Pattaya sets up network to rescue environment
Pattaya’s administration is rushing to build a network
of local conservationists to help save the local environment.
Announcing the resort’s plans on October 9, Mayor Niran
Wattanasartsathorn spoke of the urgent need to instill environmental
awareness among the town’s residents in the face of global environmental
Recent environmental campaigns by the town include a
highly successful recycling campaign, which earned the town 6,430 baht to be
sent to temples within the municipal district.
Despite being one of the best known tourist resorts in
Thailand, Pattaya has suffered in the past from serious environmental
degradation, but has taken steps to clean up its image. (TNA)
THAI to use new plane on Mae Hong Son route
Thai Airways today announced on October 24 that it would
introduce one of its new aircraft on the Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son route to
replace an older craft being taken out of service for maintenance work,
ending weeks of fears among local tourism businesses that the province would
be left without an air service during the tourism high season.
Thewan Damronghat, manager of the airline’s Mae Hong
Son office, said that the airline would alter its flight schedule from
October 31, 2004 to March 26, 2005, using an ATR.72 aircraft to serve five
daily flights between the two provinces. The new aircraft will temporarily
replace the airline’s ATR plane, which needs maintenance work before it
can resume operations.
THAI’s move was welcomed by Phoolsak Suntornpanich,
former head of the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce, who said that aircraft
substitution would ensure that the province’s tourism industry was not
affected during the high season. (TNA)
Sport tourism: One of the fastest growing areas of the global travel and tourism industry
Sport tourism is a multi-billion dollar business, one of
the fastest growing areas of the $4.5 trillion global travel and tourism
industry. By 2011, travel and tourism is expected to by more than 10 percent
of the global gross domestic product. The economies of cities, regions and
even countries around the world are increasingly reliant on the visiting
golfer and skier or the traveling football, rugby or cricket supporter. In
some countries, sport can account for as much as 25 percent of all tourism
The sport tourist is at the heart of strategies that
spend tens of millions pf dollars on attracting an Olympic Games or World
Cup - Australia spent $1.7 of government money on the 2000 Olympics and in
reward has a 10-year legacy of sport tourism that make ups part of the $4.3
billion in added currency bought by the Games. These flagship events help
build new transport systems, improve airports and clean up cities - all
because the sport tourist is coming to town.
Sport tourists are passionate, high-spending, enjoy new
sporting experiences and often stimulate other tourism. Their direct benefit
to a destination is cash - their indirect benefit can be years of follow-on
tourists. Sport tourism is now a tool to achieve many things - to make-
money, create thousands of new jobs and even help change cultural
perceptions such as in the Middle East and South Africa. (Travel Wire News)
Circle Asia with Star Alliance
Star Alliance has introduced the Circle Asia Fare, which
can be used for a circle trip covering North Asia, Southeast Asia and
The fare is available for sale and travel as of November
1 and the journey may commence from any destination served by a member
carrier in these regions, whereby the origin and final destination must be
the same country.
The fare is available at two mileage levels, either
covering 15,000 or 18,000 miles, and is offered for travel in First,
Business or Economy Class. The itinerary may cover up to 18 sectors and must
include at least two stopovers, but only one stopover per city is permitted.
Tickets issued on this fare are valid for a maximum of six months and
require a minimum stay of three days.
Countries covered by the fare include Brunei, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand,
Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
The Circle Asia Fare allows mileage accrual on any of the
member carrier’s frequent flyer programs. (TTG Asia)
All government zoos
are free from bird flu
All five government-run zoos are free from bird flu and
safe for tourists, according to the director-general of the Zoological Park
Organization, Sophon Dumnui. Bird gardens at all the country’s five zoos
do not need to be closed, he said.
The authorities have done random checks of the birds and
poultry in the zoos and the results have all been negative. The tests
results have also been submitted daily to the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Environment for further laboratory tests. Sophon made his comments in
response to public concern that a large number of children had visited the
zoos during the school break. (TNA)
Phuket bans foreign
The provincial authorities in Thailand’s southern
resort island of Phuket have abolished a long-standing practice which
allowed foreign tour operators to illicitly use native speakers, instead of
Thais, as guides, the provincial governor Udomsak Assawarangkul announced.
So-called ‘sitting guides’ have been hired by foreign
tour companies, mostly Korean owned firms, for the sake of legal formality.
