Important Buddhist Holy Days
by Kittisak Khamthong
The Buddhist Holy Day of Asalahabucha falls on the 15th night (15 kham)
of the full moon during the eighth month of the Buddhist calendar and is one of the days
the sun completes a full revolution. The meaning of the word "Asalahabucha" is
to pay homage or worship on the day of 15 kham during the eighth month. But according to
the Buddhist calendar, during leap years the eighth month comes twice. This is one of
those years with the eighth month coming twice, back to back. Therefore, this year the
Asalahabucha Day is moved to the second eighth month on the full moon (15 kham), which
falls on July 27th, 1999.
Asalahabucha Day is worshipped because three important events occurred
on the day. The first sermon concerning the "Four Noble Truths" was given on
this day, which points out that: 1. All things are a source of suffering; 2. Desire of
these things is the cause of suffering; 3. Freedom from suffering can be obtained after
the complete elimination of desire; 4. The last of the Four Noble Truths is the way, or
the path to eliminating desire.
period comes during the rainy season. Many parents conduct a ceremony for their children
to enter the Buddhist priesthood, where they will receive training in the Buddhist
scriptures and disciplines. The act is a very proud moment for parents. It upholds the
basic roots of Buddhism and brings merit to each and every one all over the world.
Secondly, the day is considered to be the birth of Buddhism as the
Buddha departed the location where he obtained his enlightenment two months earlier and
then came to a forest area in the city of Pharansi where he showed favor to five ascetics
who became his followers. It is also the day when the first person listening to the
Buddhas sermon realized the truths contained therein and became the first Buddhist
monk, named Anyakontanya.
The Thai government established the observance of Asalahabucha Day in
1958, with Buddhist temples throughout the Kingdom arranging ceremonies venerating the
important historic events of the past. Devout Buddhists participate in the ceremonies by
presenting offerings to the monks as they walk through the streets in the early morning,
or they may bring offerings to the temples prior to the monks morning meal and
listen to sermons and perform ritual prayers. The entire day is revered. The more devout
Buddhists, and those who have the inclination and opportunity to do so, adhere to certain
precepts. Many followers also perform the Wientian ritual, completing three trips walking
around the temple area.
The other important holy day is when Buddhist Lent begins (Khao
Phansaa). This day falls on the first full moon (1 kham) of the Buddhist calendar during
the eighth month of every year, which equates to sometime in July. Again, during the leap
year it is identified during the second eighth month. The term "Phansaa" can
also translate to the rainy season, which in Pali is "Vasana". This year the day
falls on July 28th, the day following Asalahabucha Day, and lasts until the 15th night of
the full moon (15 kham) of the 11th month according to the Buddhist calendar year, in
The meaning of the Buddhist Lent or Khao Phansaa has to do with the
rainy season. Monks return to their temples, usually to the temple where they were
ordained, and stay during the rains, approximately three months. The monks are not to stay
overnight at any other location during Buddhist Lent. The rainy season actually consists
of four months, but the monks are only required to remain at the temples for three of the
four months and they can then go elsewhere in the fourth month when the "Katin"
ceremony is performed (when people present offerings consisting of the monks outer
In former times, monks going into the temples during the rainy season
was not a custom. Monks continually went about giving sermons and instructing people in
the ways of eliminating suffering and disseminating Buddhist beliefs during the entire
year. This was unlike other religions of the time. The concern initially involved the idea
that it was inappropriate for monks to walk around during the rainy season while many
insects were about and the rice crops were in the ground. Therefore, the monks were to
remain in the temples in order to avoid unintentionally killing the insects or destroying
the rice crops as they walked from place to place.
During the Buddhist Lent period the monks continue their learning by
studying Buddhist disciplines. The period is also when young men who reach 20 years of age
enter the Buddhist priesthood and receive training on Buddhist disciplines. During this
time they refrain from any worldly desires for the three months of the rainy season. Some
monks remain in the temple for even longer periods of time. The act of becoming a monk
during this period brings a great deal of merit to the parents.
