearing as the best scheme to facilitate travel to the E.U.

“The trend now is towards what’s likely to be open,” said Toby Kelly, CEO of UK travel agency Trailfinders, when talking about destinations that will be most willing to enable the vaccine passport concept.

The Effects of New Technology

But vaccine passports aren’t without their concerns either however, with the most obvious one being the creation of a so-called ‘two-tier’ society – i.e. having one group of people who have been vaccinated and can therefore freely travel, and anybody who hasn’t been vaccinated and has to stay where they are.  

And with countries such as the UK on a rapid vaccination programme and on track to open up for summer, it could be seen as unfair that countries with less access to the vaccines have to sit tight and suffer the consequences for longer.

There’s also the issue of data privacy, a subject that will always raise its head when the handing over of sensitive personal details is concerned.

“Governments shouldn’t rush it. I think it’s a Pandora’s box and think it’s a slippery slope into having life being governed by your health status,” said Clare Wenham, an assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics.

Clouds and Digital Identity – Is the Future of Travel Closer Than We Think?

With any vaccine passport likely to use both cloud technology and biometrics, international travel in 2021 could be seen as a vast experiment for the possibility of passport-less travel in the future. And surely that’s a good thing?

“Why carry your passport around with you when it’s held securely in the cloud?” said Andrew Bud, founder and CEO of iProov, who, together with Mvine, is trialling a vaccine certificate in the U.K.

“This is pretty important,” explained Bud. “The evolution of vaccine certificates will actually drive the whole field of digital identity in the future. Therefore, this is not just about COVID, this is about something even bigger.”

So, with better, safer and more efficient ways to travel potentially on the horizon, 2021 could be a ground-breaking year that brings a new digital dynamism to an industry ready to spread its wings.

Insights

Is Slow Travel the Most Rewarding Way of Seeing the World?

The Rewards of Slow Travel

Where did the time go? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves towards the end of a holiday. And while you enjoyed some of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that only travel can offer, perhaps you’re craving a deeper connection with that memorable city or country. 

Yet all you need is a change of mindset to use your time more effectively – and that’s where slow travel comes in. Slow travel encourages taking the time to appreciate your new surroundings, to travel in a more sustainable way and to connect with the soul of a location – its people, its culture, its heritage and its food. By spending longer in one place we not only contribute to the local economy in a positive way, we also foster meaningful relationships and a unique understanding of what makes that location tick.

So could 2021 be the year we start to really see slow travel’s exciting potential flourish?

The Genesis of Responsible Tourism

Slow travel takes its inspiration from the slow food movement, a concept originating from Italy in the mid-1980’s when people saw that increased tourism was changing the way that people were eating and bringing larger, chain-based restaurants to major cities, thus taking away profits from family-owned establishments. Through a broader philosophy of appreciation for time and heritage, it aimed to preserve regional cuisine, local farming and traditional cooking methods through education of tourists and local residents.

35 years later, it isn’t a large leap to apply similar maxims to the way we travel. It also projects to be a concept that’s here to stay because of how younger consumers are shaping future travel trends. With greater sensibilities of how to help the planet and preserve more traditional ways of life, millennials are seen as ideal purveyors of slow travel.

“Responsible tourism is back in a big way,” says Tom Barber, co-founder of luxury tailor-made holiday company Original Travel. And he’s confident that it’s that younger generation who are leading the drive towards this more sustainable way of seeing the world. “They are the most ethical consumers ever,” Barber explains. “So, companies are offering ways of travelling that are increasingly ethical and less damaging to the planet.”

But what are some of the main benefits of slow travel?

Culture, Connection and Compassion

Looking closer at the main environmental benefits, the strong emphasis on staying in one location for a longer amount of time means we cut down on some of the biggest transport polluters – especially air travel. Eco-friendly alternatives like trains and bikes are favoured, while as the decade progresses, we’ll also see electric cars become a prominent part of the movement too.

Once settled in, you can then take the time to explore the neighbourhood and discover superb spots at your own pace. Spend your mornings relaxing at unique and vibrant cafes, exclusive to the area with their own distinct style and atmosphere. Get to know the owners and locals, absorbing the vibe of the area and its culture. Unearth fresh ingredients at colourful local markets and have a chef cook their unique delicacies at home.

