Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

Author Archive

31 Jan, 2008

India To Spend Rs 85,000 Crore On Higher Education

According to India’s Ministry of Human Resources Development, the 11th Plan outlay for Higher Education is roughly Rs. 85,000 Cr. an increase of over 9 times over the 10th Plan outlay.

more…

29 Jan, 2008

Big Business Says Addressing Climate Change ‘Very Low on Agenda’

As the economic crisis raged in 2008, a survey of big business showed that tackling climate change had been ranked 8th on the list of concerns.

more…

28 Jan, 2008

PATA “CEO Challenge” Turnout Target Hit by Stock Market Turmoil

The stock market turmoil of early last week has further diminished the chances of meeting the targetted turnout for the PATA climate change conference due to be held April 29-30, a number of Board members of the Pacific Asia Travel Association have warned. Attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum here last week, board members from the […]

more…

27 Jan, 2008

Global Uncertainty: An Angry India Demands Answers

Indian Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, in an address to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, voiced the concerns of the developing world by raising critical questions about global economic trends, the sub-prime crisis, oil prices, food inflation and the increasing use of bio-fuels.

more…

22 Jan, 2008

Global Survey Highlights Lack Of Faith In World Leaders

The latest findings of a global survey carried out for the World Economic Forum show a lack of faith that the next generation will live in a safer world.

more…

21 Jan, 2008

PATA Blackout on “CEO Challenge” Registrations

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) last Friday released a preliminary programme of its “CEO Challenge” conference on tourism and climate change to be held in Bangkok this April even as it struggled to meet a target of 500 registrations. A PATA spokesperson said a blackout had been placed on releasing information about the number […]

more…

20 Jan, 2008

Palestinians Should Declare an Independent State – NOW!

Originally Published: 20 Jan 2008 In the aftermath of US President George W Bush’s carefully scripted swing through the Middle East, it has become imperative for the Palestinian people to decisively, unilaterally and immediately declare the creation of a Palestinian state. There is no better time, as Israel prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of […]

more…

17 Jan, 2008

India, China Can “Both Compete and Cooperate”

“The rise of China and India should be viewed as an ‘international public good’ by the global community, since it offers new opportunities to sustain global growth,” says Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

more…

14 Jan, 2008

Tourism Backlash Fears Follow India-Australia Cricket Spat

A serious spat on the cricket field between Australia and India earlier this month has created major image problems for Australia in one of its fastest growing and highest-spending visitor source markets. After spending millions of dollars in recent years cultivating a market that has an average length of stay of 50 nights per visitor, […]

more…

7 Jan, 2008

Backlash Against Branding Gains Ground

Imagine a tourist destination that openly brags about having no McDonalds, Pizza Huts, KFC, Starbucks, Travelodge or Holiday Inns.

more…

6 Jan, 2008

Divisive “Elections” Indicate the Makings of a Polarised World Order

Originally Published: 06 Jan 2008 Elections are claimed to be the heart of the democratic process, a kind of panacea for all prevailing ills. But many of the elections and electoral campaigns in 2007 have been violent, dangerous, controversial, divisive, vituperative and hugely expensive. Are they really fulfilling the lofty purpose they are supposed to? […]

more…

4 Jan, 2008

Do Democratic Elections Really Fulfill Their Lofty Purpose?

Originally Published: 4 Jan 2008 Elections are claimed to be the heart of the democratic process, a kind of panacea for all prevailing ills. But many of the elections and electoral campaigns in 2007 have been violent, dangerous, controversial, divisive, vituperative and hugely expensive. Are they really fulfilling the lofty purpose they are supposed to? […]

more…

24 Dec, 2007

ICAO Issues First Aviation Environmental Report

Responding to the concerns over the impact of aviation on climate change, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued the first of a series of triennial reports on what is being done by the aviation industry to alleviate the problem. The 260-page “ICAO Environmental Report 2007” is downloadable free [http://www.icao.int/env/]. In layman’s language, it […]

more…

23 Dec, 2007

Environmental Conference in Bali: Interlinked “war on terror” and “war on nature”

