Find out what’s been going on in travel over the past seven days. This week: Iceland’s Blue Lagoon gets its first luxury hotel; China clamps down on the ivory trade; the EU saw nearly half a billion tourists in 2016; Nepal aims to clean up Everest with new measures; and Trump’s travel ban is halted for the second time.

First luxury hotel to open by Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Iceland‘s Blue Lagoon will get its first luxury hotel when Moss Hotel opens in the autumn. The 62-room hotel will be built into the 800-year-old lava flow on the southwest of the lagoon, fuelled by geothermal energy, and will have a private pool, so guests can enjoy the restorative geothermal water of the Blue Lagoon away from the crowds. The Lava Cove is the spa, which will feature a steam room heated by lava rock and a sauna, and the Moss Restaurant will serve up a seven-course tasting menu. – Source:

Iceland's Blue Lagoon.
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.

China will close a third of its ivory factories and shops

China has announced that it will close 67 of its ivory carving factories and stores in which the product is sold, which is around a third of the total. The move is part of China’s pledge to end domestic ivory sales by the close of 2017. China is the biggest market in the world for ivory, the demand for which has led to extreme elephant poaching in Africa, and its efforts to reduce sales is being heralded as a ‘game changer’ by conservation groups. – Source:

An elephant near Chilo Gorge, Zimbabwe.
An elephant near Chilo Gorge, Zimbabwe.

Almost half a billion tourists visited EU countries last year

The European Union saw its seventh year of tourism growth in 2016, with nearly 500 million international visitors, a 4% increase on the previous year. Tourism to the 28 countries of the EU has been steadily rising since the global financial crash of 2009. – Source:

Paris is one of the world’s most visited cities.

Nepal aims to clean up Mount Everest

The government of Nepal has installed canvas rubbish sacks at Mount Everest’s Camp 2, the camp above Base Camp, in the hope that it will reduce the amount of waste on the mountain. Climbers have tried to carry as much down as possible, but such a huge amount of equipment and waste is discarded on the slopes, it doesn’t make a notable difference. Helicopters will be used to carry the bags lower down the mountain, where they can be transported out by porters. – Source:

Mount Everest.
Mount Everest.

The Trump US travel ban is put on hold for second time

The Trump administration’s second plan to temporarily ban immigration to the US from six Muslim countries was halted by a federal judge in Hawaii. The first executive order was stopped on 15th March, after which the Trump administration revoked it and submitted another similar order. The new version aims to prevent citizens of Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iran and Syria entering the States for 90 days, and all refugees for 120 days. The order was put on hold due to concerns that it showed religious intolerance towards Muslims. – Source: