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Archive for 2004

31 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 10: Managing The Aftermath of the Crisis

Sri Lankan industry consultant Renton de Alwis, a former Vice President Asia for the Pacific Asia Travel Association, looks at what’s next in a strategy paper on “Managing the Aftermath of the Crisis.”


30 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 9: “Caring Has No Religion”

A superb story in the Indian Express describes how people of all religions, castes and creeds came together to help each other out.


30 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 8: Thailand in Heavy-Duty Crisis Management Mode

The latest updates, announcements and appeals from the Thai government and Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Malaysian government, Emirates, PATA, Diethelm Travel, Taj Hotels and Resorts, Bali Crisis Center for Natural Disaster and International Institute for Peace through Tourism. The PATA announcement is particularly noteworthy for those looking to boost the distribution of ‘good news’. […]


29 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 7: Situation Stabilises as Clean-Up Gets Under Way

The situation is stabilising in Thailand where clean-up, evacuation and relief efforts are proceeding smoothly.


29 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 6: Contact Details Set Up to Trace Missing Persons

More announcements, appeals and updates from around the region. Plus website links, contact numbers set up to facilitate information on missing persons.


28 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 5: More Status Reports From Around The Region

Latest announcements, appeals and updates from around the region.


28 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 4: Solutions Sought to Mitigate Impact of Natural Disasters

Over the next few months, the travel & tourism industry certainly will be looking for ways to mitigate the impact of earthquakes and other natural disasters.


28 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 3: Help Begins To Pour In

On the third day after the tsunami struck, global relief efforts have begun in earnest and help is pouring in.


27 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 2: Who is Affected, and Who is Not

Destinations around Asia moved Monday to clarify their status in the wake of the deadly tsunamis, communicating with tour operators, the media and agents.


27 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Dispatch 1: “Nuclear Tidal Wave” Hits Asia

Asia’s tryst with natural and man-made disasters continued on the morning after Christmas Day 2004 when tidal waves packing the power of a small nuclear blast crashed through many coastal areas.


1 Nov, 2004

Thais Rue Image Fallout of South Thailand Conflict

The Thai travel and tourism industry has expressed shock and dismay at the deteriorating situation in south Thailand, with the Thai Hotels Association (THA) fearing that it is spiralling out of control and may get worse before it gets better. THA President Chanin Donavanik and Association of Thai Travel Agents President Suparerk Soorangura both agreed […]


27 Sep, 2004

PATA Mart Springs Back to Life After Shift to Bangkok

786 110 Once written off as moribund, the annual travel mart of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) bounced back to life last week with a hugely successful event that was relocated to Bangkok after six largely unproductive years in Singapore. A straw poll among several sellers gave the mart a rating of 7 to […]


20 Sep, 2004

Egypt Pledges Higher Tourism Profile in Asia

CAIRO — Egypt’s new tourism minister is promising to raise the country’s marketing profile in the Asia-Pacific as part of efforts to diversify its sources of visitor arrivals and balance out long-standing reliance on Europe and North America. Recording growing numbers of visitors from China and India, Mr. Ahmed El Maghraby told a press conference […]


13 Sep, 2004

U.S. Visitors Concerned Over “Sense of Welcome” in Europe, Study Finds

A new study conducted by the European Union to woo back American visitors has broken new ground by raising issues that reflect the impact of geopolitics and globalization on the travel & tourism industry. While the study does probe the routine marketing issues like image, perception, value for money, likes and dislikes, it also goes […]


6 Sep, 2004

What the New Bangkok Governor Promised the Tourism Sector

Now that Apirak Kosayodhin has been elected governor of Bangkok, it might be useful to cite the specific positions and ideas he cited for improving services and facilities for visitors to the city, as presented in his pre-election campaign pitch to the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) on August 25. Heading the list of […]


27 Aug, 2004

What’s Your Platform? Thai Tourism Sector Asks City Governor Candidates

The 1,367-member Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) last week set a new political precedent for the Thai travel & tourism by inviting candidates for the Bangkok gubernatorial election to outline what they plan to do for visitors and the tourism industry in one of Asia’s most popular cities. Rather than follow the long-standing reactive […]


23 Aug, 2004

Thailand Not Ready for 20 Million Visitors, Says ex-TAT Governor

FORMER Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Pradech Phayakvichien last week voiced concern about the government’s visitor arrivals target of 20 million by 2004, and asked whether the country is ready for such a deluge. Speaking at a seminar on Cultural Heritage Tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, […]


16 Aug, 2004

Thailand, India Links Grow but Tourism Flows Remain Skewed

The growing economic contacts between Thailand and India are opening up opportunities to rectify at least two areas of critical imbalance in bilateral visitor flows. Even as the Indian tourist office is concerned about the large gap between Indian visitors to Thailand as against vice versa, the Tourism Authority of Thailand sees more opportunity for […]


