Travel Weeklys Asia-Pacific E-letter: March 7, 2005

CLIPPER CRUISES introduced a World War II South Pacific Campaign itinerary that explores naval battlegrounds, including Guadalcanal; Plum Pudding, where John F. Kennedys PT 109 was sunk; Vella Lavella, home of the Marine Corps Black Sheep Squadron; and the Japanese strongholds on Bougainville. The 16-day itinerary departs March 28 and is priced from $6,430 per person, double, not including air. Clipper also is offering a 13-day cruise aboard the Clipper Odyssey to Vietnam. The trip includes visits to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Halong Bay and coastal villages. The cruise departs Sept. 2 and Sept. 12. The price starts at $4,840 per person double, not including air. For more information, see www.clippercruise.com, call (800) 325-0010 or e-mail [email protected].

THE LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL, a hotel under construction in the Landmark commercial complex in Hong Kong, is likely to open midyear, which is ahead of schedule, according to its general manager, Susanne Hatje. A sister to the 40-year-old flagship Mandarin Oriental, which is also in Hong Kong, the Landmark Mandarin will have 113 rooms with the largest average room size in Hong Kong, according to its owners. For more information, see www.mandarinoriental.com; for reservations, e-mail [email protected].

THE NORTHERN TERRITORY OF AUSTRALIA will hold its Aboriginal Garma Festival Aug. 5 to 8, 2005. The festival is the annual celebration of the culture of the Yolngu, the indigenous people of northeast Arnhem Land. The event will include craft workshops, interpretive walks, bush food and medicine, spear making, storytelling, dance, song and art. It will take place on a plateau at Gulkula overlooking the Gulf of Carpenteria. Details about attending the festival can be found at www.garma.telstra.com. For more information on the Northern Territory, visit www.insidetheoutback.com.

CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES took delivery on an Airbus A330 that features what the company characterizes as cocoon-style flatbed seats. The aircraft has 24 Minipod Premium Business Class seats that turn into beds with privacy shells. The seats also feature adjustable leg rests and foot rests, telephone and video control units with 10.4-inch screens, AC power plugs for electrical devices, 58-inch pitches and directional reading lights.

THE AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS reported 5.2 million international visitor arrivals during 2004, which was an increase of 11% over the previous year and the best on record. Visitors from the U.S. increased 3% from 2003 to 433,300.

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