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Author Archive

13 May, 2011

How a Harley-Davidson Can Help the U.S. Eliminate Visa Bottlenecks

In a unique attempt to help U.S. policymakers and politicians understand the implications of cumbersome visa application procedures and its impact on visitor arrivals, jobs and economic growth, the US Travel Association (USTA) has invoked one of the most visible icons of Americana – the Harley-Davidson motorycle.


12 May, 2011

Travel Industry Can Join Global Campaign To Cut Millions of Road Fatalities

Resort islands worldwide are perfectly placed to join the global Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 launched on May 11 to reduce the estimated 1.18 million fatal road accidents that occur globally every year, many of them involving drunken, motorcycle-riding tourists.


12 May, 2011

UN Announces Winners of Flagship “Champions of the Earth” Award

From using green technology to cut air pollution in China, to tackling the impact of toxic chemicals in Eastern Europe or crossing the globe to fly the flag for solar power, this year’s award winners are environmental champions whose daily work, leadership and advocacy represent green innovation in action.


12 May, 2011

European Tourism Trends & Prospects (Q1/2011) Report Released

The European Travel Commission (ETC) has just published its First Quarter report on European Tourism in 2011 – Trends & Prospects. Destination and industry data indicate a positive start to 2011, with continued growth prospects. Rail Europe has announced a 34% sales growth in 2010 vs. 2009 and a 30% growth in Q1 2011 vs. Q1 2010.


10 May, 2011

Buddhist Scholar’s Point-Blank Pitch: Visit India to Walk the Talk

BANGKOK – An eminent Buddhist scholar accompanying an Indian tourism promotion delegation has called on the millions of Buddhists in Thailand and worldwide to visit India both to encourage the revival of Buddhism in the Hindu-majority country as well as to retrace the Buddha’s footsteps to gain a more personal experience of his teachings.


10 May, 2011

Top Ten Trends in The Global Hotel Business

David McMillan

David McMillan, former CEO of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association, debuts as the first guest columnist of Travel Impact Newswire, with this anti-mainstream listing of top-ten trends in the global hotel business. More guest columnists are very welcome.


9 May, 2011

Curb Speculators, Promote Regionalisation, Says UN Asia-Pacific Economic Report

BANGKOK — Asia-Pacific economies are being urged to learn from the mistakes of unbridled globalisation and pursue greater self-reliance through increased intra-regional trade, connectivity and people movements.


7 May, 2011

Study Links U.S. Foreign Policy and Terrorism Against U.S. Citizens

The announcement that US forces have killed Osama bin Laden, the alleged terrorist mastermind, is set to trigger more violence and geopolitical instability, creating further complications for the travel & tourism industry in terms of costs, security measures, visa curbs, racial profiling and other impediments to travel.


2 May, 2011

Brand-Building: Top Indian Newspaper Finds That Making News Helps

BANGKOK — Promoting peace with Pakistan even at a time when the Indian public is convulsed by anti-Pakistani jingoism is one amongst a repertoire of “extraordinarily bold moves” the Times of India newspaper regularly makes to maintain and build its brand image in a fast-changing country and a cluttered media market.


27 Apr, 2011

WikiLeaks Cables Expose Indian Visa Fraud Tactics

From falsifying documents and setting up fake websites to pretending to be “religious leaders”, Indians are resorting to a variety of tactics in the hope of getting a U.S. visa, according to cables from US diplomatic missions in India published on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.


25 Apr, 2011

1.2 Billion Global Muslims Urged: “Travel to Learn from History”

Kuala Lumpur: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims to travel through the Islamic world and beyond not just to sightsee but to learn from the successes and failures of the Islamic civilisations through the ages.


21 Apr, 2011

F&B, Front Office Managers Lead Surge In Indian Hotel Salaries

NEW DELHI — Food & beverage directors at first class and luxury hotels in India have seen their salaries surge 43% between 2007/8 and 2010/11. In the mid-scale and budget hotels, front office managers have led the pack with 75% pay-scale increases in the same period.


19 Apr, 2011

China Strikes Back, Issues Tit-For-Tat Report on Human Rights in U.S.

BEIJING: One major reason for holding the PATA 60th anniversary conference in China was in recognition of the emergence of the world’s most populous country as a critical player on the global tourism stage. But that is only scratching the surface of the real change taking place.


