Friday 5 January 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 5/1/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

House news / Josh Fehnert

Roads less travelled

Making plans for 2024? We’ve got just the ticket: The Escapist has landed. Monocle’s dedicated travel magazine is our read on the people shaping the industry and places to see, from smart hotels and ambitious hospitality start-ups to the airlines going that extra mile. Plus, comment and analysis on where the sector is heading next.

In the Trips section, we share long reads and itineraries that are as likely to inspire a change in vocation as a vacation. We drive along Brazil’s unspoiled Costa Verde and head to a pretty stretch of Provence where a fresh crop of hoteliers is setting up shop. We also visit an opening that captures the buoyant mood of a new generation of creatives in Marrakech. Then, there are the unsung charms of Nagasaki and a dreamy trip down past Marbella that puts an end to the Costa del Sol’s sometimes rowdy reputation.

There’s our first-ever Scotland guide, which brims with lesser-known delights, including hidden-away hotels in the Highlands and shops that showcase Caledonian craft. Plus, our Hong Kong survey will give you 50 reasons to visit the city.

We have put together a wish list of destinations to see, tables to book and places to drop anchor – not to mention tips for topping up your on-the-go wardrobe. Oh, and don’t forget a little hanky panky at altitude (it’s a cocktail, before you blush).

We conduct big interviews with the movers reshaping the industry, from an airline CEO and a top designer to a hotelier on the up. These folks are here to stay – and this is the magazine to help you start 2024 on the right foot.

Josh Fehnert is Monocle’s editor. Buy your copy of ‘The Escapist’ today, which is available to purchase on all good newsstands now, or subscribe so that you never miss an issue.


On top of the world: Moon Bar in Bangkok

Image: Moon Bar

Tourism / Thailand

Strength in numbers

Thailand’s government has announced fresh measures this week to encourage tourism and help boost the country’s economy in 2024. Tax cuts on alcohol and entertainment venues are being implemented, including a reduction from 10 per cent to 5 per cent for wine sales and 10 per cent to zero for spirits. In a bid to increase late-night spending among revellers, nightclub opening hours have been extended, which the government hopes will offset the reduction in liquor taxes.

Thailand also offers permanent visa-free entry for Chinese citizens, who make up the second-largest group of foreign visitors after those from Malaysia. Chinese tourists have been returning to Thailand in earnest since 2023 but the long tail of travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that the industry has still not fully recovered. The measures aim to push Thailand’s number of foreign visitors to at least 34 million this year, compared with the 28 million who visited in 2023.

Urbanism / New York

Bridge too far?

Those strolling around New York this week should have a smoother journey across Brooklyn Bridge as new rules that ban street sellers on the iconic site have come into effect. The legislation, championed by New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, prohibits vending on walkways and bike lanes on all city bridges and their approaches. Though the move might improve conditions for pedestrians by making the area less congested, there has been pushback from the vendors, who will lose an integral source of income as a result of the new rules. In Paris, a similar row has erupted between bouquinistes, who have been selling books along the Seine since the 16th century, and city authorities, who plan to remove the vendors’ kiosks ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games. While the sale of cheap books, novelty magnets and key rings might not be for everyone, legislators should consider that street sellers play an important role in keeping their cities alive.

Lux Helsinki: the city shows off its bright side

Image: Petri Anttila

Art / Helsinki

Light relief

The five-day light-art festival Lux Helsinki is currently under way in the Finnish capital. The event, which takes place during the darkest period of the year, displays more than 20 works of public art by local and international artists in various parts of the city. The impressive light installations – many of them so large that they cover entire buildings – are free to visit.

The event often attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. “Lux Helsinki illuminates the city’s landmarks and transforms familiar buildings and spaces into unique works of urban art,” Stuba Nikula, managing director of Helsinki Events Foundation, tells The Monocle Minute. “It makes you appreciate your everyday environment in a new way. It also serves as a reminder that a new year has begun, signalling the journey towards light and spring.” If you want to beat the post-holiday blues, head to Lux Helsinki, which runs until Sunday.

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Alamy

Photo of the week / Denmark

Crowning moment

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II made her last public appearance this week. She waved to crowds from a horse-drawn cart, which was escorted by members of the Hussar Regiment, as she concluded her last New Year celebrations before her abdication later this month. After 52 years of service, she will pass the reins to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, next Sunday.

Monocle Radio / The Entrepreneurs

Pillar Wellbeing

Harry Jameson, co-founder of Pillar Wellbeing, shares insights from his extensive career as a performance coach and explains the holistic approach to health and wellness that led to the creation of his company.


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