Tokyo (TAN): Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) has announced that it will carry out test runs of the new N700S Shinkansen at speeds of up to 360kmph this year, ahead of its scheduled commercial running in fiscal 2020.
Presently, the fastest Shinkanshen – Nozomi using N700 equipment – reaches speeds of 300kmph. The new train, all set to debut on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, will transport passengers faster.
Shin Kaneko, president, JR Central, said, “We aim to carry out test runs at 360 kph this year so that we can demonstrate safety when we export the train to such markets as the United States and Taiwan.”
Tashkent (NITN): Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has announced that tourists from 45 countries will be able to visit Uzbekistan visa free, effective from February 1, 2019.
This is the latest in a series of reforms designed to stimulate the Central Asian country’s tourism development, as Mirziyoyev identified tourism and foreign investment as the two priorities for his term when he came to power in December 2016.
Initiatives including the introduction of e-visas in June 2018 have already resulted in an increase in foreign tourist numbers from 2.6 million in 2017 to 5.3 million in 2018. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs anticipates significant further growth in 2019.
National carrier Uzbekistan Airways will take delivery of two new Airbus A320neos and three new Boeing 787 Dreamliners in spring 2019, increasing its capacity on long haul international routes and enabling it to add new destinations. The airline already provides direct flights between London Heathrow and Tashkent, and expects to add a second UK airport to its network this summer.
From February 1, 2019, the following countries will be able to enter Uzbekistan visa free for up to 30 days:
Andorra, Canada, Iceland, Mongolia, San Marino, Argentina, Chile, Ireland, Montenegro, Serbia, Australia, Croatia, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Latvia, New Zealand, Slovakia, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Norway, Spain, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Brazil, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland, Brunei Darussalam, Greece, Malta, Republic of Cyprus, United Kingdom Bulgaria Hungary Monaco Romania, and Vatican City.
Nationals of France, Israel, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Turkey were granted visa free access in 2018. Germans will have visa free access from January 15, 2019.
President Mirziyoyev’s 5 January decrees also stated that:
- The existing e-visa scheme will be extended to cover the nationals of 76 countries, and will allow for double and multiple entries;
- New visa categories will be created for pilgrims, students, academics, and for medical tourism, and will be available within one month;
- Hotels must offer accommodation “regardless of the place of residence, citizenship, kinship and marital relations of individuals, as well as other factors that restrict the right to privacy.” This removes restrictions on unmarried couples;
- A list of prohibited sites (i.e. those of security concern) will be published on or before February 1, and clearly marked with signs. Tourists may photograph and film all unmarked sites without restriction.
December 22 (TravelAndy): Etihad Airways will introduce the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its scheduled services from Abu Dhabi to Barcelona, effective from Feb 22, 2019, replacing the Airbus A330-200 currently operating the recently launched route.
The deployment of the larger 787 Dreamliner to Barcelona has been timed to coincide with the Mobile World Conference taking place in the city from 25-28 February, during which Etihad Airways will provide daily flights. The airline will increase frequency to a permanent daily operation from 31 March.
The service will feature Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy cabins, configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats – a capacity increase of six seats in Business and 31 in Economy in each direction, and an increase in belly-hold cargo capacity of four tonnes.
December 19 (NITN): The tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) have named Italy the most popular or “hot” destination for travellers in 2019, a recent survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) revealed.
The top 10 “hot” destinations for the coming year also include Iceland, which ranked second, followed by Japan, Vietnam, Australia, France, Spain, Colombia, Cambodia and Portugal.
USTOA members also identified their top 10 off-the-beaten path or emerging destinations that they see gaining popularity in 2019: Iceland ranked first, Cambodia ranked second, followed by Croatia, Colombia, Vietnam, Portugal, Bhutan, Bolivia, Myanmar, and Ethiopia.
October 14 (TravelAndy): The Toyosu fish market, which replaces the historic Tsukiji fish market in Japan’s capital city, opened its doors for the first time to the public on Saturday.
