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Archive for 2002

16 Dec, 2002

PB Air Helps Boost Embraer’s Foothold in Asia

Domestic Thai airline PB Air is to become the second in Asia to start operating the Brazilian-made aircraft, the Embraer ERJ 145, two of which are due to arrive in Thailand on Dec 23rd and go into service on Christmas day. The aircraft will replace PB Air’s existing Fokker F28 equipment on its routenet which […]


2 Dec, 2002

Mombasa Bombings Mean “Soft & Vulnerable” Tourism Now a Target

LAST week’s bombings in the Kenyan beach resort of Mombassa pose a grave danger to the future of the global tourism industry, and more specifically to that of Thailand, too. While international intelligence and security officials are admitting that the ‘soft and vulnerable’ tourism industry has now become a target worldwide, Thai industry executives are […]


25 Nov, 2002

Big Companies Gobbling Up Small Seems To Be Over

LONDON: The era of large travel companies gobbling up small travel companies appears to be over. Mr Roger Luscombe of Continental Capital Partners told a seminar at the recent World Travel Market 2002 that the mergers and acquisitions among travel companies that dominated the industry for the last 2-3 years is “not happening”. He noted […]


28 Oct, 2002

Music to the Ears of Team-Builders in MICE Sector

The boom in global conventions and meetings business is creating huge cross-linkage opportunities for the music and entertainment industry. While traditional music remains in demand for regular functions like opening and closing ceremonies, corporations with big budgets and specific team-building needs are turning to companies like Spirit of the Dance and Human Rhythms. Both were […]


21 Oct, 2002

Global Aviation Contracts, But Thai Airlines Buck Trend

Global airlines are going through a bad patch and the aviation industry appears ready for a major downturn. Not so, apparently, in Thailand where airlines appear to be bucking the trend. In the last few weeks, Thai Airways International has rolled out a string of announcements designed to present an upbeat picture about its future […]


14 Oct, 2002

Bali Bombing Leaves Industry in Shock

The Pacific Asia travel and tourism industry was in a state of shock yesterday as it sought to contemplate the wide-ranging impact of the devastating bomb blasts in Bali over the weekend. “There is no such thing as a ‘safe place’ in the travel and tourism industry any more,” said Mr Alwin Zecha, managing director […]


14 Oct, 2002

Industry Executives Begin to Brace for Fallout from Attack on Iraq

The Asia-Pacific tourism industry is beginning to prepare for yet another crisis that is expected to follow an attack on Iraq, an informal survey of regional industry executives reveals. Mr Ken Boundy, managing director of the Australian Tourist Commission, said ATC executives have met with all the CEO’s of the state tourism organisations to start […]


13 Oct, 2002

Karen Armstrong’s Book Traces Monotheism’s “Battle for God”

Originally Published: 10 Oct 2002 The global resurgence of Islamic, Christian and Jewish fundamentalism is the theme of the latest book by well-known religious writer Karen Armstrong. The former nun who is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the monotheistic religions has produced a powerful book called “The Battle for God,” which should […]


7 Oct, 2002

Food & Catering Sector Faces post-9/11 Security Headaches

Kuala Lumpur: Security concerns are creating major financial and administrative headaches for suppliers of food and catering services to the aviation industry in the post-9/11 era. Although not a single incident of hijacking or terrorism has involved security lapses in catering, suppliers say they are suffering from an image of being the “soft-under-belly” of aviation, […]


6 Oct, 2002

Double Standards of Death: How Many More Innocents Will Perish in Iraq, The Sequel?

Originally Published: 6 Oct 2002 Sifting through the mass of material available on the internet about the coming conflict in Iraq, distinctly noticeable is the nearly complete absence of any soul-searching about how many people will die. Innocent people, that is. Yes, we all know that it’s about control of global oil supplies, the upcoming […]


30 Sep, 2002

Amadeus, Abacus Chase SMEs in Asian Travel Industry

Two of the Asia-Pacific’s leading global distribution systems (GDSs) are beginning to target one of the most neglected travel industry customer segments: the thousands of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who badly need access to low-cost reservation and booking systems to drive business. Both are testing the technologies and administrative systems that will be […]


22 Sep, 2002

Let’s Hear It for Whistle-Blowers

Originally Published: 22 Sept 2002 At any time in any government organisation or major company, questionable decisions are being made that rattle the conscience of one of those involved in them. Behind all the public relations glitz and glamour, someone knows exactly who is trying to achieve what and why. Unable to live with the […]


