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AirAsia Japan Launches Flights to Sapporo and Fukuoka

Aug 03 (Fri ), 2012

AirAsia Japan Launches Flights to Sapporo and Fukuoka   AirAsia Japan, the newest low-cost carrier (LCC) based at Narita International Airport, has launched daily flights to Fukuoka and Sapporo.   To celebrate the launch, travellers can enjoy celebratory low fares from 100 yen one way between Sapporo, Fukuoka, Okinawa and Tokyo until 23:59 on 5th August 2012 for travel between 28 August and 27 October 2012.   “AirAsia and ANA entered into a joint venture only about a year ago and the response has been overwhelming. I am delighted and emotional to see our first flights take off today to Fukuoka and Sapporo,” said Kazuyuki Iwakata, CEO, AirAsia Japan. “I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported and assisted us. We hope to get your continuous support as we take all effort to ensure that we provide the best quality service and affordable air travel for everyone.”   AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes added, “This is a dream come true for all of us at AirAsia. I have always believed in dreaming the impossible, but seeing AirAsia Japan’s inaugural flights take-off today puts a smile on my face. It has only been one year since we announced AirAsia Japan’s establishment and now we already have 2 aircraft, 243 staff in Japan and 3 domestic routes on the day we start our operations. Congratulations to Kazuyuki and his team for pulling this off.”    Source: Asia Travel Tips

Number of visitors to Japan exceeds pre-disaster level

Jul 30 (Mon ), 2012

Number of visitors to Japan exceeds pre-disaster level The number of visitors to Japan has, for the first time since the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, exceeded the pre-disaster level. The figure for June 2012 was 686,600, an increase of 1.4% over the level recorded in June 2010, according to statistics published today by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). The Earthquake severely decreased the number of foreign visitors, driving the figure down to 295,800 in April 2011, which was a sharp drop of 62.5% from a year earlier. Despite a gradual recovery, the number of foreign visitors to Japan for 2011 as a whole was 6,220,000, down 27.8% from 2010, and the worst rate of decline on record. It gives us great pleasure to report that foreign visitor numbers have bounced back to the pre-earthquake level in a little more than a year. This result has only been possible through the tremendous support and cooperation that we have received from everyone around the world. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude for such heartwarming support.   On 9 July, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), commented: “It is very encouraging to see demand returning to countries such as Japan, Egypt and Tunisia. These are long standing tourism destinations ready to fully welcome back the millions of tourists that each year chose to visit them.” The recovery of Japanese tourism was given a further boost in April this year, when the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2012 was held in Japan. Again let me express my deepest appreciation not only to these organizations but to everyone associated with tourism around the world.   On 9 July, the American travel magazine “Travel+Leisure” listed Kyoto among the top ten in its 2012 World’s Best Cities rankings. Even since the Earthquake, Japan or Japanese cities like Tokyo or Kyoto have already ranked at or near the top of many world rankings such as Britain's The Guardian newspaper's Travel Awards and Wanderlust magazine's Travel Awards. There has been a spate of new tourist spots, among them the TOKYO SKYTREE, which opened in May. The Japan Tourism Agency has put together “Three Reasons to Visit Japan,” so be sure to take a look (click here to see the document).   The Japan Tourism Agency and the JNTO continue our efforts to encourage even more people to visit Japan. Our prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda has stated, “Tourism is precisely the frontier for Japan.” We sincerely hope that as many people throughout the world as possible visit Japan, including the Tohoku region which was hit by the disaster but has already recovered to welcome you.   Source: See Japan U.K.  

Peace Boat works to promote peace and human rights

Jul 16 (Mon ), 2012

 Peace Boat works to promote peace and human rights   Peace Boat, a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace and human rights through a study program via ocean voyages, invited ECPAT International to facilitate a workshop in Phuket for its participants on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Thailand.   The workshop was attended by approximately 50 participants of Peace Boat. The workshop aimed to create a better understanding of the different manifestations of CSEC: prostitution of children, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, and child pornography, and what actions have taken place by the Thai government and NGOs, especially initiatives by The Code and ECPAT.   After the workshop, the participants held a meeting the next day to discuss what actions they could do and decided to hold a “workshop” base on the one in Phuket for other participants of the Peace Boat (the boat has about a thousand passengers/participants).   Leading up to their workshop, a showing of the Japanese movie, “The Children of Darkness” took place to stir discussion (the movie focuses on the prostitution and trafficking of children in Thailand). Then the participants held their own workshop to approximately another 80-100 participants, which was divided into smaller groups to encourage discussions.   For example, one male participant shared that he worked in the tourism industry in Bangkok about 10 years ago, and he shared how many Japanese tourists came to ask “where they can play” as he was a front desk personnel. He admitted his ignorance to the issue then, but shared that he was encouraged that more people are aware, talking about the issues, and can clear action against the crimes by reporting now.   Source: thecode.org

AirAsia Launches ‘World’s Best Ever Sale!’

