Government advises against travel
to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam
The government made moves to curb the spread of a deadly
new influenza virus, cautioning Thai nationals against travel to China, Hong
Kong and Vietnam, while insisting that no cases of the virus had yet cropped
up in Thailand.
Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said the
mystery virus is still claiming victims and urged the Thai public to avoid
travel to these countries if possible. She said that the Ministry of Public
Health was coordinating with airlines serving the three countries to closely
inspect their passengers for symptoms, and will refuse to allow them on
aircraft traveling to Thailand.
Dr Veerasak Jongsuwiwatwong from Prince of Songkhla
University’s Faculty of Medicine, called to allay public fears by saying
that the virus would not spread easily if kept under proper control. He also
pointed out that the death rate from the virus appeared to be very low. (TNA)
Thailand to hold steady on plans to boost tourism
The tourism minister played down speculation that the war
in Iraq combined with fears over Asia’s new killer pneumonia and terrorist
attacks would have a devastating effect on the Thai tourism industry,
predicting growth of no less than six percent for the coming year.
Sonthaya Khunpluem Minister for Tourism and Sports said
that despite reports from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) that
around 50,000 tourists had cancelled their bookings for April to June since
the outbreak of war in Iraq, and that hotels were seeing cancellation rates
of between five and 10 percent, and the situation was not yet critical.
Sonthaya remained upbeat that the TAT’s revised
marketing strategies would pull in tourists from Asian markets to compensate
for cancellations from European visitors. “We are searching for ways to
pull people out of their homes at a time when they might be a bit hesitant
to venture out,” he said. “We must regard what we are doing as upholding
Thailand’s situation, rather than simply selling tours.”
Calling on all parties to work together to ensure tourism
growth, he said that despite the war in Iraq, last year’s terrorist
bombing in Bali, and Asia’s new killer pneumonia, Thailand’s tourism
industry was sufficiently strong to ensure growth of no less than six
percent this year, brining in revenue of around 370 billion baht.
Sonthaya said that in addition to targeting Asian
markets, the TAT would also focus on domestic tourism, as revenue from
domestic tourism was worth 300 billion baht per year.
To attract more Asian tourists, the TAT will organize
tourism road shows in Asian markets, with the first to be held in China on
April 21, led by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Chatusripitak. The TAT will
also organize special tours for visitors from countries including China,
Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
The TAT has set up a Crisis Management Center, bringing
together representatives of Thailand’s hotel and tourism businesses, to
monitor the affects of war on the tourism industry. (TNA)
Emirates will carry Kuwait Airways Passengers
Emirates has entered into an agreement with Kuwait
Airways that allows all Kuwait Airways passengers to travel on Emirates
flights without the need for their tickets to be endorsed.
This follows Kuwait Airways’ suspension of its
world-wide operations with the exception of services to Dubai and Cairo.
Now, for example, a Kuwait Airways ticket-holder traveling from
Singapore-Kuwait-Beirut can now travel without endorsement on Emirates
The Endorsement Waiver Agreement between the two airlines
came into operation Sunday March 23.
Kuwait Airways will rebook its passengers on Emirates
flights where possible. Emirates will accommodate Kuwait Airways
ticket-holders that have not been rebooked on a standby basis. The agreement
will remain in effect until further notice.
In normal circumstances, Kuwait Airways must endorse its
own tickets before they can be used for travel on Emirates.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates Commercial Operations
director, said: “In this extraordinary situation, Emirates is offering
every assistance to Kuwait Airways and its passengers to whom we will extend
Emirates is continuing its flights between Dubai and
Kuwait. Timings are changed for the afternoon service but not for the
The boarding of passengers, traveling to Kuwait as their
end destination, on flights to Dubai from stations across the network has
now been resumed.
For more detailed information contact Fay Thompson, Media
Relations Manager (Cargo & Data), Emirates Corporate Communications.
Tel: 00 97 14-2032142; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Big guns to fall silent
National Police chief says water guns pose threat
As global protestors voiced their anger over war in Iraq,
in Thailand a more unusual ‘anti-war lobby’ recently scored a major
victory, with the news that the Office of Industrial Product Standards (OPIS)
has banned the use of that most lethal of weapons - the water gun.
The OIPS ruling means that revelers celebrating Songkran
- the water festival that marks the Thai New Year - will no longer fall
victim to the gun’s soaking discharge.