16 Sep, 2002

How The Oriental Awoke to the Potential of the Middle East Market

In the hotel business, location is everything. A few weeks ago, Kurt Wachtveitl, general manager of The Oriental, realised that his hotel’s riverside location was not his only asset. In a letter to various embassies of the Middle East countries inviting them to book their guests at The Oriental, he pointed out that Thailand’s most […]


9 Sep, 2002

Indonesian Travel Groups Oppose Attack on Iraq

JAKARTA: In what could be an industry first, Indonesian travel and tourism associations are to mount a joint campaign to oppose an attack on Iraq. Citing the small but steady recovery taking place in one of the country’s leading foreign exchange earning industries, the Indonesian Tourism Council and the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board (ITPB) are […]


8 Sep, 2002

The U.S. is becoming more like the enemy every day

Originally Published: 08 Sep 2002 Exactly a year ago, the events of 9/11 triggered a backlash against the religion of Islam. If Islam was supposed to be a religion of peace, there does not seem to be much evidence of it, went the refrain in the global media. The word ‘Islam’ was, and still is, […]


2 Sep, 2002

Malaysian Airlines to Sell Off Assets as Part of Restructuring

Malaysia Airlines is to sell-off all its aircraft and many of its properties, including its headquarters, in a revolutionary attempt to become a debt-free ‘virtual airline,’ according to a detailed report on the restructuring plan published this week by Aviation Analyst – Asia Pacific. Under the plan, all the carrier’s assets and liabilities are to […]


19 Aug, 2002

Wider Security Concerns Over Baggage Thefts At Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport

The recent spate of thefts and pilferage from baggage at Don Muang airport has again raised serious concern about security, but airport and airline executives are undecided who should take responsibility or what should be done next. Incidents of pilferage began after the Airports Authority of Thailand stopped securing checked-in baggage with a wrap-around plastic […]


12 Aug, 2002

Ousted TAT Governor Goes To Court

The action initiated by former Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Pradech Phayakvichien against the TAT chairman and board seeks to declare unlawful and illegal the order removing him from the post. It will also have broader ramifications on the search for a new governor. The Administrative Court is expected to take at least two […]


11 Aug, 2002

The Gut-Wrenching Process of Making A Fresh Start

Originally Published: 11 Aug 2003 One of the films featured at the recent film festival in Bangkok was “Wild About Harry.” Behind the relatively unceremonial title and an equally bland synopsis was a brilliant, deeply thought-provoking film of great relevance to society and humanity at large. The central character is a hard-drinking, womanising, swaggering but […]


11 Aug, 2002

The beauty of “restructuring” by making a fresh start

Originally Published: 11 Aug 2002 One of the films featured at the recent film festival in Bangkok was “Wild About Harry”. Behind the relatively unceremonial title and an equally bland synopsis was a brilliant, deeply thought-provoking film of great relevance to society and humanity at large. The central character is a hard-drinking, womanising, swaggering but […]


29 Jul, 2002

Leisure Conference to Break New Ground, Ponder New Topics

A fundamental and long overdue change is taking place in the subject matter discussed at global travel conferences, one that will have a profound impact on the forces shaping the future of the industry. International tourism industry academics, meeting for the biennial 7th World Leisure Congress in Kuala Lumpur, will be setting aside well-worn topics […]


22 Jul, 2002

Bangkok Skytrain Moves to Double Daily Tourist Useage

Bangkok’s popular Skytrain has embarked upon a number of long-overdue initiatives to double the number of tourists using it daily. After having nearly totally ignored the huge potential of visitor traffic since opening in December 1999, and lost millions of baht in untapped business, the management of the Bangkok Mass Transit System PCL (BTS) is […]


15 Jul, 2002

Thai Airways Chief’s Apology to Travelling Public Leads to Head-Scratching

Last week’s unprecedented apology by Thai Airways President Kanok Abhiradee to representatives of upmarket clients who have taken their business elsewhere was not only the first of its kind in aviation history but has left some wondering whether the chief executives of other Thai state enterprises will follow suit. Airline chief executives do not extend […]