The author of this article invites all Buddhists to join together in your own true
beliefs by refraining from any immoral behavior or wrong doing, and adhere to the Buddhist
commandants by following the true way and rightful path during the Buddhist Lent and
thereafter. The resulting reward will be your future happiness.
Celebrate the Amazing River of Kings -
The Royal Barge Procession, the most auspicious and most
spectacular of all events in Thailand, takes place on November 4 this year. The majestic
procession marks a religious ceremony and sacred rituals performed by His Majesty King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, and members of the Royal Family.
Rehearsals by the Royal Thai Navy will be
held on several occasions in September and October this year. To offer spectators a unique
opportunity to witness the splendor of the Royal Barges featured in the procession,
tourists, travel agents, tour operators, and the general public will be able to purchase
tickets to all rehearsals, which commenced in late June 1999. It is currently estimated
that approximately 8,000 tickets will be made available. The designated vantage points
along the Chao Phraya River are:
1. The river bank along Bangkok Noi Railway Station
2. Around the Royal Thai Navy Base against the backdrop of Wat Arun,
Temple of Dawn
The Royal Thai Navy has scheduled regular rehearsals once a week, every
Thursday through to September and 2 Dress Rehearsals in October - on October 7 and 21.
The Royal State Barges & The Royal
Certain temples or monasteries are designated "Royal Wat",
i.e. Royal temples that are visited by H.M. The King personally, and/or other members of
the Royal Family. The Royal Barge Procession marks the annual visit of H.M. The King and
Members of the Royal Family to a "Royal Wat" to make offerings of yellow
kathin robes, food and other necessities, to the monks.
This annual pilgrimage, which usually takes place during the season of
the full moon in October and November, is known as "Tawt katin", or the
Royal Kathin, a religious ceremony with sacred rituals performed in accordance with
ancient customs. Descriptions of Royal Kathins by both land and water have been described
as far back as the Ayutthaya period.
Excerpts from "Royal Barges"
Courtesy of the Public Relations Department of The Royal Government Of
The book "Royal Barges" was published by the Government
Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister to mark the 50th Anniversary of
His Majestys Accession to the Throne.
In the Bangkok Calendar of 1863 (during the 4th reign), Dr. Dan Bradley
presents the following account of "The Annual Visitation of the King to the
"All the temples in Bangkok and its suburbs, which have been made
by, or dedicated to the King, expect a splendid visit from His Majesty sometime between
the middle of the 11th and 12th moons. This is the season appointed by the most ancient
and sacred customs, for the Priests to seek their apparel for the year coming.
"In conformity with this custom, the King taking a princely
offering of Priests apparel with him, visits the temples. The ceremony is called
"Tawt katin" (sic), which means to lay down in a pattern in order to cut
patch-work by it. The pattern is ketin, which in ancient times the Priests of Buddha
used in cutting their cloth in patches to be sewed together to make their outer and inner
robes. ... The cloth was cut with a knife. ... Although they do not now use the
katin to cut the patches by, but do it by the eye only, this work is still called by
that name; and that circumstance alone gives the name to the great ceremony of carrying
these ready-made patched robes to the Temples.
"In olden times, in Buddhas day, the custom was for the
priests to go out at this season of the year to seek old cast of clothing for the purpose
of getting patches to make their robes, and these they would sew together into such forms
as the seven kinds of priestly garments required...
Thong Suban, Rama IX, with Garuda figurehead, the first Royal Barge to be built during the
present reign of the Chakri Dynasty, but the second Royal Barge to carry this name.
Completed in 1996, in time to join the celebration to mark the 50th Anniversary of H.M.
the Kings Accession to the Throne.
"But that custom has gradually given place to the splendid and
august one of making their patched garments from new cloth, dyed yellow; and made ready
for the princely donations of thousands of the affluent and the more humble contributions
of the poor... The cloth is dyed yellow for the purpose, as tradition says, of imitating
somewhat the original custom of Buddha and his followers who preferred a dingy yellow
color for their patched robes..."
Dr. Bradley described four kind as classes of katin:
Katin Looang - the Kings Katin; Katin Chow -
the Princes Katin; Katin Koonang - the Noblemans Katin; and
Katin Prei - the peoples Katin. In addition to the robes, other
necessities were given to the monks.
"Origin of The Wat Visitation"
An older account of these temple visits is found in the 1869 issue of
the Siam Repositories. The following, a translation of the original text, describes the
practice as it existed over 700 years ago:
"The King was the Sovereign of Northern Siam and reigned in
Swargaloke (sic) and Sukhoday, more than 700 years ago. In the history of the North during
that reign, the story is
That at the season of the full moons of October and November, in
the Royal Wats - Wats which received Royal Patronage - each furnished fireworks which the
proper officers in attendance were waiting to set off. At the place in front of the
palace, called the Royal Seat of Jolbimanjay, were arranged and placed in readiness,
boats, containing baskets full of food with branches placed in the center of them,
suspended lanterns from which hung yellow cloths, such as are called "papa",
presents from the King..."
"...and partly from the officials from the front, and from within,
and partly from the people in the proportion to the extent of their means... These were
arranged and deposited for presentation before the Royal Seat Jolbimanjay.
"At night when His Majesty came down to observe, and descended
into his boat, in company with the distinguished women of the palace, who descended into
their boats and formed part of the retinue, as the Kings boat started the government
officers and the people who came to be spectators and to participate ... drew along with
their boats ... containing baskets of cloths. ... Wherever the procession of boats was to
stop, and on the Kings arrival in front of that wat, the officials set off the
fireworks and honoured him..."
The Royal Barges in the Rattanakosin Period: A
Throughout his long reign, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has
devoted special attention to the preservation of the arts and culture of Thailand. On
viewing the ruins of Ayutthaya, His Majesty once said: "Ancient ruins always do
honour to a nation. Even an old brick from an ancient ruin is worthy of our preservation,
for if we do not have Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok, then Thailand itself does not mean
Restoration of the magnificent Royal Barges of Thailand is an example
of His Majestys respect and caring for the Thai cultural heritage. The Royal Barges
are the last of their kind in the world. The images of the majestic "Sri
Suphannahongse" in a Royal Barge Procession is symbolic of Thailand.
The barges were badly damaged by bombing during World War II. Upon His
Majestys return to Thailand in December, 1951 H.M. the King went to inspect the
damage and condition of the barges in their drydock on the Bangkok Noi Canal on the west
side of the river. His Majesty was gravely concerned about the extensive deterioration of
these historic relics and commissioned their renovation. He also revived the ancient
tradition of the Royal Barge Procession for nationally auspicious occasions.
The waterways of Siam have served as highways for Thai people for centuries and Thai
life was dependent on waterborne transportation.
Amazing Environmental Rally
To raise the level of environmental consciousness within
the community and cultivate greater sensitivity towards the environment, the Environment
For Better Life Foundation, a charitable organization of the TPI group of companies in
conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the TAT Northeastern Office - Region
1, Grand Prix International, Bangkok Airways and TPI Oil, are organizing a charity rally
called the "Amazing Environmental Rally" from Bangkok to Khao Yai on August 7
-8, 1999. Proceeds from the rally will be donated to charitable organizations or used to
support other community causes and activities.
In the wake of the rapid industrialization and modernization,
environmental issues and concerns become an inevitable part of life. Hence the organizers
hope that participation in the Amazing Environmental Rally will help to promote a better
understanding of environmentally related issues and encourage individuals to take a more
active interest in environmental concerns and protection. Furthermore the Amazing
Environmental Rally offers new ecotourism holiday options targeting families and the
younger generation of Thais and those with a special interest.
Trip activities include tree planting, the release of new stocks of
fish into the Pa Sak Dam, a quiz on environmental issues, bird watching at the
Bonanza Resort, and wildlife observation.
Key highlights of the rally will be Wang Muang District, Muak Lek, Khao
Yai National Park, Haew Suwat Waterfall, and a visit to the TPI Polene factory, winner of
an energy conservation award in 1998.