Those local trips not only help the neighbourhood thrive, they also come with the benefit of building bonds and fostering connections with the community – a unique experience rarely found in traditional weekend city breaks or resort holidays.

“When done right it can leave positive impacts that will last long past your trip, benefiting the local communities, economies and wildlife,” says Justin Francis, CEO of activist travel company Responsible Travel.

“Slow travel enables us to learn, relax and rejuvenate,” he says. “To be part of a place for a short period rather than just crash through it.”

Where to Explore

So, you’ve got the mindset, but where do you want to travel?

Perhaps go back to where it all began and spend some time in beautiful Italy this summer. But instead of Rome at the height of the tourist season, maybe spend a week or two savouring the sublime wines, cinematic scenery and distinct culture of Tuscany’s charming towns and villages? Maybe set up base at the stunning Relais Borgo Santo Pietro, before exploring all of its regional delights. 

Though the glitz and glamour of Hollywood often comes to mind when thinking of California, the Golden State is also a wonderful place to slow travel. Not only is the Californian coast perfect for a road trip, it’s also full of eco-friendly luxury lodges (such as Big Sur’s majestic Post Ranch Inn) and charming towns to spend a few easy days in.

One of the world’s most alluring countries, slow travel is an excellent way of exploring Japan’s distinct culture at your own pace. Discovering Kyoto’s ancient spirit, charming neighbourhoods and superb coffee scene is an activity that shouldn’t be rushed. The beautiful Aman Kyoto embraces Kyoto’s unique culture and style, making it a fine central base to explore the city’s vibrant communities. 

 ROLZO proudly empowers local communities by working with a hand-picked and highly vetted network of local fleet partners that uphold the highest standards for quality and service in each region of the world.

Insights

Could Revenge Travel be the hottest trend of 2021?

“The best form of revenge is success,” once said Frank Sinatra. Adjust that famous saying by swapping ‘success’ for ‘travel’, and you have what might be 2021’s hottest travel trend. Essentially built on the concept of liberation, revenge travel is a brave and exciting movement. Missing out on the enriching experience of travel and discovery for almost an entire year has been difficult for many of us, but this concept could open up a world of possibilities.

Surprisingly, it isn’t a new phenomenon

According to Nikkei Asia, revenge travel is ‘a riff on the 1980s concept of revenge spending’, traced back to the spending explosion that took place in China at the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. As the country emerged from an economic recession, Chinese shoppers splurged on high-end products, and the sales for luxury brands skyrocketed. 

In fact, the pattern repeated itself last year in stunning style in China’s southern city of Guangzhou. On the day its flagship store reopened in April 2020, French high-fashion retailer Hermès brought in $2.7 million, the highest figure for a single boutique in China. Will the travel sector follow retail’s path?

But while the concept of liberation after a period in the dark isn’t anything new, it’s probably fair to say that it hasn’t been seen on a global scale before. Now, as we emerge into a hopeful 2021, the entire world feels ready to spread its wings and make up for the lost year of 2020.

Even back in May 2020, a Harris Poll of 2,500 US travellers found that the yearning to travel had only increased, with feelings of a strong need to explore and have a change of scenery as one of the biggest motivational factors. But what are travel industry professionals saying about revenge travel? 

An inside perspective

“We’re seeing inquiries that are quite ambitious, and I think that’s because people have had months to re-evaluate their lives and are emerging with a different perspective on things,” said Mark Allvey, CEO of Untold Story Travel when speaking to the Boston Globe in December 2020.

“There’s a renewed realization that life is short and not everything has to be saved for a rainy day,” explained Allvey. Untold Story creates custom high-end travel trips and some of their recent bookings perhaps shed some light on the positive thinking that the revenge travel concept inspires.

Two families hired Untold Story to plan an outlandish “desert island survival” competition for them in Panama. Another group of friends are renting an entire castle in Scotland and three different families have commissioned a Mamma Mia!-themed escape to the beautiful Greek Island of Mykonos.

And while these examples are perhaps at the more unusual end of the revenge travel trend, it does show an inclination to look beyond the typical holiday and finally book that dream experience.