Originally Published: 23 Dec 2007 In Bali last week for the climate change conference, I could not but help notice the stark similarities in the management of the two most important global threats — the war on terror and the war on nature. Both involve human casualties, direct and indirect. Every week somewhere, an act […]

more…

17 Dec, 2007

Telecoms Target Aviation Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions

BALI — Already under fire from environmentalists for its greenhouse gas emissions, the aviation industry is set to come under direct assault from telecommunications and I.T. companies targetting the business travel market. At the UN Framework for Climate Change Conference here last week, executives of Climate Risk Pty Ltd were publicising a report prepared for […]

more…

17 Dec, 2007

Climate Change: Telecom Firms Target Business Travel

Final wrap-up dispatch from the UN Framework on Climate Change Conference in Bali.

more…

13 Dec, 2007

Global Leaders Speak

Five leaders’ speeches, all reproduced in full, provide a useful overview of the key issues at stake at the Bali conference, as well as some succinct bulletpoints for easy insertion into Powerpoint presentations.

more…

12 Dec, 2007

A Traditional Balinese Solution To Climate Change

“We have created such an artificial environment with a range of modem conveniences to the point of total dependency on them. We look up to people who are hectic and busy and consider them to be ideal citizens. As a result, many of us compete fiercely, allowing hardly any time to simply sitting and observing […]

more…

11 Dec, 2007

Watch This New Trend: EcoMobility

More than 30 global companies, business and user associations, expert organizations, local governments and United Nations agencies have joined together in a partnership for the integrated promotion of walking, cycling, wheeling and ‘passenging’ (the use of public transport) in cities.

more…

10 Dec, 2007

EIBT Industry Report Rues Impact of “Age of Turbulence”

Macro, big-picture issues are becoming far greater sources of anxiety than micro trends within the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry, according to a research report presented at a trade show in Barcelona last month. The annual report indicated that while industry issues like airline and hotel capacity, technology and costs were impacting on […]

more…

10 Dec, 2007

Coming Soon: Millions of “Green-Collar” Jobs

Despite the detrimental effects brought on by climate change, new industries to combat global warming could spur employment, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.

more…

9 Dec, 2007

An Open Letter to President George W Bush: God Does Not Love Liars and Killers

Originally Published:09 Dec 2007 AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH. Dear Mr President, It’s just a few days before the spirit of Christmas, and once again, you appear to on the verge of making decisions that will impact my livelihood and the welfare of my family. The fact I have no way of […]

more…

5 Dec, 2007

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Highest On Record

In 2006, globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere reached their highest levels ever recorded, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) 2006 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

more…

4 Dec, 2007

New Rules Needed For Global Economies, Says Civil Society

A statement co-signed by just under 100 members of civil society, including politicians, scientists, academics, unionists, journalists, was released in Bali on December 3. It calls for a “truly transformational change in the global economy” with a whole new set of rules, incentives, and institutions that will “transition our villages, cities, countries, and world toward […]

more…

3 Dec, 2007

Travel Sectors Mulls Cost and Impact of Climate Change

Although the travel & tourism industry is slowly waking up to the impact of climate change, it is a long way from understanding how it will be affected by the slew of added taxes, costs, policies and mitigation measures set to unfold over time.

more…

26 Nov, 2007

Road Transport Union Seeks Classification System for Tour Coaches

Casablanca, Morocco – The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is attempting to create a uniform global classification system for tour coaches that will give them star ratings, similar to the systems used by hotels. Speaking to the annual congress of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA) here, Mr Oleg Kamberski, Head – Passenger […]

more…

25 Nov, 2007

Another Photo-Op for the “Doctors” Seeking to “Cure” the Middle Eastern Cancer

Originally Published: 25 Nov 2007 Next week, yet another one of the interminable conferences will be convened in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will be the usual gathering of doctors quibbling over the best treatment for a festering cancer even as the patient dies a slow and painful death. The peoples of […]

more…

19 Nov, 2007

Signs of Trouble Emerge for PATA CEO Challenge Summit

LONDON – In spite of the announcement that Dr RK Pachauri, Chairman of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will be a keynote speaker at PATA’s summit on Climate Change, strong signs are emerging that the event to be held in Bangkok in April 2008 is unlikely to meet […]

more…

13 Nov, 2007

Climate Change a “Question of Global Justice”

