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11 Aug, 2020

Geopolitical impact of Covid-19 pandemic enters the agendas of global Travel & Tourism forums

Bangkok – The far-reaching geopolitical impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the future of tourism is to be the topic of a game-changing webinar to be organised by the Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett on Aug 26. Former UN World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General Dr Taleb Rifai and Chairperson of the UN SDGs Advocate Alumni Ambassador […]


27 Jul, 2020

The Death of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying global recession is set to trigger “years of depressed and disrupted economic growth”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned on July 1, 2020. He painted a grim picture of acute suffering, saying that extreme poverty and hunger are set to increase drastically. Many healthcare systems are at breaking point and a […]


21 Jul, 2020

How Visit Thailand Year 1987 crafted the original “New Normal” for global tourism

Bangkok – In 1987, Thailand spearheaded an historic event which crafted a “New Normal” for Global Travel & Tourism well before the current rage. With an unprecedented show of political, social, economic and cultural unity, the Thai people celebrated the auspicious 60th birthday of His Majesty the late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej the Great with Visit […]


9 Jul, 2020

Samui Unlock Sale: Thai Tourism private sector fails the balance test – again!

Bangkok – The first Thai domestic travel promotion event launched after the gradual relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdowns saw the tourism private sector turn up for another resilience-and-recovery campaign. True to form, it repeated all the same mistakes of previous post-crises campaigns. Focussing on the popular Samui island, the event was awash with discounts and […]


2 Jul, 2020

1980 UNWTO Manila Declaration Shows How Global Travel & Tourism Failed Its Mandate and Vision

Bangkok – In hot pursuit of REcovery from the devastation caused by Covid-19, global Travel & Tourism is abuzz with “New Normal” buzzwords: REthink, REbuild, REdesign, REform, REimagine, REinvent, RE-this and RE-that. A better option would be to press the REwind button and REflect on its own history, especially the failures and mistakes. If the […]


24 Jun, 2020

REality Check: FCCT event will help Thai tourism prepare for the next potential crisis

Bangkok – The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand will organise a livestream panel discussion on “Thai History and Nationhood since 1932”. It will be broadcast via the FCCT’s Facebook page with English translation at 7 pm tonight. A line-up of eminent scholars, social activists and political scientists will discuss the upheavals and turbulence that have […]


23 Jun, 2020

Dump bloggers and influencers, cut military budgets to help global Travel & Tourism “Build Back Better”

Bangkok – The Travel & Tourism industry should dump bloggers and influencers and redirect its marketing budgets into quality journalism and communications platforms if it wants to attract “quality tourists.” As a self-proclaimed “industry of peace,” it should also start paying more serious attention to the trillions of dollars wasted on global wars and conflict […]


18 Jun, 2020

Unity, Accountability, Transparency, Efficiency: Thai PM launches post-Covid nation rebuilding agenda

Bangkok — Thai Prime Minister Gen (retd) Prayuth Chan-o-cha has launched a new nation-rebuilding programme for the post-Covid era, one that will “lay down the fundamentals for sustainable prosperity, and open the way for Thais to rediscover who and what they really are and all that they are truly capable of achieving.” In a nationwide […]


11 Jun, 2020

As Thailand eyes victory over the virus, a return to the “Old Normal” seems certain

Bangkok – Thailand is within sight of declaring victory over the dreaded Covid-19 virus. As it is has done through many previous crises over the past 40 years, Thailand overcame what the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) called its “celebrated ‘mai pen rai’ culture” to discipline itself and absorb serious short-term pain in order […]


8 Jun, 2020

How Thailand Contained Covid-19: Why a Public Health System with Popular Support Matters

Bangkok – One of ASEAN’s preeminent political scientists has heaped praise on the Thai healthcare system for the clean-up campaign that averted a potential Covid-19 disaster, but also obliquely hinted whether the kingdom can also clean up its fractious and divided political system, too. In an analysis published on June 7, Prof Walden Bello, Co-chair […]


8 Jun, 2020

FCCT June 9 Live Webcast: Why has Thailand done so well combating Covid-19?

Announcement by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. As of June 2, Thailand had officially confirmed 3,085 cases of Covid-19 and suffered 58 deaths; only 59 infected people were still hospitalized. The pandemic is far from over, and has completely changed the way people live. It has also wrought economic mayhem that has yet to […]


3 Jun, 2020

UN Human Rights chief alarmed by Asia-wide clampdown on freedom of expression during COVID-19

GENEVA (3 June 2020) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed alarm at the clampdown on freedom of expression in parts of the Asia-Pacific during the COVID-19 crisis, saying any actions taken to stop the spread of false information must be proportionate. Many countries in the region already have laws governing alleged […]


28 May, 2020

Thai Prime Minister, Foreign Minister flag importance of balance in “Build Back Better” strategy

Bangkok – Two of Thailand’s top leaders have reaffirmed the importance of balance and the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in charting the future course of national development, with tourism playing a major role. Thai Prime Minister Gen (retd) Prayut Chan-o-cha reaffirmed this in two speeches to local and international audiences on May 21 and May 26, […]


9 May, 2020

Hotels in focus as Thai PM holds second personal meeting with tourism sector

Bangkok – Thai Prime Minister Gen (retd) Prayuth Chan-o-cha continued his extraordinary personal interaction with the Thai tourism industry on 08 May with a meeting with committee members of the Thai Hotels Association to discuss the business impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and remedial measures for the kingdom’s top service sector and job-creating industry. Similar […]


1 May, 2020

Thai PM makes historic visit to tour operators HQ to hear industry’s concerns

Bangkok – In a global first, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha personally visited the offices of the Association of Thai Travel Agents on April 30 to get a first-hand update on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s most important service economy sector and generator of foreign exchange. A spokesman for the […]


23 Mar, 2020

Masterpiece Earth Summit 1992 speech by ex-UNWTO chief shows how Travel & Tourism bungled the agenda

Bangkok – The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) last week held a Global Tourism Crisis Committee meeting in preparation for the launch of a global guide for recovery. Some important-looking people were shown conducting their first virtual meeting. The press release promised a set of recommendations for recovery is to be released “in the coming […]


20 Mar, 2020

Boracay “cesspool” shutdown goes viral, Planet Earth “cesspool” in clean-up mode

Bangkok – In April 2018, Philippines President Roderigo Duterte announced a shutdown of Boracay Island. His unprecedented move after describing one of the archipelagic country’s most popular tourist spots as a “cesspool” shocked the tourism industry and triggered widespread wailing about the loss of jobs and income. He stayed the course. When the island reopened […]


10 Mar, 2020

Lively Halal Fest 2020 bucks cancellation trend, lights up Bangkok tourist district

Bangkok – At a time when public events are being cancelled and/or postponed worldwide, a grouping of young Thai-Muslim business leaders forged ahead with the World Halal Fest 2020, a long-planned event designed to promote Islamic cuisine, culture and commerce in Thailand. Attended by high-profile Thai politicians as well as business and religious leaders, entertainment […]


3 Mar, 2020

Have Your Say: What should be the Travel & Tourism priorities in the post-Covid19 recovery era?

Bangkok – It is more than likely that the Covid-19 virus will be brought under control some time in the second quarter of 2020. A highly relieved global Travel & Tourism industry will swing into action to get business moving again. But should it revert to business as usual, or take a deeper look at […]


1 Mar, 2020

Industry Poll: Was cancelling ITB Berlin 2020 the right decision?

Bangkok – The last-minute decision to cancel ITB Berlin 2020 has caused mayhem in the global travel & tourism industry, with billions of dollars worth of lost business and cancellations, and incalculable waste of time for thousands of people. The official press release blamed the stringent health conditions imposed by Federal Ministry of Health and […]


27 Feb, 2020

Breathtaking photographs link African Wilderness to Buddhist Wisdom

Bangkok – Prominent Bangkok-based photographer David Lau has captured the grandeur of an East African safari in a catalogue of images exhibited in Bangkok between Feb 20-23. More than just proving his professional prowess, Mr. Lau has raised the value of his artistry to a more sublime level by including reflections from a well-known Buddhist […]


17 Feb, 2020

Expatriates left voiceless at Thai tourism crisis brainstorming session

Bangkok — When Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports organised the historic brainstorming session on February 13 to unite the Thai tourism industry in response to the coronavirus crisis, one vital sector was missing– the expatriate community. Although the meeting was called to brainstorm responses to the slump in visitor arrivals, conducting it entirely in […]


4 Feb, 2020

PATA CEO announces exit, leaving association facing 11-month transition in a critical period

Bangkok – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has come under fire for announcing the year-end departure of its CEO Mr Mario Hardy at a time when the regional travel industry is experiencing one of its worst crisis in history. Mr Hardy made the announcement in his CEO blog on February 3, after the Executive […]


3 Feb, 2020

Market overexposure overtakes overtourism as lead industry challenge

Bangkok – One welcome casualty of the corona virus crisis will be all further discussion of “overtourism”. This dreadfully humdrum topic has been overtaken by the much more serious threat of overexposure to any single market as a source of business. Virtually overnight, the pendulum has swung from one extreme to another. Although it had […]


29 Jan, 2020

Flashback: The Thai who saved global Travel & Tourism from a much worse virus

Bangkok – As the 2019-nCoV coronavirus crisis enters its second month, there is much talk about the need to learn from previous crises and deal with it in an open and transparent way. Medical teams are being praised for their dedication and commitment. Public protection is the order of the day. Suddenly, Chinese tourists who […]


