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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 […]

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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 […]

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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”. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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., […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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26 Feb, 2007

U.S. Homeland Security Offers Travellers “Redress” Complaint Option

After years of complaints by the travel industry and civil rights groups, the US Department of Homeland Security moved last week to address the complaints of travellers who feel they have been unfairly singled out for security checks “based on race, disability, religion, gender, ethnicity or national origin.” In an announcement posted on its website […]

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26 Feb, 2007

“Big Brother” Influence in Travel Grows Alongside Technology

The February 2006 release of yet another forecast about the growing impact of technology in “bridging the gap between travel providers and consumers” has further heightened concern about privacy and potential misuse of very personal information by private companies. Entitled “Future Traveller Tribes 2020”, the report was commissioned by the GDS Amadeus. It purports to […]

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19 Feb, 2007

Indian Hotels Over-Priced Vis-a-Vis Product Quality, says HVS Report

India’s booming economy has made its hotels hugely expensive but the fact that the product quality does not match the price will do “more damage to India’s tourist industry than any good in the medium to long term,” an Indian hotel report warns. The Indian Hotel Industry Survey, covering 1,151 hotels (62,055 rooms) across various […]

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18 Feb, 2007

Is Iran trying to “wipe Israel off the map”? Take a closer look

Originally Published: 18 Feb 2007 It should be no secret by now that the United States and Israel are fishing for a reason to justify an attack on Iran. Four years after attacking Iraq based on the marketing catch-phrase “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction,” preparations are clearly being made to expand the theatre of […]

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8 Feb, 2007

Asean Tourism: Diverse, But Disunited

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the most diverse multi-country region on the planet. But its once powerful joint tourism marketing campaigns are no more.

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5 Feb, 2007

Singapore Casino Barons Deflect Criticism Over Las Vegas Transplant

SINGAPORE: Developers of the Marina Sands Bay integrated resort here are deflecting criticism that there is nothing Asian about the US$3.6 billion dollar project and that it is just another transplant of a Las Vegas monolith. After years of presenting itself and its tourism industry as being deeply interlinked with the culture and heritage of […]

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4 Feb, 2007

Holocaust Memorials Show How Easily Victims Can Become Victimisers

Originally Published: 04 Feb 2007 As always, the world marks Holocaust Day with great solemnity and remembrance. But even as they urge the world to reflect on the past, the actions of Western governments and the Jewish state of Israel prove year after year how little, if anything at all, they themselves have learnt from […]

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29 Jan, 2007

Asia-Pacific Airlines Group Blasts Growing Security Hassles

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines has poured out a litany of complaints about the growing security hassles facing the aviation industry. In its annual report for 2006, released last week, the Kuala Lumpur-based grouping of 17 regional airlines blasted the security hassles as onerous, costly, complicated, lacking coherence and standardisation, causing “emotional distress and […]

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22 Jan, 2007

Thailand Set to Promote Its Unique “Royal Discovery” Projects

The Thai tourism industry is all set to promote the nine Royal Discovery Initiative projects which are being positioned as places that tourists would not normally get to see but are now being opened up as part of the 80th birthday celebrations of His Majesty the King. Although these are being presented as unique products […]

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21 Jan, 2007

Survey shows global public believes world will be less safe, has no confidence in leaders

Originally Published: 21 January 2007 As preparations are finalised for this week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in the glitzy Swiss resort of Davos, the annual jamboree of the rich and famous, the WEF has released the results of a global public opinion survey which “shows a growing lack of confidence in leaders to improve our […]

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15 Jan, 2007

India Reaches Out Further To Make Diaspora Feel At Home

NEW DELHI: Holders of “Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards are to be charged the same domestic airfares as resident Indians and also charged the same entry fees for National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi announced this last week as part of continuing efforts by the Indian government […]

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8 Jan, 2007

Thai Tourism, 20 Years After “Visit Thailand Year”

Although the New Year’s eve bomb blasts cast a pall over travel and tourism, it may be useful to recall that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Visit Thailand Year 1987 (VTY ’87), which commemorated the auspicious 5th-cycle 60th birthday of His Majesty the King and catapulted the industry to new heights, both within […]

