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Can Green Zone destinations be a better alternative to Blue Zones?

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Kerala, described as a vegetarian's paradise, is a green zone alternative when travelling | Photo: Nandhu Kumar
Kerala, described as a vegetarian's paradise, is a green zone alternative when travelling | Photo: Nandhu Kumar

If you watch Netflix, then you will be familiar with the term ‘Blue Zones’. The hype came about following the documentary series, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”, in which the author Dan Buettner discovers five unique communities across the world, where people live long and vibrant lives. 

In the documentary, Dan visits a series of destinations including Okinawa in Japan, where residents live by an ‘Ikigai’, serene way of life motivated by a sense of purpose. He also visits remote villages in Sardinia, the Greek Island, Ikaria, and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Exploring each community, he draws out their secrets to a long and healthy life. 

As a result, the whole world is keen to adopt the ‘Blue Zone’ way of life. #BlueZone has 113.7M views on TikTok, people are trying everything from Blue Zone recipe challenges, to working out how to travel to the very destinations featured in the documentary. However, the majority of these destinations are extremely remote, making them very difficult to get to, and most importantly, expensive to travel to. 

Huw Owen, co-founder of TravelLocal explains: “Blue Zones are an intriguing prospect for travellers, but typically hard to reach and, outside some common lifestyle factors, not necessarily endowed with masses to see and do.

“Whilst we’re all fascinated by Blue Zones and understandably want to explore these places for ourselves, there is a much more cost-effective way to experience this serene, healthy way of life. 

“The alternative is to visit ‘Green Zones’, which are destinations that will go blue in time. These destinations all share all the same age-defying traits as their blue counterparts, but they are much more accessible.” 

If you’re dreaming of a Blue Zone holiday, Huw shares the best ‘Green’ alternatives to some of the top destinations featured in the Netflix series of the moment:

Blue Zone destination: Costa Rica – Nicoya  

Green Zone alternative: Azores – Sao Miguel and Faial 

“Nicoya is known for its beauty, proximity to the sea and protected landscapes, on top of the Blue Zone factors such as excellent diet (largely plant-based, and with high polyphenol wines), time spent outdoors and a strong sense of community. 

“The Azores – 7000km away – is an interesting alternative. The landscapes (and seascapes) of this chain of volcanic islands, out in the middle of the Atlantic, are renowned for their drama and beauty. Outdoors is more or less what you come for – whale watching, snorkelling and hiking in the hills. The diet is similar to, but distinctive from the Portuguese mainland, with an emphasis on local produce, including incredible seafood and wines high in polyphenols.” 

Blue Zone destination: Japan – Okinawa 

Green Zone alternative: Cambodia – Kampot 

“Okinawa has long held a fascination for Blue Zone addicts. It has an unusual list of things that seem to mark it out from other Blue Zones, perhaps related to geographic isolation. Common factors are turmeric and ginger in the cuisine, a relatively relaxed, “low stress” culture, and staying active outdoors, including gardening.

“Kampot in Cambodia is a very different place, but strangely has a lot of similarities too. Here, you can not only eat ginger and turmeric in the national dish – fish amok – you can actually watch it growing! Stress is perhaps more of a factor here – but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the atmosphere in the area which is, by European standards, horizontally laidback. And there’s more than enough sunshine and outdoorsy things to keep everyone moving most of the day.” 

Blue Zone destination: United States – Loma Linda 

Green Zone alternative: India – Kerala 

“Loma Linda is a small town about an hour east of Los Angeles, with a strongly religious local community, lots of plant based eating and plenty of outdoor exercise. 

“On the other side of the world we can see similarities with Kerala, specifically Kochi. India has the highest concentration of vegetarians in the world and Kerala is home to one of the most iconic vegetarian dishes of all – the dosa. Kerala is best described as a vegetarian’s paradise. The region is strongly religious, but simultaneously diverse, with Hindus, Muslims and Christians forming the majority of the population. Getting outdoors is usually easy, though it’s more humid than Loma Linda.”