9 Aug, 2004

Hotel Room Design Changes in Line With Changing Lifestyles

Changes in lifetstyles, technology and guest expectations are having a signfiicant impact on the design of hotels and guestrooms, according to a recent roundtable organised by the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The discussion, the first of its kind organised by the school, brought together design leaders from top […]


2 Aug, 2004

Nok Air Flogs Low Fares, But Public Finds Not All Fares are Low

Within hours of the Nok Air launch on 23 July, the phones started ringing at the call centres by people wanting cheap fares. The only problem was, only a few could get them; the rest had to be taken carefully through the intricacies of airline pricing, and explained why the low fares were not quite […]


26 Jul, 2004

TAT Starts Marketing Push for Restive South Thailand

It has long been claimed that Northeast Thailand is the country’s most neglected tourism area. However, with that area now set to be revived as a stepping stone to the Greater Mekong Subregion countries, it is the situation in South Thailand that is attracting the most attention, especially in the wake of the recent unrest. […]


19 Jul, 2004

TAT Overseas Office Chiefs Rue Rackets, Cheats

Long-standing complaints about tour-guide cheats, jewellery shopping commission rackets and low quality products and service standards continue to blot an otherwise flourishing tourism industry, heads of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) overseas offices indicated last week. Wrapping up a week of meetings to finalise tourism marketing plans for 2005, the TAT directors mentioned these […]


5 Jul, 2004

UN ESCAP to Develop Indicators for Tourism – Poverty Links

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has begun to develop methodologies and indicators to help governments and other stakeholders understand and measure how tourism benefits the poor. Although tourism, both international and domestic, is recognised as a major contributor to poverty alleviation worldwide, it has long lacked a uniformly […]


28 Jun, 2004

UK Foreign Office Agrees to Issue Travel Advisories “Sparingly”

In a major victory for global travel industry associations, the UK Foreign Office has agreed to fine-tune its travel advisory service and issue them “sparingly” and “only in situations of extreme and imminent danger.” In a written statement to UK Parliament on 22 June, the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, announced the outcome of a […]


21 Jun, 2004

Thailand Among Four “Favourite” Markets for Hotel Investors

Thailand has been described as one of the four “favourite” markets for hotel investors in the year ahead, along with China, Japan and Australia. At a hotel investment conference in Singapore last month, Scott Hetherington, Managing Director Asia, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, said the Thai markets have recovered from the affects of SARS and Bird […]


14 Jun, 2004

Airlines Seek More Efficient Infrastructure, Services

SINGAPORE: Global airlines have challenged their infrastructure and service providers worldwide to start doing their share to make the travel industry simpler and more cost efficient. At a panel discussion at the International Air Transport Association annual conference here last week, executives of major airlines said airports, immigration authorities, air traffic control providers, global distribution […]


7 Jun, 2004

Aussies Seek to Launch Airline for Backpackers

MELBOURNE: Bangkok is to be one of the five popular backpacker destinations to be connected by a new airline that will be dedicated almost exclusively to this fast-growing niche-market. The Australian-owned airline, backpackersXpress, is due to start flying in late October early November. It is planning a thrice weekly schedule between Manchester-Melbourne, and a twice-weekly […]


31 May, 2004

U.S. Airline Pilots Endorse John Kerry for President

In what is believed to the first political stand taken by a travel industry organisation, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), the union that represents most of the US airline pilots, last week endorsed John Kerry for US president in the upcoming November elections. In a press release posted on its website <www.alpa.org>, the […]


24 May, 2004

Asia-Pacific Cities Seek to Forge Tourism Linkages

BUSAN, Korea — Representatives of 39 Asia-Pacific cities met in Korea’s second largest city last week to discuss ways to promote tourism to and amongst their respective cities. However, they left the Tourism Forum organised by the Asia-Pacific Tourism Promotion Organisation (TPO) with little to show, making the entire event yet another example of how […]


10 May, 2004

Qatar Unveils US$20 billion Tourism Development Projects

DOHA, Qatar — While the high profile Dubai gets much of the publicity related to its tourism development plans, its fellow emirate of Doha is seeking to catch up, and fast. Between 1-2 May, Qatar became the first Gulf country to host the annual summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the rich-man’s club […]


3 May, 2004

Emirates Says It Needs No “Guru’s Teachings” to Succeed

DUBAI: In announcing record profits of US$ 476 million last week, the management of the Emirates airline and travel group clearly enjoyed taking a few tongue-in-cheek digs at hawkers of ‘conventional wisdom’ in global aviation, its competitors as well as countries that artificially restrict traffic rights. The Dubai-based group said its profits for the financial […]


