Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 26 March 2024

West Travel Club Writing and Photography weekend at New Norcia.

Starting with a great big thank you — to you — Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield unpacks another week in Travel


First – a big thank you.

New Roy Morgan research shows that this supplement, Saturday Travel, is the most read-print section of The West Australian.

The research also shows that Sunday Travel, which we started during the pandemic, is the most-read print section of The Sunday Times.

The research was “all people” for the 12 months to December 31, 2023.

We couldn’t do it without you. Obviously.


We’re all looking forward to our New Norcia readers’ weekend from Saturday, April 27 to Sunday, April 28. There are places on our New Norcia Experience and the travel writing course with Writing WA chief executive Will Yeoman. We book out the refurbished hostel and include all meals and a Saturday night concert. There are full details at (Be quick if you’d like to join us.)

We had a really enjoyable PhotoWalk with Phones with readers in Fremantle last Tuesday morning, and there are four more at


Having a lanyard of some sort on your phone is a neat idea — but I’d rather do it in style. I’ve just got this Carrie Case with its contemporary strap. It comes in a bundle with the cover, lanyard and connectors for $110, with free delivery Australia-wide (for orders over $70). Carrie Case is a 100 per cent Australian female owned and operated business. Oh, and if there are any queries, a real person, not a “bot”, will give you an answer. (Imagine that!)


On the subject of cameras, Airbnb says it is banning the use of indoor security cameras. Really? It took all this time to come to that decision? The new policy prohibits the use of any indoor cameras, and outdoor cameras can’t be placed in a way that lets them see inside the home. “These changes were made in consultation with our guests, hosts and privacy experts, and we’ll continue to seek feedback to help ensure our policies work for our global community,” says Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s head of community policy and partnerships. Hosts have to comply with the policy by April 30, or their listings or accounts can be deleted.


There has been a 249 per cent increase in social media scam losses since 2020, the National Anti-Scam Centre quarterly report reveals. That includes scams for travel products. Almost $16m was lost to social media scams between October and December 2023. It has prompted CHOICE consumer group to call for strong government action and rules to force digital platforms to get on top of the scams. “It’s disappointing that digital platforms are still refusing to come to the table to stop scammers exploiting their tools to steal from people, says CHOICE senior campaigns and policy adviser Alex Soderlund. “We continue to see an overwhelming number of likely scam ads across Meta and Google-owned services.”


New research by American Express shows that 76 per cent of Australians are planning to have up to three holidays in 2024. The report also reveals that those surveyed are planning to spend an average of $9131 on leisure travel this year, with 65 per cent of them planning to travel solo.


Club Med, which pioneered premium all-inclusive holidays, had a huge 2023, with a 200 per cent “year on year increase” in sales. This leader in global snow and sun holidays is also predicting a robust 2024. I’ve travelled with Club Med to write about its ski packages in Sapporo, and it is no surprise to me that sales for its Japan ski resorts has increased 916 per cent since 2022. A spokesperson reveals that its ski resorts in Europe boasted growth of 514 per cent year on year. It’s a good way to holiday with everything included, particularly for families.


We are preparing to wish The Ghan outback train a happy 95th birthday in August. Journey Beyond, which owns and operates the train, this week launched a special birthday sale, with 10 per cent off a new booking in gold twin or single, or 5 per cent off a gold premium twin booking. A spokesperson says: “For those looking to extend their journey and dive deeper into the Red Centre, there are savings of up to $1000 per person available on The Ghan’s Red Centre Spectacular Tour. ” The Ghan’s birthday sale is available to book until April 30, 2024, for travel between July 1 and November 30, 2024.

Journey Beyond also runs the Indian Pacific, and we have a story about the big changes for that here.


In Japan, an extension to the Hokuriku Shinkansen line connecting Kanazawa and Tsuruga in central Japan opened on March 16. It established bullet train services in Fukui Prefecture for the first time — and is a big boost for the tourism industry in areas hit by the New Year’s Day earthquake. The Hokuriku region in the north-west of Japan’s main island, Honshu, is good in all seasons — from cherry blossom time to pleasant summers, vibrant autumn colours and snow in winter. Fukui City is now only two hours and 51 minutes from Tokyo.


Luxury cruise line Silversea this week broadened its pricing structure. It now has three fare options. It keeps its “Door to Door” fare, enhances its “Port to Port” prices, but has introduced an “Essential Fare”, which an insider describes as a “value-rich, voyage-only fare”. It is for “soon-to-depart voyages”, and doesn’t include airfares or transfers. It doesn’t include shore excursions on ocean-going voyages, but does on expedition voyages. It also has stricter terms and conditions.


Reader Jackie Bern says she has just come home after a trip to Antarctica with Silversea and has “got the bug for small ship cruising”. She asks for recommendations for other small ship companies offering Greek Island cruising, and I have pointed her to Windstar ( — I’ve sailed with them there and recommend it. And I would add, it’s a completely different thing, but I also really like Celestyal for Greek Islands cruising ( They have a lot of overnight stops in ports. I’ve sailed with them, and recommend them, too.


A friend and reader (who joined us on Tuesday’s PhotoWalk) is transiting through Vancouver on the way to a fly-fishing trip further inside British Columbia in Canada. Should he just stay at a hotel near the airport, he asks? No, I answer. The flight arrives in the morning, and the international airport is south of the city, so I’d stay on Granville Island – a pretty part of Vancouver and on the south side of the city. It’s a nice place to walk around in the afternoon and find some dinner (without using taxis or public transport). Take a look at Granville Island Hotel, with prices in April from $300 a night. It’s a boutique way to stopover and make the best of a short time, I think.


XCD has just launched its first Portable Air Purifier, which might be useful for travellers who are sensitive to air quality. The XCD Portable Air Purifier can happily sit on a bedside table, weighs 330g and the manufacturers say it is quiet, at 40dB. It lasts for four hours on one charge and incorporates an air quality index displayed through different colours. It is $129 and available at JB Hi-Fi stores nationally and online.