Perhaps the most poignant example of this comes from the luxury travel company Red Savannah, who told the story of a couple who were scheduled to be married in 2020 but were forced to delay the wedding until 2021. Their frustration led to them upgrading their honeymoon to offset the stress and sadness of the postponement. Maybe inspired by the revenge travel concept, they’re now including Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, and the Seychelles in their honeymoon.

A positive year ahead, however you choose it

That is an extreme example of an upgrade but 2021 could also see smaller changes to your bookings that make a big difference, such as better hotel suites, moving up from economy to business class on your next flight or booking private and safer car transfers with ROLZO

Luxury Travel Advisor Josh Alexander of Protravel International said in an interview last September that his clients are “typically spending more than they originally planned to upgrade their room to a suite or to book a more expensive hotel.”

But also, don’t forget about classic movie-style getaways such as the long-distance road trip – certainly one of the more romantic ways to explore the revenge travel concept. So, whether it’s cruising down the Californian coast or booking that dreamy trip to the Maldives, there’s plenty of hope that travel will bounce back stronger than ever.

And with luxury mobility in more than 300 cities across 60 countries, ROLZO looks forward to supporting travellers in their future positive journeys in 2021.

Sustainability

ELECTRIC MOBILITY LEADERS

Though the world has been shaken up by the COVID-19 crisis, it’s also given us pause for thought in regard to how we’re doing things and living our lives. Sobering images last year of crystal-clear canals in Venice and a peaceful Times Square in New York have made us all think much harder about sustainability and the ways we can create a cleaner planet. But some countries have been thinking about these issues long before March 2020 slowed us down. EV’s represent the future of auto travel and electric mobility is one of the strongest solutions in the fight for sustainability.

With ROLZO offering responsible electric travel all over the world, here are some countries that are leading the way for electric mobility:

China

If the 20th century was the American century, then one could certainly argue that the 21st century is China’s. Of the 7.2 million EV’s on the world’s roads in 2019, 47% were in China. And while its significant manufacturing capabilities have never been in doubt, the question is whether it would be able to innovate to the same degree as its rivals. That question has now been answered. Today, China is not only the biggest producer of electric vehicles (and by some distance), it is also a trailblazer in the lithium-ion battery technology that powers EVs as well as smartphones and other mobile devices. China also accounts for over half of the world’s electric chargers.

With its massive population and fast-emerging middle class, China has a ready-made domestic market that’s able to support innovation while sustaining high levels of production. And with the Chinese government pledging to convert the nation into an international innovation leader by 2030, expect electric mobility to stay at the top of the agenda.

ROLZO cities in China include Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Lijiang and Hangzhou.

Germany

Home to some of the world’s most esteemed manufacturers, German innovation is a reliable contributor to the progress of electric mobility. With cutting edge technology provided by BMW’s i models and Mercedes Benz’s EQ range, Europe’s largest economic power is producing some of the finest luxury EV’s on the market and perhaps changing the image of electric cars along the way. It’s one thing for a relatively new name like Tesla to try to convince the world to buy into EV’s, it’s another for a renowned giant like Mercedes Benz to invest so heavily into the technology.

And with news last year that Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging, there’s no doubt as to how serious the country is about embracing EV’s for the foreseeable future.

ROLZO cities in Germany include Frankfurt, Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Gelsenkirchen and Leipzig.

United States

Although sales had a slight downturn in 2019, the USA is still a huge part of the EV drive. And leading that drive, of course, is Californian manufacturer Tesla and their insatiable thirst for exciting new electric technology mixed with a splash of style. With over 500,000 units sold, the Model 3 is now the best-selling electric car in history and its launch outside of the United States has only expanded Tesla’s reach. 1.6 million plug-in electric cars have been sold in the USA since 2010, with incentives such as federal tax credits offered on a huge number of EV’s to keep up the interest.

The USA has had a love affair with the automobile for many years and car ownership is deeply woven into the fabric of society. Of course, that means that it’s also one of the world’s largest polluters, but on the other hand there’s enormous potential for the USA to lead the way to a cleaner future if the nation can become convinced that EV’s are the way to go.

