Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will expand its services to Italy with a daily flight to Venice Marco Polo Airport.

The new service will begin from 30 October 2016 and be served by an Airbus A319, offering 16 seats in Business and 90 in Economy. Together with Alitalia, its codeshare and equity partner, Etihad Airways will offer 35 weekly flights in and out of Italy, including double daily services to Rome and Milan.

Etihad Airways’ Venice flight will offer convenient travel times for guests travelling between the UAE and the Italian city. In addition, the new service will offer seamless connections through Abu Dhabi’s hub to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as key destinations in the GCC, Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and North Asia.

Venice, renowned for its picturesque bridges and canals, is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, while Italy is the world’s 5th most visited country – with more than 50 million international arrivals in 2015, according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Etihad Airways started flights to Milan in 2007 and Rome was added to the airline’s network in 2014, contributing to a strong trade relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Italy. Bilateral trade was valued at USD 6.14 billion in 2015 and the UAE Ministry of Economy has registered more than 90 Italian companies.

Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways’ Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said: “Launching our service to Venice further supports a very popular passenger route between Italy, our Abu Dhabi hub and onwards throughout Etihad Airways’ growing network, as far afield as Australia. Together with our codeshare and equity partner Alitalia, we are also strengthening the significant trade relationship between Italy and the UAE.”

Cathay Pacific x MR PORTER & NET-A-PORTER Announce Partnership

NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER announce their partnership with Cathay Pacific, becoming the first ever E-Commerce platforms available via Cathay Pacific’s new inflight Wi-Fi on the A350 aircraft. Both retailers will be accessible to shop and read 10,000 meters up in the air, delivering on their promise to be shoppable anytime, anywhere, while complimenting Cathay Pacific’s “Life Well Travelled” offer to its passengers.

Cathay Pacific’s latest A350 aircraft offers inflight Wi-Fi service, and NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER are the first in the YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group to launch the inflight online shopping service. For a period of seven months, passengers can enjoy complimentary access to shop on NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER aboard the A350 aircraft, allowing global jetsetters to do their last minute shopping even when they are travelling in the air. Exclusive shopping offers will be available on the aircraft throughout the partnership period.

Passengers who shop inflight can have their purchases delivered directly to their preferred addresses at their arrival destination. Both NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER offer “Same-Day Delivery” in London and Manhattan, and NET-A-PORTER offers same-day delivery in Hong Kong. Both retailers champion unparalleled customer service, offering express worldwide shipping to more than 170 countries., and more than 1,000 brands and 36,000 products across categories including Ready-to-Wear, Accessories, Jewellry, Fine watches, Beauty and Grooming, Sportswear, and Lifestyle.

'I was seriously sh*t scared'

The irony of writing this is I have just come from a ‘safety briefing’ at our Rio hotel – it certainly isn’t some smarty-pants, A-Team, big time pub but one you’d tag ‘pleasant digs’.

A gang of new ‘Olympics’ guests – including us as guests of the Oakley eyewear and fitness brand – been put through our security paces, everything  from the right times to go out, who to go out with, the situations to stay in and those to avoid.

(Hey, our Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove is staying here so that may be the reason why security is pretty tight: it’s complete with a blue dance party wrist band that has been on my wrist ever since I arrived last night.)

Sure, sounds like pretty stock standard stuff that we should intuitively know, but for some reason, here, in Rio our fear and safety alert factor has been seriously heightened. Apart from reading story after story about muggings, stabbings, shootings and robberies I did absolutely arrive with trepidation.

And for someone whose fear factor is fairly minimal that’s saying quite a lot.

To be brutally honest I am now nowhere near as scared or as fearful as I thought I would be.

For every one ‘suspicious’ character there are about 2000 ‘people like us’ – normal punters trawling the main drag of Copacabana beach soaking up the stench, I mean salty sea air, observing the zillions of street performers and just trying to get in to the spirit of Rio. Oh, that’s right, it’s not Carnivale is it?!

The long stretch of beach that is Copacabana is dotted with mega food station kiosks, bars and huge numbers – all of which make identifying meeting spots all very easy.

And considering our hotel is two blocks back from the beach, you hear the sirens, the loud noises, screeches, heated conversations, oh,  and some pretty happy people in amongst all of that.

Anyone coming to Rio has been told to go light on the bling, low on the heels and steady on the ‘look at me’ factor.

