Context Travel: Japan for Families

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Japan for Families

One of our favorite tour guides Context Travel offers excellent day trips in Japan – a single day to explore the marvelous kaleidoscope that is Tokyo.

There’s also an awesome 5-day itinerary of the highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Arashiyama — curated especially for Families.


Or pick and choose your tours for Japan – a la carte style!

Context Travel offers cultural and historical tours and activities led by deep subject-matter experts in over 50 cities around the world. It’s an in-depth, thematic way to explore the city, get to know its intimate nooks and crannies.

Japan for Families: 5-day itinerary

This is an in-depth introduction to Japan’s major hubs, as much as you can reasonably see in five days. It’s a comfortable step back in time that’s perfect for curious families. You’ll start in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, then grab the bullet train to the old capital of Kyoto, keeper of Japan’s centuries-old heritage. On the outskirts of Kyoto lie the beautiful temples and landscapes of Arashiyama.

  • Pricing from: $2,900 for 5 private tours led by an expert guide*
  • Includes hotel meet up for each tour
  • Does not include accommodation or train to Kyoto


Day 1: Tokyo in a Day

  • Akihabara electric city
  • Omotesando and Harajuku hip shops and quirky fashion
  • Meiji-jingu & Shinto


Day 2: Evening: Kyoto Geisha Tour: Gion at Twilight

  • Travel to Kyoto by train
  • Explore the historic district of Gion


Day 3: Introduction to Kyoto: Temples and Shrines

  • Kyoto’s temples and shrines


Day 4: Kyoto for Families: World of the Warriors

  • Samurai culture, games and activities for kids
  • Nijo Castle
  • Japanese gardens


Day 5: Arashiyama Tour

  • Travel back in time to the Heian period in Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto
  • The Heian period (794 to 1185 c.e.) is analogous to the ancient Greek and Roman periods for Europeans. Many of Japan’s foundational beliefs, arts and traditions were developed during this period. 

Ask your Travel Agent for more tours led by expert travel guides around the globe. 

Photos courtesy of Context Travel. 

READ MORE About Context Travel: 

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Stockholm with Context Travel

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Travel News: Cambodia bans food inside Angkor Wat

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Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken To Be Transformed Into Premium Expedition Ship

Seatrade reports Finnmarkens new Science Center will be packed with the latest technology and high-tech gadgets. After the most extensive upgrade in Hurtigruten’s 125-year history, Finnmarken will reemerge as a premium expedition cruise ship. From 2021, the fully refurbished Finnmarken will explore handpicked destinations along the rugged Norwegian coastline on year-round expedition cruises. Already from 2020, travelers on Hurtigruten’s original Norwegian coastal voyage will get the opportunity to experience a new Finnmarken. Low emission engines, shore power and battery pack capability. ‘We will transform her into a full-fledged premium expedition cruise ship, with all the comforts, facilities and expertise you need for creating a perfect adventure,’ Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. The keel-to-mast upgrade will bring several new features. Some of the highlights include substantially upgraded, low-emission engines, complying with all known and upcoming regulations (Tier III), installation of shore power connectivity and preparation for future battery pack installation. All cabins and suites will be fully refurbished. Using natural Scandinavian materials such as granite, oak, birch and wool, this will create a relaxed and stylish look and feel, and add to the premium on-board experience. On Deck 8 aft, in the current gym and sauna area, five roomy suites with large panoramic windows will be added. Four new restaurants will be installed. These include Hurtigruten’s new expedition cruise main restaurant, Aune. Social and and informal, with the use of natural elements in design and interiors, Restaurant Aune will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring Scandinavian dishes. Restaurant Lindstrøm, a specialty restaurant named after the favorite chef of the Norwegian polar heroes, will provide fine dining with strong roots in traditional Norwegian cooking that are contrasted with modern cuisine. The informal eatery Fredheim, named after a legendary 1920s hunting station in Svalbard that sheltered adventurers from around the world, will be added on Deck 7. In addition, Deck 8 will gain a new grill venue. In other changes, Hurtigruten’s signature Science Center will be found on Deck 4. Packed with the latest technology and high-tech gadgets such as touch screens, science equipment and other interactive features, this edutainment area will also be the on-board headquarters of the ship’s expedition team. A new, larger wellness area will be added on Deck 7, and includes a lounge, treatment rooms, gym and panoramic sauna. The outdoor pool area will be fully refurbished, the shop expanded, and Finnmarken’s car deck will be replaced by a launching area for exploration boats and other expedition equipment. The ship’s extensive art collection will be preserved during the refurbishment, which will take place in the first quarter of 2020.

Cambodia Bans Food Inside Angkor Complex

Travelwirenews reports t he Apsara Authority is trying to reduce littering at the World Heritage site in Siem Reap province of Cambodia. The Cambodian tourism authority has banned visitors from eating food in the World Heritage temple complex in Siem Reap. Hang Pov, Apsara Authority director, said in a letter dated Thursday that the authority wished to remind relevant parties that the Angkor area is a World Heritage Site with many famous temples, especially Angkor Wat, and that eating food in the complex is now banned. “In order to preserve the precious Khmer legacy and to maintain public order and good sanitation, we ban all food, especially packed meals brought in during sunrise or sunset visits, in the temple complex,” the Khmer Times on Monday quoted him as saying. He added that tour operators, tourist associations as well as guides have to advice their guests not eat meals in the temple complex. Nuon Mony, the Siem Reap provincial environment department director, on Sunday said that the ban will help to keep the Angkor site environment clean. “Leftover food and discarded packages litter the temple complex and it affects the environment at Angkor,” he said. “The authority is taking action as part of efforts to protect the environment at the Angkor complex and keep its surroundings clean.” Mony added that tourists should find appropriate places to eat instead of in the complex. Sou Malin, a Siem Reap city resident, on Sunday said that residents support the ban. “Some people do not clean up after they eat and they litter the area, which affects the environment,” she said. In October 2017, Apsara Authority banned food vendors from setting up stalls in front of Angkor Wat. The Angkor Archaeological Park, which includes the famed Unesco-listed Angkor temples, generated US$116.6 million in income from entry tickets last year, an 8% increase compared with the year before.

The World’s Longest-Running Airlines

CNN reports KLM: The flag carrier airline of the Netherlands turns 100 in October this year, making it the oldest airline still in operation. October 2019 will mark the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the “royal” title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded. The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry. A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today. Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form. Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation:

  1. KLM turns 100 this year, making it the oldest airline still in operation.

  2. Avianca the national airline of Colombia since 1919.

  3. Qantas Year of foundation: 1920. Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million. Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.” Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

  4. Aeroflot; Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era. Year of foundation: 1923. First flight: July 1923. Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million.

  5. Czech Airlines (CSA) Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic. Year of foundation: 1923. First flight: October 1923 Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million.

  6. Finnair; The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair. Year of foundation: 1923. First flight: March 1924. Passengers transported in 2017: 13.2 million.

  7. Delta Air Lines; Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US. Year of foundation: 1924. Passengers transported in 2018: 192.5 million. Delta has grown from a small crop-dusting operation in America’s Deep South to the largest airline in the world by some measures.

  8. Tajik Air (until January 2019). Year of foundation: 1924. Passengers transported in 2017: 356,000.

  9. Air Serbia; Year of foundation: 1927. Passengers transported in 2017: 2.62 million. 10. Iberia; Year of foundation: 1927. First flight: December 1927. Passengers transported in 2017: 54.9 million


Waikiki Unveils New Measures To Reduce Crime

Travelmole reports that Waikiki has been plagued by a spike in petty crime, and is fighting back. It announced a new crime-fighting plan to ensure ‘visitors always feel comfortable,’ said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. The wide-ranging plan will include the installation of dozens of new surveillance cameras which will be paid for by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Bike patrols will be increased and it will enforce a late night curfew for unaccompanied children under the age of 16. Waikiki may also impose a moratorium on late-night cabaret liquor licenses. It will also remove benches and walls where ‘bad elements’ are known to congregate at night. There has been a spate of robberies where visiting tourists seem to have been targeted close to hotels. “Waikiki is one of the safest visitor destinations in the entire world, and we want to make sure our visitors always feel comfortable in this very special place,” Caldwell said.

