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AirAsia X to Launch Flights to Nagoya, Japan

Nov 19 (Tue ), 2013

AirAsia X is to launch flights between Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport and Kuala Lumpur from 17 March 2014.   AirAsia X will operate the route with four weekly flights into Nagoya, Japan.   The airline currently operates daily flights to Tokyo (Haneda) and four weekly flights to Osaka (Kansai) from Kuala Lumpur.   To celebrate, AirAsia X is offering special fares from as low as MYR199 (JPY6 990) in Economy and MYR699 (JPY 24 900) in Premium to Nagoya.    Bookings are available online from 19 to 24 November 2013 for travel between 17 March and 5 August 2014.    “This marks another milestone for AirAsia X and reiterates our expansion commitment in the key markets we operate in with the Asia Pacific Region. With the addition of Nagoya, guests will have more travel options to explore Japan, and we believe Nagoya being a scenic and historical destination will be a popular tourist destination. We have carried over half a million passengers to and from Japan. Japan contributed over 14% of our total revenue in the first half of 2013,” said Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X. “Nagoya is strategically located just 50 minutes from Osaka and 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo via train. Guests may soon fly direct to Nagoya, and take a train to the metropolitan and capital city of Japan; Tokyo or visit the commercial centre of Japan, Osaka in the Kansai region and return from any of the ports we serve in Japan. Nagoya has much to offer, be it for families or even the back packers, the choices of attractions are endless.”   Fly-Thru routes available from Nagoya are: Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney in Australia; Kochi in India; Bali, Bandung, Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya in Indonesia; Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi and Penang in Malaysia; Singapore; Taipei in Taiwan; Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand; and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.  

Japan Airlines to Expand JAL New Sky Project

Oct 29 (Tue ), 2013

Japan Airlines is to further expand its JAL New Sky Project and install inflight internet service on select domestic flights within Japan. JAL New Sky Project was initially launched by the airline in January 2013 with the introduction of the JAL Sky Suite 777 on international routes.    The revamped aircraft boasts increased comfort and functionality in all classes. Leading the redesign are the airline's new fully-flat seats in JAL Business Class.   The new JAL Sky Suite 767 will be introduced onto select international flights starting in December 2013.   As part of this latest Project, JAL will revamp cabin interiors on aircraft operating on select domestic routes, which will include the installation of leather seating and LED lighting throughout the cabin.   Another highlight of the new Economy Class seat is a slim-style seatback design resulting in approximately 5cm (max.) more legroom than the present seat pitch, providing customers with a more comfortable travel experience.   Additionally, inflight internet service, currently available on select JAL international flights from July 2012, will be first installed onto select Japan-domestic flights.

