Dusit’s makes Middle East
a priority key target market
Dusit International will achieve yet another milestone this year with
the opening of its first Dusit Princess outside of Thailand, Dusit
Princess City Centre Dubai in Deira later this year and the grand
opening of Dusit Thani Lake View Cairo on January 1, 2010, followed by
Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi’s opening in late 2010.
Gamarra, senior vice president, Dusit International.
At the same time, this growth is mirrored in Dusit’s strategy to
increase its market share from the Middle East region into its Thai and
Philippines properties, as well as intra-regional GCC travel. Dusit
reveals its tactic to focus on the Middle East market by increasing both
leisure and business travelers to 10% by year end in 2010 in Thailand.
Dusit’s collection of hotels and resorts Asia-wide are also on a program
to implement facilities provided especially to Muslim travelers, such as
family packages specifically designed for family travelers during the
summer season, Halal menus, Qiblahs, prayer mats, lists of nearby
mosques, and Middle Eastern food festivals in its hotels.
Octavio Gamarra, senior vice president, Dusit International said, “The
Middle East has become a priority key target market. Not only are we
increasing our attention on this region with our three existing hotels -
Dusit Thani Dubai, Dusit Residence Dubai Marina, and Pearl Coast Premier
Hotel Apartments, we will be celebrating the opening in October this
year of Dusit Princess City Centre Dubai, our first Dusit Princess
outside of Thailand.”
Thani Dubai - an iconic Dubai building in the shape of the Thai “Wai”
“Last year we experienced record increases of Middle East arrivals into
our Thai hotels, in destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya, Bangkok and
Chiang Mai, where the family groups soared. We had prepared for this and
we redesigned our menus, as well as introducing Arabic TV channels as
new services provided to our guests. In regards to our sales and
marketing strategy for the Middle East market, we are committed to a
long term plan to implement marketing materials and channels including
dusit.com, sales kits, press release and all our property’s fact sheets
in the Arabic language.”
“Our attendance at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai this year
will enhance our position as Thailand’s leading international hotel
group in a country ranked as the world’s best holiday destination for
the Middle East travelers,” added Gamarra. “ATM is the perfect stage to
bring this key message to the world. Whilst Thailand’s hospitality
sector has faced some challenges, our hotels and resorts, located in
Thailand’s top holiday destinations including Bangkok, Pattaya, Koh
Chang, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hua Hin, and Korat, continue to
provide the very best of service and great experiences. Now more than
ever, holidaymakers to Thailand in 2009 will enjoy the benefits of the
world’s favorite holiday destination highly recognized for her beauty,
great services and incomparable value.”
International welcomes you to experience Thailand’s unique hospitality.
Added to Gamarra’s comments, Thailand remains the world’s best
value-for-money destination, as announced on November 11 last year by
the 2008 Country Brand Index (CBI), the third consecutive year it has
won this accolade. The Brand Index hailed the Kingdom thus: “Famous for
its authentic culture, spectacular beaches and noteworthy nightlife,
Thailand is also one of the most affordable destinations in the world.”
In addition, Bangkok has proven to be the world’s favorite city, as it
has been voted by CondeNast Traveler, USA to be the ‘Best International
Business City 2008’ and again has been voted the ‘Best Tourist Country
in The World’ in the 2009 Norwegian Grand Travel Award and Swedish Grand
Travel Award, and more recently, ‘The 2009 Travelers’ Choice Award’ from
TripAdvisor-branded website. Thailand has also won numerous other
awards, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Raised excise tax has little impact, hotels say
Watchiranont Thongtep, TTG Asia
The Thai government’s hiking of excise taxes as of May 7 will
have minimal impact on hotels, according to the trade.
Tourism Council of Thailand president, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, said the
government had increased the excise tax for liquor and alcoholic drinks
from seven to nine percent only, thus it would not have a major impact
on hotels’ operating costs.
Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok general manager, Andrew Wood, said revenues
generated from these types of drinks represented a small portion of
overall hotel business. “It will impact Thai consumers more than foreign
Wood added hotels would inevitably pass on the increased cost to guests
once the existing inventory was exhausted. Hotels would probably raise
alcoholic tariffs in the next three months.
However, Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort director, Maitree Narukatpichai,
said it was too early to say how much higher the prices would be. But
since F&B profits represent high yield, the cost increment on liquor and
alcoholic drinks would not really hurt hotels, he added.
