Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 30 April 2024

An SAA A340-600 flies over Kapstadt.

An edible homage to Taylor Swift, sustainable practices in the travel industry, direct flights to South Africa and a great staycation deal... Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield tucks into another week in Travel


Taylor Swift fans have been turning up to The Black Dog pub in south-west London, after it was named in her new album The Tortured Poet’s Department. The cosy little pub is in the Vauxhall district, and the team there quickly launched the Swift Burger and Taylor’s Version Cocktails.

We looked at The Taylor Swift Effect on Travel in a recent episode of The Pod Well Travelled. This week, Penny Thomas and Megan French discuss looking for “red flags and green flags” in travel companions. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


The Burgers’ Zoo in the city of Arnhem in Netherlands has begun work on what is being called “a Noah’s Ark of coral”. Like a seed bank, it is a back-up of endangered species, as coral is threatened by climate change, overfishing and pollution. The zoo is working with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco — both good places, which I have visited, and recommend for your travel list.


Farm to fleet to farm. That’s the circle Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten has created with a new and innovative initiative on its path towards zero edible food waste. A specially designed reactor at one of its ports converts edible food waste into compost used to grow vegetables for use on Hurtigruten ships. Chief executive Hedda Felin says: “Recognising that our operations inherently impact the environment, wildlife and local cultures in the waters we sail in, we are committed to taking proactive steps to minimise our ecological footprint and promote responsible practices.” Food waste is taken to a compost reactor at Stamsund Harbour, turned into compost within 24 hours, and transported to Myklevik Gard, where it is used to enhance soil quality for agricultural purposes.


Windstar Cruises has two new vessels in its small-ships fleet — the all-suite motor yachts Star Seeker and Star Explorer each has 112 suites, with private verandas and infinity windows. For the maximum of 224 guests, there’s a staff-to-guest ratio of 1:2. Both ships have ice-strengthened hulls, and (interestingly) efficient tier III Nox rated Rolls-Royce engines. They can connect to shore power, minimising port emissions. Full itineraries and booking details will be announced in late June 2024.


Cathay Pacific has been offering travellers complimentary carbon offsetting (from April 22 to 28) to mark one year of progress since the release of its 2023 Sustainability Report, and its Fly Greener program. On the release of the report, I recall Cathay’s chief executive, Ronald Lam, saying: “Sustainability is inherent in Cathay’s purpose — to move people forward in life. We understand that achieving this purpose in a sustainable and responsible manner for current and future generations requires collective efforts.”

Cathay is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The airline aims to reduce single-use plastic items in the cabin from an average of 7.7 pieces per passenger in 2019 to 1.5 pieces by 2025.

It also aims to reduce cabin waste by 30 per cent from the 2019 baseline by 2030.


Last Saturday, we covered the story of Dubai’s airport flooding and the disruption it caused to Emirates flights. And I commend Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline, for his open letter to “all our valued customers”. He writes: “This week has been one of the toughest for Emirates operationally, as record storms hit the United Arab Emirates. I would like to offer our most sincere apologies to every customer who has had their travel plans disrupted during this time. We diverted dozens of flights to avoid the worst of the weather ... and over the next three days we had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more, as our hub operations remained challenged by staffing and supply shortages.”

Sir Tim details what the airline did to try to ease the situation, including booking more than 12,000 hotel rooms to accommodate disrupted customers in Dubai. It’s so refreshing to see Sir Tim “standing up”, even though Emirates was dealing with something beyond its control. (Oh that Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg would follow this lead, and stand up and take responsibility for what they publish, as I do.)


South African Airways starts its direct flight between Perth and Johannesburg tomorrow. It will fly three times weekly on Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Perth Airport’s chief commercial and aviation officer Kate Holsgrove says the airport will work closely with SAA with the aim of rebuilding back to a daily service. She adds: “The return of South African Airways to Perth Airport is testament to the airline’s resilient efforts and our continued partnership over 60 years.”

Our aviation writer Emma Kelly has more on this story here.

The return flight also offers a solid alternative route for us when travelling to South America, as SAA has flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, from Johannesburg and Cape Town.


Locals turned out in their thousands in Tenerife, calling for authorities of the Spanish island to temporarily limit tourist arrivals. Residents feel the growth in short-term holiday rentals and hotel construction is driving up housing costs. But the tourism industry produces 35 per cent of the gross domestic product of the seven-island Canary Islands archipelago, which includes Tenerife.


Japan’s Kyushu Railway Company launched a new scenic train trip across Kyushu Island on April 26, 2024. It connects major cities and smaller towns and rural regions. The train leaves Hakata Station and traverses the Yufu Kogen Line, passing through Yufuin before reaching Beppu Station. It runs six times a week and the trip is around five hours. Fares vary but include a one-way train ticket and a bento box meal sourced from esteemed local eateries in Fukuoka and Oita. A spokesperson says: “This offering aims to encapsulate the essence of the region, showcasing its climate, terrain, culinary delights, cultural customs, and breathtaking landscapes, ensuring passengers a multisensory journey through the area.”

The online company Kogan, which is known for its cheap products, has just launched Kogan Travel, offering holiday deals.


… and Crown Hotels in Perth has some new deals, including paying for two nights and staying for three in Crown Towers. It comes with a $300 resort credit, which could go towards a spa treatment or dining at one of the many restaurants. Guests stay in a spacious room and get a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck champagne, daily in-room movie and valet parking. It also includes a buffet breakfast for two at Epicurean. and 9362 8888