20th Laguna Phuket Triathlon

Oct 15 (Tue ), 2013

20th Laguna Phuket Triathlon - Nov. 24, 2013 The 20th Laguna Phuket Triathlon will take place on Sunday 24 November, marking the beginning of Laguna Phuket’s week long Tri-Fest.   This year’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon (LPT) will celebrate its 20th anniversary while welcoming inaugural Challenge Laguna Phuket (CLP) on Sunday 1 December to its iconic multi-sports weeklong event Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest 2013.   During the proceeding seven days, Laguna Phuket will be a hive of activity, with athletes and guests taking part in social activities, training sessions and competitions at the destination resort.   On Sunday 1 December, athletes will race in the Challenge Laguna Phuket – a longer, more challenging triathlon, comprising a 1.9K Swim, 90.1K Bike ride and a 21.1K Run.   The days between the two spectacular events in Phuket will be filled with a Tri-Fest of training and social events held in and around the Laguna Phuket destination resort.   This triathlon carnival has proved a popular attraction for international athletes eager to sample the delights of Thailand while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ruedi Wild and Radka Vodickova, last year’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon champions.   Ruedi Wild triumphed at Laguna Phuket last year in 2:29.22. Following Wild home were an elite field of seasoned athletes including Tim Meyer, Alberto Cassadei, Massimo Cigana, and Simon Agoston.   The 2012 women’s field top finishers were Radka Vodickova, Belinda Granger, Edith Niederfringer, Nickey Barnard, and Sarah Wheeler.   In the Challenge Laguna Phuket, 2012 Champion Melissa Hauschildt of Australia – has registered to return to defend her title. She’s set to face strong challenges from a field that will include Vodickova and Granger, who finished second and third respectively last year.   LPT and Challenge Laguna Phuket are once again set to see high-calibre fields of elite men’s pros taking on their tropical challenges.   Reigning World Champion Pete “PJ” Jacobs has confirmed he will race the inaugural Challenge Laguna Phuket half distance triathlon on 1 December – setting up an intriguing contest with fellow Australian Chris “Macca” McCormack, the defending title-holder, two-time World Champion, and Challenge Ambassador, for a slice of the race’s 25,000 Euro prize purse.   Italians Massimo Cigana and Alberto Casadei will try to make an impression on the two Australian champions in a filed that also features Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2012 champion Ruedi Wild from Switzerland.   The enduring appeal of Laguna Phuket Triathlon and the unique challenges of Challenge Laguna Phuket are attracting entries from leading international pro athlete personalities, as well as age groupers worldwide.   To date, a combined 1,500 athletes have signed up for the two main races. Registration for the 2013 half distance Challenge Laguna Phuket is open until 20 November and total of approximately 1,800 athletes are expected to sign up this year.   “The two Laguna Phuket’s triathlons are recognised as being organised at one of the best destinations,” said Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut “especially the 20-years-standing Laguna Phuket Triathlon which I consider the success of Laguna Phuket and the pride of Phuket Province.”   Mr. Suvadhana Sibunruang, TG’s Director Brand Management and Commercial Communications, said “Congratulations to Laguna Phuket and Phuket Province on the 20th anniversary of Laguna Phuket Triathlon! Thai Airways is pleased to offer 15kgs excess baggage allowance exclusively for athletes booking online at challengelagunaphuket.com”

Record Number of Visitors to Japan in August

Oct 10 (Thu ), 2013

According to Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), the number of international visitors to Japan in August 2013 was 907,000 (17.1% increase from August 2012). This was a record number on a monthly basis and exceeded the number of foreigners who came in August 2010 (803,000) by 104,000. JNTO also announced that the estimated number of Japanese overseas travelers in August 2013 was 1,842,000, a 6.2% decrease over August 2012. The outbound figure decreased over the same month of the previous year for the seven straight months.

20th Annual Rota Blue Triathlon

Oct 10 (Thu ), 2013

20th Annual Rota Blue Triathlon November 16, 2013 The event is sponsored by the Kiyokazu Fitness Club of Japan, Marianas Visitors Authority and the Rota Mayor's Office.   The event features two distances: an A-type half-marathon distance, which includes a 1.5 km swim, followed by a 40 km rigorous biking course and a 10 km run (no time limit) and the B-type Olympic distance, which includes a 2.0 km swim, followed by a 90 km biking course and topped off with a 21 km run (8-hour time limit). For team competitors, there will also be triathlon of the A-type distance, again with no time limit. Pre- registration will be held on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Bay Breeze Restaurant & Bar.    The swim course inspection will be held the same day from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the East Harbor.    Final registration will take place that evening from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Rota Resort & Country Club's Sunset BBQ Tiki Tiki. The pre-race briefing for all participants will be held that evening from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Starting time for both distances is 6:30 a.m. at Rota's East Harbor.    Wetsuits are permitted, while bike helmets are required.   Registration fees are $80.00 for A-type course solo competitors and $70.00 for each member in the team category. The fee for the B-type course is $100.00.    The entry fee includes an event t-shirt, high-quality swim cap, and an invitation to the awards banquet at the East Harbor.   Prizes: Men's/Women's Top Three & Categories. The annual Rota Blue Triathlon is one of four major triathlon events held in the Northern Mariana Islands, joining the XTERRA Saipan Championship, Tagaman Triathlon, and the Tinian Turquoise Blue on the list. For more information about the annual triathlon, please contact Frank Tudela at 1 670-664.3200/01 or ftudela@mymarianas.com, or Sandra Atalig at the MVA Rota Office at 1 670-532-0327.

