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Chubu International Airport opens
17 February 2005
Chubu International Airport, Japan's third major international gateway, has opened near Nagoya. Also known as Centrair, the 24-hour airport is on an artificial island 30 minutes south from the center of town and opens on time to serve Expo 2005, kicking off in March. The new airport replaces the existing Nagoya airport and also takes over its IATA code NGO.
Tropical cyclone strikes Cook Islands
6 February 2005
Cook Islands emergency center officials expressed relief today that damage from Tropical Cylone Meena, a category 5 storm, was less severe than anticipated after the eye of the storm bypassed the main island of Rarotonga. Over the previous 2 days, as the storm made its way through the island group, flights to and from both Rarotonga and the outlying islands had been suspended, planes put under cover or flown out of the area and tourist resorts evacuated in the face of forecasts of 270 km/h wind gusts and 10 metre storm surges. Although flights resumed only 15 hours after the storm passed to the east, there was significant local flooding caused by 15 m high waves. Iconic store Trader Jacks was inundated by the sea as were other parts of Avarua town and northern Rarotonga coast. Although the cleanup is expected to take several weeks, damage was nowhere near as severe as that caused by Cyclone Heta to Niue in January 2004.
State of emergency declared in Nepal
On Feb 1st 2005, King Gyanendra of Nepal dismissed the government and declared a state of emergency. Kathmandu airport is open and internet and phone lines are operating as usual (after a temporary suspension). There has been no violence in the capital, but the future remains uncertain. Foreign tourists are not a target in this internal dispute, and have continuously been welcomed by all sides. However, the situation could deteriorate, and so it is recommended to check news reports and government travel advisories before traveling to the kingdom. If you do decide to travel in Nepal and wish to avoid possible trouble spots, the Everest (Khumbu) region is no doubt the place least likely to be effected.
Egypt announces price rises for tourist entry to monuments
21 January 2005
Reports from Egypt reveal that the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has raised all ticket prices for tourist admission to the country's vast array of ancient and medieval monuments. Above-inflation price hikes, effective immediately, range between 40% to 175%, with the average increase standing around 75% - the largest increase was applied to the Valley of the Kings, with tickets allowing entry to three tombs each leaping from LE (Egyptian Pounds) 20 to LE 55 (175%).
The list below (not exhaustive) displays both the previous prices and the increased prices for Egypt's primary monuments and sites, arranged from north to south:
Dendera (12) 20
Esna (8) 15
Edfu (20) 35
Kom Ombo (10) 20
Abu Simbel (30) 50
Turkey introduces new currency
1 January 2005
Turkey has introduced the New Turkish lira [code TRY]  as a replacement currency for the old Turkish lira - the new currency is marked YTL (Yeni Türk Lirası) is equivalent to 1 million of the old, allowing quoted prices to be slashed by six zeros "x,000,000" or six decimal places. The hugely inflated figures were the result of escalating inflation in the Turkish economy during the 1980s and 1990s, and were the basis for any number of tourist scams - not least the handing back of short change, owing to tourists' carelessness and / or confusion over the zeros. The old currency will be valid until the end of the year (2005), allowing frequent travellers opportunity to exchange old notes.
Conversion rates on 1 January 2005:
Giza Pyramid of Khafre re-opens to the public
1 January 2005
As of the New Year, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has announced that the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren), the second largest pyramid on the Giza plateau, has now re-opened to the public on a permanent basis after nearly two years of renovation and conservation. Under the system of rotation, the smallest Giza pyramid, that of Menkaure, will now close to the public for a similar program of cleaning and conservation.
Earthquake and tsunami devastates south-east and south Asia
28 December 2004
Travellers are now being warned to revise their travel plans to the affected areas, not merely on account of the devastation and danger of aftershocks, but also on account of threat of disease from contaminated water and unrecovered bodies.
27 December 2004
Although hampered by distance, isolation and poor communications, reports are coming in that tell of potentially hundreds (if not thousands) of tourist deaths in the areas, alongside the horrific toll the waves have taken on local inhabitants.
26 December 2004
An extremely powerful, undersea earthquake of magnitude 9.0  off the north coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra created a devastating tsunami (tidal wave) that has wrought devastation along the coasts of countries neighbouring the north Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal - these include Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives.