Bespoke travel experiences, travel to the Arctic and underwater drones.
Jasmine Tay & Liao Xiangjun
#01: ARCTIC BLITZ
If you have ever been daunted by the prospect of planning for an Arctic trip, there’s now a one-stop concierge that’ll help you string all the sightseeing and activities together. Book Lapland, a Sweden-based company founded by adventurers wanting to make the Arctic sights more accessible, pledges to help users “build their adventure” in a seamless fashion by offering unprecedented coverage across activity providers, and even realtime updates on availability. So pack the fur and go the long haul
by cramming dog sledding, ice fishing and gawking at the Northern Lights in one outing. As for concerns on whether the Lights are fading, founder Chad Blakley reassures: “No, they are not getting weaker in the Arctic – in fact, we have experienced some of the most spectacular auroras I have ever seen this winter. (While watching) I have seen grown men cry, couples fall in love, and nervous suitors pop the question.”
#02: STEPPING UP THE BESPOKE
Singapore travellers now have more options and resources
when looking to customise their trips. Scott Dunn, a UK-based bespoke tour agency, has recently acquired luxury travel operator Country Holidays, resulting in Scott Dunn Asia becoming the region’s largest tailor-made travel outfit. Customers can access an expanded range of European and North American experiences, along with a 24-hour support hotline throughout their holiday.
Country Holidays founder Chang Theng Hwee remains at Scott Dunn Asia as its CEO. Says Chang, who has visited more than 70 countries, including Antarctica and North Korea, of the luxe travel business: “Travellers have moved beyond luxury hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, or premier transport. They want ‘wow’ experiences curated for them, to be in untouched, pristine environments or experience uncommercialised cultures. They want to be intrepid, yet be treated to all the possible pampering.”
This, says Chang, translates to trips such as gourmet hiking, exploring wines in Provence or hunting for white truffle in Istria.
Drones are no longer just limited to airspace,
as China-based robotics developer Powervision would have you know. Its underwater drone, Powerray – the world’s first commercially- available one – is armed with a 4K HD camera and can go to depths of up to 30m. There’s only four hours of power in this robot to tap on, but its real-time video transmission to any smartphone will make for stunning social media feeds. Available at major retail outlets.