26 Apr, 2004

Bangkok Airways Rebrands Itself as Asia’s “Boutique Airline”

Repositioning itself as Asia’s “boutique airline” is expected to help Bangkok Airways generate revenues of US$ 154 million this year, up from US$ 115 million in 2003, the airline’s President & CEO Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth told a major travel industry conference last week. Revealing earnings figures that are rarely disclosed even in Thailand, Dr Prasert […]


19 Apr, 2004

Internet Helps Boost Bookings, But Not Rates

While the Internet is stoking more bookings for the US hotel industry, it is not necessarily translating into higher average daily room rates because of the huge price discounting that has resulted, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The study of the Effect of the Internet on Pricing was circulated at the recent International Hotel […]


12 Apr, 2004

UK Govt Publishes Review of Advisory Issuance Procedures

The UK government last week published a review of its controversial travel advisory issuance procedures and invited additional public comment before finalising the document. It is expected to be avidly discussed at the annual conference of the Pacific Asia Travel Association in Jeju, Korea, this week. However, the document is expected to come under fire […]


5 Apr, 2004

SAS Shifts Departure Control Centre to Bangkok

Since March 2002, about 250 Scandinavian Airlines flights worldwide have been taking off only after being cleared by young Thai load control supervisors manning a sophisticated computer centre on the 8th floor of the Glas Haus building, Sukhumvit Road. Just one door away, another group of Thais are processing thousands of letters which come in […]


4 Apr, 2004

How Sole-searching can facilitate Soul-searching

Originally Published: 04 April 2004 One of the great trends of our times is the relentless pursuit of material gain, otherwise known as profits, economic growth, shareholder value, etc., etc. The ultimate goal is maximum financial enrichment which, inspite of being specifically warned against in all the religious doctrines, has become the be-all and end-all […]


29 Mar, 2004

ADB Pushes Overhaul of GMS Tourism Plans & Projects

CHIANG MAI – The Asian Development Bank is pushing for an overhaul of the tourism development strategy of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) to improve its marketing, facilitation and administration. Ten years after the formation of the GMS Tourism Working Group, the bank has allocated US$ 800,000 for a new study to draft out strategies […]


22 Mar, 2004

After Madrid Bombings, Travel Advisory Double Standards Under Fire

BERLIN: The train bombings in Madrid last week cast a pall over the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest trade show, but also raised hackles among several developing countries about double standards over the controversial application of travel advisories. In public and private comments, tourism ministers and senior delegates from Nepal, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India and […]


15 Mar, 2004

PATA Sends First Tourism Task Force to North Korea

The first tourism task force to operate into the world’s last purely communist country, North Korea, has painted a picture of a land that is ready for tourism from a scenic, cultural and infrastructure perspective but needs to significantly upgrade its management, marketing and accessibility. The task force was organised by the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia […]


29 Jan, 2004

World Social Forum 2004 Report 3: The Future Of Food And Water

Do you know that more money is spent annually in Europe and the USA on dog and cat food than would be needed to provide access to clean drinking water for all humanity?


28 Jan, 2004

World Social Forum 2004 Report 2: Feeding The Hand That Bites It

Concern is rising about the consolidation of global media in the hands of a small group of conglomerates. This is unhealthy for global democracy as well as for the travel & tourism industry, which can play a major role in supporting the independent media that is struggling to emerge.


27 Jan, 2004

World Social Forum 2004 Report 1: Tourism Civil Society On The Move

Is globalisation really “irreversible”? Not quite. Nobel prize winners Shirin Ebadi and Joseph Stiglitz are among the thousands who believe that globalisation needs some surgery and that “Another World is Possible.”


14 Jan, 2004

World Economic Forum vs World Social Forum: Two Worlds, Two Ways

Both the World Economic Forum and World Social Forum convened for their annual pow-wows in January 2004. The outcomes of both events will have a major impact on the future of travel & tourism.


12 Jan, 2004

Buddhist Circuit On The Rise

The Buddhist pilgrimage circuit, one of the world’s most promising itineraries, is one of two priority themes under a tourism plan to be developed for Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.


9 Jan, 2004

WEF Global Survey Shows People Feel “Unsafe, Powerless And Gloomy”

A survey representing the thoughts of more than one billion people has found that half those questioned think global security is “poor” and that the next generation will live in a less safe world.


6 Jan, 2004

Asia Seeks Stable And Equitable Growth

The events of the past few years have shown how vulnerable the economies of the Asia-Pacific countries are to so-called ‘external shocks.’ A United Nations Bulletin on Asia-Pacific Perspectives says it is time to seek “stable and equitable’ growth.”