The OIPS decision, which is bound to produce cries of
‘spoil-sport’ from hardened Songkran warriors, came after concern
expressed by National Police Chief Pol Gen Sant Suratanon over the dangers
posed by high-pressure water guns, particularly those that failed to meet
Accusing the water guns of causing “physical injury and
psychological trauma to their victims,” the National Police Bureau and the
OIPS held a joint meeting to determine just what types of water pistol could
be classified as toys, and which bordered on dangerous weaponry.
A police bureau spokesman revealed that a meeting of OIPS
technicians on March 20 had decided unanimously that any water gun acting as
a cylinder, whether made from PVC piping or from other plastic, was not a
toy, and that permission would not be given for their production, import or
He also warned that any manufacturer that put the ‘mor
or gor 685’ symbol on such products, which suggested that in the Thai
language they are toys, was acting against the law and could be faced with a
three-month prison sentence.
Users of such guns who caused injury to other people
could be put behind bars for up to two years, and if the guns caused
blindness or deafness the prison sentence could last for anything up to ten
An industrial standards technician said that officials
would inspect shops to check that they were not selling the offending
Last Songkran 575 people were arrested on charges of
causing physical or emotional injury through the inappropriate use of water
telemedicine on board
Lufthansa launched the trial phase of its new in-flight
Internet service, Lufthansa FlyNet, which ran last month, to test
telemedicine applications on board.
The German flag carrier is the first airline in the world
to offer high-speed broadband Internet connectivity with sufficient capacity
to transmit data. A patient’s vital signs, such as blood oxygen levels and
ECG, can thus be transmitted from an aircraft to a ground station, where
doctors can then make an exact diagnosis and give the crew or medical
professional on board specific instructions for treating the patient. In
critical cases, contact with the ground station will enable the pilot to
decide whether to divert to another airport.
Lufthansa is conducting the tests in cooperation with the
German Aerospace Center (DLR). Doctors at DLR will check the suitability of
different prototypes of medical equipment under real conditions on a number
of flights between Frankfurt and Washington. “This project fits in
perfectly with our longstanding commitment to aviation medicine research,”
says Prof. Dr. Uwe Stben, who heads Lufthansa’s medical service.
In addition to an in-flight medicine chest, First Aid
kits and a well-equipped Doctor’s Kit, Lufthansa carries defibrillators on
all its long-range aircraft. These are used to help crew members to
resuscitate passengers in the event of sudden cardiac arrest during a
Rolls Royce gears up Trent 900 launch engine for Airbus A380 super-jumbo
Rolls-Royce has successfully completed an initial series
of rig tests in its Trent 900 development program ahead of the first full
engine run this month. These included validation of low emissions forecasts
as well as proving the durability of new-style fan blades and the fan
Testing of the electronic engine control (EEC) is also on
schedule following the delivery of the first units by Hamilton Sundstrand.
The Trent 900 is the launch engine for the Airbus A380 super-jumbo.
A successful demonstration of the new lightweight casing
containment technology, being developed with Goodrich Aerostructures, has
been completed using a Trent 500 rotor. Deliveries of casings utilizing this
technology are now underway to support the engine development program.
Airlines Operations Group Limited sets up global HQ in Thailand
Airline Operations Group Limited (AOG), an American
company that is setting new trends in the airline industry’s hotel
procuring process, recently opened its global headquarters in Bangkok to
take on the task of helping the major airlines in Asia revamp its hotel
Miriam Cohen, AOG’s senior vice-president for
procurement at AOG’s newly opened corporate offices on the 29th floor of
the Lake Rajada Office Complex in Sukhumvit Soi 16, opposite Bangkok’s
Queen Sirikit Convention Center said, “AOG’s business has sky-rocketed.
After 9/11 major airlines, which have all been affected by the decline in
passenger traffic and higher fuel cost, are turning to AOG for help. The
sluggish state of the world economy is compelling airlines to reexamine the
way it does business.”
In 1995 a group of former senior executives in the
airline, hotel and travel industry formed a company that specializes in
working with the airlines and hotels in the procurement of crew
accommodations, helping inconvenienced passengers and coordinating
staff/corporate travel business. It now boasts a network of over 3,500
hotels worldwide and serves 145 cities in 60 countries by creating a demand
or niche in the industry.
Trang wants tourism promotion
Surin Tohtabtiang, president of the Trang Chamber of
Commerce says that Trang’s success in tourism depends on how carefully
locals prepare for large numbers of visitors. Trang is the home of the
stunning Emerald Cave, plus mountains, beaches, waterfalls and wildlife all
add to the delight of visiting tourists.