Bangkok Airways tightens measures against 2009 H1N1 Flu
Bangkok Airways’ President, Captain Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth has declared an
“Emergency Plan” to coordinate with the Department of Disease Control, Ministry
of Public Health and other concerned government agencies in implementing
preventive measures against the threat of the 2009 H1N1 Flu, especially by those
who are the company’s front liners.
Currently, Bangkok Airways has applied disinfectant spray for all its
international flights, protective masks and gloves, as well as necessary medical
treatment readied for in-flight services and ground services on all flights to
maintain high levels of cleanliness. In addition, passengers will be informed of
the use of thermo-scan on arrival and are required to complete a Health Beware
Card issued by the Department of Disease Control.
Moreover, Samui Airport, as an international airport has installed the
thermo-scan at the arrival area of international flights to closely monitor
passengers with flu-like symptoms as another preventive measure against the
spread of the 2009 H1N1 flu to the island.
AirAsia wins Airbus Award for Operational Excellence
‘World’s Best Low-Cost’ airline, AirAsia has received an A320 Family Operational
Excellence Award from Airbus in recognition of its service record with the
single aisle aircraft type. The airline was presented the award this week in
Paris during Airbus’ bi-annual symposium of all operators of the A320 Family
The selection criteria for the awards are based on data covering two years of
operation and taking into account the number of aircraft in the fleet, daily
utilization rate, technical reliability and the number of delays caused to
flights for operational reasons.
“While the world A320 Family fleet continues to record outstanding operational
results, these awards recognize exceptional technical performance at individual
operators,” said Charles Champion, executive vice president customer services.
“AirAsia has established an extremely efficient operation with its Airbus
aircraft, with exceptionally high utilization and outstanding dispatch
AirAsia Group CEO, Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes said, “This Operational Efficiency
Award from Airbus accentuates our constant efforts in striving for better
performance and greater flying experience for our guests. AirAsia is the only
airline to offer On Time Guarantee where we pledge on time departures for our
guests or else they get compensated for any delay of more than 2 hours.”
“After turning our Malaysian operations into fully Airbus in October last year,
we are now stepping up efforts to replace our older fleet in Thailand and
Indonesia. As the biggest Airbus A320 fleet operator in the world, AirAsia is
proud to be deploying one of the most modern fleet which boosts efficiency,
enhances reliability, reduces costs and provides top service levels to our
guests,” added Fernandes.
Free insurance scheme
to boost Thailand
Watchiranont Thongtep, TTG Asia
Visitors to Thailand between May and October will automatically be
insured and covered in case of riots under a Thai government-backed tourist
insurance scheme aimed at boosting confidence in the destination.
The policy was initiated by Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) and came,
according to TCT, in response to international insurance firms’ refusal to sell
insurance coverage to visitors to Thailand, particularly in the case of riots.
TCT president, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, said the government had set aside 190.75
million baht for the scheme. About 5.45 million foreign tourists were expected
to visit Thailand during the six-month period, based on TCT’s estimation of 10.9
million tourists this year.
Under the scheme, Ministry of Tourism and Sports would be responsible for the
insurance premium of US$1 per person for all visitors to Thailand between May
“In case riots occur in Thailand during these months, visitors will be
compensated for up to US$10,000 per person under three conditions - death,
injury and trip inconvenience,” Kongkrit said.
He added the measure was just a short-term effort to restore visitor confidence.
“The Thai government must work harder to draw long-term strategies to restore
the country’s international image as a safe and secure tourism destination.”
Thailand woos Singapore MICE
Karen Yue, TTG Asia
The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is in Singapore this
week to reassure the market that the destination is still secure despite the
repeated political showdowns.
At a private function attended by various Singapore-based corporate Meetings,
Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) buyers yesterday evening, TCEB
presented details on its new Third Night Package, which offers free hotel stays
on the third night for MICE groups, and the Hospitality Package, which offers
F&B subsidies for corporate groups.
According to TCEB senior manager for marketing promotions, meetings and
incentives department, Puripan Bunnag, the combination of a global economic
slowdown, the kingdom’s political situation and the recent Influenza A (H1N1)
scare has resulted in a 10 to 15 percent dip in total MICE arrivals for Thailand
since the start of this year.
Bunnag said, “The recent political riots in March resulted in a lot of Singapore
groups postponing or cancelling their trips to Thailand. Singapore makes up 15
percent of the total MICE traffic for us, so it is important that we
re-establish their confidence in Thailand.”
Despite TCEB’s reassurance, some corporate buyers indicated that repeated news
on Thailand’s political riots have made it difficult for them to send groups to
the destination although attractive incentives and assistance plans abound.