Wheel thing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 1998, 12:00am

Some of Japan's theme parks have been having a tough time this year, with fewer customers reported at Tokyo Disneyland, Sea Paradise, Huis Ten Bosch, and Expoland in Osaka. But this hasn't deterred Toyota from getting in on the act, with plans for a park dedicated to, what else? Cars.

Toyota is planning to open a 73,000-square-metre park in Tokyo next year. The project, which will cost US$362 million (about HK$2.8 billion), will comprise pavilions displaying the past, present and future of motor vehicles, a virtual reality section and museums. Visitors will even be able to take cars for test-runs, including futuristic battery-run models. The site will also have a shopping mall and entertainment centre.

Euro cheques American Express will print euro-denominated traveller's cheques in time for sales to start on January 1, the beginning of the European Monetary Union. While the euro becomes the official currency of 11 nations on January 1, with national currency exchange rates fixed to the euro, the circulation of euro notes and coins will not begin until January 1, 2002.

During the three-year transition, consumers will be able to use the American Express euro traveller's cheques - in denominations of 50, 100 and 200 euro - to pay for goods and services while merchants begin to convert to euro pricing.

Cruise care A live two-way video link will allow passengers who are injured or become sick while travelling on the Grand Princess, the world's newest and largest cruise ship, to get a second opinion.

Cruise ships generally have medical offices and physicians on board who can consult with other physicians using radios. But the new system, known as Sea Med, allows on-board doctors to send video, X-ray images and other information for live consultations with emergency room physicians in Los Angeles.

Copy for Travel Briefing should be faxed to Mike Currie at 2980-3140, or mailed to Features, GPO Box 47, Hong Kong