Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: Nov. 22, 2004

RITZ TOURS added Vietnam to its product line for 2005. The company is offering Vietnam through a trio of Super Value Extensions, or trips that can be added to the end of all Ritz itineraries in 2005 (except the Japan Experience program). The three Vietnam itineraries are: a three-night Hanoi Super Value Extension, including roundtrip air from Hong Kong or Bangkok, for $550 per person, double; a three-night Ho Chi Minh Super Value Extension, including roundtrip air from Hong Kong or Bangkok, for $550 per person, double; and the five-night Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi package, including roundtrip air from Hong Kong or Bangkok, starting at $800 per person, double. All Vietnam Super Value Extensions are valid from March 1 to Nov. 30. For information or reservations, call (800) 900-2446.

CARLSON HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC said it plans to "aggressively increase" the number of hotels in Asia across its five brands, with its luxury brand, Regent International Hotels, leading the way. Carlson manages 43 hotels across 11 countries in the region. There's an additional 15 hotel-management agreements in place; all will take effect by early 2006. In China alone, Carlson has five hotels, a number that is expected to double within the next 12 to 18 months, the company said.

THE MOORINGS, the yacht charter company, returned to New Zealand earlier this month. The company signed a long-term franchise agreement with Shane Walker to operate two Moorings locations in New Zealand. The Moorings said it is now the only major charter company to operate in New Zealand and Tonga. Shane Walker has been in the charter business in New Zealand since 1991 and added Tonga in 1996. For information or reservations, call (800) 535-7289 or visit www.moorings.com.

UNITED AIRLINES said it will move up by more than two months the launch of daily, nonstop service between San Francisco and Nagoya, Japan, and double the service between Los Angeles and Tokyo. Service to the new Central Japan Airport near Nagoya will now begin March 26, 2005, rather than the original start date of June 1, 2005. In addition, United is also launching a second daily service between Los Angeles and Narita Airport (serving Tokyo), effective June 7.

VIRGIN BLUE unveiled its "Blue Check" self-service kiosks at Brisbane (Australia) Airport, allowing passengers to check themselves in, choose a seat and print a boarding pass and itinerary. The Blue Check kiosks will be tested during a three-month pilot stage before they are rolled out across the airline's network. Virgin Blue said it expects to install kiosks in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne airports next year. Initially, Blue Check will be available to passengers with carry-on bags only. The airline plans to expand the service to all passengers by the end of first-quarter 2005.

CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES and AIR FRANCE signed a frequent-flyer pact, allowing members of the airlines' loyalty programs to earn and burn points on both carriers.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI