Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


IDEAS: Deer Train Transports Visitors to the Famous Deer of Nara, Japan

8 months ago

Roaming the vast Nara Park grounds in the city of Nara, Japan are sacred wild deer, who approach visitors and eat out of their hands as if in a storybook. Now, the transportation to see these deer is equally enchanting.

The recently unveiled Narashika Train, or Deer Train, operated by Kintetsu Railways runs between Kobe and Nara and features spotted-brown, deer-coat seats, a grasslike floor, and customized, deer-themed hand grips and banners.

Deer Train of Nara, Japan, credit: @mareiii04.
Deer Train of Nara, Japan, credit: @mareiii04.

The whimsical ride became so popular that an additional train was added earlier this year. The Deer Train’s schedule is not provided to the public, so, much like the deer themselves, you must have a bit of luck and hope one will approach you.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Travel Technology

Via Acquires Citymapper to Enhance Navigation of Transit Systems

1 year ago

Via, a pioneer in transit technology, announced Thursday that it has acquired Citymapper, a UK-based premier journey planning app and transit technology company. Terms of the transactions are not disclosed.

Citymapper, which has over 50 million users in over 100 cities, provides technology for local transportation planning using a combination of walking, cycling, public transit, taxis and other available options. The platform selects the best navigation route for users based on preferred transit modes, arrival time, trip duration and cost.

Via optimizes public mobility systems by leveraging technology to build efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation networks in over 35 countries. The company raised $110 million in February 2023 with the goal of expanding its digital infrastructure. The acquisition of Citymapper follows the company’s acquisitions of Fleetonomy in 2020 and Remix in 2021.

Citymapper will become integrated with Via’s platform to build an end-to-end technology solution for transit systems. The Citymapper app will continue to be available for its users worldwide. As part of the acquisition, transit agencies and cities will benefit from a full mobility-as-a-service (“MaaS”) solution that enables transit agency riders to plan and book journeys across multiple modes of transit informed by delays, service disruptions, and route closures. 

“We have the utmost respect for the world-class product and user experience that Azmat and his team have built,” said Daniel Ramot, Via co-founder and CEO. “By bringing our teams together, we see an exciting opportunity to deliver Citymapper’s capabilities to cities and transit agencies all over the world, so that they can create the most user-friendly and relevant transit experience for their communities.”

Tour Operators

Rival Tour Operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel Launch Ad Campaigns on the London Underground

2 years ago

You know travel is back when….arch rival tour operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel have both unveiled new ad campaigns targeting commuters across London’s transport systems. 

G Adventures’ “When was the last time you felt like this?” campaign, in which the company aims to showcase the joys of small-group adventures, features digital posters in London Underground stations and escalators. The month-long promotion, which is taking place while rail strikes disrupt travel in the United Kingdom, is targeting prospective customers who have returned to their offices.

“With London office workers quickly returning to our capital, that sense of ‘Groundhog Day’ was starting to set in,” said G Adventures Marketing Director Ant Stone.

London’s free newspapers, the Evening Standard and Metro, will also feature weekly content from G Adventures.

Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel has posted ads in London Underground stations and on buses, among other places, featuring the slogan “Travel Is Back For Good.” It’s the company’s first-ever big brand campaign in the UK.