Izu Surf Film Art Show Oct. 19-20, 2013

Oct 08 (Tue ), 2013

Check out the Izu Surf Film Art Show coming up Oct. 19-20 in beautful Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka. IZU SURF FILM ART SHOW 5 海外、国内のアーティストの作品を集めたサーフアートイベント! Oct. 19-20, 2013 http://izusurfart.com/

Garuda Indonesia Launches Inflight WiFi Service

Oct 08 (Tue ), 2013

Garuda Indonesia Launches Inflight WiFi Service Garuda Indonesia has launched an "Inflight Connectivity" service on board all its Boeing 777-300ERs which allows Garuda Indonesia passengers in First Class, Executive Class and even Economy Class to access the internet through WiFi during the flight. "We hope this service will benefit our customers even more because now they can still conduct business from the sky. It's part of our "New Service Concept" program which launches our new "First Class" service and promotes much improved "Executive Class" and "Economy Class" service," said Garuda Indonesia Director of Services, Faik Fahmi. While Garuda Indonesia's First Class passengers enjoy WiFi access as a complimentary service, passengers in Executive Class and Economy Class can enjoy internet service during the flight after first completing payment by credit card or purchasing a voucher for the amount of US$ 11.95 for 1 hour unlimited internet browsing package or US$ 21.95 for an unlimited 24-hours. The "Inflight Connectivity" service is currently only available to B777-300 ER passengers. However, Garuda Indonesia will gradually introduce the same service on board the A330-200 and A330-300 fleets that operate on both its domestic and international routes. Live TV In addition to accessing internet connection through "Inflight Connectivity", Garuda Indonesia passengers flying with the 777-300ER can also access other services: inflight entertainment, Live TV or live broadcast from six international TV stations, namely CNN International, BBC World, BBC Arabic, NHK World Premium, Euronews, and CNBC. Thanks to this service, passengers in all classes, whether First Class, Executive Class, or Economy Class, will be able to access live television broadcasts, such as a football game in the sport channel, or other entertainment options, free of any additional charges. The first Boeing 777-300ER fleet was received by Garuda Indonesia on 24 June 2013 and the second fleet at the end of July 2013. The next two Boeing 777-300ERs will arrive towards the end of the year. Three more airplanes are scheduled to arrive in 2014 and a further three aircraft will arrive in 2015.

1,864 Swimmers Take Part in New World Harbour Race 2013.

