Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views July 9 2024

Arethusa Quelle, Syrakus, UNESCO Weltkulturerbe, Insel Ortygia, Ortigia, Sizilien, Italien

WA has lots to offer, but there's also a big wide world out there, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield explores another week in Travel


New research from online booker Webjet shows that 48 per cent of Aussies surveyed are planning to travel solo in the next two years — with another 25 per cent hoping to go it alone “soon”. A Webjet spokesperson says: “Older Australians are becoming the new face of solo travel.”

48 per cent of the baby boomer generation are taking solo trips to build new social connections in retirement.

43 per cent of solo travellers are planning to visit three or more destinations in one trip.

50 per cent are aiming to travel for three weeks or more.


. . . but new BIG4 Holiday Parks research reveals how families are being hit by the cost-of-living crisis, which is affecting school holiday travel plans. Financial pressure is the biggest constraint for 76 per cent of Australians surveyed, and 38 per cent say they feel they need to work while on holidays to keep their jobs. A BIG4 insider points out that its holiday parks still have powered sites for less than $50 a night.


The Parmelia Hilton Perth has a new Family Stay and Play package, offering a school holiday “staycation”. Aimed at young families, it offers a “home base” for city adventures and includes a five-star overnight stay, buffet breakfast, dining at Samuels on Mill, in-room movies, valet parking . . . and gifts for kids. The package is from $319. General manager Anthony Mauro says the idea benefits not just Parmelia Hilton, but businesses throughout the city, “creating a vibrant and thriving urban environment”. For bookings, visit and select preferred dates and room type, followed by the Family Stay and Play package booking option (or email ).


Australia has become known as the original home of songbirds, and for its contribution to songbird evolution. And a concert at Government House Ballroom by the Bowerbird Collective on July 21, 2024, will bring that to life in sound and vision. Anthony Albrecht and Simone Slattery will perform Where Song Began — a cinematic concert celebrating Australia’s birds from 3-4.30pm, in a performance supported by BirdLife Australia, and with tickets at $45 for adults and $40 for concessions. It will feature live classical music performed on violin and cello, with an immersive video soundscape. Details at and tickets at


Busselton Jetty’s new Marine Discovery Centre officially opened on July 1 — just in time for the school holidays. It has interactive exhibits and life-like projections that bring visitors face-to-face with the ocean’s wonders in some of Australia’s marine parks. There’s an emphasis on Geographe Marine Park, the South West corner and the Perth Canyon. This 30-minute, self-guided experience is all-weather, indoor, fully accessible and open seven days a week, everyday (except Christmas). Tickets are $15 each. Book a session time at (look for Marine Discovery Centre).


AmaWaterways has opened bookings for all of its 2026 river cruises. It might not be on a lot of WA readers’ radars, but it is in Europe. A spokesperson says strong demand for its 2024 and 2025 seasons has prompted the river cruise line to open reservations early this year for all its 2026 cruise products in Europe, Egypt, Asia, Colombia and Africa, as well as pre- and post-cruise land packages. They will launch nine new river ships over the next three years.


As you may know, I’m always looking out for high-value, all-inclusive packages, and this I week spotted an 11-night fly, stay and cruise holiday in Japan with MyCruises from $3990 per person. That includes return flights to Tokyo, airport lounge, two nights in Tokyo, a nine-night Japan and South Korea cruise on Diamond Princess, onboard beverage and wi-fi package and all port taxes and charges. It has to be booked by July 31, 2024, for travel in September 2025. 1300 924 585 and


I’m also rather intrigued by Collette’s Old World Sicily and Malta tour, which is 11 days, touring and guiding, and 16 meals, from $4599. It’s a good, rather different itinerary really exploring the two Mediterranean islands. There are four nights based in Sliema in Malta — a nicely, leisurely stay with some interesting outings. The trip then progresses to Sicily, to stay in Taormina, perched above the Ionian Sea. There’s time to explore Siracusa’s archeological heritage with a guide and visit Mt Etna from a different perspective on an off-road excursion. And there’s a leisurely Sicilian breakfast in the seaside town of Pozzallo. I can almost taste the pastries and cappuccino. 1300 792 196 and


And finally, a happy birthday to South African Airways, which is celebrating its 90th year of flying. In late April it resumed flying direct three times a week between Perth and Johannesburg. It is one of the world’s oldest airlines, having first flown in 1934 after the South African government took over Union Airways and renamed it South African Airways. Its first international flight was in 1945. Called the Springbok Service, it flew from Palmietfontein to Nairobi, Khartoum, Cairo, Castel Benito, and arrived in Hurn Bournemouth, as Heathrow airport had yet to open. The flight took three days, with overnight stops at Nairobi and Cairo, and usually with about 34 hours in the air. It started weekly but built to six services a week. Its inaugural flight to Perth was in 1957, using a Douglas DC7B aircraft, with 65 passengers onboard.

... and BRAND NEW

On July 12, Qantas starts its direct flights between Perth and Paris, with an expected flying time of around 17 hours and 20 minutes.


... and finally, I’m interested to see the stand by authorities in Barcelona, Spain, against short-term accommodation. It plans to ban the likes of Airbnb from 2029, in answer to community complaints that tourism is worsening a local housing crisis and pushing up rents.