28 Jan, 2020

Thai tourism can convert the short-term coronavirus crisis into a long-term opportunity

Bangkok – There’s nothing like a good crisis to focus the mind. Natural disasters and economic and geopolitical crises also hurt tourism, but none trigger a call to action like a potentially life-threatening health scare. Thailand has experienced, and overcome, many crises over 60 years of tourism history. Although this, too, will pass, it presents […]


16 Jan, 2020

B2B session at Thai outbound travel show hits all-time high

Bangkok – The 26th bi-annual Thailand International Travel Fair, an outbound show, began on Jan 15 with a business matching turnout of 159 suppliers, the highest ever. China was the top country represented with Japan coming in second and India third. The B2B networking session precedes the four-day event organised by the Thailand Travel Agents […]


10 Jan, 2020

Unmatched Lectures on Thailand: The Greatest Story in Global Tourism HiSTORY

Bangkok – This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways International, the two founding pillars of what is now the kingdom’s largest service economy sector and job-creator. This meteoric rise did not happen by chance. It was the result of a broad range of comprehensive policy shifts, marketing […]


12 Dec, 2019

Destination Marketing Forum in Pattaya shows why PATA events are losing steam

Pattaya, Thailand — The PATA Destination Marketing Forum held in this, one of Asia’s historic beach resorts, between Nov 27-29 was sponsored and supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Thailand Exhibition and Convention Bureau (TCEB), Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Activity (DASTA) and Pattaya City. As all are government agencies, the entire […]


8 Dec, 2019

First Bangkok Literature festival explores future of Asia in an Age of Autocracy, Absurdity and Anger

Bangkok – If biodiversity, clean air and water, forests, wildlife, flora and fauna are important for human survival and global sustainability, what about democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, gender equality, ethnic and cultural harmony, peace and justice? Editor’s Note: I was the only travel trade journalist to cover this inaugural event. Click here to […]


25 Nov, 2019

Multi-Language Guidebook to Confront anti-Muslim bigotry by Travel Security Officials

WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/22/2019) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., today published its “Know Your Rights” materials online in English, Arabic, Somali, Urdu, Farsi, Bengali, and Bosnian. CAIR’s online booklets offer civil rights advice for students, travelers and employees, as well as for those who encounter law enforcement authorities or are […]


24 Nov, 2019

Sabah Pygmy elephant conservation well underway

By Rohana Nasrah

The recent discovery of three Borneo pygmy elephant carcasses in the space of five weeks in Sabah has raised concern over the conservation of this endangered species, found only in this part of the world. This article looks at the efforts by the Sabah Wildlife Department to protect and conserve the unique pachyderms. KOTA KINABALU, […]


4 Oct, 2019

Court clears way for Thai owners to terminate Peninsula Bangkok management contract

Bangkok – A Thai court has paved the way for the owners of the luxury riverside Peninsula Bangkok hotel to terminate the management contract on the basis of having delivered no returns to the Thai business family over the last 20 years. However, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, the operators and also equity holders, says it […]


3 Oct, 2019

PATA Travel Mart 2019 slumps to all-time low

Bangkok – PATA’s primary money-spinning event, the Travel Mart held last month in Astana, Kazakhstan, hit an all-time low in terms of both attendance as well as financial performance. According to an official PATA announcement, the Mart recorded “over 1,200 delegates from 63 global destinations. The delegate numbers embraced 347 sellers from 180 organisations and […]


1 Oct, 2019

New communications course to help Travel & Tourism understand and implement the UNSDGs

Bangkok – With funding support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, I am proud to launch a new communications training course and manual to help Thai and ASEAN Travel & Tourism executives better understand the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build them into their respective corporate activities. The first of its kind in Thailand, […]


24 Sep, 2019

First OpenTech Summit in Bangkok can help Travel & Tourism regain control of its destiny

Bangkok – Travel & tourism IT executives seeking to break the stranglehold of the technology mega-corporations now dominating everything from booking engines to data-mining may find some opportunities at an OpenTech Summit to be held for the first time in the Thai capital on Oct 1-2. Funded by Thailand’s National Innovation Agency and supported by […]


16 Sep, 2019

Have Your Say: The Rise and Fall of PATA

Bangkok – In 1994, exactly 25 years ago, this was the full membership list of PATA, excluding the chapter members. In 1999, exactly 20 years ago, PATA relocated its HQ from San Francisco to Bangkok to take advantage of the opportunities of a Rising Asia. Instead of rising to new heights, an organisation that had […]


13 Sep, 2019

UN launches new plan to ‘reaffirm the sanctity’ of religious sites, counter hate and violence

United Nations, 12 September 2019 – In a landmark document that should be must-reading across the entire Travel & Tourism industry, the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on Thursday launched a new plan of action to “counter hate and violence around the globe”. It goes right to the heart of what this editor has termed […]