There are over 80 ROLZO cities in the United States including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

France

Outside of China, France leads the world in its adoption of light-duty EV’s. With almost 500,000 registered in France since 2010, it’s the Renault Zoe that has really caught the public’s imagination and its sales alone have now crashed through the 100,000 mark.  One particularly unique development that occurred in the first six months of 2020 was the record sales of EV’s in France, achieved despite the strong global decline in car sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does this show? It means that there’s a clear appetite for EV’s and perhaps a longer-term change in perception of what they represent in France. In fact, a study by OC&C showed 77% of French people are considering switching to electric or hybrid technology for their next vehicle – the largest of the five countries that took part (China, the United States, Great Britain, and Germany). In its actions and its words, France is working strongly towards sustainability.

There are 20 ROLZO cities in France including Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

As the numbers in China and the attitudes in France have shown, change can happen if we want it to. And with EV use now on a relentless upwards trajectory, from North America to Europe and across to Asia, it’s clear that the change to a cleaner planet has already begun. Find out more about ROLZO’s EV options right here

Sustainability

WHY EVs ARE THE FUTURE?

From the thick smog that blanketed Los Angeles in the 1950s to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the fact is that we’ve known about the damaging effects of automobile pollution for perhaps longer than we would care to admit. Yet over the years, manufacturers thought little about the clear challenges for the environment, continuing to mass-produce cars on an enormous scale. But as the facts of climate change become ever clearer in the 21st century, it’s a relic from the past that is now leading the charge for a cleaner planet. And though it was first invented over 100 years ago, the electric car has now become one of the most unmistakable solutions in the fight against devastating climate change. 

Just a Passing Fad?

Once thought of as a fad or objects of amusement, electric vehicles have been part of the public consciousness ever since Toyota introduced the Prius in 1997. The revolutionary hybrid was often the butt of jokes, thanks to its slow acceleration speed and tree-hugging image. Yet it was clean, quiet and fuel-efficient. Still in production almost 25 years later, it proved that electric-hybrid cars could be successful, blazing a trail for future EV’s to follow.

But the legacy of cars powered by electricity goes deeper still. In fact, at the turn of the 20th century electric cars accounted for around a third of all vehicles on the road in the US. Praised for their lack of noise in a time period dominated by deafening industry, designs and models were crafted by some of the most famous luminaries of the era, including Ferdinand Porsche’s P1 and a 1912 design by American electricity pioneer Thomas Edison. Unfortunately for Edison however, it was his friend Henry Ford’s widely available and affordable gasoline-powered Model T that contributed to the eventual decline of the electric car’s golden era. For the next century, the auto industry would be dominated by vehicles run on gasoline petrol with little thought for the environment. But that eventually changed.

The Truth About Climate Change

Like a spinning wind vane in a violent storm, attitudes and public opinion are constantly changing on any number of issues across every political spectrum. But, if there’s one issue that may be reaching a relatively irrefutable position of consensus, then climate change could be it. Although it’s been part of many agendas for the last thirty years, it’s only really in the last decade that stances have started to converge into one direction.

According to a 2018 report from the World Meteorological Association, the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years. If that wasn’t worrying enough, then the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also warned in 2018 that the effects of global warming could be irreversible by 2030.

It’s therefore unsurprising to find that vehicles account for around one third of all US air pollution. Similar figures can be found in the UK and the EU. And it’s not just the environment that suffers either – it’s humans themselves. Unlike other notorious polluters such as factories, industrial smokestacks and airplanes, the smog, carbon monoxide and other toxins emitted by vehicles go straight out at street level and into the lungs. If we want to improve the air quality of our cities and towns and enjoy a brighter and cleaner future, then our attitude to cars must change. Thankfully, it seems that moment has already dawned.    

A Brighter Future

Greener, cleaner and better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars, it’s clear that electrification is the central force for the decarbonisation of road transport. Technology has come a long way in recent years and, with countries like the UK banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, manufacturers have been forced to innovate and rise to the challenge. Batteries are one area which have seen some of the most rapid development, with many EV’s now able to achieve 200 miles on a single charge. Without compromising on style and performance, some of those leading the way for 2021 include the Tesla Model S and the Jaguar I-Pace.