18 Apr, 2011

More Change Awaits Hotels In Managing Chinese Travel, Online Bookings

Two newly-published studies show how the hotel sector’s products and services will need to cater to the growing legions of Chinese travellers, even as they face the ongoing challenge of managing their distribution systems. These stories, and more in this dispatch..


12 Apr, 2011

An Era Ends as Curtain Falls on PATA 60th Anniversary Bash in Beijing

BEIJING: As the PATA 60th anniversary conference ended on April 12, it could well mark the end of an era in the annals of travel & tourism. An agenda for change in PATA has been approved, and positive signs are emerging, but given cost and organisational pressures, the conference is unlikely to be held again […]


9 Apr, 2011

Energetic Show of PATA “People Power” at Chapters Colloquium

BEIJING: The passion and power of the people of PATA were on full display at the April 8 PATA Chapters Colloquium, the first event of the 60th anniversary conference of the Asia Pacific region’s leading travel association.


7 Apr, 2011

Breathing Life into PATA in Beijing — New Strategy to Show the Way

BEIJING — Interim PATA CEO Bill Calderwood is to unveil a strategy designed to pull the Pacific Asia Travel Association out of a years-long nosedive. To be made public at the PATA 60th anniversary conference here on April 10, the strategy is expected to be critical to the survival of what was once one of […]


7 Apr, 2011

Smithsonian Journeys Lists Top 10 Destinations, Most Popular Vacation Packages

Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution’s travel program, offers new opportunities for travelers to fulfill their lifetime “must-see” destinations. This, and several other great stories in this dispatch.


5 Apr, 2011

Demographic Shifts Changing the “Face” of the World

India’s population has crossed 1.2 billion. Hispanics in the US are on the rise. Expatriate numbers in the UAE are growing far faster than the locals. China’s population is ageing by the millions. These shifts will lead to significant social, economic and geopolitical changes in future, and require commensurate shifts in the way travel & […]


3 Apr, 2011

Elderly, Immigrants Vital to Europe’s Future, 2010 Demography Report Shows

Europe’s population is getting older, fertility has begun to rise again, life expectancy is up and the EU continues to attract more immigrants. These demographic changes will have a significant impact on the way the travel & tourism industry markets itself in Europe as well as the way it develops its products and services to […]


1 Apr, 2011

Why Mothers and Mothers-in-Law Get Taken on Family Holidays

A compilation of eight interesting reports circulated by PR Newswire / PR Web last week. Also in this dispatch: Long-Holiday Bonanza Awaits Brits in April; Study Examines Impact of New Media on Eating Habits; New Insights on Best Practices in Mobile Apps for Events; Nanjing-Wuhan High-speed Rail Out-competes Airlines, Routes Cancelled; and more….


28 Mar, 2011

“Medical Tourism Doesn’t Put Patients at Risk, Poor Planning Does”

A compilation of 10 interesting reports circulated by PR Newswire / PR Web last week. Also in this dispatch: Study Finds UK Expats Cancelling Plans to Return Home; UK Students Seek Original Work Experience Overseas; From Bodger To Broomsquire – New Book Aims To Keep Britain’s Traditional Crafts Alive; Europeans Favour Single-Ticket Use For All […]


25 Mar, 2011

India Leads Battle Against Bio-Piracy Of Traditional Knowledge

NEW DELHI: While European and U.S. companies and governments seek to combat violations of their intellectual property rights in the developing world, their own companies are quietly attempting to patent thousands of years of traditional knowledge developed by the indigenous peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. At stake are billions of dollars worth of […]


21 Mar, 2011

Outbound Giant Germany Seeks Inbound Travel Glory, Too

ITB BERLIN — Germany, one of the world’s largest outbound travel markets, is on its way to becoming one of world’s top inbound travel nations. The country crossed 60 million overnight stays in 2010 and is targetting 80 million by 2020, with arrivals from China and India expected to figure highly.


16 Mar, 2011

Useful Industry Data from ITB Berlin — Downloadable FREE!

ITB BERLIN — The ITB Berlin (held March 9-13, 2011)  was full of  valuable industry data available free of charge. To save readers time, effort and money, Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil has compiled some of the key reports, research and presentations from its various sources into one comprehensive package.