12 Sep, 2019

Minor Corp Chairman Bill Heinecke challenges value of “disruptive” technologies

Bangkok – Mr William Heinecke, Chairman and CEO of Bangkok-based Minor Corporation, has raised some serious questions about the growing influence and impact of OTAs, ride-sharing services and other “disruptive” technologies that the travel & tourism industry is going ga-ga about. Speaking at the Thailand Focus 2019 Forum organised by the Stock Exchange of Thailand […]


10 Sep, 2019

PATA Foundation Chairman quits following “inquisition” by two Executive Board members

Bangkok – The Chairman of the PATA Foundation, Mr Peter Semone, has quit abruptly, less than a year before he was due to start an official process to hand over the baton. The shock resignation, the first of its kind in the Foundation’s history, comes in the midst of a major restructuring programme under way […]


9 Sep, 2019

“Colours of Africa” festival held in Bangkok to drive tourism, trade

Bangkok – Thousands of middle-upper income consumers from Thailand and tourists from all around the world were treated to a three-day “Colours of Africa” festival held in one of Bangkok’s most popular shopping malls over the 6 – 8 September weekend. The festival was intended to promote a better understanding of the African continent amongst […]


6 Sep, 2019

Insights, Information key to Thailand’s diplomacy and focus on “Holistic Sustainability”

Bangkok – Insights and information is the fuel that drives diplomacy, the ability to anticipate change and the pursuit of “holistic sustainability” in a rapidly changing world, Thailand’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, said in a speech on 5 September 2019. Addressing a gathering of Bangkok-based foreign diplomats at the relaunch of […]


17 Jun, 2019

Historians in, futurists out, as Thai tourism reflects on the next 60 years

Bangkok – As the Thai travel & tourism industry prepares to mark its 60th anniversary in 2020, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is turning to historians, not futurists, to help it chart a path forward. On June 5, the TAT’s annual trade show, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus, featured a talk on Thailand: The Greatest […]


31 May, 2019

60th anniversary book hails umbilical lifeline that bonds Thailand-Malaysia

Bangkok – Did you know that the first Prime Minister of Malaysia after its independence in 1957 was half-Thai? That the winner of the 1939 Miss Siam pageant was a Muslim who later married the Sultan of Perlis? That in 1979, Thailand would have been hit by a major power crisis had an emergency shipment […]


22 May, 2019

Exclusive Photographs: Timor-Leste’s faith-based tourism potential

Dili, Timor-Leste – On May 17, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded a conference on the theme of “Peace, Harmony and Fellowship: Faith-based Tourism Development” in the Timor-Leste capital of Dili. The event was organised under the USAID’s Tourism For All Project in collaboration with the Dili Institute of Technology (DIT) and the […]


22 May, 2019

Timor-Leste promotes faith-based tourism as pathway to Peace, Harmony and Friendship

Dili, Timor-Leste – In a high-profile bid to energise its national tourism policy and craft a unique selling proposition, Asia’s youngest country has reached out to its religious leaders to back a new faith-based promotion strategy built around the dozens of elegant Lady of Fatima shrines and churches dotting the country. At the first conference […]


9 May, 2019

What on earth is the PATA CEO talking about?

The difference between a mediocre CEO and a great CEO is his/her ability to articulate a core leadership message in clear, simple language. This week, at the PATA Annual Summit in Cebu, board members will open their working papers to read the message below from CEO Dr Mario Hardy. Frankly, it left me scratching my […]


9 May, 2019

More preaching to the converted at the PATA Annual Summit 2019

In April 2018, the Philippines announced a six-month closure of Boracay, a draconian order unprecedented in the history of Asia-Pacific tourism. Referring to it as a “cesspool”, President Duterte ordered the shutdown to facilitate the cleanup of an island once grandiosely cited in the tourist brochures as being “pristine” and “unspoiled”. The move triggered a […]


29 Apr, 2019

Tourists out, turtles in at Conservation Centre run by Thai Navy

Exclusive report by Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil

Phuket/Phang-nga, South Thailand – South Thailand’s famous beaches are visited by millions of tourists annually. But just a few kilometres off the coast of Phuket is an island where tourists are out, turtles are in. In an era when overtourism and beach closures are making headlines, Huyong island is a fine example of the need […]


30 Mar, 2019

Sustainable Development Forum flags chasm between rhetoric and reality

Bangkok — When Sabrina Rose Rasu, a young women’s rights activist from Vanuatu, spoke at the Sixth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development on behalf of the Youth and Civil Society movements, she said explicitly, “We demand system change.” In four crystal clear words, she pinpointed both the problem (The System) and the solution (the need […]


18 Mar, 2019

June 14, 2019: First Forum on The Greatest Story in Global Tourism HiSTORY

Bangkok – At 0900 hrs on March 18, exactly 59 years ago, what was then known as the Tourist Organisation of Thailand opened for business. Its duty, in the words of Gen Chalermchai Charuvastr, its first Director-General, was to promote visitor arrivals by “creating a wholesome image” of the Thai people. Editor’s Note The Forum […]


15 Mar, 2019

Revealed: How Alwin Zecha and I helped the TAT bring the PATA HQ to Bangkok

Alwin Zecha, who passed away on 12 March 2019, was a passionate believer in the grandeur and glory of Asia. His multi-cultural background and multi-lingual capabilities allowed him to convert his passion into action, using the travel & tourism industry and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) as conjoined conduits. He was the first to […]


13 Mar, 2019

As garbage mountains pile up, young Southeast Asian leaders seek ecotourism solutions

Luang Prabang – Appalled by the mountains of garbage and waste being generated by tourists and local citizens, emerging young leaders from Southeast Asian countries ended a five-day workshop in this UNESCO World Heritage City by pitching a broad range of reduce-reuse-recycle solutions designed to cutback everything from household waste and street trash to plastic […]


8 Mar, 2019

What the “Industry of Peace” can learn from the Indo-Pak conflict

In 2018, the South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka) received a total of 27.9 million tourists, a minuscule market share of 2% of the 1.4 billion tourists recorded globally. By contrast, the Southeast Asian countries received 129.3 million visitors (market share: 9.2%) and the Northeast Asian countries 168.4 million (market share: […]


4 Mar, 2019

ITB Berlin good place to start monitoring “mental health” of Travel & Tourism executives

As the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest trade show, gets under way today, it may be a good time to shine a light on one of the most important UN Sustainable Development Goals – improved global health, or more specifically, mental health. “Health and Wellness” is one of the most high profile niche-market segments of […]


18 Feb, 2019

Travel Impact Newswire Editor quits PATA membership. Here’s why.

Bangkok – This year, PATA began its third decade in Asia. I marked the occasion by terminating my membership. It was not an easy decision, but one I feel will actually benefit PATA over the long run. Everyone joins an association, or any club or organisation, for a reason. Mostly, it is to grow a […]


7 Feb, 2019

How Social Media is Dehumanising Humanity

By Reshma Dhewan

Global communications, both professional and personal, is dominated by social media. Like legacy airlines and travel agents, the mainstream channels of media and marketing, such as newspapers, magazines, TV and Radio, are gradually losing ground to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the like.   Note from the Editor This inaugural column by Reshma Dhewan, a […]


6 Feb, 2019

The best analysis of Thailand’s 2018 record-breaking visitor arrivals

An Exclusive Report by Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil

Bangkok — A detailed and comprehensive analysis of Thailand’s 2018 visitor arrivals and expenditure released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports last week show some fascinating results that will have long-term implications for Thailand, ASEAN and the entire Asia-Pacific region. The two charts below show total Thai visitor arrivals and expenditure by month. More […]


11 Jan, 2019

Thailand plans seven ASEAN centres in 2019 to enhance regional sustainability, security and culture

Bangkok – Seven ASEAN Centres that could provide significant intellectual support for the growing challenge of managing the region’s rapidly growing travel & tourism industry are expected to be established/upgraded in Thailand over the course of 2019, when the kingdom will hold the chairmanship of the 10-member grouping. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Division Director […]


8 Jan, 2019

In “disruptive” move, Thai Tourism Minister publishes stats on scams, cheats and rogue cabbies

Bangkok – Thai Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat has taken an extraordinarily “disruptive” step by publicly releasing the results of a crackdown by the Thai Tourist Police on hundreds of scams, frauds and other illegal actions faced by visitors to Thailand between Jan-October 2018. This is arguably the first time that any Tourism Minister worldwide has […]


24 Dec, 2018

Looking to liven up a boring tourism conference? Call “The Intrepid Traveller”

Many in the Asia-Pacific travel and tourism industry are familiar with publications such as TTG Asia, industry events such as IT&CMA, editorial personalities such as Yeoh Siew Hoon. Not many are aware of the behind-the-scenes persona who facilitated the rise of all three in the 1980s-90s. The 1980s was a golden period for Asia-Pacific travel. […]


19 Dec, 2018

First Buddhist University conf on SDGs mulls challenge of averting Global Warming AND Global Meltdown

Bangkok – When the Rector of the World Buddhist University (WBU), the Venerable Phra Anil Sakya was invited to speak recently at a conference of bankers and economists on alleviating poverty and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, he asked if they had made a mistake inviting him in the first place. After listening to […]


13 Dec, 2018

New Era for Travel Journalism: Rating Bali on the First Tourism SDG Scorecard

Bali, Indonesia — A new era for travel & tourism requires new genres of travel journalism. Today, I am proud to launch a new kind of travelogue that transcends the traditional been-there done-that narrative. Instead, it will track how well destinations are faring in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Bali, the Island of […]