As a woman who enjoys all of the above on the odd occasion it made packing an easier chore that usual.

I just thought bland.

Anyhow, while we’ve all been told not to travel on our own, I certainly won’t be disobeying that security measure.

After the shooting of a thief by a Russian diplomat and the photographic gear of a News Corp crew stolen in the space of 10 seconds not far from where we are: I ain’t changing anything from the original security brief.

Even a trip to the Botanic Gardens contained a security gate – not forgetting more cops stationed outside the fake handbag stand just off the beach front.

Camouflaged cops were on duty and would not raise a smile no matter how nicely we asked. (Okay, so Portuguese isn’t my specialty).

So far, the public security in element Rio seems to be very well organised but I can imagine how busy it will be at the opening ceremony Friday night where punters are expected to walk a couple of kilometres from their drop off point, before they even reach the stadium.

That will just be the beginning of a very long few weeks of heightened security measures and some fairly fearful Olympics guests.

There are police, or members of the army on every corner. They’re everywhere.

Like everyone, we have already warned not to venture to the favelas – where around 1 million people live – and were possibly some of the more  unsavoury characters of Rio call home.

There are police and guns everywhere. There are security details everywhere.

The guidelines are pretty simple to be honest. You just need to act like you would when you go anywhere and you and you are out of your comfort zone.

Don’t look ostentatious. Don’t take the iPhone out at every opportunity, don’t leave the handbag unzipped or even leave it on the floor next to you, especially if you are in a public space, cafe or bar.

Sure, the lack of iPhone accessibility may make my Rio trip not as colourful as I may have liked, but what is the choice?

Safety and sanity or a quickly stolen iPhone with a whole lot of pictures the robber couldn’t give a stuff about anyway.

Let’s say, this trip is one that we will be Instagramming internally.

(Or just taking a couple of quick snaps when you know you’ve got a few mates around who are there as your own very secure security detail.)

Sure, Rio, to so many is a pretty mad at this exact point in time and it is one pretty dynamic hot mess. Even listening outside it’s like I am at a football grand final. It’s crowded, loud, packed with traffic, friendly, accessible, smelly, hot, devoid of deodorant, poverty-fuelled, full of rich peeps, of limos, it’s a tad grubby and full of every type of human possible.

It’s 8 and 3/4 months pregnant and basically waiting for the opening ceremony to start.

It’s everything you expect it to be and that study in contrasts makes it slightly fearful but in an alert kind of way.

And it is these so many contrasts that make it interesting.

But whether the real feelings of fear will actually and totally dissipate I don’t think they will.

To use that well worn phrase, I think everyone here is alert but not too alarmed. Yet.

And if you can learn to tell the difference between the laughter outside of your hotel room as opposed to serious, evil screams then, I guess the Olympics will be deemed, at least, an emotional success.

*Melissa Hoyer is in Rio as a guest of Oakley


Qantas and Tourism Australia have signed a $20 million deal to promote Australia to the world.

The three year agreement involves a joint investment from Qantas and Tourism Australia to attract more international visitors to Australia, with a focus on the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan signed the deal today, marking a new era of partnership between the two organisations.

Mr Joyce said Qantas’ multi-million dollar investment with Tourism Australia was about continuing the momentum of the tourism boom to deliver bigger benefits for Australia.

“Both Qantas and Tourism Australia want the same thing – a strong tourism industry that makes Australia the first choice for people all over the world. With tourism both to-and-within Australia on the rise, it’s the ideal time for us to join forces once again,” said Mr Joyce.

“This new investment builds on the marketing we already do and our partnerships with state and territory governments to put Australia’s best foot forward.

“Qantas has always been the biggest private sector supporter of Australian tourism and we will continue to focus on growing visitor numbers.”

Seychelles and safari; private travel and pristine nature

Two adventures, one philosophy, with privacy in mind and conservation at heart, combine a Singita Serengeti Safari and Fregate Island Private, Seychelles.

Singita is committed to future horizons; caretaking vast tracts of the Serengeti gives them privileged access to unspoilt wilderness, through which they guide guests in style to sight big game.

Fregate Island Private, ‘Galapagos of the Seychelles’, offers a gentler side of nature, from the diminutive and rare, to free roaming giant tortoises. Secluded Pool Residences come with your Private Assistant who will arrange dining ‘anywhere’, and a multitude of activities from deep sea fishing to night safaris, all included, and all of course private.

Begin your private adventure