Application fee is Baht 2,700 per team (i.e., 2 persons - Note: 70
teams only). Application fee includes accommodation at the Juldis Khao Yai Resort and 2
Contact information: The Environment For Better Life Foundation, Phone: 213-1011,
285-5090, 213-1039 Ext. 12386 - 87, Fax: 213-1012.
What is Skål?
Skål is the only international organization which
brings together all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Representing the
industrys managers and executives, Skålleagues meet at local, national and
international levels in an environment of friendship to discuss subjects of common
The first club was founded in Paris in 1932 by travel managers who had
been on an educational tour of Scandinavia. The idea of international friendship gained
such popularity that in 1934, Skål achieved international status with the formation of
the Association Internationale des Skål Clubs (A.I.S.C.), on the initiative of the first
President of the Paris Skål Club and the man considered the "Father of Skål",
From that modest beginning, Skål now has more than 25,000 members in
over 500 clubs, spread throughout 80 countries. As in other associations of professionals
(such as Rotary, Oddfellows and Lions), most Skål activities take place within the clubs,
but the movement also features national and area committees coming under the umbrella of
the A.I.S.C. (International), which has its own secretariat in Torremolinos, Spain.
Skål is managed by an Executive Committee of nine members, elected by
club delegates to the General Assembly, which is held in conjunction with the World
Congress. This five-day Congress is hosted by a different country each year, thus offering
members and their companions the opportunity of observing, first hand, the travel and
tourism industry potential of other countries.
Tourism professionals interested in the re-launch of the Skål Club of Pattaya,
please contact Jean F. Wasser at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, tel/fax 250145.
ISR Summer Spectacular
The International School of the Regents (ISR) held its
summer concert at the Mercure Hotel on Thursday 1st July. ISR students served up a
potpourri of music and song that was quite simply stunning, leaving the 400 strong
audience in no doubt about the standard of musicianship at the school.
Proceedings began with the 42-member orchestra playing
Fanfare a number penned by Director of Music, Mr Gary Sanderson. The first of
many stage changes followed as the chamber orchestra convened for Elegy for
The Primary Choir of 70 hearty voices then delivered its repertoire
sometimes accompanied by the recorder and flute group; the highlight being a medley of
well known songs delightfully combining vocal harmonies and recorder. Interspersed were
standards such as The Entertainer and Memory from the Concert Band
as well as a stirring Air on a G String with the strings, clarinet and upright
bass being particularly effective.
The first half of the show closed with the Aussies in the audience
reaching for the tissues after a jazzy but moving arrangement of Australia
Home. Soloists almost stole the show with piano solos from players as young as Year
3 as well as individual contributions from violin, flute and saxophone.
The second half began with the orchestra playing Concert
Overture, the tempo and full sound whetting the audiences appetite. And they
were not disappointed - in true concert fashion the show got better and better,
culminating in a polished version of Handels The Arrival of the Queen of
Sheba from the string ensemble followed by a 10 piece sax and trumpet jazz-funk
number which had the audience tapping their feet to the beat.
This number also showcased the Assistant Director of Music, Miss
Elizabeth Breakwells fine jazz-sax skills. Finally, a medley of well known film
themes, another Sanderson arrangement, which cleverly segued some 15 famous tunes, had the
audience playing Ill name that tune in one...
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the entire performance was the
fact that the players were so young - no fewer than 17 members of the orchestra were of
Junior School age, many having only taken up an instrument last September - a marvellous
achievement. All of which augurs well for the future.
At the final curtain, plaudits rang out and rightly so for Mr. Sanderson and Miss
Breakwell for giving everyone such a memorable evening.
Jeremy Eckford: Always Missed
by Peter Cummins
The recent demise of Dolf Riks, one of Pattayas best-known and
most colourful characters, reminded me somewhat of the many expats who have come to
Pattaya, set up residence and stayed here. Some eventually move on but others, like Dolf,
end their days here.
On reflecting further, I found that it is six years to the very day,
that another colourful character, Jeremy Eckford met an untimely death in an accident, at
only 47 years of age.