14 Mar, 2011

Highs And Lows Of Women In Global Tourism

ITB BERLIN — In March 2010, 21% percent of countries had a women tourism minister compared to 17% of ministerial positions in general. In seven out of the 23 Caribbean countries, the chairperson of the tourism board is a woman.


11 Mar, 2011

Egyptian Tourism Minister Blasts Ex-Regime’s “Cronies”, Liberalisation Policies

ITB BERLIN: Egyptian Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour has blasted the “extreme” economic liberalisation and privatisation policies of the ousted Hosni Mubarak government, saying they had failed to address the country’s glaring rich-poor income gap.


10 Mar, 2011

Arabs Hit Back, Urge Europeans To Avoid Stereotypes & Clichés

ITB BERLIN — Arab and Muslim speakers have called on Europeans to try and better understand what is going on in the Middle East, to take a more positive, long-term attitude about the prospects of change and to steer clear of stereotypes and clichés.


9 Mar, 2011

Europe Sets Base for Calculating Aviation Emission Caps

BRUSSELS, March 7, 2011 — The European Commission today decided on the historical data for emission of greenhouse gases by the aviation sector which will be used as a base figure on which to calculate the number of emission allowances to be available to airlines from 2012. The move will impact all airlines flying to, […]


8 Mar, 2011

100th Int’l Women’s Day: Special Report

This dispatch commemorates the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. It celebrates the significant role women have played in the development of the global travel & tourism industry. Marked for the first time in four European countries in 1911, the day has become a critical rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation […]


6 Mar, 2011

When Obama told Jewish Leaders to do some “Soul-Searching” about Middle East Peace

Originally Published:  6 March 2011 When the leader of the world’s most powerful country tells American Jewish leaders to get Israel to do some soul-searching about the future of peace in the Middle East, as President Barack Obama did last week, this columnist stands both victorious and vindicated. In a meeting that was widely reported […]


4 Mar, 2011

ITB 2011 Curtain-Raiser 2: The Global Geopolitical Revolution

The second of a two-part report on the two technological and geopolitical revolutions set to dominate the agenda at the ITB Berlin between March 9-13. This part focusses on the geopolitical revolution.


2 Mar, 2011

ITB 2011 Curtain-Raiser 1: The Technological Revolution

The 45th ITB Berlin due to open in the German capital on March 9 will be dominated by two ongoing revolutions: The technological revolution which is transforming the way the industry does business; and The global geopolitical revolution which will see the emergence of a new world order.


27 Feb, 2011

Upmarket U.S. Hotels Worst Hit by Two Big Shocks of Last Decade: Cornell Study

A study released last week by the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University concludes that upscale hotels in the U.S. were worst affected by the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis, widely considered to be the two most important “external shocks” of the last decade.


25 Feb, 2011

“UN Women” Launched as Powerful Driver of Women’s Equality

As one of the world’s largest employers of women, the travel & tourism industry ought to take considerable interest in the historic February 24 launch of UN Women, a United Nations organisation dedicated solely to addressing the vast range of problems facing the world’s women and girls.


23 Feb, 2011

UNCTAD: Social, Economic Change Must Accompany Political Change

Noting that the momentous events in the Middle East and North Africa are a reflection of “massive social discontent and crises,” a United Nations agency that fights for the cause of developing countries has called for political reform to be accompanied by policies to “reshape economic and labour governance”.


16 Feb, 2011

U.S. To Face Talent Crunch, Will Need To Relax H-1B Visas, Says McKinsey Study

The U.S. will need to relax its stringent immigration policies, extend the retirement age and get more women into the workforce in order to generate the huge pool of skilled manpower that it will need to boost productivity in an increasingly competitive global economy, according to new research by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).


15 Feb, 2011

Polls Track Public Opinion Reactions To Events in Egypt, Tunisia

A number of opinion polls conducted by Pew Research and The Gallup Organisation tracked the shifts in the public views in the United States in response to the changing situation. Here is a compilation of the reports on the findings, as posted on the pollsters’ respective websites.


15 Feb, 2011

As Power Shifts & Tables Turn, A Global Good Could Emerge

This essay-cum-commentary is dedicated to the memory of Tunisian fruit-vendor Mohammed Bouazizi and the hundreds of protesters and dissidents in the streets of Tunisia and Egypt who died, were injured or otherwise took a stand for the cause of basic freedoms, dignity and human rights.


9 Feb, 2011

Egypt’s Prescient Tourism Slogan: “Where It All Begins”

Egypt’s tourism campaign marketing slogan may turn out to be more prescient than the tourism industry had bargained for.


9 Feb, 2011

Egypt and The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius

The first quarter of the second decade of the 21st century is witnessing the dawn of the Age of Aquarius. By unfolding right in the midst of the Aquarius period, the 11th star of the Zodiac, in the year 2011, these tumultuous and unprecedented events assume an even greater surreal significance.


3 Feb, 2011

A Website That Will Change The Way The Industry Thinks

This website is designed to change the way the travel & tourism industry thinks. It contains a treasure trove of information, insights and intelligence dating back to the 1990s, arguably the most tumultuous period in the history of travel and tourism. The content ranges from the impact of “war on terror” to the downside of […]


26 Dec, 2010

“Global Trust Index” Needed to Bridge the Global Trust Deficit

Originally Published: 26 December 2010 Exactly five years ago next month, the World Economic Forum released the results of a global survey that sought feedback on the level of trust enjoyed by public figures, including politicians and business leaders. Carried out in preparation for the January 2006 WEF caucus in Davos, the survey was the […]


26 Dec, 2010

Tackling the global leadership trust deficit

Originally Published: 26 December 2010 Exactly five years ago next month, the World Economic Forum released the results of a global survey that sought feedback on the level of trust enjoyed by public figures, including politicians and business leaders. Carried out in preparation for the January 2006 WEF caucus in Davos, the survey was the […]


20 Dec, 2010

Special Report: Int’l Day of Persons With Disabilities

Regional countries are on track to declare a third Decade of Disabled Persons in the Asia-Pacific (2013-2022), a move that will give a huge impetus to facilitating employment opportunities, accessibility and mobility for the estimated 400 million PwDs in the region.


20 Dec, 2010

Defining Comment of WTM 2010: “Mistakes Were Made”

Arguably the most defining comment of last week’s World Travel Market 2010 came during the tourism ministerial summit organised by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on November 9.


12 Dec, 2010

‘Satanic cables’ latest blow to the U.S. empire

Originally Published: 12 December 2010 In the last few days of the first decade of the 21st century, the pen is proving mightier than the sword. A new world war is under way – a war against liars masquerading as truth-tellers. In line with the tenets of all great religions, the liars are losing. Like […]


28 Nov, 2010

Two women activists call on world to heed alternative perspectives on Palestine

Originally Published: 28 November 2010 Two women, one a Jewish-American and the other a Christian-Malaysian, last week provided some deep insights into the Israeli occupation of Palestine and appealed to global activists and media to help the world hear an alternative perspective on the long-standing conflict. Ms Anna Baltzer, a political activist and a grandchild […]


18 Nov, 2010

New UN Report Reveals Link Between Poverty And Poor Health In Urban Areas

New York, Nov 17 2010. (UN News) — A new United Nations report shows for the first time how poor health is linked to poverty in cities and calls on policymakers to identify those that need the most help and target measures to improve their well-being. The  report, entitled “Hidden Cities: unmasking and overcoming health […]


15 Nov, 2010

“War On Terror” Has “No Limits, Nor End, Nor Logic, Nor Legal Or Moral Conditions,” Qatar’s Emir Tells UN

Waging war against terrorism has not succeeded in achieving security, peace or prosperity, Qatar’s Emir told the United Nations General Assembly.


14 Nov, 2010

Why the U.S. “war on terror” is widely seen as a “war on Islam”

Originally Published: 14 November 2010 President Obama’s recent trips to India and Indonesia provide more examples of how the U.S. is seeking to delay and defer its fading global influence. The statements and declarations issued after those visits give clear indications of the U.S. agenda, both overt and covert, and promise further instability in the […]


6 Nov, 2010

Remembering The Day The World Really Changed

By Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire Sept 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, is often termed “the day that changed the world”. It is time to revisit that. Two days ago, in the midst of all the other global chaos, no-one even noticed the 15th anniversary of the day the world really changed.


2 Nov, 2010

OECD Report Highlights Bid to Attract Students

Faced with ageing populations, OECD countries are increasingly adjusting their migration policies to attract more international students and making it easier for them to stay on, according to the latest 2010 edition of the OECD migration report released earlier this month.


31 Oct, 2010

The Judeo-Christian world’s great betrayal of its own values and principles

Originally Published: 31 October 2010 This upcoming 4 November 2010 will mark the 15th anniversary since the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the Jewish fundamentalist fanatic terrorist Yigal Amir. In a few weeks, the world will mark the last Christmas of this first decade of the 21st century. And the countdown […]


20 Oct, 2010

ITB Asia Recovers Big Time In A Global Crisis-Free Year

With plenty of commercial real estate waiting to be filled, Singapore piggybacked on a resurgent ITB Asia to launch a series of travel industry “mega-events” that expanded both the depth and breadth of participation and raised Singapore’s profile on the global travel stage.


17 Oct, 2010

If “Global Governance” has failed, who should be held responsible?

Originally Published: 17 October 2010 The general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly last month was the last of this first decade of the 21st century. The theme, Global Governance, was chosen by Assembly President Joseph Deiss on the grounds that “Poverty, conflicts, global warming, the economic and financial crisis, migration, […]


4 Oct, 2010

Turkey’s Iran Arrivals Up, Israelis Down

By Imtiaz Muqbil

ISTANBUL — In an era when a country’s foreign policy is set to have a greater impact on visitor arrivals than its tourism policy, Turkey is witnessing significant increases in visitors from Iran and significant decreases in arrivals from Israel, largely as a result of geopolitical shifts.


26 Sep, 2010

Domestic violence against women must be stopped

Originally Published: 26 September 2010 About 30 representatives from Asia-Pacific national statistics offices, ministries responsible for women’s affairs and non-governmental organizations met at the UN’s regional commission in Bangkok last week for a workshop designed to help improve gathering of data on the widespread but largely unreported prevalence of incidence violence against women and children. […]


12 Sep, 2010

The global truth movement is now on a roll

Originally Published: 12 September 2010 Whether or not the Christian pastor in Florida decides to burn the Qur’an, he is only singing the same anti-Muslim hymn that has dominated the global geopolitical choirs in the last decade. Note that those who spoke out against the Qur’an-burning did so only in the parochial context of a […]


29 Aug, 2010

American Presidents don’t walk the talk of their lofty speeches

Originally Published: 29 August 2010 On Sept 20, 2001, former U.S. President George W. Bush stood before the U.S. Congress and delivered a post-9/11 address to the nation. Five quotes stand out: <> I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions […]


15 Aug, 2010

Make the Wagah Border a Zone of Peace & Friendship

Originally Published: 15 August 2010 The death, destruction and suffering in Pakistan caused by the devastating floods never fail to arouse some heavy-duty soul-searching about why such events are occurring with such frequency worldwide. Even India has been affected, although nowhere near the same extent. It is even more heartbreaking that the tragedy has struck […]


1 Aug, 2010

U.S. is No Longer the Country it Once Was

Originally Published: 1 August 2010 The latest whistle-blowing revelations about U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan via the website Wikileaks are in the best traditions of American democracy, freedom, transparency and accountability which were widely believed to be the way of the future. The reactions to it, however, are in the best […]


18 Jul, 2010

Global Trades Union First Female Leader: Economic “Fanatics” Still Pursing Failed Policies

Originally Published: 18 July 2010 One important consequence of the growing number of women rising to prominent positions in the world social and economic order is that they will often find themselves on adversarial sides of many global issues. At that point, it will be very interesting to see who really identifies with isues such […]


4 Jul, 2010

Israel continues to shatter Rabin’s dreams, and fulfill those of his terrorist killer

Originally Published: 04 July 2010 Sept 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, is often termed “the day that changed the world”. It is time to revisit that. In a few months, the world will mark the real day it changed. On 4 November 1995, exactly 15 years ago this year, a Jewish fundamentalist fanatic terrorist […]


20 Jun, 2010

Many Jews now see Israeli government as part of the problem

Originally Published: 20 June 2010 A prominent U.S.-based Jewish peace-activist group has joined a growing chorus of global opinion seeking freedom and independence for the Palestinians with a specific call for people “regardless of your religion, ethnicity or profession”, to join a divestiture campaign against “companies that are profiting from the occupation.” On 16 June […]


6 Jun, 2010

The law of Karma is very much alive, and will prevail until justice is done

Originally Published: 06 June 2010 The crisis in Thailand has destroyed one myth, exposed one danger and highlighted the truth of one divine law. All three points come to light upon reading a brilliant essay by Prof Dr Somparn Promta of the Department of Philosophy, Chulalongkorn University, in the latest edition of the academic journal, […]


23 May, 2010

Thailand After the Red-Shirt Crisis: Will We Learn to Value What We Lost?

Originally Published:  23 May 2010 The people of Bangkok, the well educated, intelligent, middle-class people we claim to be, have just learnt what it is like to be terrorised and occupied. As a result, the nation is in the throes of a long-overdue process aptly reflected in the long-standing theme and title of this column […]


25 Apr, 2010

Now Thais will realise how it feels to live under an occupation

Originally Published: 25 April 2010 Do the Thai people now realise what it means to live and suffer under an “occupation”? I have to thank the red-shirts for this “Middle East conflict in miniature” unfolding in Central Bangkok. When it is all over, I hope the Thai people will see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a […]


11 Apr, 2010

“Casino Capitalism” Will Ensure that the Cycle of Crises Never Stops Turning

Originally Published: 11 April 2010 As the global financial crisis recedes into a distant memory, the Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is ratcheting up warnings that the next crisis is only a matter of time unless action is taken to curb “casino capitalism” and reform the world financial system to make it […]


4 Apr, 2010

The tide will turn only when the U.S. public realises how it is being hoodwinked

Originally Published 04 April 2010 Criticism and defiance of Israel in the global media is becoming increasingly strident, vociferous and vigorous. Once it was clearly taboo, then gradually entered the fringe, moved into the sidelines and has now crossed the border to a full-blown verbal barrage. This turning of the tide, which usually begins when […]


14 Mar, 2010

Motherhood: The World’s Most Important “Job”

Originally Published: 14 Mar 2010 The commemoration of International Women’s Day last March 8 has been marked with a special fervour this year. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is the third of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the anti-poverty targets world leaders have pledged to attain by 2015. According to UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha […]


14 Feb, 2010

All Fanatic Fundamentalists are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Originally Published: 14 Feb 2010 The booming and bustling city of Mumbai, seeking to become the Shanghai of India, has in the past week witnessed some amazing fundamentalist agitation. Mention the word “fundamentalist”, and the image of a bearded, turbaned, scimitar-swinging, suicide-bomber Muslim comes to mind. Yes, a Muslim is involved, but not quite of […]


18 Jan, 2010

Domestic Indian Hotel Chains Will Challenge Foreign Ones, HVS Report

International hotel chain brands now rushing into India will find themselves under competitive pressure from domestic hotel chains and an increasingly demanding, well-informed, well-travelled Indian consumer, according to a forecast for the next decade released by the consultancy company HVS Hospitality Services India last week. Entitled “Indian Hospitality – Game Changers in the last decade…and […]


17 Jan, 2010

Intelligence Failures? Really?

Originally Published: 17 January 2010 An investigative report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has heightened scepticism about whether these so-called “intelligence failures” related to recent terrorist attacks are in fact “intelligence failures” at all, or whether they are in fact great successes in serving a far broader geopolitical purpose. The reputed paper, one of the […]


11 Jan, 2010

After “Crotch-bomber” Attack, Racial and Ethnic Profiling Under Fire

New security policies implemented by the US government in the aftermath of the botched attack attempt by the “crotch-bomber” on Christmas Day 2009 are coming under fire from travellers, airlines and civil liberty rights groups worldwide. On January 8, a coalition of more than 25 Civil and Human Rights organizations in the United States issued […]


4 Jan, 2010

“Crotch-bomber” Attack Means Windfall for Security Apparatus

The foiled bid by a Nigerian to blow up a U.S. airliner has given security authorities the excuse they needed to get governments and the aviation industry to spend billions more on security, including body-scanners. The incident has also triggered renewed fears of racial profiling by visa officers and immigration authorities. According to the International […]


3 Jan, 2010

Is a second “Decade From Hell” in the making?

Originally Published: 03 Jan 2010 For all those who have been fervently wishing each other a peaceful New Year, be warned that it is likely to be anything but. The same bunch of people who have been at the forefront of wars, conflict and state terrorism over the last few years are sending out clear […]


28 Dec, 2009

Last Minute Surge Props Up Thai Tourism in 2009

Thanks to a surge in tourism arrivals in the last quarter of 2009, the Thai tourism industry is projecting to close this year with a total of 14 million arrivals, down just 4% over 2008. In 2010, the forecast is for a 7-10 percent increase to 15 – 15.5 million visitors, “if no serious incidents […]


20 Dec, 2009

Palestinian Christians call for end to Israeli occupation

Originally Published: 20 Dec 2009 A fortnight before Christmas, Palestinian Christians and a number of church leaders have issued a “historic document” calling on Israel to end its occupation of Palestine and the suffering of the Palestinian people. Already making the rounds of Christian media and faith groups, the ground-breaking document for the first time […]


14 Dec, 2009

Climate Justice Panel Fails To Find The Right Balance

COPENHAGEN: An energetic two-hour discussion on the issue of climate justice and tourism on the sidelines of the Copenhagen summit ended with yet another deadlock over some of the long-standing questions about how to make travel & tourism both economically and ecologically sustainable. However, representatives of academia, civil society groups and the UN World Tourism […]


6 Dec, 2009

Cracking the culture of impunity and Asia’s culture of complacency and subservience

Originally Published: 06 Dec 2009 When Dr Nagesh Kumar, Chief Economist of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), briefed the media on year-end state-of-the-region report on Nov 30, he said that many Asia-Pacific countries will have to indulge in some serious soul-searching about their future growth and development policies. […]


30 Nov, 2009

UN Conf In Takayama Aspires To Boost Tourism For People With Disabilities

The Japanese city of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture, which has reinvented itself as model city for people with disabilities (PwDs), was the venue of a 24-26 November conference designed to showcase how Asia-Pacific cities can promote tourism, mobility and employment for a rapidly-growing part of the world’s population. The congress was organised by the Social […]


23 Nov, 2009

Congress Organisers Say Less Business Travel Won’t Help Cut Global Warming

The meetings and conventions industry is calling upon environmental regulatory authorities to think long and hard before pushing for curbs on travel for business and MICE purposes as part of efforts to reduce global warming. In a statement last week, the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) said that while limiting such forms of […]


22 Nov, 2009

Yet Another Palestine Day is Commemmorated With More Talk And No Action

Originally Published: 22 Nov 2009 This November 29 will mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, its 32nd year since being approved by the UN General Assembly in 1977. Yet another year has gone by in commiserating a day marking probably the most explosive, expensive and divisive political conflict in modern history. […]


16 Nov, 2009

S. Africa Hosts Summit To Strengthen Sports<>Tourism Links

LONDON — The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the South African Government are to jointly organise what is claimed to be the world’s first international Tourism, Sport and Mega-events Summit in Sandton, South Africa during February 24 – 26, 2010.  The summit reflects the importance of major sporting, business and cultural events as a […]


8 Nov, 2009

Asia Challenged To Overcome “Mental Colonisation”

Originally Published: 8 Nov 2009 A series of discussions organised at the UN Economic & Social Commission for Asia-Pacific last week led to some soul-searching debate on whether the lessons of these recurring financial crisis are being learnt, and whether the global system is geared up to handle them, especially as the next crisis is […]


2 Nov, 2009

Victory In Anti-Muslim Racial Profiling Case

In a move that should be a learning experience for aviation security, immigration and security authorities worldwide, U.S. Airways last month (on October 20 2009) agreed to an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit filed by six imams, or Islamic religious leaders, who were arrested after being removed from a US Airways flight in Minnesota in […]


26 Oct, 2009

Germany Steps Up Push For Visitors From Asia

SINGAPORE:  The City of Berlin will be using next month’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall to launch its first TV advertising campaign in Asia, based on a powerful brand message, “City of Freedom.” At the same time, Lufthansa German Airlines will mark the 50th anniversary of its flights to Bangkok. In […]