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Reading List: Peru

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It’s time for a reading list! We haven’t had one of those in a while, but let’s take a look this week at Books to Read before you travel to Peru!

Macchi Picchu has been a popular destination for decades, attracting some of the top tour operators and adventure enthusiasts, like G Adventures and more. Read more about operators who travel in Peru:

The 7 Best Countries for History Buffs

Day Trips from Lima, Peru

Peru Feature: Machu Picchu

Peru Feature: The Mountain City of Cuzco


Lost City of the Incas, The Story of Machu Picchu and its Builders, by Hiram Bingham. 

This classic account is a gripping story of exploration, archaeology and natural history — and still an outstanding overview of the site itself. With original expedition photographs. Originally published in 1952, the book is still an excellent account, not only of the expedition but also of the site itself.


Death in the Andes, by Mario Vargas Llosa. 

The first man of the Peruvian literature, Mario Vargas Llosa wrote dozens of stories set in Peru. In his novels, he comments on the difficult Peruvian reality, complicated history and the country’s quirks. Death in the Andes is a gripping page-turner that brings the readers back to the times the 1980s. 

The Heights of Macchu Picchu, by Pablo Neruda. 

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda composed this long-form poem after visiting the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. With complex, evocative imagery and a strong sense of spirituality throughout, this is one of Neruda’s best and most well-known poems.

The Incas, People of the Sun, by Carmen Bernard.

This jewel of a book features hundreds of archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers. It’s a guide to the ancient monuments, daily life of the Incas, and history of exploration.


Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams. 

You can’t find any list on Peru-related reading without several stories about Machu Picchu and the Inca heritage. Turn Right at Machu Picchu is one of the more popular books. Mark Adams did a remarkable job, first researching thoroughly the Inca history, and then tracing the steps of Hiram Bingham, the legendary discoverer of Machu Picchu.

Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru, by Tahir Shah. 

Obsessed with a Spanish monk’s report of Incas who could “fly like birds,” Tahir Shah set out on a journey across Peru in search of these titular “birdmen.” The result of his quest is this wonderfully weird travelogue, tracing his journey through jungle, mountain and desert. This book is perfect for travelers with an appreciation for mysticism and the surreal.

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5 Instagrammers that will make you want to pack your bags and head to the Caribbean

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  1. @goatcurrygallery is an adorable account of everyday life and sunshine in Jamaica.

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These are the handicrafts which are slowly dying out. These are techniques which aren’t being passed down, aren’t being learnt by new generations and aren’t being continued… This is the type of work that needs to be revived and supported. Big up yourself Bingy for creating this stunning piece of artwork! Let’s help him continue ✊🏾🙌🏾. . . Original, calabash Bingy Visor. DM me if you want one. . . Model @anash_d_deejay . . #supportlocal #promotelocal #entrepreneur #jamaicanartisans #localcrafts #bingyhats #bingyvisor #bingycollection #socialenterprise #uplift #createyourownbusiness #goatcurrytv, #goatcurrybites, #australianjamaican #cultureandidentity #goatcurrygallery

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2. Delicious seascapes of Trinidad & Tobago from @Agi_1908.