The WTM London will host a ministerial Summit on Tourism and Climate Change to consider and ratify a Declaration recommended by environmental experts at the UNWTO’s Summit on Climate Change in Davos, Switzerland in October 2007. But there are wider issues at stake,

more…

11 Nov, 2007

Ex-UNESCO Chief: Beware of Becoming “Simple Recipients of Often Biased Information”

Originally Published: 11 Nov 2007 As calls grow for more assertive “people power” movements in places like Myanmar and Pakistan, even louder calls are being heard for a global “people power” movement against the United States government and its “war economy” policies. Speaking at a global conference in Cordoba, Spain, late last month, Federico Mayor […]

more…

9 Nov, 2007

$18 Billion to Build New Central Asian ‘Silk Roads’

Eight Central Asian countries have agreed to an $18 billion strategy to improve the regional network of roads, airports, railway lines and seaports to make the region a vital transit route for trade between Europe and Asia.

more…

7 Nov, 2007

Beware the Private Security Firms, UN Report Warns

If safety and security issues are becoming important for the travel and tourism industry, the global activities of mercenaries and intelligence agencies should be of equal concern, a team of independent United Nations experts said today.

more…

5 Nov, 2007

UNWTO Organises Cordoba Conference to Boost Religious Tourism

CORDOBA, Spain – With millions of people now on the move for “religious tourism,” the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has begun to turn its attention towards studying and analysing the issues related to its sustainability. The growth of interest in the Buddhist circuit is one aspect of this phenomena which covers two kinds of […]

more…

31 Oct, 2007

Beware the “Other Global Warming”

The real reason we are at this conference is to address the “other global warming” – the rising geopolitical temperatures between peoples, societies, communities and countries. This geopolitical “global warming” is essentially caused by two groups of people: A tiny minority of unscrupulous politicians who promote divide and rule for parochial gain. And an equally tiny minority of fanatics who believe uncompromisingly that their way is the only way.”

more…

29 Oct, 2007

GEO Report Seeks to Assess Monetary Value of Biodiversity

One groundbreaking aspect of the Global Environment Outlook 2007 issued last week is an attempt to estimate the monetary “value” of biodiversity. In this context, the value of coral reefs for fisheries and tourism is valued at US$30 billion/year, and the value of the herbal medicine market at roughly US$43 billion in 2001 figures. Although […]

more…

28 Oct, 2007

A Warning About Global Warming, But Which One?

Originally Published: 28 Oct 2007 The Global Environment Outlook report released last week makes grim reading. However, upon perusing through its voluminous 572 pages, the key question that emerges is which “warming” should the global public prepare to address first? The word “war” features prominently in both global “warming” and global “warning”. While environmentalists warn […]

more…

23 Oct, 2007

Cordoba Conference to Tackle the “Other Global Warming”

Along with the environmental global warming, the rising temperatures in relationships between peoples and religions, also known as a potential “clash of civilisations,” comprise another form of “global warming” and will also affect travel & tourism.

more…

22 Oct, 2007

Condemnation of Air Passenger Tax Unwarranted & Unsound

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have joined hands in “condemning” the Dutch Government’s plan to tax outbound passengers by as much as EUR45 as part of an effort to reduce air travel and combat global warming. However, the knee-jerk condemnations are flawed, self-serving and indicative of an […]

more…

17 Oct, 2007

Travel For The Disabled Gaining Momentum

An International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT 2007) for people with disabilities is to be held in Bangkok between November 22-24 to highlight the need for improved facilities and services for a growing but still largely neglected market segment.

more…

15 Oct, 2007

Bangkok to Host Tourism Disability Conference

An International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT 2007) for people with disabilities is to be held in Bangkok between November 22-24 to highlight the need for improved facilities and services for a growing but still largely neglected market segment. “With a generation of permanently disabled people having experienced increasing degrees of employment, education, and leisure, […]

more…

14 Oct, 2007

If the Burmese are entitled to freedom, aren’t the Palestinians?