But regardless of who is making the car, the facts are clear. By avoiding fossil fuels altogether and offering a 40% reduction in co2 emissions, EV’s are here to stay if we want a healthier world and cleaner cities. There are still some challenges – most greenhouse gases produced by EVs come from the manufacturing process – but those will be overcome on the drive towards a sustainable future.

Electric Vehicles are the future and ROLZO will be there every step of the way. So, whether it’s through a soothing ride with a professional chauffeur or taking the wheel of one of our stylish EV’s yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy a clean electric future with ROLZO in more than 100 cities around the world.

Sustainability

ROLZO ELECTRIC

ROLZO launches the world’s largest fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) available on-demand in more than 100 cities around the world.

Starting today, Travel, Hospitality, Lifestyle Management, and Private Aviation professionals using ROLZO Business can help counteract climate change by booking all-electric vehicles for their clients in just a few clicks.

Climate change and the burdens placed on air quality are among the key challenges we face. ROLZO strives to reduce emissions of CO2 and pollutants by making more and more electric vehicles (EVs) available on its ground transportation and car rental booking platform. 

Whether travellers want to be driven in an all-electric vehicle and enjoy a peaceful environment, or drive an emissions-free vehicle which combines design innovation, cutting-edge technology and pure electrified power, ROLZO allows industry professionals to book from a range of EVs including the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, Porsche Taycan, BMW i8 Coupé, BMW i8 Roadster, Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio, and more.

Sustainability is not just a trend for ROLZO, it is a call to action spurred on by our world changing at a pace faster than ever and with the recognition that earth’s resources are not endless. No single company can remove carbon footprint on its own but the hundreds of companies using ROLZO Business, collectively, can help reduce the environmental impact.

“We are all in, dedicated to our ambition, to guide the industry forward and change the way the world moves” said Thomas Dashwood, Operations Manager at ROLZO. 

ROLZO Electric is currently available in more than 100 cities around the world and will roll out to more cities soon. Read more about ROLZO Electric at www.rolzo.com/electric.

Journeys

DRIVING JOURNEYS: Miami To Key WEST

Key West is the Southernmost city in the United States and just a 4-hour drive from Miami on the scenic coastal Overseas Highway. The only way to experience this epic drive is behind the wheel of a convertible, be it a rugged Jeep Wrangler, a sleek Ferrari Portofino or a sophisticated Rolls-Royce Dawn. Drop the top and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime coastal drive. ROLZO has a full fleet of convertibles in Miami that will thrill all kinds of drivers.

The Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Gulf of Mexico on the other 

The drive from Miami to Key West is a little over 150 miles with 42 bridges connecting  34 islands. The road takes you through a wonderland of mangrove trees, coral reefs, tropical savanna, quaint islands and historical sites. You’ll have the unique sensation of literally driving on water as you cruise over the bridges, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Many stretches of the highway are only two lanes wide, so you feel like you only have to stretch your hand out the window to touch the ocean. 

As you drive on, watch out for the Shell Shack, a typical Florida conch house. It overflows with the most colorful Florida kitsch, which is made of  shells, wood, beads, and much more. Everything’s for sale – a prime opportunity to bring an exotic souvenir or two back home.

Key Largo, Marathon and every keys in between

Starting your trip in Miami, the most popular stops along the way are Key Largo and Marathon, however time permitting, explore the lesser-known keys along the way ( there are 34!), each picturesque and unique. To name a few, just south of Key Largo lies charming Islamorada where you can get your first taste of hogfish and Key Lime Pie in the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District. Nearly halfway to Key West and just before driving over the famous Seven Mile Bridge, make a stop in the relaxed and lesser-known Duck Key and enjoy lush tropical vegetation and beaches. 

The Seven Mile Bridge, driving over water for miles and miles

The Seven Mile Bridge connects Marathon with Little Duck Key. It’s actually two parallel bridges, the older one built in 1919 as part of the Flagler Railroad and the new one, which you’ll drive over. The highlight of this section and possibly of the entire drive is the experience of literally driving for miles on end across two tremendous bodies of water: the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. 

Almost there, 30 miles to Key West

Just after crossing the Seven Mile Bridge and only about 30 miles from your final destination, make a little detour to visit Big Pine Key. It’s rumored to have the best seafood in Florida. Make a final stop in Sugarloaf Key, the U-shaped island wraps around Sugarloaf Sound; a calm paradise for snorkelling, swimming, and fishing; it is also home to the American Shoal Lighthouse, one in a string of lighthouses erected to help ships navigate through the dangerous shoal, the distinctive red structure is visible with good binoculars from Sugarloaf Key.

