Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views: 21 January 2023

Autumn colours. Mt Takao, in the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi National Park, an hour from Tokyo, Japan.
Picture: Stephen Scourfield The West Australian

Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield discovers a lot of interest around Japan in particular as he surveys another week in travel


Our direct connection to Japan resumes in October when All Nippon Airlines (ANA) begins flying between Perth and Tokyo three times a week. The Boeing 787 will have 32 business class, 14 premium economy and 138 economy seats. The direct flight leaves Perth at 9.45pm and arrives in Tokyo at 8.25am the next day, taking 9 hours 40 minutes. The return flight from Narita International Airport leaves at 11.10am and takes just over 10 hours to reach Perth, landing at 8.15pm.


Surely the most famous landing of our time was by Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger on the Hudson River in New York. He guided US Airways flight 1549 safely on to the water’s surface on January 15, 2009. All 155 people aboard the Airbus A320 were safe. And the former Carolinas Aviation Museum in the US has just been renamed in Sully’s honour. The Sullenberger Aviation Museum in Charlotte housed the famous flight 1549 plane and an a exhibit on the events. The museum is also busy building a new facility adjacent to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.


Scenic has just launched its 2023/24 Japan and South Korea land journeys collection. A spokesperson says they are “handcrafted itineraries, that uncover the true oriental wonders of Japan and South Korea, beyond the glittering lights of its modern cities. A new tour is 15-day Japan Unveiled, which takes guests from the southern Island of Kyushu in Fukuoka and through to Honshu Island and Tokyo. It is from $19,190 per person twin share, and there are earlybird savings. The group size is limited to 24, with departures from October 18, 2023.


Scenic’s Asia journey designer Adam Burke, who is responsible for making the tours, says Japan and South Korea is in high demand. He adds: “In Japan we’ve gone above and beyond to curate the most authentic and immersive cultural experiences on offer, with extra Scenic Freechoice experiences to provide more personalised guest activities. From poignant World War personal memorials to spiritual temples and pagodas, to an active Osaka walking tour and night visits to izakayas (bars), guests have the ultimate choice of what experience suits them.”


UNICEF Australia has places on its October bicycle ride through Cambodia. It will take riders close to country and culture, and also raise funds to support the country’s young generation. The nine-day trip starts in Siem Reap and dips into natural beauty, ancient heritage, Hindu culture, Khmer art and local lifestyle. Importantly, it also includes a five-day fundraising cycle challenge to support health, education and child protection programs. Riders will cover between 35km and 75km a day to reach their fundraising goals of $3500 per person. The trip is from October 2 to 10 and costs $3110 per person twin share. This includes entrance fees, transfers, accommodation and some meals, local guide, bike rental, support bus and mechanic escorting the trip. It does not include international flights, visas or tips and gratuities.


Alice Hall, UNICEF Australia’s director of international programs, says the charity has been supporting children in Cambodia for 12 years. “UNICEF Australia has helped deliver nutrition programs across 97 different communities, providing treatment for thousands of severely malnourished children and supporting more than 22,700 parents with nutrition information.”


One hundred and 40 years after the launch of its first luxury trains, the Orient Express legend continues with the unveiling of what’s being billed as the world’s biggest sailing ship, Orient Express Silenseas. The ship is the result of a French partnership between Accor and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, a leading shipbuilder. Orient Express Silenseas, with what promised to be a spectacular interior, will sail in 2026. Sebastien Bazin, chairman and chief executive of Accor, says: “It is a boat designed to make dreams a reality, a showcase for the best of French savoir-faire.”


Hilton has just launched the “premium economy” Spark by Hilton — the newest addition to its portfolio of brands. Insiders say this responds to the change in demands from travellers — who are increasingly seeking “value, quality and consistency”. Spark by Hilton properties will have a simple interior design with splashes of colour, and colourful exterior walls and artwork. I understand there’s a plan for both communal tables and rocking chairs in public spaces.


Why use a travel agent? Here’s a little behind the scenes insight into what some get up to . . .

Escorted touring specialists Wendy Wu Tours has launched a new and improved online training portal for agents, called Wuniversity. The online uni, on an agents’ dedicated website, lets them learn about the diverse destinations, experiences and touring styles available from Wendy Wu. Wuniversity also has a new reference tool called the Matrix, which gives agents “need to know” facts and figures, and links them to supporting tours.