Originally Published: 14 Oct 2007 It is hugely inspiring and uplifting to see the passion and energy being poured into the efforts to gain freedom for the people of Burma from the military dictatorship. There is justifiably enormous sympathy for the oppressed people of this strategically-important and resource-rich country which has produced international public figures […]

more…

12 Oct, 2007

Climate Change: Industrialised Countries Speak

The last of a five-part series summarising the high-level presentations at the special UN session on 24 Sept 2007 under the theme: “The Future in Our Hands: Addressing The Leadership Challenge Of Climate Change”.

more…

11 Oct, 2007

Climate Change: Energy Producing Countries Speak

The fourth of a five-part series summarising the high-level presentations at the special UN session on 24 Sept 2007 under the theme: “The Future in Our Hands: Addressing The Leadership Challenge Of Climate Change”.

more…

10 Oct, 2007

Climate Change: Developed Countries Under Pressure To Do More

The third of a five-part series summarising the high-level presentations at the special UN session on 24 Sept 2007 under the theme: “The Future in Our Hands: Addressing The Leadership Challenge Of Climate Change”.

more…

9 Oct, 2007

Climate Change: Battle Lines Are Drawn

The second of a five-part series summarising the high-level presentations at the special UN session on 24 Sept 2007 under the theme: “The Future in Our Hands: Addressing The Leadership Challenge Of Climate Change”.

more…

8 Oct, 2007

More Air-links Sought between Thailand & Northeast India

The shortage of direct air-links with Bangkok has been identified as the significant most important bottleneck to boosting Thai investment in India’s North East region, the strategically-located area that is a critical part of India’s Lookeast policy. The single weekly flight by the newly merged airline Air India between Bangkok and Guwahati is “simply not […]

more…

8 Oct, 2007

Climate Change: World Leaders Speak

In another first for travel industry journalism, Travel Impact Newswire today begins a five-part series summarising the high-level presentations by world leaders at the special UN session on 24 Sept 2007 under the theme: “The Future in Our Hands: Addressing The Leadership Challenge Of Climate Change”.

more…

5 Oct, 2007

India Launches Buddhist Pilgrimage Train

The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has introduced ‘Mahaparinirvan’, a special train for the Buddhist Pilgrimage.

more…

2 Oct, 2007

Aviation Safety? Not When It’s a Question of Serving U.S.Foreign Policy, Says Iran

Iran has challenged the International Civil Aviation Organization to deliver on its claimed focus on aviation safety by pressuring the United States to lift the sanctions on supply of spare parts and equipment to Iran’s civil aviation industry.

more…

1 Oct, 2007

Iran Challenges ICAO Claims On Safety

Iran has challenged the International Civil Aviation Organisation to enforce the letter of its legally binding Chicago Convention and deliver on its claimed stress on aviation safety by pressuring the United States to lift the sanctions on supply of spare parts and equipment for Iran’s civil aviation industry. For the second year running, Iran called […]

more…

30 Sep, 2007

Does the Islamic World have a “Tolerance Threshold”?

Originally Published: 30 Sept 2007 How much further must the Islamic world be pushed, insulted, humiliated, lied to, criticised and manipulated before the silent majority of Muslim intellectuals, businessmen, diplomats and other well-educated and well-read personalities decide that enough is enough. More importantly, how much longer before they begin to exercise their democratic right to […]

more…

29 Sep, 2007

2008 A Year Of Reckoning For PATA

The year 2008 will be a year of reckoning for the Pacific Asia Travel Association. Two of its biggest sources of program revenues — the new CEO Challenge and the annual PATA mart — are going to be under pressure to perform.