8 Jul, 2002

Marketing Via Movies Can Backfire, Says Study

While national tourism organisations are falling over themselves to promote movies being made in their destinations, they are paying little attention to the consequences of the success of the policy and the destination management problems that may result, according to a study by an Australian researcher. Sue Beeton, senior lecturer in tourism at La Trobe […]


30 Jun, 2002

Religious leaders sign peace charter but now have to practice what they preach

Originally Published: 30 Jun 2002 Hundreds of religious leaders who met in Bangkok between June 12-14 have established a World Council of Religious Leaders and signed off on a charter reaffirming their belief that religion can serve as a positive force for achieving world peace. But, as usual, their lofty and noble words were belied […]


24 Jun, 2002

As Aviation Security Costs Soar, Key Question Is: Who Will Pay?

As the airline industry faces billions of dollars in additional costs to security and insurance concerns, and the major question is: Who is going to pay, and how? For years, airlines resisted attempts to impose any kind of taxes, surcharges or levies, be it to protect the environment or boost government revenues, but today faces […]


17 Jun, 2002

TAT Survey Shows Visitors Fret About Being Cheated

For years, the Thai tourism industry suffered from two serious ‘image’ problems: Bangkok’s traffic and environmental conditions, and the city’s barefaced nightlife. Now, both those complaints have been dethroned by the latest ‘image problem’: Dishonesty of the city’s public transport drivers and jewellery shops. In a survey of 500 visitors earlier this year, the Tourism […]


16 Jun, 2002

Hindu Leader Criticises Conversions: Save Us From the Saviours

Originally Published: 16 June 2002 IT did not take long for the fault-lines to emerge at the meeting of global religious leaders at Buddhamonthon last Wednesday. Within minutes of the opening bell of the World Council of Religious Leaders conference, the mainstream religions had placed their political and philosophical baggage out in full display. Amidst […]


10 Jun, 2002

Victimised TAT Governor Exonerated, Walks Away With Head High

Former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Pradech Phayakvichien last week walked away from his job legally exonerated of the charges against him, with the added confirmation that he was indeed the victim of a political conspiracy hatched by TAT insiders in collusion with Cabinet ministers. In a statement of rebuttal over the “ethical” as against […]


3 Jun, 2002

Australia Launches $3 Million, Multi-Language Tourism Website

BRISBANE: The Australian Tourist Commission last week launched a new multi-language tourism website designed to help potential visitors cut through the clutter of thousands of individual websites and give a major hand specially to small and medium sized businesses. Three years and A$3 million in the making, the website, australia.com, is referred to as “the […]


27 May, 2002

Second Bangkok Airport Faces Further Delay

A conference on the future of Thai airports last week made little headway in clarifying some of the major issues related to the opening of Suvarnabhumi, the second Bangkok International airport. While the official position remains a prospective inauguration in 2005, virtually no-one believes it will be possible, with airline veterans in Thailand saying 2008 […]


20 May, 2002

Thai Women Tourism Leaders Plan Local Chapter of Global Network

Some of Thailand’s top women executives in the travel and tourism industry are exploring the possibility of setting up their own separate grouping in the wake of the momentum generated by the annual convention of the International Federation of Women’s Travel Organisations (IFWTO) in Bangkok last week. At least 15 individual members are needed to […]


19 May, 2002

World religious leaders to ponder whether they are a part of the solution, or the problem?

Originally published: 19 May 2002 Ministers responsible for the social and economic development of Asia Pacific countries will gather in Bangkok this week for their annual talk-fest on the never-ending range of regional problems. In the august halls of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, they will moan and groan […]


5 May, 2002

Nobel Laureate Bishop Tutu: “Oppressing another people will get Israel neither security nor safety”

Originally Published: 5 May 2002 Even the most carefully laid plans have a way of backfiring. What began as a plan to demonise and smear Muslims as terrorists in the wake of Sept 11 has now shifted to the greater truth: A focus on the brutal occupation of Palestine and Israel’s attempts to cover up, […]


2 Apr, 2002

Just Months After 9/11, The Industry Changes Hands

1. THE INDUSTRY CHANGES HANDS: The travel and tourism industry has now slipped well and truly into the hands of security companies, insurance firms, intelligence agencies and diplomats. A serious problem looms.
2. UP IN ARMS AGAINST ADVISORIES: A number of governments resent being held hostage to “unfair, capricious and arbitrary” travel advisories. At least two ministers are speaking out. The UNWTO feels they have a point.