Jul 16 (Mon ), 2012

 AirAsia Launches ‘World’s Best Ever Sale!’   AirAsia has launched another ‘World’s Best Ever Sale!’,  with all-in-fares from as low as RM24 one way to domestic destinations in Malaysia such as Penang, Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Kuching, Sibu, Kota Kinabalu and more.   All-in-fares to exciting international destinations such as Singapore, Phuket, Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Guilin, Chennai, Kochi and others start from RM54 for one way travel.   All-in-fares from Clark International Airport to Kalibo, Puerto Princesa and Davao in Philippines are going from as low as RM36 one way; while domestic flights within Thailand are from as low as RM26 one way. Indonesian domestic flights start from as low as RM34 one way   The promotion is running from 16 – 22 July 201å2 for travel between 4 January and 22 May 2013. Terms and conditions apply.   Travellers can take advantage of these low fares and fly long-haul with AirAsia X from Kuala Lumpur to Japan (Osaka, Tokyo) from as low as RM 284 one way and from as low as RM 294 one way to China (Hangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu) and Taiwan (Taipei).   Other hot long-haul destinations offered are Korea (Seoul) with fares from as low as RM324 one way and Australia (Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney) from as low as RM354 one way.   Travellers can also enjoy long-haul Fly-thru deals from Australia to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China from as low as A$ 259 or vice versa.   Alternatively, guests from Australia, China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan may also hop on to Kuala Lumpur and connect to ASEAN and beyond, leveraging on the AirAsia’s low cost carrier network with affordable low fares.   Fly-thru deals to ASEAN and beyond start from as low as A$ 229 from Australia, JYP 14 900 from Japan, KRW 170 900 from Korea, CNY 709 from China and TW$ 3 990 from Taiwan.   AirAsia has just won the World’s Best Low Cost Airline award by Skytrax for the fourth consecutive year. Kathleen Tan, AirAsia’s Regional Head of Commercial said, “Yes, we did it again, and we could not be more excited about being awarded World’s Best Low Cost Airline again for the fourth consecutive year! We have our guests to thank for all their support, and throwing this ‘Thank You’ sale is our way of showing our gratitude to everyone who voted for us again in the Skytrax survey.”   Source: Asia Travel Tips

Jetstar Japan Orders 24 Airbus A320 Aircraft

Jul 13 (Fri ), 2012

 Jetstar Japan to Take Delivery of 24 Airbus Aircraft in Next Three Years   Jetstar Japan has finalized arrangements with five lessors so it can purchase and lease 24 new Airbus A320 aircraft.   All of the aircraft, scheduled to be delivered to the airline in the next three years, have been sourced through the Qantas Group’s existing fleet orders, allowing access to early delivery slots.   The Tokyo-based low cost airline started its commercial flights on 3 July with three of the new Airbus A320 aircraft configured for 180 passengers. Its fourth aircraft will be delivered next month.   The agreements are with five leading leasing companies, including Jetstar Japan shareholders Mitsubishi Corporation (through MC Aviation Partners), which will lease five aircraft, and Century Tokyo Leasing, which will lease six aircraft.   GE Capital Aviation Services, Hong Kong Aviation Capital and Jackson Square Aviation are lessors for six, four and three aircraft respectively.   Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar Japan, Miyuki Suzuki, said finalizing lease agreements for its fleet so early on reflected positive market sentiment towards Jetstar Japan’s prospects.   “It’s unique for a start-up airline to have completed such a large and complex set of transactions prior to the first flight and it’s a credit to the lessors we have selected,” said Ms Suzuki. “Our lessors understand the value of the Jetstar brand, our strategy and our business model and are excited to be part of the success of the new airline.” Before its first flight Jetstar Japan had sold well in excess of 100,000 fares. The airline will be operating up to 26 flights a day by the end of August 2012 and is planning to introduce international flights during 2013.   Source: Asia Travel Tips

HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series Grows to 10 Rounds

Jul 02 (Mon ), 2012

HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series Grows to 10 Rounds The International Rugby Board (IRB) has again expanded the HSBC Sevens World Series, with Argentina joining as a 10th venue on the upcoming 2012/13 Series.   La Plata will play host to some of the finest Sevens players on the planet for the second round of the upcoming Series on 20-21 October 2012, one week after the Gold Coast Sevens kicks off the new season in Australia.    A stellar 2012/13 Sevens season will be further enhanced by Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow on 28-30 June, while the inaugural IRB Women's Sevens Series will also kick off.   Argentina's addition to the list of global hot spots signals the return of the Series to South America for the first time since 2002. It also means that every continent now hosts at least one round of the HSBC Sevens World Series with tournaments in Africa (1), Asia (3), Europe (2), Oceania (2), North America (1) and South America (1).   The announcement comes at an exciting time for the Series and for Argentina with the South Americans set to make their Rugby Championship debut next month alongside Australia, South Africa and Rugby World Cup 2011 champions New Zealand.   IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said, “I am delighted that Argentina is joining the impressive list of spectacular global destinations that comprise the record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series. These are exciting times for South America, where participation has grown by 25% in the last four years owing to the prestige and profile of Rugby World Cup, the IRB and CONSUR's investment and development strategies and Olympic Games inclusion.   “Argentina continues to be the beating heart of the South American success story and we very much look forward to working in partnership with the Argentine Rugby Union and the Argentina government to deliver an event that will capture hearts and minds, benefit rugby throughout the region and mark another significant milestone as we countdown to Sevens' Olympic Games debut in Rio in 2016.”   2012/2013 HSBC Sevens World Series Fixtures   13-14 October 2012 Australia (Gold Coast) 20-21 October 2012 Argentina (La Plata) 30 November - 1 December 2012 Dubai 7-8 December 2012 South Africa (Port Elizabeth) 1-2 February 2013 New Zealand (Wellington) 8-10 February 2013 USA (Las Vegas) 22-24 March 2013 Hong Kong 30-31 March 2013 Japan (Tokyo) 4-5 May 2013 Scotland (Glasgow) 11-12 May 2013 England (London)   Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, 28-30 June 2013 – Moscow, Russia

Summer Beer Gardens in Japan

Jun 22 (Fri ), 2012

Japan is a great place for beer lovers. When the heat gets turned up the faucets and beer gardens around Japan start flowing. Check out our listings of some great summer beer gardens throughout Japan, great places to beat the heat this sizzling season. Summer Beer Gardens in Japan www.outdoorjapan.com/japan-summer-beer-gardens

Peach Aviation to Launch Osaka - Hong Kong Flights

Jun 15 (Fri ), 2012

Peach Aviation to Launch Osaka - Hong Kong Flights   Peach Aviation, one of Japan’s first dedicated low cost carriers, has chosen Hong Kong as its second international destination after Seoul.   Starting from 2 July 2012, Peach Aviation will launch daily direct flights between Hong Kong and Osaka (Kansai), with Airbus A320-200 providing 180 seats.   Flight MM068, flying to Osaka, departs Hong Kong at 00:50; while flight MM067, returning to Hong Kong, departs Osaka at 21:10.   Airfares are available from HK$888, inclusive of fuel surcharge. Terms and conditions apply.   Source: Asia Travel Tips

Agora Place Asakusa Grand Opening July 27

Jun 15 (Fri ), 2012

Agora Place Asakusa Grand Opening July 27   The Agora Place Asakusa, located at 2-2-9, Kotobuki Taito-ku, Tokyo, is scheduled for their grand opening on July 27, 2012.     The 146-room Agora Place Asakusa will offer guests a personalised-stay concept - “style MY stay” - which allows hotel guests to shop and style their guestrooms with their preferred range of stylish amenities and stationeries including Agora’s own brand throughout their stay.   “We want our guests to feel at home when they stay at our hotel. Hence, we developed this “style MY stay” concept which we believe will set a new trend for a personalized staying experience. The guestrooms are stylishly minimalist in design and amenities are kept simple so guests can choose to furnish their rooms during their stay with us with a variety of chic goods that on sale at the Lobby Shop located in the ground floor of the hotel,” said Manager Masaru Shirakawa.   The brand new Agora Place Asakusa also boasts pet-friendly accommodation called “Precious Room”, which is specially designed to cater for guests who travel with their pets.   Agora Place Asakusa is located just off from "Tawaramachi" station of Ginza Metro Line, the entrance of Asakusa. It is the best location for visiting the leisure spot of hot Tokyo. Hotel guests can take Tokyo Metro Ginza Line directly to the trendy and popular shopping and fashion areas such as Ginza, Akasaka, Omotesando (Harajuku) and Shibuya station.   Source: Asia Travel Tips

KEEN Garage Harajuku Opens June 15

Jun 14 (Thu ), 2012

 KEEN Garage Harajuku Opens June 15 in Tokyo KEEN Footwear opens their flagship store in Japan on June 15, 2012. The oregon manufacturer of footwear, bags and socks will be bringing their "Hybrid Life" mantra to the streets of Harajuku.    Address 150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前 6-14-2 6-14-2, Jinguu-mae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001 Japan Tel: 03-5466-7350 Web: www.keen-japan.com  (Japan) / www.keenfootwear.com (International) KEEN Garage Harajuku Page on OJ Onlne: www.outdoorjapan.com/travel/gear_details/52