5 Dec, 2018

PATA Destination Marketing Forum skips addressing mistakes of dispersal and overtourism

Khon Kaen, Thailand – The PATA Destination Marketing Forum held in this Northeastern provincial city between 29-30 Nov stuck to the long-standing travel events formula of over-discussing topics within the traditional comfort-zones and under-discussing everything beyond. Based on the theme “Growth with Goals”, the forum was designed to promote secondary and tertiary cities in Thailand […]


29 Nov, 2018

Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim on Palestine: Their pain is my pain

Bangkok – With Israel wiping Palestine off the map in slow motion, accompanied by a wink-and-nod acquiescence from a growing number of Arab and African countries, the last remaining hold-out appears to be Asia. On 23 November, resurrected Malaysian political leader Anwar Ibrahim delivered an inspiring message of support for the long-suffering Palestinians in their […]


11 Nov, 2018

Brown Univ study tabulates casualties of the “War on Terror”, a wake-up call for the “Industry of Peace”

Bangkok — For the last few decades, and especially since the 9/11 attacks, the United States, the self-proclaimed “leader of the free world”, has been involved in several wars under the umbrella of the “War on Terror.” Today, as the killings continue unchecked, academic studies are striving to tabulate the grim costs in human life, […]


9 Nov, 2018

American Spring: Energised Muslims, Arabs, moderate Jews, set to battle Trump on travel ban, Palestine, and more

A number of Muslim, Arab-American and Jewish advocacy groups in the United States have celebrated what they consider to be historic victories in the U.S. midterm elections, along with rousing calls for more solidarity, unity and funding support to ride the wave to even bigger wins. This dispatch of Travel Impact Newswire compiles four such […]


22 Oct, 2018

ITB Asia 2018 continues the Great Dumbing Down of global travel trade shows

Singapore – Although the core focus of the mega-billion travel & tourism industry has unmistakably shifted from marketing to management, international events such as the ITB Asia, the region’s self-proclaimed “leading travel trade show” are still failing to reflect that transition. A search of the ITB Asia 2018 conference programme website yielded 113 results for […]


4 Oct, 2018

Blasts from the Past: Two historic speeches to cement the future of PATA

Langkawi, Malaysia — Backed by a disruption-free global and regional environment and commensurately steady rise in travel flows, the Pacific Asia Travel Association took positive steps forward at the PATA Travel Mart in Langkawi, Malaysia, between 12-16 Sept 2018. From an energetic Youth Symposium to a quality-not-quantity Travel Mart, high-profile Gold Awards ceremony to panoramic […]


26 Sep, 2018

UK-based watchdog group Tourism Concern dies, aged 29, due to funding shortage

Bangkok, 26 September 2018 — The UK-based tourism watchdog group Tourism Concern has announced its closure, citing a “lost battle for financial survival in these difficult times.” The group’s website has been shut down and replaced with the closure notification. The group was funded by volunteers, charities, foundations and membership fees. The closure announcement said […]


26 Sep, 2018

Langkawi’s “Green Laboratory” owner to share expertise at PATAcademy Dec 11-13

Langkawi, Malaysia — This is Anthony Wong, owner and Managing Director of the the award-winning,Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa. Hosting the PATA Environment Committee meeting just before the recent PATA Travel Mart 2018 in Langkawi, he sat quietly all through, listening patiently to the committee members banter on about their sustainability initiatives. After all the […]


25 Sep, 2018

Forging ASEAN integration at the PATA Travel Mart 2018: Two Buddhists and a Muslim visit a prominent Langkawi temple

Langkawi – One of the core objectives of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community 2025 Integration Blueprint is to build “a dynamic and harmonious community that is aware and proud of its identity, culture, and heritage.” UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the United Nations Agenda 2030 is to promote “peaceful and inclusive societies.” And Travel & […]


21 Sep, 2018

Three young women from India sweep top awards in The Olive Tree essay competition

Bangkok – Three young women from India have swept the top honours in the second round of The Olive Tree awards, a unique essay competition launched by this editor to forge a stronger linkage between Travel & Tourism and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Twinkle Malukani, 22, Vinita Srinivasan, 22, and Natasha Goel, 25, received […]


12 Sep, 2018

How long before Langkawi becomes another Boracay?