Yet, I feel that Jeremy is still among us. A walk along Beach Road and
up and down Soi Yamato and Soi Post Office, right down to the end of the Strip, the myriad
places he frequented are just that little bit empty without him - even six years down the
His sense of humour was unfailing. On one particular occasion, I had
the rare good sense to go to bed early. I met Jeremy early the next morning and it was
obvious he had not gone to bed early, as he was downing a breakfast Bloody Mary. After two
more he said, "you know, Peter, you are feeling the best you will feel all day, right
now. Your well-being will not improve as the day wears on." As for me, he continued,
"I woke up feeling dreadful after last nights binge but, already, I am starting
to feel better; it will be a steady progression until this evening," he grinned.
As I moved on to mull over this philosophy, he dropped another of his
famous one-liners: "Actually, I am sick and tired of waking up sick and tired!"
Jeremy had certainly had a night on the town, along Pattayas
Strip where he was, undoubtedly, its most famous denizen. He was all things to all people:
the beloved clown, the confidante of the lovelorn, the friend of the legion of expats and
yachties who hang out in Pattaya, a comforter of many a forlorn or lonely maiden but,
possibly best of all, he was the person one always looked forward to seeing on a night
He would sidle up to you at the bar - usually the Marine Bar - on his
mountain bike, usually drink one of your beers before he inevitably bought the next two -
or three, or four. Or, he would drive along in the jeep which he shared with two other
partners and which spent more time at the police station for some breach or other than
actually being driven. Of course, all three partners denied any knowledge of an
infringement (who, me? they would all chorus). Or, he would trundle along astride his
three-wheeler, a motorcycle, side-car combination, the genre of which was last seen on the
Eastern Front during World War II.
He had a brush with death even before he met his tragic end. Sailing
single-handedly along the west side of Koh Larn, Jeremy slipped overboard and the
catamaran kept sailing, leaving him struggling to stay afloat, some three km. off shore.
Fortunately, a passing fishing boat saw the boat, by then capsized, and, about an hour
later found Jeremy, close to drowning.
Even such a ghastly experience could not dampen (if one
could be pardoned allusion) his humour. Some time later, I observed that sea-lore has it
that a drowning person sees life flash past and recollections compressed in those last
desperate minutes before going down for the third time. "Is that true, Jeremy, did
you have recollections before that fishing boat hauled you out?" I asked him.
"Yes," he replied with his characteristic half-smile, "I remembered
everything EXCEPT my swimming lessons!"
He was a man of many parts was Jeremy. Well read, he was a great
raconteur and a good conversationalist. He was a first-class sailor who won many events in
multi-hull racing at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club at South Pattaya; a Cowes-week, Fastnet
sailor who excelled; he sailed the South China Sea Series, winning the CHS handicap
division aboard Bill Gassons "Buzzard" and again shared the glory, aboard
"Buzzard", crewing in successive Phuket Kings Cup Regattas.
Over the past few years, he had ferried "Buzzard" and
"Foreign X-Change II" to and from Phuket, Manila and Hong Kong, for their
respective owners, Bill Gasson and David Pollard. He ran a tight ship. No alcohol on these
delivery runs; make up for it afterwards - which he did with tremendous gusto.
Jeremy knew when to keep the pressure on - and when to let go. He
never, under any circumstances, compromised anyone; life, whether his own or that of
anyone around him, was too precious to jeopardize.
His standards were quite clearly exemplified when he walked away from a
very high-paying career as a helicopter pilot in Indonesia, some eight years before his
death. The maintenance crews, he ascertained, were not of sufficient ability and lacked
the training to keep the choppers in satisfactory condition. He never went back.
A very private man, he never imposed his considerable knowledge and
life experience on any other person. His respect, consequently, for all he met, was
boundless; there was no time for pettiness in his make-up - just his perpetual half-smile
which was neither mocking nor superficial. It was Jeremy.
