Tuesday, 9 May 2017

IRELAND: Beach Reappears After 33 Years Into Atlantic Ocean

A beach that was swept away more than 30 years ago from a remote island off the west coast of Ireland has reappeared after thousands of tons of sand were deposited on top of the rocky coastline.

The 300 metre beach near the tiny village of Dooagh on Achill Island vanished in 1984 when storms stripped it of its sand, leaving nothing more than a series of rock pools. But after high spring tides last month, locals found that the Atlantic Ocean had returned the sand.

It's enormously significant,Sean Molloy of Achill's tourism office told the Irish Times newspaper, recalling how the popular beach once sustained four hotels and a number of guesthouses on the west coast of the island of 2,600 people.

Achill already has five blue-flag beaches, so we are hoping that in time it will be awarded a sixth.

That has benefited from a tourist boom in the European Union's fastest-growing economy.

Oman, for the second year in a row, made it to the top 10 countries in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) issued by MasterCard and Crescentrating.

Ranked 9th in a list of 130 countries outperforming nations like Egypt, Jordan, Maldives and Kuwait, Oman scored very high on safe travel, airport facilities, ease of access to prayer spaces, and dining options with an overall score of 67.9.

GMTI 2017 is the latest release of the annual Mastercard-Crescentrating Global Muslim Travel Index, containing new and updated insights on the Halal travel and tourism market. The Index covers a total of 130 countries to benchmark destinations in the Muslim Travel Market.

Malaysia topped the charts as the best Muslim travel destination in the world, taking the number one position for the third time in a row.

Each country is given points based on criteria, such as air connectivity, airport facilities, visa, ease of communication, ease to access of prayer spaces and Muslim travel needs awareness.

The Index showed a number of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in Asia move up the rankings, a result of the concerted effort to adapt their services to cater to and attract the Muslim travel market.

Research shows that with the increasing number of young Muslim travellers, the Muslim travel market is projected to grow at a fast pace with the sector estimated to reach US$220 billion in 2020, with major drivers being easy access to travel information, more Muslim friendly amenities, a growing middle class with a disposable income and Muslim millennials who seek authentic experiences.

It was also revealed that in 2016, there were an estimated 121 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally, and this is forecasted to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020 contributing significantly to the travel industry.