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7 Jan, 2007

10 Years After 1997 Crisis, Have Any Lessons Been Learnt?

Originally Published: 7 Jan 2007 In spite of all the prayers and hopes, 2007 has already gotten off to a less an auspicious start and promises to get worse, both at home and abroad. However, a number of important anniversaries this year offer an opportunity to reflect on the fact that many, if not all, […]

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25 Dec, 2006

Thai Industry Sees No Impact Of Currency, Stock Crash

The Thai travel & tourism industry has shrugged off both last week’s turmoil in the stock market as well as the strengthening of the baht as having no immediate or short-term impact on either visitor arrivals or occupancies. However, a number of hoteliers and other industry executives said the situation may begin to have an […]

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24 Dec, 2006

Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus asks: Is it globalisation, or financial imperialism?

Originally Published: 24 Dec 2006 In the light of global geopolitical developments of the past year, and economic developments in Thailand in the past week, the words of two Nobel prize winners in the past month will prove extremely insightful in pondering what awaits us all in the year ahead. On December 10, Muhammad Yunus, […]

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18 Dec, 2006

Intrusive Security Helps Private Jets Boost Marketing Pitch

The growing exasperation of upmarket travellers with intrusive, arbitrary and constantly changing airport security procedures has provided a golden opportunity for marketers of private jets to step up their sales pitch. David Savile, CEO of the U.K.-based company Private Jet describes the experience thus: “Far away from scanners, and security staff asking me to surrender […]

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11 Dec, 2006

Luxury Travel Targets 2% of World’s “Uber-Wealthy”

CANNES, France — The world’s growing list of “uber-wealthy” were the target of a luxury travel market organised here last week, with more than 2,500 delegates seeking a piece of the action estimated to be worth more than US$ 44 billion in travel expenditure. Deluxe yachts, private jets, remote islands and lavish resorts were among […]

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10 Dec, 2006

Iraq Study Group report warns U.S. about dangers of staying the course

Originally Published: 10 Dec 2006 Like many Middle East watchers around the world, I carefully read through the Iraq Study Group report which, curiously enough, seemed to reflect the views of many of my columns over the past five years. And the global media reporting of its contents also seemed to reflect the same line. […]

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4 Dec, 2006

Taj Hotels Acquires Ritz-Carlton in Boston

India’s Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces continued a global expansion drive last month with a US$ 170 million acquisition of The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Boston, raising the company’s portfolio of hotels in India and abroad to 77. The group, which entered Thailand earlier this year with the announcement of a luxury property in Phuket, has […]

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27 Nov, 2006

EU-India Aviation Summit to Yield Flights Bonanza

India and the European Union last week signed a Joint Declaration to pave the way for more bilateral flights and open up business opportunities for European companies in India’s massive civil aviation infrastructure requirements. The declaration was signed by the EU’s Vice President and Commissioner for Transport Jacques Barrot and India’s Minister for Civil Aviation […]

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26 Nov, 2006

Why does peace remain so elusive in the Middle East?

Originally Published: 26 Nov 2006 I often get asked why I focus so much on the Middle East. An answer came in the past fortnight from the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown. Speaking on Nov 20 to an audience of diplomats and students of international affairs at an event organized by Washington University’s […]

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20 Nov, 2006

Weekend Bookings by Mobile Phone Debut at WTM 2006

LONDON: Stressed-out executives idling over lunch are becoming major customers of weekend travel breaks being made bookable through a rapidly-growing medium — mobile phones. According to Gerry Samuels, Founder & Executive Director of Mobiletravel Technologies, for consumers with “time to kill”, mobile phones and devices like the Blackberry are quick and easy to use and […]

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12 Nov, 2006

When you are Number One, the only place you can go next is down

Originally Published: 12 Nov 2006 “Operation Infinite Justice” continued to surge ahead in the last fortnight as both Saddam Hussein and George W Bush got their just rewards, each suffering a blowback for the suffering they have caused to hundreds of thousands of people in their own countries and worldwide. While Saddam was sentenced to […]

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6 Nov, 2006

Climate Change Report Blasts Aviation’s Growing Role

Barely a few weeks after a University of Oxford report discussed the potential environmental impact of aviation-dependent island nations like the U.K., another report on climate change and global warming has sounded the warning at a global level. The flurry of these reports indicate that the era of unrestricted aviation expansion is about to end […]

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30 Oct, 2006

More Flights from Thailand to Buddhist Circuit Sites

Buddhist pilgrims heading for the holy sites in India are set to benefit from a bonanza of new flights connecting Bangkok directly to the cities of Bodhgaya and Varanasi as of the winter schedule 2006/2007, effective this week. The thrice weekly flights each by INDIAN (formerly known as Indian airlines) and Thai Airways International will […]

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29 Oct, 2006

When will the American people finally tire of being lied to?

Originally Published: 29 Oct 2006 Before reading any further, please log onto this website: www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601019_after_pats_birthday/. And note the words: “Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is. “Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most […]

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23 Oct, 2006

Low Cost Airlines Facing Climate Change Scrutiny

Although aviation liberalisation and low-cost airlines are being widely credited for the short-term boom in travel and economic growth, their long-term ecological impact is facing increasing scrutiny. A report by the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford, U.K., released earlier this month says that with governments coming under pressure to curb carbon emissions […]

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16 Oct, 2006

Business Executives Push for “Fast-Track” Past Security Hassles

Business executives and their travel managers are beginning to push for speedier passage through increasingly tight aviation security queues, according to a survey by London-based aviation consultancy Ascend. While corporate travel managers (those who handle the travel plans of the giant global multinationals) said that passenger security whilst travelling is the most important issue, around […]

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15 Oct, 2006

Good WILL triumph over evil, but evil will not go down without a fight

Originally Published: 15 Oct 2006 The day after my last column appeared a fortnight ago, excerpts began appearing in the US media from “State of Denial,” the newest book by Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward. The book effectively says what I have been saying for years: The Bush administration lied to the world about the reasons […]

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2 Oct, 2006

Tourism Research Papers Say Much Needs Fixing in Thai Tourism

Now that Thailand has a world-class airport, perhaps it is time to put in an equivalent effort into creating a world-class travel and tourism industry. Media coverage of the early round of inevitable growing pains – which will soon be fixed – has obscured the symbolism of the new airport which over time will go […]

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1 Oct, 2006

Time to redefine the buzzwords that drive “wealth creation”

Originally Published: 01 October 2006 Of the many buzzwords that drive economic and corporate growth these days, three stand out: “development,” “progress” and “success.” All of these are rooted in the assumption that they must be measured in terms of monetary advancement – also known as “wealth creation.” But as deep misgivings begin to set […]

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25 Sep, 2006

Thai “Orchid Revolution” Ousts Thaksin

While military coups tend to create image problems for most countries, exactly the opposite is expected to happen for Thailand where last week’s “Orchid Revolution” has generated huge amounts of positive publicity. After the dust settled on the first few hours of regime change, following the knee-jerk travel advisories and perfunctory Western concern about the […]

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18 Sep, 2006

Tourism Products, Processes Changing With Lifestyle, Business Pressures

Two studies released last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and American Express show how the products and processes of the travel & tourism industry are changing in line with lifestyle trends and business pressures. The fourth ‘European Lifestyle Hotel Survey’ by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP released last week said that “lifestyle hotels” (which are now becoming a rage […]

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17 Sep, 2006

Flashback: How did we EVER get hoodwinked into these mindless wars?

Originally Published: 17 September 2006 While the world was looking back five years at the 9/11 memorial, I was looking ahead five years in earnest hope that we will then be able to look back 10 years and wonder how we could have been hoodwinked into these mindless wars and conflict by some of the […]

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11 Sep, 2006

Thais Show Their Proficiency in Risk Management

From currency appreciation to tsunamis and oil prices, the Thai tourism industry is coming to grips with the growing list of ‘risks’ that it knows can strike anywhere and anytime. Speaking last week at an Executive Management Forum on the subject of “Hospitality Management in Crisis,” Mr. Wallop Bhukkanasut, Executive Vice President Commercial Department, Thai […]

