Luxury hotel group Fairmont has expanded its range of ecological experience packages for travelers looking for more than just a beach.

The Global Explorer Series, which is offered jointly by Fairmont and the National Geographic Society, is now in its second year and has been updated to include underwater life.

New excursions involve snorkeling, scuba diving, boat trips and underwater photography, as well as tours of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and presentation from celebrity explorers. Rates for the packages begin at $399 (€299) per night.

In one trip, guests can meet American oceanographer and top US scientist Sylvia Earle on a trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico, before embarking on a guided tour to the largest coastal Mayan archaeological site.

"Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface, said the hotel chain. "Fairmont believes that if you're not getting underwater, you're missing out on a whole lot of action."

"Experience" packages have become a staple offering of major hotel chains as they seek to expand beyond traditional business locations. Hilton, for instance, offers diving, golf or skiing packages with professionals whilst French chain Accor offers local food "picnic" packages prepared by its chefs.

Last month, boutique hotel chain Design Hotels launched a "road trip" package in collaboration with a car rental firm.

http://www.fairmont.com/promotions/nationalgeographic

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