Perhaps his life could be summed up by the huge crowd which gathered at
the Wat in South Pattaya for his funeral - a marvellous group of individuals, a
cross-section of Jeremys world. It ranged from Runyanesque characters who could have
just walked out of a l930s Chicago Speakeasy of the Prohibition Era, to shirtless expats
totally covered in tattoos; from elegantly-dressed business tycoons to svelte Thai ladies,
alluring even in their respectful black outfits; from urchins, the hardy survivors of
Pattayas streets, to sailors, still wearing life-jackets.
The final nautical tribute to our departed friend was aptly described
by David Wales, in his moving piece written at the time, for the Royal Varuna in-house
magazine. Said David: "...with Jeremys mortal remains, we went to the Ocean
Marina, to meet Bill (Gasson) and David (Pollard) who had generously offered to give
Jeremy the deep six in the Gulf. "Buzzard" and Bill had a very
special place in Jeremys heart."
A few miles offshore, in a freshening breeze, Jeremys remains
were scattered on the waters of the Gulf he loved so much. Everybody threw flowers and a
few beers to send him off while "Buzzard" and "Foreign X-Change II"
circled the area three times.
We shall all miss this smiling man, whether on the land, on the sea,
and for those who flew with him - even in the air.
His ashes, like the boats he commanded, were blown by the
South-westerly Monsoon but, somehow, as I prowl the night spots, I feel Jeremy is still
Davids farewell said it all for all of us who knew him: "Rest in peace,
Jeremy, friend to all the world."
Negotiation tips - the short course (1
by Richard Townsend, Corporate Training
Before the negotiation confirm:
Your goal by defining your ideal outcome and just as importantly their
The time constraints on both parties and the reasons for the
Both your and their limitations on what can be offered or given away
Define and write down your opening position and gather all you can on
Document your minimum acceptable solution and what you believe theirs
Your negative perceptions of the situation and what their negative
perceptions may be
Then develop a strategy by:
Identifying objective standards by which rules of engagement can be set
i.e. values & ethics, appraisals that may be accepted & by whom, legal practice,
Neutralize negative perceptions or bias that hinder, i.e. this customer
is greedy, unionists are troublemakers or management is against the workers
List possible solutions for the other side and their repercussions for
Define possible areas of agreement and the underlying mutual needs
Determine limitations impact, what they may realistically be able to
accept, deadlines, the power of the negotiating team to make decisions, political
Try to define their perspective on the negotiation, i.e. what is their
real problem and how do they view our position and attitude
List alternative actions that may provide some basis for continuation
or a partial agreement or an, "if all else fails option", (sometimes referred to
as a lifeboat)
Practice by role-playing both sides of the negotiation to find
During the Negotiation:
Outline issues objectively & gauge reaction to find areas of
agreement or disagreement
Dont interrupt; listen and look carefully; identify confidence
& knowledge levels, fears and motivations
Be now and future focussed (dont get into the last time we...
Ask the other party to define their current perspective on the issue
Do not accuse and do not be personal, try to create empathy for your
position by explaining your stance with facts rather than giving your perspective on their
Dont go to your extreme position (if you dont do this I
will or will not do that), emphasize you are looking for a mutual solution
Encourage the parties to define a number of possible solutions
emphasizing both party benefits to be gained
If a deadlock occurs focus on ways to keep the process moving, if the
process stalls totally, try to resolve some less crucial issues to get the process
Sexier bedrooms and the obnoxious
From Imtiaz Muqbil,
Executive Editor Travel Impact Newswire
Every two months, Small Luxury Hotels of the World sends out a
questionnaire to 60 General Managers and Directors of Sales and Marketing, all specially
selected from among its 246 members world-wide. The questionnaire solicits their views
about industry changes and personal experiences impacting on the way they manage and
relate to staff and guests. The feedback is collated, summarized and then distributed to
selected travel media world-wide.