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4 Sep, 2006

Easier Visas Sought to Spur Indian Travel To Australia

Fast-growing visitor arrivals from India are proving a saving grace for the Australian travel & tourism industry, prompting efforts to stoke the growth further by speeding up visa processing times. In the first half of 2006, Indian visitor arrivals to Australia touched 44,100, up 33% over the first half of 2005. India was the fastest […]

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28 Aug, 2006

Six Senses Chief Warns of Environ Impact of Spas

HUA HIN — Spas and treatment rooms in the fast growing health and wellness industry are inefficient and wasteful consumers of water and electricity, and need to pay more attention to the impact on global warming, the Chairman of Six Senses Resorts and Spas warned last week. Speaking at the SpaAsia Wellness Summit 2006, Mr […]

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21 Aug, 2006

Security Hassles Will Worsen “Flight Attendant Fatigue”

Crises in the aviation industry often tend to focus on the impact on passengers and the business side of airlines. Little attention is paid to the impact on those who work in airlines, airports and others who bear the brunt. Among those getting increasingly concerned about these crises are flight attendants, those whom most passengers […]

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14 Aug, 2006

Here We Go Again: More Attacks, More Travel Advisories

Britain and the United States last week found themselves at the receiving end of security alerts from other countries as well as from other each other. A check of the various travel advisory websites issued by the US, UK, Canada and Australia indicated that although warnings were being put out about the very high level […]

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7 Aug, 2006

Bangkok Airport Chief Blasts IATA Spokesman

The row over landing charges at Suvarnabhumi airport turned personal last week with the Airports of Thailand (AOT) President accusing the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Corporate Communications Director for Asia of making “biased” statements in view of his former connections to Singapore Changi airport. However, even as airlines sought to put pressure on Bangkok […]

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31 Jul, 2006

World Trade Pact May Contain Unpleasant Surprises for Tourism

If the travel & tourism industry is looking for good reason to celebrate the collapse of the WTO talks, it is contained in the WTO annual report for 2006. The main subject of the report is subsidies and if history is an indicator, it will be a step in a process towards pursuing the eventual […]

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24 Jul, 2006

International Student Traffic Set to Become “Bi Busine$$”

International students are big business — or as they are now being referred to, “Big Busine$$” — with important implications for migration issues as well as domestic tourism and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) traffic. A report by the British Council anticipates a global demand of 5.8 million students studying away from home by 2020 […]

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23 Jul, 2006

Israel is a law unto itself

Originally Published: 23 July 2006 Pardon my confusion, but wasn’t there a lot of hand-wringing about threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to “wipe Israel off the map”? So why isn’t there any outrage now among the so-called “civilised countries”, the paragons of democracy, transparency and accountability, the upholders of rule of law, human rights, […]

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17 Jul, 2006

Indonesia Remains “Sick Man” of ASEAN Arrivals 2005

CHIANG MAI — Indonesia remained the sick-man of the ASEAN tourism industry in 2005 with a 6.07% fall in arrivals to 5,002,101 visitors. It was the worst performance of all the 10 ASEAN countries and indicated that the country’s arrivals have remained essentially unchanged since 1996 when arrivals totalled 5,034,472. A sobering status report presented […]

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10 Jul, 2006

Hit by Tsunami, Thailand Visitor Arrivals Fall In 2005

Total visitor arrivals to Thailand in 2005 were finally released last week, showing a drop of 1.15% to 11.5 million arrivals. It was the second annual decline after 2003, the year of SARS and the Iraq war. The decline was triggered by sharp falls in arrivals from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and Japan […]

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9 Jul, 2006

Soccer World Cup: Looking Toward A Bigger Set of Goals

Originally Published: 9 July 2006 For the first time, several UN agencies took advantage of the global viewership of the tournament to merge the objectives of the World Cup and the United Nations in “striving for the shared goal of celebrating humanity,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said before the tournament opened. “As the pinnacle of the […]

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3 Jul, 2006

U.S. Casino Barons Salivate at Asia Prospects

Thailand has been identified as one of the “future candidates” for expansion of US casino conglomerates in Asia, a market estimated to be worth US$20bn per annum in gaming revenues by 2009. Other “candidates” are Taiwan, India and Japan. Callum Nash, Senior Director, Consumer Industries – Asia Pacific of the Royal Bank of Scotland, told […]