3. Unique shots from the world above from @marcshanghie.

4. Jaw-dropping oceans from the @bigbluecollective.

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And so it has begun. The beginning of the year marks winter’s epic annual migration of the return of the North Atlantic Humpback Whales to the tropical seas around the #turksandcaicos and the Dominican Republic to mate, calve and give birth. We’ve already seen them on our trips, heard them underwater and as is usually the case, we’ve also swam with them. Our focus over the next few weeks is all about interactions in the Big Blue while showcasing the best these islands have to offer. Join us and stay tuned to our encounters. Image by Big Blue Collective photographer @philipshearer #bigbluecollective #escapetheordinary #bewater #thesdventurestartshere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #surroundmewithwater #gnarbox #madeofocean #saltnomads #aquatech #humpbackwhale #bg_underwater #cnntravel #tlpicks #snorkeling #freediving #whales #underwater #uwphoto #uwphotography #roam247

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5. Get out and adventure in Turks & Caicos with @waketowaketc.

What are you waiting for! Let’s hit the beach! Spring break!


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Travel News: More cruise lines doing away with plastic bottles

More cruise lines doing away with plastic bottles

Beginning in spring 2019, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will serve water in reusable glass bottles, replacing traditional plastic water bottles across the fleet. The cruise line has set a goal to eliminate approximately 2 million plastic water bottles annually. Passengers will be able to choose from Vero-branded still or sparkling water, which uses a proprietary five-stage nanofiltration process to reduce impurities, chemicals and imperfections. An onboard purification and filling system will enable the line to purify, chill and serve Vero water on all its ships Regent Seven Seas’ move toward Vero water is part of a Sail & Sustain environmental program helmed by its parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. The latest announcement comes only two weeks after Regent Seven Seas’ sister brand, Oceania, also revealed it would replace plastic bottles with Vero water. Last year, all three lines under the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. umbrella — including Norwegian Cruise Line — eliminated plastic straws from their ships.

Malta continues to climb in popularity

Statistics released by Malta’s National Statistics Office for inbound tourism for 2018 show that Malta’s popularity in the North American market is still rising. The Hon. Konrad Mizzi, Minister of Tourism for Malta, noted that the US was one of the fastest growing tourism markets for Malta, recording a dramatic increase of 31.9% from 2017 to 2018, with a total of 47,170 Americans visitors. The increase from Canada in 2018 was 6.6% (15,015 Canadians) bringing the total arrivals in 2018 from North America to a record-breaking 62,185. This archipelago in the Mediterranean recorded an overall 2.6 million visitors (+14.3% between 2017 and 2018), bringing a record number of tourists to Malta from around the world.

First Italian beach to go non-smoking

The Venetian seaside resort of Bibione will be the first Italian beach to go completely smoke-free, in a mission to safeguard the environment from discarded cigarette ends and protect visitors from secondhand smoke. The decision comes after eight years of trials, as part of the Breathe the Sea Air project, which saw an initial smoking ban between the first row of umbrellas to thewater’s edge. New measures, to be imposed by the end of May, will include designated smoking areas 300 to 400 meters away from the sea, at the edge of the beach. Details regarding fines and whether e-cigarettes are to be permitted will be published in May. The 8km stretch of beach received 5,317,064 visitors in 2017, making it the fourth most visited beach in the country, after Rimini, Cavallino-Treporti and Jesolo.

Non-binary gender options soon to be available when buying airline tickets

US airline passengers will soon be able to select a gender option which is not “male” or “female” when purchasing tickets. Major American airlines have said they will soon change their ticketing process to include choices such as “undisclosed” or “unspecified”. There could also be the optional title of “Mx”. American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue said they are in the process of updating their booking tools and plan to add a binary option to the gender menu on their sites. They said the change will be made in the next few weeks. The Transportation Security Administration said passengers should use the name, gender and birth date on their government-issued ID. The airlines said they are making the change to be more inclusive in dealing with a diverse range of customers. “It’s a significant step forward for non-binary individuals, so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification,” Beck Bailey, of the Human Rights Campaign, said.