Trang has been actively promoting a variety of colorful
festivals which include a Cake Festival, Grilled Pork Festival and other
local-produce events are which are held yearly. These events are designed to
educate tourists about Trang’s products. The festivals give them a chance
to find out what the province has to offer and residents benefit from the
According to figures seven years ago Trang only had
50,000 tourists a year. That figure increased to more than 450,000 tourists
in 2002. There are about 3,000 hotels rooms in Trang and another 1,000
situated around the seashore and nearby islands.
Some outside support has been received, but mainly the
annual festivities are the product of teamwork involving local organizations
and communities. The importance of protecting the environment has been
stressed that so mass tourism doesn’t destroy the area’s natural beauty.
In the future Trang plans to create a theme park which
will display traditional lifestyles of the locals. The park will be situated
in Trang’s township and construction is expected to begin in 2004. (TNA)
Khon Kaen gets a facelift
The paint pots are coming out for the northeast city of
Khon Kaen in advance of May’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings,
with the municipal authorities offering free painting services for any
buildings in the city whose owners can supply the paint.
Khon Kaen does not often find itself in the international
limelight, but on May 21-30 it is due to host an official meeting of senior
APEC officials, closely followed by the APEC trade ministers’ meeting on
With over 10,000 people likely to descend on the town for
the two conferences, the municipality decided to do a bit of spring
cleaning. And the finished product will boost tourism to the city long after
the trade ministers have left.
The municipality is busy training 100 painters - mainly
people with low incomes - to decorate buildings across the town. And
what’s more, the services of these painters will come completely free,
with the owners of buildings along the town’s major thoroughfares only
paying for the cost of paint, and the municipality paying all labor charges.
The town is also rushing to improve its overall
appearance, with pride of place going to a new city gate worth 9 million
baht. Twinkling lights on city buildings will cost 1 million baht, while
640,000 baht is being spent on new street signs and 2.2 million baht on new
Khon Kaen Mayor Suraphol Chueachomkul says that city
residents have been called on to ensure that the town is neat and beautiful
to receive its international guests.
Air New Zealand offers flexibility in uncertain times
Air New Zealand recently announced a number of options
for customers whose travel may be affected by the military conflict in the
Air New Zealand will continue to operate normally and is
encouraging customers to feel confident about booking Air New Zealand
flights for future travel.
New Zealand and Pacific Islands
These flights should continue to operate without any
disruption at this stage and normal terms and conditions of fares will
apply. Customers will not be eligible for any ticketing changes or fare
waivers, in accordance with the fare purchased. An exemption to this will be
if the ticket is in conjunction with other international travel to or from
Europe, the United States, Australia or Asia.
Australia and Asia
If flights are cancelled, then Air New Zealand’s normal
disruption policy will apply. The airline will endeavour to rebook
ticket-holding customers onto alternative services.
If Air New Zealand flights are cancelled for an extended
period, customers will be able to postpone their travel up to and including
31 July, 2003 by contacting Air New Zealand reservations or a Travelcentre.
Change and service fees will be waived.
Customers travelling on Airpoints redemption tickets,
whose flights have been cancelled, will be treated the same as normal
revenue tickets as outlined above.
Customers holding a confirmed and ticketed reservation to
Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia and wish to change their
travel plans due to the military conflict, will be able to postpone their
travel or rebook up to and including 31 July, 2003. Customers must be
rebooked in the same booking class.
For customers changing to an alternative destination
their full ticket price will be credited against the fare to their new
destination. Any difference in the two fares or additional taxes will need
to be paid. Change and service fees will be waived.
Customers travelling on Airpoints redemption tickets, who
wish to change their travel plans due to the military conflict, will be able
to postpone their travel or rebook up to and including 31 July, 2003. Any
difference in the Airpoints redemption value of differing destinations must
be covered by the customer’s Airpoints. This also applies to any Airpoints
redemption bookings made on our partner airlines and Star Alliance carriers.
Change and service fees will be waived.
If Airpoints customers wish to cancel their booking, the
booking can be cancelled with the appropriate points re-credited to their
Airpoints account. Customers holding redemption bookings on Air New Zealand
operated services, who have had their tickets issued by another Star
Alliance carrier, should contact their airline’s loyalty program directly.
Any disruption resulting from the military conflict is
deemed to be beyond Air New Zealand’s control and thus the airline is not
liable for any ancillary product such as accommodation, meals, ground
transportation and other passenger-related expenses.