25 Oct, 2009

“Open” societies and democracies commit human rights abuses, too

Originally Published: 25 Oct 2009 On October 21, the International Herald Tribune published a column by the founder and former chairman of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Robert Bernstein in which he criticised HRW for issuing “report after report” criticising Israel. He suggested that it should stick to criticising the autocratic and repressive Arab regimes and […]


21 Oct, 2009

In Asia, France Promotes Spiritual Tourism to Lourdes

France is known more for its wine, fashion and shopping but one of its key destinations is slowly gaining popularity in Asia for a somewhat unlikely niche-market — spiritual and religious tourism. Located 812 kilometres south of Paris, the city of Lourdes is being frequented by Christian pilgrims largely from the Philippines but also increasingly […]


12 Oct, 2009

UNWTO Joins Bandwagon Of Global Restructuring Groups

Astana, Kazakhstan: The restructuring “bug” sweeping through international travel industry associations last week spread to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) which is set to undergo a complete internal and external overhaul following the election of a new secretary-general. Former Jordanian tourism minister Dr Taleb Rifai, the first Arab to run the 154-member body of […]


11 Oct, 2009

One man’s climate change is another man’s climate justice

Originally Published: 11 Oct 2009 Just as one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, one man’s climate change is another man’s climate justice. This fundamental difference of perspective goes to the heart of both the environmental challenge as well many other facets of the emerging world order. To the developed world, climate change and […]


5 Oct, 2009

UNWTO Survey Shows Tourism Prominent In Economic Stimulus Packages

Astana, Kazakhstan — More than 70 countries included travel & tourism in the economic stimulus packages they enacted to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis, according to a report to be presented to the UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly here this week. Entitled “Roadmap to Recovery,” the report is a survey of […]


28 Sep, 2009

PATA New Business Plan Hopes To Stop Membership Slide

Hangzhou, China — The membership of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) was holding an extraordinary session here this past weekend to approve a revolutionary business plan for 2010-2012 designed to replace its elitist, top-down structure with a grassroots approach focussing on its rapidly diminishing ranks of small- and medium-sized members. Seeking to “get the […]


27 Sep, 2009

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus: How to Alleviate Poverty and Insecurity

Originally Published: 27 Sept 2009 A little more than a month ago, Bangkok was fortunate to host two Nobel laureates, Dr Joseph Stiglitz and Prof Muhammad Yunus, within the span of a week. In their public appearances, both conveyed powerful messages about how they saw the world today and where they felt it should be […]


21 Sep, 2009

Tourism NGOs Mobilise For Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

Travel & tourism watchdog groups are mobilising to get their voices heard at the last two rounds of the upcoming climate change conferences in Bangkok and Copenhagen. The effort is being spearheaded by two church-backed groups, the Chiang Mai-based Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism and the German-based Tourism Watch which will be coordinating a series of […]


14 Sep, 2009

Videoconferencing Sector Steps Up Marketing Drive

The release of a White Paper earlier this month outlining the “Top Five Benefits of Video Conferencing” further underscores the onrushing competitive pressure that the travel & tourism, especially the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector, will have to deal with in the years ahead. Released by Polycom, a U.S. telepresence, video and voice […]


13 Sep, 2009

“American Press self-censored, no longer bears witness to what war does to people”

Originally Published: 13 Sep 2009 A debate that broke out earlier this month in the U.S. media over the publication of a photograph showing a mortally wounded soldier in Afghanistan raises much wider issues about the role of media in wars and conflict, especially the mind-bending manipulation required to maintain public support. Many newspapers declined […]


7 Sep, 2009

Civil Liberties Group Blasts Racial Profiling In U.S. Travel

A major report published by the American Civil Liberties Union last month has criticised the continued prevalence of alleged racial profiling at U.S. airports and border crossings as well as the treatment of those wearing Sikh turbans and Muslim head coverings. “Since September 11, 2001, new forms of racial profiling have affected a growing number […]


31 Aug, 2009

Telecom Union Toolkit Boosts Travel Access For The Disabled

The revolution in Information Technology has transformed the travel & tourism industry like never before, and is now well placed to push forward into a new domain – making its products and services more user-friendly for the world’s estimated 650 million people with disabilities (PwDs). The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last week released a toolkit […]