Therapy dogs added at Toronto Pearson airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport and the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program are partnering to bring 15 therapy dog teams to YYZ. As part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team Volunteer Program, SJA Therapy Dog teams will roam Terminals 1 and 3 to bring enjoyment and help alleviate the anxiety that some passengers experience while traveling. Engaging with a therapy dog has been known to have a positive effect in helping to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm. Along with their handlers wearing the distinctive blue Toronto Pearson Welcome Team vests or jackets, SJA therapy dogs Bella, Cheyenne, Daisey, Ghost, Hunter, Kahlua, Luna, Pumpkin, Ringo Starr, Shep, Snickers, Sofia, and Zorie will roam Terminals 1 and 3 on a flexible, weekly rotation and can be easily spotted by their official red and white SJA Therapy Dog bandanas. Passengers are welcome to approach the dogs and pet them to help them relax while at the airport.

Think of lovely Wales for cruising!

Wales may not immediately spring to mind as a cruise destination, but in 2018 alone the country welcomed more than 100 ships. That means more than 51,000 cruise passengers from the USA, Canada, France and Germany sailed to Wales last year. It is a significant upturn on 2017’s figures which show a year on year increase of 15%. The Welsh Government say they want to continue this growth for 2019. They’ve been working with Cruise Wales and local authorities and ports on a marketing program for Wales. The country has attracted new lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Aida, Regent Seven Seas and Phoenix Reissen and work is ongoing to attract further cruise lines as well as retain the existing ones. The Welsh Government has invested in a pontoon in the Fishguard port, allowing larger cruise vessels to call. There has already been an increase in passenger numbers for 2019 of 50% including the arrival of the Aidabella cruise ship, with 2,500 cruise passengers on board. This will be the largest ship to call in Fishguard so far. Cruise & Maritime Voyages are set to continue offering turnaround cruises in 2019, following the second successful year of sailing out of Cardiff where 750 passengers will board and disembark the Marco Polo cruise vessel. The Marco Polo cruise ship will be setting sail from Cardiff to four locations this summer including to Iceland.

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SALE: Hurtigruten in Antarctica

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Hope you all had a lovely weekend! This week, we’re happy to announce a new SALE that’s come our way via Hurtigruten.

Valentine’s Day SALE-ing

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With awe-inspiring icebergs and scores of penguins and whales, travel to Antarctica is always one for the bucket lists! But we know that it can also be a big investment, which is why we were thrilled to hear about this new, incredible offer from Hurtigruten for you and a plus one — in the spirit of Valentine’s.

Choose 1 of 2 sailings departing Nov/Dec 2019 and save 50% off the second guest! Hurry because this only applies to new bookings made by Feb 25! 


OPTION 1: Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands

  • Dept Nov 27, 2019
  • Aboard the MS Roald Amundsen
  • 18 Days
  • Discover the glaciers, wilderness, and wildlife of the Chilean fjords
  • Travel to the end of the world; experience the unique wildlife and scenery of Antarctica and the Falklands
  • High-tech Science Centre and lectures on popular topics on board
  • Landings and excursions with a high-class Expedition team


OPTION 2: Christmas on the White Continent

  • Dept December 13, 2019
  • Board the MS Midnatol
  • 17 Days
  • Experience glaciers, nature, and wildlife
  • Come ashore in Antarctica and meet penguins up close
  • A Christmas celebration in the land of ice and snow
  • Landings and excursions with our expert Expedition team

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Hurtigruten: Exclusive Norway Voyage with NASA Astronaut Dr. Thagard

Hurtigruten: Voyage to Antarctica

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Travel News: Hawaiian Airlines Embraces ‘Olelo Hawai’i with New Language Certification

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Hawaiian Airlines Embraces ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i With New Language Certification