Blue Zone destination: Greece – Ikaria 

Green Zone alternative: Greece – Crete 

“Ikaria is an island in the eastern Aegean Sea. According to the Blue Zone research undertaken by Dan Buettner, Ikarians live for such a long time because they exercise every day, they live in the mountains, drink herbal tea and strong red wine, and they take long naps in the middle of the day. 

“Apart from sounding delightful, this lifestyle feels tricky to replicate, until you realise that Greece is chock full of mountainous places with a great diet and heat that may necessitate a long nap. And so, Crete is a great substitute – much easier to reach, but with an enormous amount to see and do, including sleeping!” 

EuroNewsweek is a dynamic news platform featuring lifestyle, sustainability, successful stories, tech, leadership, creative marketing, business, and the unstoppable people behind them.

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Fred Olsen wins leisure website of the year at the Growth Awards

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Fred Olsen wins leisure website of the year at the Growth Awards
The UK Digital Growth Awards recognise work that is transforming business and revolutionising customer experience

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has been unveiled as the winner of the Travel and Leisure Website of the Year at the UK Digital Growth Awards 2024. The ceremony was held in central London on June 20th, following judging by a panel of experts from across the digital sector.

The UK Digital Growth Awards recognise work that is transforming business, revolutionising customer experience and adding real value. The prize comes after Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines launched its new-look website last year, with extensive work undertaken to streamline the booking process and more opportunities for guests to personalise their cruise experience.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have won the title of Travel and Leisure Website of the Year. It is recognition of our whole team’s effort and dedication to improving the experience of our guests when visiting our website,” says Ben Williams, Head of Digital at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

The judges noted ‘the outcomes achieved by this website were clearly conveyed and impressive, showcasing a direct correlation with the results’ and ‘their end-to-end web redesign project yielded remarkable results’.

They also praised the website’s ‘meticulous audience segmentation and content alignment, effectively attracting and engaging it’s intended visitors’.

The accolade is the second win for the digital project having picked up the Travel Website of the Year title at the UK Dev Awards in February.

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Discover Airlines wins German Brand Award 2024

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Discover Airlines wins German Brand Award 2024
The airline, which was previously known under the Eurowings Discover brand, presented its new brand identity to the public on 5 September 2023

The Discover Airlines brand was not even a year old when the leisure airline was presented with the German Brand Award in the main category “Excellence in Brand Strategy & Creation” twice at a festive ceremony in Berlin this Thursday. In the category “B2C Brand Strategy” and in the category “Brand Strategy of the Year”, the rebranding strategy developed with Scholz & Friends impressed the judges. The German Brand Award honors strong and successful brand management in Germany once a year. In the case of Discover Airlines, the focus is on brand strategy, concept and campaign.

“The awards are a highlight for our entire team. We are proud that in less than a year we have succeeded in establishing Discover Airlines as a strong, likeable leisure brand on the market and to charge it with the attributes of quality, joy and ease. People fly with us to the best time of the year, and this should also be reflected in our brand identity. The awards are a wonderful recognition for us and an incentive to continue on our path with the same passion and enthusiasm for strong brands,’ says Maximilian Meintgens, Director Product & Marketing.

The leisure airline, which was previously known under the Eurowings Discover brand, presented its new brand identity to the public on 5 September 2023. The Discover Airlines design is inspired by colors and elements that awaken memories of holidays as well as the desire to travel. The gradient of colors evokes the view from the aircraft window looking toward the horizon or the view of the sea. The blue color scheme also stands for quality and the connection to the Lufthansa Group.

The German Brand Award is an award for successful brand management in Germany. It is initiated by the German Design Council and organized by the German Brand Institute. Every year, a panel of experts from brand management and brand science honors outstanding brand strategies and creative brand management. The award not only promotes the winners, but also their respective industries and enjoys great international resonance.