more…

27 Sep, 2007

The Growing Market For Overseas Education

The number of tertiary students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has grown from 0.61 million worldwide in 1975 to 2.73 million in 2005, mirroring the growing globalisation of economies and societies, according to a report issued by the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

more…

17 Sep, 2007

Airline Crew Unions Berate Impact of Cost-Cutting

The head of a trades union of American flight attendants has painted a sorry picture of the devastation caused to the lives of thousands of union members “by the exploitation of corporate bankruptcy” and the downstream impact of management efforts routinely characaterised as “rationalising costs” and “improving efficiency.” Testifying before the US House Subcommittee on […]

more…

17 Sep, 2007

World Exclusive: UNWTO Warns Against Iran Conflict

The Deputy Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organisation, Dr Taleb Rifai said that further hostilities in the Middle East would solve nothing but rather create problems that could cause incalculable damage worldwide.

more…

10 Sep, 2007

Kingdom Hotel Investments Targets Asia for Growth

The Asian investment diversification policy of Saudi-owned Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI) has contributed substantially to the company’s first half earnings, and is expected to grow in the years ahead Nearly all the hotel expansion undertaken by KHI, owned by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, in the past year has been in Asia, a region which generated […]

more…

7 Sep, 2007

Campaign To Promote Workplace Wellness

The World Economic Forum has teamed up with the World Health Organization to launch a campaign to boost health and wellness in the workplace.

more…

3 Sep, 2007

Sikhs Protest U.S. Airport Profiling

First it was just the metal detectors and body checks, then came removal of shoes, sharp objects and cigarette lighters followed by metal forks and knives as well as nail-clippers. Recently, water, liquids and gels have been placed on the list. Now comes the latest in a long list of insane security checks – permission […]

more…

3 Sep, 2007

“Political Risks Greater Threat To Global Economy”

Political pressures present the greatest medium-term threat to global growth, according to a report released today by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Network.

more…

2 Sep, 2007

CNN documentary paves the way for a wider global exploration of “God’s warriors”

Originally Published: 02 Sep 2007 The six-hour CNN documentary series, “God’s Warriors”, broadcast Aug 21-23 essentially proved right what Muslims have been long saying – that they are not the only “militants, extremists and zealots” in town. When a “former Jewish terrorist” talks about his role in planting a car-bomb that blew away the legs […]

more…

27 Aug, 2007

India Okays Merger of Two National Airlines

India last week cleared the final legal hurdle for the merger of its two state-owned airlines Air India and Indian Airlines into a single company called National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL). To fly under the brand of ‘Air India’, the new airline will have a combined fleet of over 112 aircraft, putting it […]

more…

20 Aug, 2007

Thailand Seeks Closer Trade, Tourism Ties with Islamic World

Two major finance- and business-related events to be held for the first time in Thailand next month are designed to boost trade, transportation and tourism links between Thailand and the Islamic world, and also become part of the multi-faceted efforts to address the problems in South Thailand. Hundreds of senior business and finance executives from […]

more…

19 Aug, 2007

Marking 60 years of Freedom, India and Pakistan focus on what binds rather than divides them

Originally Published: 19 Aug 2007 There was plenty of soul-searching in both India and Pakistan as the two nuclear-club South Asian neighbours celebrated the 60th year of independence from British colonialism last week. Significantly, a key message that emerged from the speeches by their respective leaders was that neither country can afford another war. Both […]

more…

13 Aug, 2007

Sri Lanka Hosts 2007 World Tourism Day to Polish Image

COLOMBO – Preparations are under way in Sri Lanka to host this year’s World Tourism Day on 27 September 2007, an international event that tourism executives hope will help offset what is shaping up as another calamitous year for the island nation’s industry. This year’s Tourism Day theme is “Tourism Opens Doors for Women,” a […]

more…

6 Aug, 2007

2010 Commonwealth Games Host India Makes Sports Tourism Push

With the Commonwealth Games coming up in New Delhi in 2010, and cognizant of the huge economic and business potential of sports tourism, India has unveiled a policy initiative to upgrade the quality of its decrepit stadiums, attract more competitive events and boost the performance of its players and athletes. Designed to reap the financial, […]

more…

6 Aug, 2007

Bottled Water Industry In Hot Water

The bottled water industry is under fire to account for the environmental impact of the millions of plastic bottles it uses.

more…

5 Aug, 2007

As Speaker Flags “Islamism”, FCCT Moderator Tries to Silence Questions On Israeli Policy

Originally Published: 5 Aug 2007 The Arab-Israeli conflict erupted by proxy in full force at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand last week as an Israeli propaganda effort to highlight the “Islamist” threat in Asia ran into some unexpectedly belligerent skepticism and opposition. In one of the stormiest meetings ever seen at the FCCT, the […]

more…

30 Jul, 2007

Laos At the Crossroads — In More Ways Than One

VIENTIANE — Located right at the crossroads of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the rapidly growing tourism industry of landlocked Laos is at the same critical crossroads at which the Thai tourism industry found itself in the 1980s — the face-off between balancing “quantity” vs “quality” of visitor arrivals and boosting its ability to manage […]

more…

30 Jul, 2007

Private Equity Firms Face Image Problems, Transparency Pressure

Seeking to counter a growing image problem and reputation as predatory buyout “asset-strippers”, private equity companies are trying to work out voluntary guidelines to provide more “disclosure and transparency” about themselves and their mega-billion dollar deals.

more…

25 Jul, 2007

Next Big Thing: The “Happiness Business”

Bangkok – Is the phrase “travel & tourism industry” now outdated? If a rebranding is long overdue, how about the “happiness business”? Becoming arguably the first travel trade editor to cover a conference on promoting happiness organised at the UN regional headquarters in Bangkok last week, I was struck by the extent to which the […]

more…

23 Jul, 2007

Private Equity Funds Guidelines Claim to Promote “Transparency”

Seeking to counter a growing image problem and reputation as predatory buyout “asset-strippers”, private equity companies are trying to work out voluntary guidelines to provide more “disclosure and transparency” about themselves and their mega-billion dollar deals. Declaring that “private equity needs to become more open,” a preliminary review of public disclosure requirements has been conducted […]

more…

22 Jul, 2007

Study of “Happiness” is Becoming both a Science and a Business

Originally Published: 22 July 2007 The very simple exercise of pursuing public happiness as a national development objective is moving rapidly from the leftist lunatic fringe into the sphere of mainstream thinking. Although there is general agreement that the concept is valid and well worth being elevated to the level of public policy, it is […]

more…

19 Jul, 2007

When will Asia muster the courage to start pushing back?

Originally Published: 19 July 2007 Tarrin Nimmanhaeminda is a man who chooses his words with care. Thailand’s finance minister during the critical Asian economic crisis, which just commemorated its 10th anniversary amidst much soul-searching, is well versed in both the intricacies of global finance as well as the English language. When he recounted the crisis […]

more…

16 Jul, 2007

Asia-Pacific Airlines Group Blasts European “Blacklist” of Indonesian Carriers

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has made clear to European authorities it’s displeasure with the way the blanket blacklisting of 51 Indonesian airlines was assessed and announced, and sought more transparency in the process. In an interview last week, AAPA Secretary General Andrew Herdman said he had “forcefully” pointed out to the European […]

more…

10 Jul, 2007

Global Businesses Face “Trust Gap,” Need To Reset Their “Moral Compass”

Global business leaders have been warned by a McKinsey Company survey that they are facing a “major trust gap” in how their companies are viewed by employees, consumers and the public.

more…

9 Jul, 2007

China Gives More Flight-Path Approvals to Facilitate Polar Route

CHINA has agreed to a number of significant improvements in the flight paths over its air-space in order to facilitate the growing traffic over the polar routes between Asia and North America. The upgrades were conveyed to the aviation community at the fifth Special Air Traffic Systems Co-ordination Meeting between China, Mongolia, Russia and the […]

more…

8 Jul, 2007

Now Asia’s Turn to Demand Accountability & Transparency From the West

Originally Published: 08 July 2007 Two watershed events were marked virtually back-to-back over the last fortnight. The 10th anniversary of the 1997 Asian economic crisis and the half-way mark of the 15-year Millennium Development Goals campaign both provided an opportunity to take stock of the past and take a fresh look at the future. Looking […]