He ‘ōlelo Hawai’i anei ‘oe? (Are you a Hawaiian language speaker?) Hawaiian Airlines has marked an important cultural milestone as Hawai’i’s airline by establishing ōlelo Hawai’i (Hawaiian language) certification program for employees. Launched in time to celebrate ‘ōlelo Hawai’i Month, the certification, which is available at no cost to any of Hawaiian’s 7,200-plus employees, broadens the carrier’s commitment to honor and perpetuate Hawai’i’s rich culture throughout its operations. “Adding ‘ōlelo Hawai’i as a recognized language was a natural move for Hawaiian since the majority of our ‘ohana was either born or raised on our islands,” said Jim Lynde, senior vice president of human resources at Hawaiian Airlines. “We believe the Hawaiian language certification will inspire and empower even more team members to share ‘ōlelo Hawai’i with our guests.” The airline developed the certification program in consultation with numerous Hawaiian language experts, including Dr. Larry Kimura, who is considered the grandfather of Hawaiian language revitalization, and Dr. Leilani Basham, a professor at the University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu who is renowned for perpetuating Hawaiian culture in academia.


EU And UK Reach Post-Brexit Visa-Free Travel Agreement

Travelwire news reports the endless debate regarding the forthcoming Brexit rules between Europe and the Unite Kingdom seems to have come to a final agreement that will allow UK citizens visa-free travel in EU for up to 90 days. This seems to be the agreement in view of Brexit between Europe and the United Kingdom that would put an end to the uncertainty in the travel sector. It is the most awaited article, in fact, in the proposed law on which the presidency of the EU Council will open negotiations with the British government in the coming days. The new entry visa regulation will allow UK citizens to travel to the Schengen area for a short stay – up to 90 days in a six month period – without a visa. And the same rule will apply to citizens of EU countries traveling to the UK, according to the rule of reciprocity. In fact, according to the European Union legislation, the UK visa exemption is granted only on the condition of equivalence. The solution was reached after the recent impasse when the British government had opposed the definition used in the draft regulation on Gibraltar, defined as a colony. Having removed this term inimical to British representatives, the UK government has already stated that it does not intend to require a visa for European citizens traveling to the United Kingdom for short stays. In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one Member State in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three institutions and member states would commit themselves to act without delay in applying the mechanism.


Air Canada To Begin Reducing Single-Use Plastics in 2019

Air Canada is reducing single-use plastics onboard aircrafts and in its workplaces as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to curtail waste.

Startinin summer 2019Air Canada will replace plastic with wood stir sticks in drinks served on all flights, a move that will save 35 million plastic stir sticks annually, enough if laid end-to-end to join Halifax and Vancouver. Air Canada‘s stir stick replacement will be made of bamboo and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which assures products come from responsible sources so that forests remain thriving environments for generations to come, accordinto the company. Air Canada‘s ongoing plastic reduction efforts also include researching and rethinking important decisions made at various stages of the supply chain. The company is supporting this work in partnership with the University of Toronto graduate students in their final year of their Master of Science in Sustainability Management program. The students are working with AirCanada to identify alternatives to plastic use onboard aircraft. Looking out to 2020, AirCanada has set environmental targets to reduce waste sent to landfills from offices, facilities and Maple Leaf Lounges by 20%, or just under the equivalent weight of two empty Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, and to recycle 50% of approved items onboard. Waste reduction at Air Canada is about more than recycling paper and aluminum cans. For example, since 2016, Air Canada has partnered with Partners in Project Green to distribute lightly used duvets to social service agencies that assist people in need and other duvets are donated to local kennels. To date, more than 13,000 duvets have been donated, equivalent to more than 20,000 kilograms of material. Additionally, when AirCanada announced new uniforms in 2017, solutions to reduce landfill waste were identified: Employee uniform pieces were donated to Brands for Canada, which removed all branding and offered the items to people re-entering the workforce, without the means to purchase new clothes and hopinto begin new careers. Uniforms shredded and repurposed into stuffing for punching bags were donated to community centers, converted into alternative items such as automotive stuffing or incinerated to generate energy. 

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