If you take one selfie on this trip it has to be with the famous mile marker ”0 Mile”. 

You will want to spend at least one night and one day in Key West to enjoy some of the many attractions in and around the hub of the city, Duval Street; head out for the daily sunset celebration in Mallory Square and adjust to Key West lifestyle. 

The entire trip can be made in about four hours if you drive non-stop. But, what would be the point, you may ask? It is to fully experience this journey, taking on the local laid-back attitude, putting the top down and making plenty of stops along the way for an adventure of a lifetime.

Due to changing advisories and local COVID-19 regulations, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. The best time to go is between February and May. The temperatures are on average in the 70s Fahrenheit or 20s Celcius with little risk of rain. The hurricane season starting in September is to be avoided.

Newsroom

Your global travel news digest

With the abruptly elevated lockdown measures in the UK, many nations in Europe and outside the continent are fostering their spirit of resilience in face of hardship. It may look like that the spirit of Christmas cannot go out in full display publicly, however many are eager to stay positive in their outlook for next year.

Americas

Best places to finally say goodbye to 2020!

Main cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles are typical places that come to mind to bring in the new year with fireworks and parties, but this year has been nothing but typical. We are suggesting a more subdued approach with intimate experiences, nature, and wellness. Make sure to check local regulations for restaurants, attractions and accommodations as they are updated constantly amid the pandemic. Below are our top 4 choices to bring in 2021, there is something for everyone whether in the snow or in the sun:

Sedona, Arizona for a refreshed and rejuvenated holiday in a stunning setting of red rock formations; Jackson Hole, Wyoming when you can hit the slopes and cross off two of the United States best national parks during one epic trip; Maui, Hawaii to start the new year on what most agree is the best Hawaiian island (bypass the state’s 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test results); Las Vegas, Nevada because it is Las Vegas and what better place say goodbye to 2020 all decked out to see some 80,000 fireworks ignite from the rooftops of seven casinos.

Exploring Mexico’s most luxurious gem: Los Cabos

Los Cabos, situated in the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, continues to reign as the nation’s number-one destination for international private flights. One of Latin America’s most cherished luxury spots, the region is widely known for its extreme clustering of top-of-the-range hospitality brands, offering endless opportunities for enjoyment and indulgence. Los Cabos’s beneficial connectivity and frequent air service from the United States marks the spot as an American traveller’s favorite.

Furthermore, Los Cabos Tourism Board is committed to keeping travellers safe. With its recently launched program named Los Cabos With Care, tourists are provided with quality hygiene standards at hotels, airports, restaurants, and etcetera. The brilliant Baja California Peninsula is the world of mystical and ethereal beauty; covered with bountiful marine life, Los Cabos belongs to the host of the region’s enduring elegance. 

Europe

COVID-19 mutant strain causes Europe to ban travel from the UK

European nations including France, Germany, Italy, and Portugal said they will stop flights arriving from the UK. A mutant strain of coronavirus has raised the UK’s alert level and severity of lockdown measures. Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister said the new strain could be up to 70% more transmissible than the old one. 

International train and ferry links are also affected; however, some trains from Paris to London will still be operative, we recommend checking with Eurostar for up to date schedule. People living in one of the newly designated tier 4 zones, which mostly comprises of south-east and east of England, are advised not to travel abroad. For those living in tier 1, 2, and 3 areas, they are advised to carefully consider whether they wish to travel abroad.

Keep up-to-date with latest travel restrictions and live updates at Reopen EU.

‘Wyndham’s Key Focus is Supporting its Hotel Partners’

Vassilis Themelidis, who has been recently appointed as the regional director of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, commented that Wyndham’s goal is to act at the right time and with vigour to help its hotel partners in this challenging time. Responsible for overseeing operations and directives for south and east Europe, Vassilis expressed that when travel resumes, he expects Greece to be one of the most desirable destinations, shedding light on the nation’s remarkable recovery in 2019.

