Dream Destinations


Dream Destinations

22 September 2021
Dream destinations

A Discoverer's travel bucket list

Like most intrepid travellers, we can’t wait to get out and explore as soon as it’s safe to do so. We’re all heart-eyes for the amazing new destinations and Insta-worthy experiences. Since we can only travel virtually, for now, it doesn’t hurt to daydream and plan for that next epic adventure.

What are the destinations that should be on your post-COVID-19 travel bucket list? Who better to ask than those who are passionate about travel and adventures—our fellow Discoverers at Global Hotel Alliance.

Ammel Izon

Finance Manager

With most travels on lockdown, and lots of places are in quarantine because of the current pandemic, the best people can do to satisfy their travel thirst is to start making bucket-lists of future trips.

I, personally, have already window-shopped for my next big travel goals when everything goes back to normal. I could be riding a dragon to Croatia or running with the wolves in Belfast, but those are all imaginations. Our​ real dream destination (yes, this includes my fiancée, Michelle) is to go to the land of snow-covered hills and crystal-clear lakes, Switzerland!

For some, big trips are more like climbing mountain peaks or riding the waves, while for me and my partner, we enjoy spending travel time exploring communities and little villages, trying out new food and capturing beautiful scenery, and we think Switzerland is the perfect spot.

This trip also means a lot to us, as this will be our last one as an engaged couple before our big Wedding Day next year! Another factor which adds to our excitement is the fact that I can use my GHA Employee of the Year 2019 prize for this big holiday, which means free nights with any GHA property, free flight ticket and travel allowance!

Well, for now, no one knows when we can finally satisfy our wanderlust and explore the globe, but hopefully everything goes back to normal as soon as possible so we can finally again say, “Hello, World!”

Khushboo Bhatia

Digital User Experience Manager

I started my travel adventures at the age of 22, and since then, I have travelled to many beautiful destinations, Bali being my favourite. I believe that travelling has taught me a lot, by constantly being exposed to new surroundings and interacting with people from different backgrounds.

Italy has been on my bucket-list ever since I started dreaming about places to travel. Its intriguing architecture, culture and lip-smacking cuisine have always drawn my curiosity. Whether it is a gondola ride over the canals of Venice or watching the dramatic sunset over the river Arno in Florence to discovering the historic sites in Rome, the country has a lot to offer in terms of its diverse landscapes.

Apart from the urban cities, I am most attracted to go off the beaten track and discover the alluring Amalfi coast, with its quaint beach towns, pastel-hued villages, picturesque setting over the Mediterranean Sea and gram-worthy views! With so much to explore, one trip will certainly not be enough!

Cathy Fontaine

Sr. Director Brand Experience

2020 is not the usual travel year for me. Where my bucket list is a mile long and I can travel every 2 months for leisure or for business like it happened in 2019. Last year, I went to London, Paris, Madrid, Dallas, Shanghai, Bali, and Istanbul before the month of August. I literally lived out of my suitcase and I loved it.

By March 2020, my travel dreams have taken a back seat as safety took the priority. Every country on the planet sealed off borders to halt the spread of COVID-19 and I only had time to come back from a long weekend in Kiev, Ukraine. Everything was and still is different regarding travelling but I still have some dream destinations in mind.

As soon as the borders will open to tourists, I’ll travel back to Bali, Indonesia. I had already a trip scheduled for April 2020 but had to postpone it because of the pandemic situation. Bali is the place that stole my heart. I fell in love with the chilled vibe already on my way to Bali as I boarded the plane from Dubai.

This island has a vibrant culture, delicious food and AMAZING sunsets and of course fantastic beaches. Bali is a great place for vacation as it is very affordable and you can save up on hotels, meals and transportation. It’s a small island but welcomes all types of travellers: yogis, surfers, spring breakers, massage addicts and beach lovers. Bali is my paradise. See you soon!

Jelena Kezika

Sr. Director Strategy

While the world is carefully planning for phased travel to restart post-COVID-19, I expect my focus to remain on sustainable travel, authenticity, and closeness to the local communities.

Living in the UAE, a change in scenery is sometimes just a few hours away. I always enjoy going back to the picturesque mountains of Hatta in the North, the breath-taking Liwa desert in the South or just paddling through the mangrove channels at sunrise. At the same time, I look forward to returning to the Sultanate of Oman, which amazes me with its cultural heritage sites, seasonal rivers, and palm tree plantations every time I come for a visit.

In both the UAE and Oman, I enjoy the variety of local DISCOVERY hotels and resorts, each one offering a different style of experience and always ready to go the extra mile, making every trip memorable.