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Holiday costs rise with every degree of heat

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A family on holiday in a sunny beach
New Research reveals families could be spending up to £972 per degree of heat when booking their summer holidays | Photo: Natalya Zaritskaya

The price of a family holiday increases by up to £96 for every additional degree of heat in Spain, a study has found. Researchers have calculated how much the price of different holiday destinations rise as the weather warms up in peak season to help families keep costs down.

Looking at the cost of flights from London and accommodation in Benidorm, Spain, for two adults and two teenagers, a week-long trip for four in May when the temperature is 22 degrees will set you back £803 per family for seven days. But this rises to £1,570 in August when the mercury hits 30 degrees – £96 for each extra degree.

Families who opt to travel to their favourite destination outside of peak weather window could be saving an average of £231 for each degree lower in temperature to spend on other aspects of the trip, such as activities with the kids, meals out or shopping.

This doesn’t mean compromising on sun. While a week-long holiday for a family of four in Florida costs £2,100 in May when the thermometer typically reads 29 degrees. But this nearly doubles to £4,043 in August when average temperatures are just two degrees higher at 31 – an additional £972 per degree.

The research was commissioned by Post Office, which also found trips to Cyprus set a family of four back £737 for a milder 24 degrees in May. This ramps up to £1,272, or £89 per degree, for a week in 30 degree heat in July.

Greece is among the more reasonable options, with a family paying around £1,793 for 28 degrees in August, but costs just £1,285 in May at 23 degrees.

It comes after research of 2,000 travellers found four in 10 who are planning a holiday this year intend to go ‘out of season’. Overall cost savings (58 per cent), fewer tourists (51 per cent) and a quieter journey to and from their destination (37 per cent) were among the reasons why. One in ten (11 per cent) have saved over £400 by travelling outside peak season.

It also emerged 42 per cent appreciate the ease of traveling outside of peak times, while 51 per cent relish in peace from a lack of tourists.

Laura Plunkett, Head of Post Office Travel which commissioned the research to mark the launch of its Travel Money Card across all 11,500 branches nationwide, said: “It’s evident from our research that holidaymakers feel warm weather is an important part of the holiday experience, and so are the memories we make while away. It can be increasingly difficult to budget for yearly holidays, especially for those travelling with children who are restricted to peak holiday prices due to the school holidays. However, there are savvy ways to save money on holiday.

“Our research has shown that families can still enjoy hot holidays at a better price point by considering October half term for travel. In fact, a holiday to Cyprus is £321 cheaper in October than August, and still a balmy 25 degrees. Families considering Florida could also save £406 in October, when it is 29 degrees – just two degrees cooler than August.”

Another popular way 77 per cent of travellers have cut back on costs is to fly mid-week, avoiding peak weekend prices.

The study also found 87 per cent of travellers prefer to spend their trips abroad in warmer climates. As many as 85 per cent have either been away already or plan to this year, with Spain (31 per cent), Italy (15 per cent), France (14 per cent) and Greece (14 per cent) among the most popular destinations.

September (18 per cent) is the month adults are more likely to vacation, although August still proves popular for 14 per cent despite being the peak of the summer break.

However, holiday costs could be limiting family travel for many as nearly half (44 per cent) of families feel priced out of travelling during school breaks, with 44 per cent wanting more affordable travel options.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, found the typical adult who travels abroad will budget around £773 for a week-long trip to a country with a typical temperature of 25 degrees.

Laura Plunkett added: “People put a lot of time and effort into making sure they get a great deal on their flights and accommodation, and booking out of season can be a smart way to maximise your holiday experience within your budget.

“However, timely booking is just one way that holidaymakers can save money. It’s important to think carefully about how to get the most out of your spending money as well, which can often be left until the last minute, leaving you exposed to poor rates or unexpected card fees. Keeping an eye on exchange rates and getting your travel money or a pre-paid card when rates are good is another way to maximise the holiday budget.”

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