Under the Thai law, those firms can no longer hire foreign guides, but only
Thai nationals to service their clients.
The governor said Thai guides would be regularly offered
training courses in Korean and other languages. There is an acute need for
Korean-speaking Thai tour guides in Phuket, he said.
There are also a large number of foreigners working in
other positions legally reserved for Thais, including sales people and
business brokers, Udomsak said. He said a campaign to inspect local
businesses and identify foreigners working illegally would be launched soon.
STB packs value for Thai and Indonesia travelers
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), riding on the
emergence of low-cost carriers, has launched a new ‘Uniquely Singapore Fun
Breaks’ initiative to boost arrivals from the region. The initiative, to
promote Singapore as an accessible, fun getaway year-round, will be an
ongoing effort and will be marketed through STB’s regional offices.
Targeting young professionals and families, STB has been
working with airlines and travel agents by jointly promoting and advertising
tour packages, which includes value added premiums such as discounts for
retail purchases and at food and beverage outlets, in the overseas markets.
Currently, special packages for the Thai and Indonesian
markets are available and STB will continue to work with trade partners to
develop new products to appeal to the various segments of visitors.
To assist travelers, STB is also looking to create a
one-stop online site for all purchases, with deals for airfare,
accommodation, event tickets and lifestyle services.
Airfares have dropped by 15 to 40 per cent in the Jakarta
and Bangkok sectors, since the entry of low-cost carriers. And as compared
to 2002, visitor arrivals have grown in the two sectors. From January to
August of 2004, arrivals from Indonesia and Thailand grew 28 percent and 24
percent respectively. (TTG Asia)
Bangkok Airways upgrades Singapore-Samui link
Bangkok Airways’ launch of a Boeing 717-200 service
between Singapore and Samui Island on October 31, will cut travel time by
one hour and increase capacity from 70 seats to 120 seats on the
Bangkok Airways vice-president corporate communications,
M L Nandhika Varavarn, who was in Singapore to promote the new service to
the trade, said the airline would consider increasing it to a daily service
if there was demand.
The airline and a number of Samui Island hotels and
attractions are working together to offer the Sabai Samui Package, starting
from two nights and inclusive of air fare, hotel, breakfast and transfers.
The airline’s sales manager-Singapore, Komkrit
Ngamwongwirot, said a consortium of between 12 and 15 agents would be formed
to promote the new service.
“The package, with a lead-in price of S$468 (US$275)
was offered this year between February and June and we sold about 400 room
nights. For 2005 with more seats, more hotels and more agencies
participating, the lead-in price is expected to be between 10 and 15 percent
lower and we expect to sell between 600 and 700 room nights under the
package,” Komkrit said.
About 800 new hotel rooms are expected to be added on
Samui Island over the next 12 months and the 18-hole Santiburi Resort Golf
Course opened in March this year. (TTG Asia)
Air India sets US$86 million for fleet upgrade
Air India has set aside US$86 million to refurbish its
Boeing B747-400 and Airbus A310-300 and improve in-flight services and even
basic amenities, according to director-public relations, Jitender Bhargava.
The investment will be spent on the personal in-flight
entertainment system (IFES), Internet connectivity, phone-on-air facility,
dynamic lighting and power facility for laptops and new seats. Its B747-400s
will be equipped with new equipment to provide a better onboard dining
experience. New toilets will also be added.
Air India has been focusing on its long haul routes to
Europe and the US. “Air-India has, in the past 20 months, increased
services to the US from 10 to 23, and these are likely to increase to 25 per
week in October 2005,” Bhargava said. (TTG Asia)
International aviation meeting helps solve Thai tourism crisis
The World Airlines Clubs Association (WACA)’s decision
to host its 37th annual general meeting in Cha-am, a renowned resort site in
Thailand on October 26, is expected to help the country eradicate its
currently negative image of a country rife with bird flu and insurgency, the
director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Central Region office, Region
Silachai Surai said that the meeting highlighted the
capability of the resorts of Cha-am and Hua Hin to host international level
conferences – particularly important given that the delegates to the WACA
meeting are expected to publicize their experiences of Thailand to airlines
around the world.
Most importantly, he said, the meeting would help do away
with rumors concerning Thailand’s avian flu situation and militant action
in the three southern border provinces, generating confidence that neither
bird flu, nor southern violence were affecting tourists visiting the