Japan is looking to implement a security pre-clearance program at airports to cut down on wait times. The program would allow enrolled foreign travelers to complete the majority of the screening process at their airport of origin, including logging fingerprints and photos. Then, when they arrive in Japan, they’d pass through a special lane and complete a briefer screening before leaving the airport.
Japan is looking to implement the program in South Korea and Taiwan before expanding to other countries. Government officials stated a goal of starting the program in 2017.
The goal would be to reduce congestion at Japanese airports just as the country is experiencing a boom in tourism. Japan saw nearly 20 million foreign travelers in 2015 and is expecting some 40 million by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics. The government’s goal with the program is to slash wait times for foreign travelers to a maximum of 20 minutes, an ambitious proposal considering travelers at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport have seen waits up to 90 minutes.
Japan has taken other steps recently to reduce wait times, including speeding up the process for frequent business travelers by allowing them to use automated immigration gates. Airports have also installed carts to take travelers’ photos while they wait in line.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.
One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned ahead of the property’s grand re-opening in January.