“As history has shown, the hospitality industry is notoriously resilient and while these are extraordinary times, we remain confident in the strength of our industry in the south and east Europe region and beyond,” he said. In his interview with GTP Headlines, Vassilis offered a wide range of expert opinion on the hospitality industry. His underlying message has been very cautious and optimistic.

Middle East

Oman introduces a new 10-day tourist visa

Oman, in a bid to revive the country’s tourism market, has revealed a 10-day visa scheme to attract fresh visitors. These listed countries may be permitted entry on the basis that the visitors have a Schengen visa already in their passports, or entry visas to the US, Australia, Canada, UK, or Japan. Residents from these nations must be able to prove their passport’s validity of no less than six months and go through specific steps to enter the Sultanate. 

Oman’s tourism industry came to a pause in March when passenger flights were grounded and visa issuance was put on hold. Since then, the Sultanate has taken action to slowly re-open the sector, alongside a brief lockdown period. Tourism is one of Oman’s main leading industries, regularly witnessing roughly 2.5 million tourists a year. 

Hamad International Airport awarded best airport in the ME of the year fourth time in a row

Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar has been voted as Best Airport in the Middle East for the fourth consecutive year by Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards. HIA’s dedication to improving the passenger’s wellbeing and overall experience has been one of its key driving factors for winning the award. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport implemented several safety and security measures, along with brand-new lifestyle offerings that support reducing stress. 

Hamad International Airport Chief Operating Officer Engr. Badr Mohammad Al Meer said: “To be recognised for our efforts in ensuring the comfort and peace of mind of our passengers, especially during this unprecedented time, is an honour that bolsters us to continue improving our passengers’ airport experience.” The airport has also implemented the latest technologies such as autonomous disinfectant robots and advanced thermal screening systems; as well installing a program which utilises self-service and biometric technology to provide passengers with a contact-free check-in and bag-drop experience.

Asia Pacific

Asia’s top airlines still impacted by COVID-19 quarantines and border closures

Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines continued to be affected by border closures and quarantines due to the pandemic. In the first 11 months of 2020, the number of passengers carried by Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines saw decreases of over 80% compared to the previous year. 

Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commerical Officer Ronald Lam said: “ We are still not seeing any meaningful improvement in our passenger business. On average, we carried just 1,261 passengers per day and load factor remained low at 18.5 percent – both marginal increases over October. While we saw reasonably good traffic coming back to Hong Kong from Canada and Australia, this was prior to the implementation of new government quarantine requirements in the middle of November. Meanwhile, overall demand on long-haul routes, particularly the UK and continental Europe, remained weak owing to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in many European countries.”

Thai restaurants awarded Michelin stars despite decline of travel economy

Upscale Bangkok restaurants including Blue by Alain Ducasse and Cadence by Dan Bark were awarded one-star Michelin ratings while Chef’s Table, located in Bangkok and well known for its alluring French cuisine, was upgraded to a two-star rating. The fourth edition of the Thai guide which provides coverage and reviews of Bangkok’s finest culinary spots was recently published in midst of the troubling pandemic. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has commented that the goal is to cover the whole country by 2021 under a five-year agreement with Michelin.

Michelin also awarded winners in three new categories, which includes sustainable practices and best service. Pru, an eco-friendly restaurant located in the beach province of Phuket, earned Michelin Green Star for its sustainable operations. 

Africa

South Africa set to face travel bans due to an emerging COVID-19 mutant strain

Nations including Israel, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland have all paused air travel to and from South Africa. A new more infectious COVID-19 mutation was confirmed in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and along the Garden Route. Additionally, it may have properties that boost its transmissibility. A similar variant has also been identified in the UK, causing the UK government to take swift action, announcing tougher lockdown measures. 

Egypt receives first tourist delegation from Berlin since travel resumption

The Tourist Office of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal city of Hurghada reported that on Sunday, a first tourist group from Berlin has arrived, since the travel resumption in early July. Hurghada International Airport welcomed the first flight from the German capital, with 125 passengers on board, after a pause of nearly 10 months due to the pandemic.

Eman Mahmoud, leader of the domestic tourism sector at the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, expressed that Germany is one of the key tourist-exporting markets to Egypt. Similarly, Khaled Al-Anani, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, visited Berlin last September to hold official meetings to discuss the resumption of the German tourism  to Egypt. On Saturday, Hurghada also received the first tourist group from the Slovakian capital, Bratislava.