Gary Zavaleta

Sr. Director Data & Analytics

It can be hard to pick and choose a specific place where I would like to spend some time off; however, it will be some beach in southeast Asia with tropical weather. One country that has been in my bucket list for quite some time is Indonesia.

On my next big trip, I will be headed to Bali without a doubt; I have heard so many wonderful stories about this city and its beaches with spectacular reef point waves and warm water for surfing and coral bottoms for snorkelling.

My favourite sport is football, but my secret love has always been surfing which I had practised since my days in Lima and frequent trips to the south of Chile. Close to Patagonia, currents are powerful, and water is certainly cold over there, you need a thick wetsuit but even wearing one, you can still feel the water freezing through your bones.

Surfing can be demanding, and it has been a while, so I will have to get back in shape again; otherwise, you can always go for any other water activities. This journey will be exciting for my wife, Katerina, and me as this will be our first big trip that my son will enjoy more as he is a toddler now.

30 October 2020
Places to visit

Travel treasures from home

Although we may not be able to travel right now, that shouldn’t stop us from dreaming about the places and destinations we’ll explore as soon as it is safe to travel again. In fact, now is the perfect time to add some amazing places to your travel bucket list. No matter where you decide to go, the important thing is to get out there, discover and learn from new experiences.

To help fuel your wanderlust, we selected a few of our fellow GHA Discoverers and asked them to talk about their home country, and share some highly recommended spots and experiences. You’re definitely going to want to put these places on your adventure wish list, too.

Goa, India

By Alston D'Souza, CRM Marketing Manager - Promotions

If there’s one place that I would highly recommend to visit and explore in my home country of India, it would definitely be Goa. Located in the southwest region of India, Goa is the smallest state in the country, yet it attracts a large number of local and international tourists every year, thanks to its laid back pace of life and picturesque views— imagine breathtaking sandy beaches, spectacular sunsets, enchanting backwaters, and dazzling historic architecture.

When visiting Goa, a must-experience is definitely the food. Goa cuisine is a blend of local flavours and Portuguese influences (Goa was conquered by the Portuguese in the 16th century and remained a colony for over 450 years).

Most dishes feature fresh seafood and are coconut or ​ rice-based. Fishermen would usually bring boats loaded with the day’s catch and restaurants in the area would cook the local catches fresh off the boat. A must-try is the kingfish as well as the dosa which you can enjoy at one of the many beach eateries that line the coast.

Goa is also an amazing cultural hub. Many writers and artists from all over the globe live there, and there is a feeling of multiculturalism and being at a crossroads of the world. When is the best time to visit Goa? I would say during the dry, relatively cool winter months between late November and Mid-March, when the weather is perfect and just right for a wonderful vacation.

Kenya's incredible Wildlife

By Steve Ayalo, Sr. Director of IT & Security

The greatest wildebeest migration should be at the top of your mind when you think about Kenya. More than 2 million animals (wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles) migrate across the ecosystems of the Masai Mara (Kenya) and the Serengeti (Tanzania) between the months of December and March or May and November depending on the rainfall pattern. Voted as the 8th wonder of the world in 2007 and happening every year in Africa's greatest wildlife conservancy, this is a must visit for any wildlife enthusiast and the experience will definitely convert you to one if you aren't fascinated about wildlife.

Nairobi is also known to be the worlds' only capital with its own National Park; You will be able to witness the Big 5 within an hour of arrival at the airport.

The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi is a home to a huge number of giraffes who may poke their long necks into the windows to share a meal with you before retreating to their forest sanctuary.

Besides that Kenya offers amazing bird watching sites in the Great Rift Valley and exceptional beach and ocean experiences down at the coast of Mombasa, Lamu and Malindi.

Pink Beach, Zamboanga, Philippines

By Rein Run Bintayan, Management Accountant

One of the most distinctive beaches that exist in the world is found in ​ Asia’s Latin City, Zamboanga City, and is widely known as the pink beach of Sta. Cruz island. Yes, you heard that right, pink! But, how come? The beach is a beautiful blend of white sand and crushed red corals known as organ pipe corals. The result is that world-famous pink sand that’s obviously vibrant on broad daylight.

Aside from the beach, tourists can also scuba dive and enjoy the diverse marine life the island has to offer.

To get to the Pink Beach, you would have to request permission from the city government since the island and its neighbouring waters are environmentally protected. The boat ride takes about 30 minutes from Paseo del Mar, so you could imagine a quick trip to and from the island. I personally love going back to Sta. Cruz island because Zamboanga is my home city and is very dear to my heart.

© Global Hotel Alliance