Oct 08 (Tue ), 2013

1,864 Swimmers Take Part in New World Harbour Race 2013. The New World Harbour Race 2013 was held on Sunday, 6 October, for the third year since its re-launch. Record-breaking participation and a new group of international elite swimmers all competing together resulted in fierce battles between the 500 contenders in the Racing Group categories.   The race was seen and cheered on by enthusiastic crowds along both sides of the harbour. Alongside over 70 elite swimmers from around the globe competing for the first time in the International Category, around 1,500 swimmers from the newly-added Leisure Group were allowed to soak up the relaxing atmosphere as they swam across Victoria Harbour. The carnival located near the finishing point further spiced up the atmosphere.   New World Harbour Race 2013 kicked off at Sam Ka Tsuen Public Pier in Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon and finished at Quarry Bay Park Public Pier, Hong Kong. All swimmers completed the race within 1 hour and 15 minutes this year, and were greeted by cheering crowds when they reached the finishing point.   New World Harbour Race went global this year and officials from FINA witnessed the marquee in person with the Hong Kong community. The newly-added International Category was fiercely contended by elite swimmers. Trophies of the International Category Individual Men & Women went to Christian Reichert (Germany) and Poliana Okimoto (Brazil) by clocking 15:45.7 and 15:56.2 respectively. In the Open (A) Aged 17 - 34 Individual Men category, Ling Tin Yu claimed the winning title for the third year in a row with a time of 18:44.1, while Claudia Wong Ming Yu beat two-time defending champion Natasha Tang Wing Yung by clocking 20:01.6 to win the women race.   For the K11 Harbour Race Youth Category Aged 12 - 16 Individual Boys and Individual Girls, Lau Shiu Yue won with a time of 21:22.1, while Chan On Yi, Fiona was named the women's winner by clocking 22:10.1. Taking home the men's trophy of the Open (B) Aged 35 - 49 Individual was Nortje Craig Andrew who finished at 25:21.2, while Kwoh Mary, at 27:08.9, was declared the women's champion. In the Open (C) Aged 50 or above Individual, Koo Yu Fat finished in 21:52.1 to claim the Individual Men championship and Leung Wong Yin Har, Hayley netted the women's championship with a time of 28:21.3.   Ronnie Wong, Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association's Honourable Secretary, said, "The Cross Harbour Race has been an iconic local event since its establishment. To allow the general public to truly enjoy this historic sports event, a new Leisure Group was created this year to allow more qualified non-racing swimmers to enjoy the atmosphere of the race. This year's event created a milestone - not only has the number of swimmers hit a record high of 1,864, but the major event also successfully brought onto the international stage with the participation of over 70 global elite swimmers. It is quite an accomplishment given that the race has just been re-launched for three years."

Summer Splash - Tours & Tickets!

Aug 26 (Mon ), 2013

September 7, 2013 (Sat.) @ Canyons Alpine Lodge in Minakami Sponsors Summer Splash is proudly sponsored by: Stream Trail Japan - Quality bags anywhere, any time any weather! Outdoor Japan Traveler - Every season a new adventure! General Info When? Sept. 7, 2013 (Sat.) Where? Canyons Alpine Lodge, Minakami Gunma What? Music Festival & Adventure Weekend Summer Splash Package Tours? Yes! Jump on one of the bus tours  below that include transportation, accommodation, activities and tickets to Summer Splash.  Entertainment? See below for info and timetable.  Tickets: 2.500 yen advanced purchase / 3,000 yen at the door - includes welcome drink.   Tickets Available through ePlus:   Artists & Entertainment Shapeshifter Sound System  SKAFF-LINKS   KEISUKE (Vocal/Soprano & Baritone Sax)、KANOH (Trumpet,Tin Whistle,Cho)、サキポン (A.Sax), RICKY (T.Sax)、TAKEMURA (Trombone)、NAGASAWA (Guitar)、NAMI (Keyboard)、YUTA (Drum,Chorus) Web: http://skaff-links.net/ YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/skafflinks SAYUKI (仮) Drum & Bass, Funk, Soul Reggae, hiphop Reggae, Breakbeatz DJ Fergus DJ Fergus, one half Outdoor Japan's Snow & Summer Slash Sound System, has been rocking the house since 1988. His ability to play extended sets, and mix genres and bpm to keep the crowd moving is the reason he has played at parties all over the globe for more than 20 years.  DJ Spiritus \ Spinning since 2004, DJ Spiritus was a regular on the Queenstown, NZ music scene as well as the infamous Full Moon Parties in Minakami, Gunma. The other half of the Snow Splash & Summer Splash Sound System, Spiritus' style could summed up as "mashup bass madness." DJ Ren & Double Kaori Details coming soon.  Flair Bartender "Ollie" "Flair Bartender" Ollie will also be on hand at Summer Splash '13 to serve up some entertainment to our thirsty guests.  DJ Yuuchee \ One of Hakuba's most diverse DJs, Yuuchee has played Snow Splash but this will be his first time spinning at Summer Splash. Horizontal Bungy Test your skills, stamina (and sobriety) on the horizontal bungy challenge, hosted by the bungy pros at Bungy Japan. A great warm-up for the real thing - a bridge bungy at one of the two great locations in the Minakami area.  Pro MTB Trials Specialized Japan team riders will be on hand to show off their incredible balance and skills during trials demo on the Canyons deck. Organized by our friends at MTB Japan - you won't won't want to miss it! Timetable Details coming soon.  Package Tours Join one of the all-inclusive bus tours with our friends at Tokyo Snow Club adventures, tickets, transportation and accommodation. Minakami Adventures Jump one of the fun outdoor tours such as white water rafting, canyoning, bungy jumping, downhill MTB, hydrospeed, and paragliding. The companies below can arrange tours and packages that include Summer Splash tickets. All inclusive bus tours also available.                           Also check out the Snow Splash & Summer Splash page on Facebook! Accommodation You can also come up on your own and stay at one of the local places to stay below. If you are coming up to Summer Splash on your own and want to book accommodation yourself, visit our Minakami accommodation list page for information on places to stay in the area. Book early! If you are interested in camping at Summer Splash, there are a limited amount of camping spots available outside Canyons. There is also a campground a 20-minute walk from Canyons available for 1000 yen per tent site. Toilets and other facilities and mean views of Tanigawa! Contact Canyons at info@canyons.jp for bookings.If you are interested in reserving one of these spots. Access to Canyons Alpine Lodge View Larger Map Past Summer Splash-ing!   Photos by Lou Deikin and Shoko Kurihara     