more…

2 Jul, 2007

Indonesians Blast European Ban on Garuda

Indonesian aviation and tourism authorities have been put on the defensive by last week’s European Union ban on Indonesian airlines, but are also beginning to question the timing, methodology and motivation of the move. Although the initial reaction has been again to plead their case before the EU Transport Commission and cite all the various […]

more…

25 Jun, 2007

Beware the “Brutal” Private Equity Funds, Unions Warn

Continuing its campaign to warn governments and workers about the growing power of private equity funds, the federation of international unions in the hotel, catering, food and farm sectors has issued a report seeking to expose the funds’ inner workings and get them placed under greater public scrutiny. Produced in response to a growing number […]

more…

24 Jun, 2007

Gandhi’s Pursuit of Non-Violence In Reality Was a Pursuit of Justice

Originally Published: 24 June 2007 The June 15 decision by the UN General Assembly to observe the International Day of Non-Violence each year on 2 October – the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — is intended to promote public awareness of, and deeper reflections on, the life and times of a revolutionary leader whose policies […]

more…

18 Jun, 2007

Indian Aviation Industry Heading for Private Equity Hands

MUMBAI: Plagued by excessive capacity, over-competition, low yields and massive airline losses, India’s aviation industry is on its way to falling into the hands of foreign investors and private equity funds, according to several speakers at an aviation summit here last week. Companies such as Rothschild, the Citi group, Istithmar, Goldman Sachs, Temasek and Indigo […]

more…

11 Jun, 2007

Whither Tourism Brands In a World of “Homogenised Culture”

KUALA LUMPUR — National tourism boards need to start speaking out “against turning every country town into a showcase for global brands,” the chairman of VisitBritain warned last week. In a keynote presentation at the World Tourism Summit convened here by the UN World Tourism Organization, Mr Christopher Rodrigues said, “The more global companies and […]

more…

10 Jun, 2007

Jewish-American Neocon Openly Prays for Bush to Bomb Iran

Originally Published: 10 Jun 2007 On May 30, an opinion piece appeared in the pages of the Wall Street Journal with a very unequivocal message: It called on President Bush to bomb Iran. The concluding line is a revelation: “As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he (President […]

more…

28 May, 2007

Asia, Africa Unite On Aviation Emissions

Asian and African countries are making it clear to the aviation industries of the developed countries that they will not accept any disproportionate restrictions on their growth prospects as part of global efforts to curb emissions of greenhouse gases by aircraft. They made this clear at a “Colloquium on Aviation Emissions” organised by the International […]

more…

27 May, 2007

Amnesty International Reports Pinpoints Causes of Global Fear, Insecurity & Instability

Originally Published: 27 May 2007 Amnesty International’s report for 2007 was published last week. It was hugely gratifying to see that it focussed on many of the subjects explored in this column over the years — from the negative impact of globalisation to the climate of fear and insecurity created by the “war on terror”. […]

more…

21 May, 2007

India Plans 100% Private “Merchant Airports”

Indian government officials last week met with representatives of private sector business organisations, consultants and investors to seek feedback for an upcoming policy on creating 100% privately-owned “Merchant Airports.” Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary, Mr Ashok Chawla said that “Merchant Airports” have been conceptualized as airport infrastructure entirely in private hands with private resources, including […]

more…

14 May, 2007

India Nears Completion of Traditional Knowledge Library

India is nearing completion of a voluminous reference work known as the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) that will allow Western patent examiners to verify claims by people seeking to copyright, trademark or patent products and processes ranging from yoga to ayurveda. The National Institute for Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR) is putting the […]

more…

13 May, 2007

Religions akin to a confluence of rivers, all flowing in one direction

Originally Published: 13 May 2007 When Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, delivered the keynote address at the South Asian Inter-Faith Harmony Conclave last month, he said: “Nations and societies that seek to impose uniformity will give way to those who embrace and celebrate diversity. Every nation will have to learn to deal with the […]

more…

11 May, 2007

No More One-Way Globalisation, Say India And China

China and India are coming together to defend the wider economic and trading interests of the developing countries in the World Trade Organization.

