Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 29 September 2022

Travel Editor STEPHEN SCOURFIELD reports that Japan re-opens for international tourists from October 11 and he reveals what's on the menu for the West Travel Club Around the World Dinner on October 13


The full reopening of Japan for international tourists from October 11 has been the back-room talk of the travel world this week, after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the easing of border control requirements and the restoration of individual tourism and visa-waiver travel from certain countries. “We are a nation that has flourished through the free flow of people, goods and capital,” Mr Kishida said.

+ Yoko Tanaka, executive director of Japan National Tourism Organisation, based in Sydney, says people in Japan can’t wait to see their Aussie friends return. Before the pandemic, Japan had visa-waiver agreements with nearly 70 countries and regions, including Australia. As we went to press, the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website advised: “Japan’s visa exemption scheme is still suspended. You must have a visa to enter Japan.” But we’re watching for that to change.

And the winter ski season is coming . . .


Club Med, which pioneered premium all-inclusive holidays, is looking forward to welcoming back guests to its four Japan resorts in Hokkaido and Kiroro. Evaporation from the warm Sea of Japan is blown-through by frigid Siberian winds in a freak of geography which gives Hokkaido some of the best powder snow in the world.

Opening in December 2022, Club Med Kiroro Hokkaido has seven nights from $2734 per person. It is one integrated snow resort with two distinctive buildings, where the mountain meets the ocean.

Designed for couples and families with teenagers, Club Med Kiroro Peak opens this winter and has a minimum age of 12 years.

Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido has seven nights from $2885 per adult. It blends authentic Ainu designs and the latest modern amenities.

Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido has seven nights from $3470 per adult. It truly is a 145ha ski-in, ski-out paradise, with 29 ski runs for all levels.


I eat before domestic flights these days. I just can’t see the point in taking off my mask in a small metal tube, just at the time everyone else is, to eat what often is an unappetising little “something or other” out of a box.

Daniel Seldon, a spokesperson for Aussie Pharma Direct, is clearly on the same wavelength. He advises: “If possible, remove masks only for eating and drinking, or on short flights consider not removing your mask at all. When everyone takes their mask off to eat at the same time, it only takes one sick person to pass their germs around to infect many others in close proximity to them.”

Daniel also recommends:

Alcohol free ViroCLEAR as a hand sanitiser. It kills 99.99 per cent of germs and bacteria.

Using disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces you come into contact with, like the armrests, your fold-down table, and your window blind.

Wearing a quality face mask like the Australian made, four-layered AMD P2/N95 Nano Tech Respirator. (Currently reduced from $39 to $26 for a pack of 10, which a choice of colours and sizes, at


A reader wrote this week concerned about a travel company they were planning to book with: “Some of the online reviews suggest they might be a bit dodgy.” Big travel companies deal with literally hundreds of thousands of bookings at this time of huge disruption in the travel world. Let me put it like this — an airline this week cancelled flights at short notice, and someone, somewhere has to find and book other flights for passengers to get to a cruise. Travel agents are no longer paid commission by most airlines. So they book, then search and rebook, for no financial reward. (Would you?) “Reviewers” might blame the travel agent, but they are not the “service provider who has failed to provide the service”. . . just the poor person trying to sort it out for a sometimes ungrateful traveller. If one thing goes wrong, the “keyboard warriors” get going.


There was a letter in The West on Tuesday raising the issue of single supplements. Why do lone travellers face discrimination on price, wrote M. Martin of City Beach. While I have sympathy, usually it is not discrimination, just economics. For example, the folk running a hotel will work out what income they need to run the hotel, based on two people in a room. If there is only one person in a room, they should basically be paying double.


I don’t like giving away the menu for our Round the World Dinners. Our guest chef Costa Simatos has come up with extraordinary cuisine for our October 13 dinner, and the element of surprise is part of the zing of the evening in the banquet hall at The University Club of Western Australia in Nedlands.

But the menu is so unusual and reflects the “places we will go”, that I feel compelled to give some hints.

For one of our courses, we take to the oceans, and chef Costa has produce from Tasmania to South Australia and Shark Bay.

For another course, we will “visit” India, and chef Costa will bring out gentle flavours from there, in a “chole” chickpea curry with kachumber. Chole is a popular Punjabi dish where chickpeas are simmered in a mildly spicy tangy gravy.

Chef Costa has southern African roots, so the main course, from Zambia and Botswana is right up his dusty street. You may never, ever have another chance to try white maize dumpling and braised cassava leaves, even if you go there.

That’s it. . . I’m not giving away any more, especially for our Italian desserts or more tastes from France, the US and Australia.

You’ll just have to come along.

Each course is accompanied by a story told by me, with original music being composed by Steve Richter, and played live.

It will be a unique evening, never repeated. We have just a few seats left.


Where: The University Club of Western Australia, Hackett Drive, Matilda Bay.

When: Thursday, October 13, 2022. 6.45pm arrival for 7pm to 10pm event.

Cost: $120 for Gold members of West Travel Club, $150 for registered members.

(Becoming a registered member is free; Gold membership is $49. Gold membership saves $60 for two bookings for this event.)


Phone 1800 429 000 during office hours and our West Travel Club staff will be happy to help.

Presented in partnership with Imagine Holidays, which can arrange travel to all these places.