Insights

How is art shaping car design

The language of art is a language in its own right; art evokes a wide range of emotions and opinions. Being unutterable, art is a means to convey what is beyond verbal limits. As one of the most thriving components in the process of car design and manufacturing, visual creativity is an essential part of conveying the car’s unique personality and its synergy with onlookers and drivers. 

The intimate bond between art and car design

“For me, a car is art on wheels” said Land Rover’s Design Director Gerry McGovern in his 2018 interview. Since taking over the reins of design direction in 2006, Gerry has sought to infuse the British sense of roughness and class in his work, demonstrating his Modernist vision. Gerry is a recurring example of the automotive industry’s stride to bring out the glory of the car’s special makeup. Historically, the evolution of art and car design has been based on the visual philosophy of aesthetics and speed. 

Factors such as technology, lifestyle, and culture have played a vital role in automobile design, starting from 1885 through present day. The automobile industry’s mapped eras such as Invention, Manufacturing, Innovation, and Capsule oversaw rippling changes by society like how the American designers in the Integration era (~1940s-1970s) borrowed art concepts from prevailing fashion, make-up, colour trends, and personal products. 1959’s Chevrolets came to life with their avant-garde form reflecting high fashion trends. David Gartman’s survey explored American automobile design in the 1950’s, identifying foreign ideas which impacted the sphere of culture and mass opinion such as the art European modernism – promoting minimalism and modesty. Since then and up to now, many centres of art all around the world are merging core ideas into a novel framework and exporting them into culture, determining the creative outlook of car design.

The design process has been successful in producing cutting-edge vehicles. Daimler provides an insight into a typical operation –  it’s regarded as an integral part of the development among the industrial circles. Usually, the designers work together with individuals and teams from research, development, and production areas. They aim to fine-tune and organize vehicle dimensions, material concepts and production processes in effort to flesh out the final product. The process is usually conducted on a step-by-step basis: from drawing/rendering, packaging, virtual modelling to data control modelling. As mechanistic as it may seem, the art flow is vigorous and parallels the operational direction.

For example, at the heart of Mercedes-Benz’s design world, designers work through a stream of creative progression, from brainstorming during the ideation stage to realistic visual assessment of the car’s physical dimensions at the 1:4 clay modelling stage. Speaking of the art of luxury, Gordon Wagener, chief design officer for Daimler AG, remarked that the meaning of opulence is ever-changing and praises the aesthetic soul; that is, the hunger for beauty and sensual purity, reflecting the prevalent modern attitude’s taste for sophistication, enjoyment and technological admiration. He said: “With our design idiom of Sensual Purity, we encapsulate an essential aspect of our brands – the bipolarity of intelligence and emotion. It is the core of our brand DNA, our aesthetic soul. It always remains constant and yet will constantly change. Currently, it is in the process of becoming more diverse. Our society and our mobility are changing. We pick up trends such as fully automated or automated driving, the Internet of Things, electric mobility or artificial intelligence and assimilate them in our concept of luxury.”

Elevating customer experience

Danny Whitfield, a car designer who has done commissions for Ford, General Motors, and National Corvette Museum, said in his 2016 interview with Autoblog that it is incredibly important to study the consumer’s point of view. This involves breaking-down prevalent attitudes, their likes and dislikes. In the same vein, “car design has been able to showcase the culture and the country in which it is manufactured, adapting to the needs and taste of the local population.” remarked by Diego García, Industrial Designer at Mormedi. 

But then, how do art and culture in car design determine consumer experience? The wide scope of artistic movements and philosophies gets mirrored in all corners of the design world including automotive design – a Ferrari enthusiast might seek to melt away in the car’s emblematic reflection of Italian culture and fine art; or an American suburban family would do good with a robust and functional 4×4 vehicle. Interestingly, philosophy can dissect the meaningful interaction between the customer and the vehicle – unearthing “just what it is a car that provokes an aesthetic experience” and “what the nature of that experience might be”. To elevate the customer experience, the designer must seek a sort of harmony of the driver’s and the car’s personality.