more…

7 May, 2007

Middle East Hotel Survey Says “Market Correction” Awaits

DUBAI: With about 82,000 rooms projected to open across the Middle East and North Africa region over the next four years, “a market correction is likely to happen with lower occupancy levels and declines in average rate,” according to the latest Middle East Hotel Survey for 2007 by the HVS consultancy company. The report says […]

more…

30 Apr, 2007

Emirates Attacks Critics of Aviation’s Role in Global Warming

DUBAI: Emirates airlines has unleashed a full-blown attack on critics of the aviation industry’s role in global warming, with the airline’s executive vice chairman claiming that emissions by European cows were a greater threat than those of aviation. Writing in the airline’s annual report for 2006/07 released here last week, Maurice Flanagan said, “Airlines are […]

more…

29 Apr, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre: Double Standards in Analysing the Root Cause of Violence

Originally Published: 29 Apr 2007 In addition to the appalling death and carnage of the Virginia Tech massacre, perhaps the most disturbing aspect was the sharp contrast in the way America and indeed the rest of the world analysed and probed its root causes, as against the way acts of violence are treated when Muslims […]

more…

23 Apr, 2007

Indo-Pak Tourism Connectivity “Can Build Peace”

South Asian tourism officials are to meet in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad this week to discuss ways to boost people-to-people “connectivity”, a significant diplomatic upgrade from the former usage of the word “contacts.” The meetings of the UN World Tourism Organisation’s Commissions for South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific will closely follow the […]

more…

16 Apr, 2007

Kingdom Hotels Buys 6th Hotel in Asia

Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI), the company chaired by Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has bought a 100% stake in a hotel in Kunshan, China, the sixth hotel it has picked up in the past 12 months as part of a vigorous Asian expansion spree. According to a KHI announcement, the purchase of the 387-room […]

more…

2 Apr, 2007

Hotel Boards Under Transparency Pressure

A significant transition in corporate governance and executive pay is under way amongst the boards of public lodging companies as shareholders seek accountability and transparency like never before, according to the 2006 Hotel Industry Board Survey by the HVS Global Hospitality Services. The consultancy last week released the results of its 8th annual survey of […]

more…

1 Apr, 2007

Indian Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen Pinpoints Why The World Has Become Unstable and Violent

Originally Published: 01 Apr 2007 Asia’s best-known economist last week used the 60th anniversary commemoration of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to remind the people of the Asian/Arab/Islamic worlds of their rich contributions to global civilization. In a profoundly inspiring lecture, Prof Amartya Sen, the first Indian and […]

more…

26 Mar, 2007

Brand-Name Hotels More Likely to be Attacked, Say Security Consultants

Internationally-known brand name hotels are more likely to be the target of a terrorist attack than less well-known properties, two security consultants told a travel industry luncheon group last week. Speaking to the Skal Club of Bangkok, Tom Coghlan, CSP Managing Director and Fred Alimusa, CSP Training Director and Managing Director of Kerberos Co Ltd., […]

more…

12 Mar, 2007

Another Tourism “Beauty Contest”, the WEF Competitiveness Index

BERLIN: Countries will soon be parading in yet another international beauty contest following the release of the World Economic Forum’s first Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) last week at the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show. Designed to “provide benchmarking tools that enable countries to identify key obstacles to competitiveness, and to […]

more…

5 Mar, 2007

Indian Railways Upgrades To Regain Traffic Lost to LCCs

Hitting back against low-cost airlines to whom it has lost considerable business in the last few years, Indian Railways has announced plans for four high-speed railway links, 100 budget hotels on unused railway land, a systemwide cleanliness campaign and major changes in fares and reservation systems. Presenting the 2007-2008 budget to Parliament last Monday, India’s […]

more…

4 Mar, 2007

The world is not flat, and never will be!

Originally Published: 04 Mar 2007 The shocks that reverberated through the global stock markets last week yielded yet another example of the 21st century economic pandemics that can spread faster than bird flu, and the threats of the aptly-named “problems without passports” in an age of globalisation. Globalisation, and its economic first-cousins liberalisation, privatisation and […]

more…