Around 40,000 people visited the market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world, on the opening day, said reports.
The visitors observed the sales floors for vegetables, fruits and fish through glass walls. They also were able to enjoy seafood at the restaurants, numbering around 100, at the facility. Many of these restaurants had been shifted here from the Tsukiji market, which closed on October 6 after 83 years. Continue reading World’s largest seafood market opens for public
September 7 (TravelAndy): Japan is looking to strengthen tourism ties with Goa.
Consul-general of Japan Ryoji Noda met Goa tourism director Menino D’souza on Thursday to discuss tourism development initiatives, reports said.
Around 250 Japanese nationals visit Goa every year.
Increasing the number of tourists from Goa to Japan was also discussed. Continue reading Japan looks to develop stronger tourism ties with Goa
September 3 (TravelAndy): Japan is setting up an online system to accept tourist visa applications starting with tour groups from China, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.
Japan plans to start the process in 2020 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
According to the report, once the system is in place, Chinese travel agencies or their representatives would be able to submit tourist information online. Continue reading Japan tourist visa process to become online
July 8 (TravelAndy): The eagerly anticipated opening of V&A Dundee was among the experiences highlighted to travel trade and airline contacts during a visit to Japan by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.
The renowned attraction, which will open on Dundee’s waterfront in September, marks a unique opportunity to position Scotland as a place to live and work, study, invest and visit to Japanese visitors, the Cabinet Secretary has said.
The stunning structure, designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma – who also designed the 2020 Olympic Stadium in Tokyo – is expected to attract 350,000 visitors each year. It is the first V&A museum to be created outside of London and has become a valuable addition of Scotland’s cultural offering. Continue reading V&A Dundee opening strengthens Japan & Scotland links
June 3 (TravelAndy): Japan has consolidated its spot at the top of the Henley Passport Index, now offering its citizens visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a record total of 189 destinations. Following closely behind Japan are Singapore and Germany in joint 2nd place, with 188 destinations accessible without a prior visa. 3rd place is shared by six countries: one Asian (South Korea) and the rest European (Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden).
India is ranked 76th with visa-free access to 59 countries.
While Schengen Area countries have traditionally topped the index as a result of their open access to Europe, developed Asian nations have been able to secure equally high scores in recent years thanks to their strong international trade and diplomatic relations. With close to 40 visa-waiver agreements signed by governments since the start of the year, passport-holders around the world go into the summer season with greater collective access than ever before. Continue reading Japan passport strongest, India ranks 76th
October 30 (TravelAndy): Over 300 students in year 11 at Fukuoka Kaho High School in Japan have visited Perth over the last few weeks.
This is the first time the school has sent students to Australia.
They visited local attractions, schools and universities.
This is a newly developed program aimed at encouraging foreign students to tertiary study in Perth. Continue reading Japanese students visit Perth
September 16 (TravelAndy): In what is good news to all Japanese comic fans, Japan is all set to use the popularity of their comic, Anime and Manga to promote tourism, this winter.
A total of 88 places are being shortlisted as designated animation spots, across the country. Everyday places like train stations, school campuses, rural shrines and other spots will be developed to depict popular Manga and Anime characters.
Spots where these animation works took place along with animation museums and the houses of Manga and Anime artistes, will be included in the list. Continue reading Japan calling for comic lovers
August 5 (TravelAndy): Hong Kong Airlines will operate direct flights to Yonago, in Tottori Prefecture of Japan, from Hong Kong, from September 14.
The twice-a-week flight will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing from Hon Kong at 12.05 and reaching Yonago at 16.10. The return flight will leave Yonago at 17.10 and reach Hong Kong at 19.55.
“Our Yonago route will open up more options to our passengers in West Honshu. We have great confidence in this route and we hope to bring travellers from around the world to this scenic and cultural Prefecture,” Li Dianchun, chief commercial officer, Hong Kong Airlines, said in an official statement.
Continue reading New Hong Kong-Yonago flight from Sep 14