AirAsia Terminates Japan Joint Venture

Jun 26 (Wed ), 2013

AirAsia has terminated its participation in the joint venture with ANA Holdings Inc.   The joint venture, created two years ago under the name AirAsia Japan, has faced many challenges since its launch.    Issues stemmed from a fundamental difference of opinion between its shareholders on how the business should be managed from cost management to where the domestic business operations should be based.   AirAsia Berhad through AirAsia Investment Ltd. had subscribed 25,120 voting shares and 23,880 non-voting shares at JPY 50,000 per share, which represented 49% of the paid-up share capital in AirAsia Japan.   The termination comprises an acquisition of AirAsia’s entire shareholding in AirAsia Japan by ANA Holdings Inc. for JPY 2,450,000,000 (approximately RM80,475,150 based on current exchange rates).    The termination also involves the return of all AirAsia aircraft leased to AirAsia Japan by 1 November 2013 and the payment of all monies accrued from the leasing of the aircraft.    Under the termination, AirAsia Japan will also settle all outstanding invoices due to AirAsia accrued from the commencement of operations.   AirAsia Japan will unwind the use of the AirAsia brand in its operations, including the name of AirAsia Japan itself by 1 November 2013.   Operations of AirAsia Japan flights up to October 31st 2013 will continue as planned.   Following the transfer of shares and payment of the purchase price, the Shareholders Agreement, the Brand License Agreement and other commercial contracts between the parties will be terminated immediately.   On the termination, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “I have great respect for ANA as the leading legacy airline in Japan but it is time for us to part ways and focus our attention on what we do best, which is running a true LCC. Despite the cost issues, the AirAsia brand has resonated with Japanese customers and the trend we see for July and August is very strong for all of Japan. I remain positive on the Japanese market and believe there is tremendous opportunity for a LCC to succeed, as proven by the tremendous success AirAsia X has seen. We have not given up on the dream of changing air travel in Japan and look forward to returning to the market.”   Operations of AirAsia X, the long haul low fare affiliate of AirAsia Group will not be interrupted as a part of this termination. AirAsia X will continue its operations into Japan including Kuala Lumpur to both Tokyo (Haneda) and Osaka (Kansai).