Langkawi, Malaysia — How long before the once pristine, unspoiled island of Langkawi goes the same way as Boracay, the Philippines island that was shut down earlier this year for a few months breather from the pressure of tourism? That was the question I posed right at the start of a workshop on forging stronger […]


27 Jul, 2018

Sri Lanka’s Jetwing group hosts world’s first communications course linking travel & tourism to UN SDGs

Colombo — On July 17-18, twenty young executives from the hotel and travel divisions of Sri Lanka’s prominent Jetwing group attended what is claimed to be the first global training course on improving the communications linkages between travel & tourism and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the support of Jetwings Hotels Chairman Hiran Cooray […]


13 Jul, 2018

Imtiaz Muqbil to deliver first communications course on enhancing Travel & Tourism’s linkages to UN SDGs

Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor

Bangkok/Colombo – On July 17-18, 2018, I expect to deliver the first, ground-breaking communications training course on enhancing the linkages between Travel & Tourism and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Executives from Sri Lanka’s Jetwing hotels and travel group will be the first beneficiaries of this tailor-made, 12-hour course, entitled “People Planet Profits — How […]


9 Jul, 2018

The Olive Tree Ed 8 highlights World of Work, Decent Jobs, in Travel & Tourism

Bangkok – Discussions of human resources in travel & tourism for the most part focus on the shortage of qualified personnel for our rapidly-growing industry. This is a chicken-and-egg issue. Has the travel & tourism sector ever done a serious, comprehensive study of our working conditions, and critically compared them to those in other equally […]


9 Jun, 2018

GDPR – Another chapter in the book of European extra-territorial neocolonialism

Bangkok – The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is yet another example of European neocolonialism in an age of globalisation and borderless communications. While the Information Superhighway is opening up vast opportunities to create a better, more peaceful, stable and sustainable planet, it is simultaneously and very paradoxically also doing quite the opposite. Slap in […]


28 May, 2018

A thought-leadership SWOT analysis of the PATA Annual Summit 2018

Gangneung, Gangwon Province, South Korea: The most perceptive thought-leadership question asked during the PATA Annual Summit 2018 was by Christina Luo Xiao Yan, 21, a student of Hotel Management at Macau University of Science and Technology. After listening to the speaker, Ms Raya Bidshahri, the Canadian-based CEO of Awecademy, an online platform, discuss the impact […]


23 May, 2018

PATA Annual Summit: Ex-UN Chief says leaders “talk big” at UN but don’t walk the talk once back home

Gangneung, Gangwon Province, South Korea – Delivering a powerful message to the global travel industry, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told delegates at the PATA annual summit here on January 18 that the world needs “global leaders” and “global citizens” to “stem the alarming rise in racism and xenophobia.” In his keynote address, Mr. Ban […]


22 May, 2018

PATA signs first peace-building pact with Buddhist temple in Korea

Woljeongsa Temple, Odaesan National Park, Korea — This beautiful Buddhist temple, located in the midst of Korea’s largest natural forest, was the site of the first peace-building agreement signed by the Pacific Asia Travel Association on 19 May 2018. The Memorandum of Understanding commits the signatories to “cooperate for the development of peace through tourism” […]


16 May, 2018

PATA Annual Summit 2018: A chance to move beyond clichés and Censorship by Sponsorship

Gangneung, Korea — A confluence of recent global events has set the stage for this week’s PATA annual summit in Korea to be a potentially historic game-changer – but only if the speakers rise to the occasion. Focussing on the theme of “Building Bridges, Connecting People,” the summit will bring together one former United Nations […]


11 May, 2018

Trump’s Iran deal reversal proves Israel controls the U.S.

The U.S. decision to unilaterally exit the nuclear agreement with Iran cements the country’s status as the greatest threat to global stability, totally subservient to Israel, the Jewish lobby and its own military-industrial complex. The latest in a series of my-way-or-the-highway policy reversals, the Trump Administration has no regard for international norms and is accelerating […]


29 Apr, 2018

Korean peace will force change in Israel’s live and let die policy towards Palestinians

The Korean peace deal has confirmed the status of Israel under its current government as an extraordinarily stupid country. In an age when the pursuit of peace has become the greatest hallmark of visionary, pragmatic, sustainable leadership, Korean leaders have risen to the occasion. Not so the Israelis. On the same day that the Korean […]


27 Apr, 2018

OECD Latin America report: Regaining citizens’ trust in public institutions is key to inclusive growth and well-being

OECD media release

Brussels, 09 April 2018 – Three out of four Latin Americans today show little or no confidence in their national governments. Around 80% think corruption is widespread. These levels are both up from 55% and 67% respectively in 2010. Mistrust is rising as in most regions of the world and risks deepening the disconnect between […]


27 Apr, 2018

Int’l Olympic Committee President: How the “Power of Sports” facilitated Korean peace talks

By Thomas Bach

chinadaily.com.cn, 2018-04-26 — When the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea meet on April 27, it will be only the third such summit since the end of the Korean War (1950-53). Only a few months ago political tensions were escalating rapidly, raising fears of military confrontation on the […]


26 Apr, 2018

The Sukhothai Shanghai joins Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Small Luxury Hotels of the World Media release

London, 26 April 2018 — Small Luxury Hotels of the World has announced its newest member hotel in China, The Sukhothai Shanghai, which opens on 28th April. The official joining ceremony was held today at The Sukhothai Shanghai. The contemporary lifestyle hotel is conveniently located at HKRI Taikoo Hui in the vibrant Jingan district which […]