In the next two issues of Newswire, I am reproducing the last six
issues of the Luxury Hotel Monitor. They provide fascinating insights into how hoteliers
are being affected by - and reacting to - global changes in guest lifestyles and business
patterns. Anyone tracking the shifting sands of the service industry, including national
tourism organizations, airlines and tour operators, will find these issues of Newswire
Hoteliers Now Virtual Therapists
for Attention-Seeking Guests
Campaign mounts to discourage moral pressure of credit card
Hoteliers who deal with the very richest clientele admit that their job
increasingly now involves acting as virtual therapists for attention-seeking
In their role as 24-hour psychologists, the hoteliers have to be good
listeners and advisors whilst customers struggle with their consciences over drinking,
diet and smoking, and admit to their social and business anxieties.
Guest moods have to be read on arrival, and their
frequently-changing expectations and attitudes handled with care until they leave.
Often clients want reassurance over the way they look, what they eat,
how many drinks or cigarettes to consume, and their success in business. The younger
guests also need support in situations where they may be socially less experienced.
Hoteliers have to be particularly discreet when they think couples are
having an affair, usually recognized when people keep looking around, or when they spend
more time admiring each other than what is on the plate.
Other tell-tale signs are the mans air of anticipation and the
womans contact stroking of her hair, the fact that they talk far more than other
guests, and on departure when the male opens the car door for his lady-friend and also
leaves a higher than average guilty conscience tip.
On the issue of customer psychology, more and more hoteliers say they
discourage the practice of applying moral pressure to guests by expecting them to complete
the gratuity space on credit card slips. The consensus is that Small Luxury
Hoteliers would prefer to see an industry-wide ban on this behavior.
Asked whether they prefer having business or leisure guests in their
properties, the typical diplomatic answer is that leisure guests are more fun, but
business people are easier to please.
More Complaints Please - Say Luxury Hotels
Greedy businessmen and questionable Fam Trips are ethical
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of top of the market hotels think it would be
of benefit to them to receive more complaints. Hoteliers say they want a relationship
where guests make a point of suggesting improvements.
However, many criticisms can still be unconstructive, for example, the
wrong kind of sand at a beach resort, the sun proving too hot, or twittering birds waking
guests earlier than their alarm call.
The Small Luxury Hotels consortium members also report that they
are more aware of an ethical decline in the industry. They estimate that at least a third,
and as many as half of familiarization visits have doubtful business purposes - a figure
which has rapidly grown. Some even try to have free holidays with their partners and
children, and in some cases even with their in-laws, relatives and friends.
A majority (53%) of SLH hoteliers also believe that more and more
executives and delegates take advantage of hospitality when other people are paying,
typically by eating and drinking more than usual, half-emptying the mini-bar to take home,
and up-grading their choice of wines.
Looking ahead, the proportion of hoteliers remaining optimistic about
business prospects has fallen from 63% six months ago to 48%, and 74% do NOT expect
celebrations associated with the Millennium to add much extra profit in 1999.
International Hoteliers Divided over Threat of
More worried about hygiene issues, keeping chefs and thinner guests
Small Luxury Hoteliers are not yet convinced that a world-wide
recession will affect their business, but they are concerned about stricter hygiene laws,
keeping their chefs, and thin guests who dont eat much.
Hoteliers concerned about the economic outlook include those in
America, Asia, Australia, Britain and Italy, but those remaining totally confident include
France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.
To counter fears of downturn, hoteliers refer to their resilient niche
markets including senior business executives, golfers, rich spa devotees, top government
officials, and aging clientele spending old money.
But over two thirds (69%) of hoteliers are concerned that hygiene and
health issues are becoming more serious considerations, due to both government pressures
and the expectations of their customers. Particular fears center on the question of
liability in the event of guest illnesses, food suppliers, and the future threat posed by
resistant strains of bacteria.
Guests in luxury hotels are tending to become thinner, and more
faddy about food, which is another worry, because they eat and therefore spend
less, but also want more unusual dishes and at less traditional times.
Most depressing of all their problems, say a majority (62%) of hoteliers, is to keep
their chefs from being poached by other hotels. Solutions include providing an
excellent working environment, the opportunity to develop more interesting and creative
menus, giving more responsibility to young chefs, paying them fairly, and involving them
in all food and beverage decisions.
Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]
Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.