26 Apr, 2018

UNCTAD commentary: Nobody really wins a trade war

By Alessandro Nicita, Economist at UNCTAD

Geneva, 25 April 2018, (UNCTAD commentary) – Are we seeing the start of a trade war? Although there is a long history of countries blaming each other for their own economic misfortunes, during the last few months there has been an escalation both in the rhetoric and in trade policy actions. The initial round of […]


25 Apr, 2018

12 questions to disrupt the boring programme content of Islamic tourism events

Dubai – The second ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit held at the Arabian Travel Mart on April 24 proved again how the entire travel industry is increasingly becoming a mutual admiration club of people preaching to the converted. As usual, key challenges having a significant impact on travel & tourism flows to, from and within […]


19 Apr, 2018

WTTC’s Mission Still Not Accomplished

In September 2003, exactly 15 years ago, the World Travel & Tourism Council issued a Blueprint for New Tourism. It was yet another assertion of the WTTC mantras flagged since the formation of the rich mans’ club in 1991 — make T&T a priority, liberalise travel, open markets and remove impediments. These mantras have produced […]


16 Apr, 2018

Open Letter to the U.S. travel industry: Is state terrorism serving your interests?

Bangkok – Shootings in U.S. offices, schools, universities and other public places are always followed by an enormous outpouring of outrage, anguish, hand-wringing and soul-searching. Much time and attention is devoted to understanding the shooter’s motivation. If it’s a Muslim, the violence is automatically assigned the “T” word. The others are somehow disturbed, loners, etc. […]


12 Apr, 2018

Hard questions for travel & tourism millennials: Does global war & conflict matter to you?

Bangkok — Here we go again. Fifteen years after the United States-led “Coalition of the Willing” attacked Iraq in pursuit of “weapons of mass destruction” that were never found, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people and devastating an entire country, war-drums are again reverberating in the Levant, this time in Syria. And as […]


26 Mar, 2018

Why the Facebook scandal makes travel technobabblers look like idiots

Travel technology forums, aka technobabblers, have experienced a shock-and-awe reality check in the wake of the Facebook scandal. I stopped attending technobabble forums many years ago. I just got bored of the starry-eyed delegates listening with open mouths to the usual gang of suspects spewing out the latest techno-toy wizardry and how it was going […]


13 Mar, 2018

Millennials’ essays highlight need to disrupt the global tourism agenda

Bangkok – Perhaps the most important thing that struck me upon perusing the great essays sent in by young people for my competition was the yawning disconnect between their very perceptive views on the global status quo and the topics that figure on the agendas and programmes of global travel & tourism forums. Embedded within […]


16 Feb, 2018

Northeast Asian destinations hammering ASEAN in pursuit of Thai outbound travel boom

Bangkok – With Japan at the forefront, Northeast Asian countries and Special Administrative Regions are clobbering the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in attracting the booming Thai outbound tourism market. A survey of the recent Thailand International Travel Fair, held between February 7-11 showed clearly how Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR […]


9 Feb, 2018

20 years after moving to Asia, PATA’s pursuit of relevance remains elusive

The Pacific Asia Travel Association this week marks the 20th anniversary of its move from San Francisco to Bangkok. Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil, who has covered PATA since 1981, takes a look back and a look ahead. Bangkok – When PATA began pondering its move from San Francisco to Asia in the […]


21 Jan, 2018

ASEAN Tourism Forum V.1 is dying, Time to Plan ATF V.2

The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 to be held between 22-26 January in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai will have the lowest turnout of buyers and sellers in the last 10 years. The figures reported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand of 240 buyers and 275 seller organisations continues a downtrend that began three […]


8 Jan, 2018

Christmas eve 2017: When Jewish Intellectual Noam Chomsky went to bat for Palestine

On Christmas eve, 24 December 2017, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), one of the groups on the entry-ban list issued by the Israel government, issued a fund-raising appeal featuring a personal message by Prof Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona. I am […]


8 Jan, 2018

Global publicity follows Israel entry ban on 20 pro-Palestine groups

Jewish Voice for Peace, a prominent U.S.-based group of Jews battling the Israeli occupation of Palestine, is among a list of 20 global civil society movements whose activists will be barred from entering Israel. It is the only Jewish group on the list released by the Strategic Affairs Ministry on 08 Jan and  published by […]


3 Jan, 2018

Mandela Peace Summit, Sufficiency Economy amongst highlights of The Olive Tree Edition 5

Bangkok – The January-February 2018 edition of The Olive Tree has been published on the Travel Impact Newswire website. This Edition 5 of the first and only publication designed to help travel & tourism achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals is sponsored by Jetwing Hotels Sri Lanka, the Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Asian Overland […]