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26 Jun, 2006

Thai Industry Executives Comment on Applying “Sufficiency Economy” in Tourism

The Royal events commemorating His Majesty the King’s 60th anniversary celebrations gained Thailand a slew of positive global publicity and also generated some thinking about the applicability of the royal “sufficiency economy” theories to travel & tourism. Eight senior industry executives, all Thais, responded to a survey seeking comment on the recent celebrations and their […]

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19 Jun, 2006

Shanghai Cooperation Pact Countries Signal No Attack On Iran

Although intra-regional tourism cooperation figures in the economic development plans outlined by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) following its summit last week, its real contribution to the cause of global travel & tourism will be to assuage widespread industry concerns about the possibility of an attack on Iran. Official statements emerging from the summit sent […]

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12 Jun, 2006

Need to “Institutionalise” Sufficiency Tourism Concept

One of the biggest legacies that the Thai tourism industry could bequeath to His Majesty the King is to re-engineer and restructure it along the lines of the sufficiency economy. For want of a better phrase, let’s call it ‘sufficiency tourism.’ This concept is not new. A number of Thai tourism academics and industry officials […]

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11 Jun, 2006

A Tribute to The Last Great Leader of This Generation

Originally published: 11 Jun 2006 The 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne has brought Thailand closer to an even more important landmark. In 2010, just four years from now, His Majesty will equal the record of the longest reigning monarch in modern history, the U.K.’s Queen Victoria who reigned for […]

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5 Jun, 2006

Low Cost Airlines Changing European Travel Patterns

Low-cost airlines (LCAs) in Europe are significantly growing the volume of travellers but leading to numerous other changes in travel patterns, choice of destinations and expenditure, according to a Market Intelligence report of the European Travel Commission. Said the report, released last week, “2005 looks like being the best for European tourist arrivals growth since […]

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29 May, 2006

Thailand Prepares Massive Migration to New Bangkok Airport

As the opening date for Bangkok’s new airport nears, preparations are being finalised for arguably the largest logistical operation in global aviation history – moving millions of tons of aircraft and equipment from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi within roughly 12 hours. There have been a number of recent airport moves in the Asia-Pacific — Seoul, […]

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22 May, 2006

Fear of Tsunami “Ghosts” Hurts Thai Tourism Arrivals

Fear of ghosts in the tsunami-hit destinations and instability in South Thailand are set to exact a devastating toll on Thailand’s 2005 visitor arrivals. Although it is now May, final figures for 2005 have not yet been released, the longest such delay ever. However, some very significant clues are contained in the final figures for […]

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8 May, 2006

Shaza Hotels Plans Alcohol-Free Accommodation

DUBAI: Kempinski Hotels & Resorts is to provide the management know-how for a new brand of Middle Eastern hotels over the next few years, with a small difference – they will all be alcohol-free. Kempinski executives say they are looking forward to the challenge of developing Shaza Hotels, a “unique lifestyle brand” that is well-suited […]

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30 Apr, 2006

Guide To Help Americans Dispel Stereotype of the “Ugly American”

Originally Published: 30 April 2006 A group of U.S. students has compiled a guide to help Americans travelling abroad “dispel the stereotype of the Ugly American”. In an amazingly forthright piece of market research that would apply more to the U.S. government than U.S. citizens, the guide identifies the four root causes of anti-American sentiment […]

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17 Apr, 2006

Hotel Beds Get Better, But Do They Deliver Returns?

Hotel chains have spent millions of dollars to make their beds more comfortable than their guests can find back home, but evaluating the return on investment is proving elusive. In attempting to analyse whether the investment has been worth it, hospitality consultancy company HVS International noted that hotel chains like Marriott, Starwood and Hilton had […]

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16 Apr, 2006

Scientists Bid to Prove/Disprove the Power of Prayer

Originally Published: 16 April 2006 Religion-watchers were in tizzy last week about a study that revolved around the question: Can prayer actually help another person recover from disease? A group of prominent scientists recently sought at least part of the answer in the largest study of its kind, and concluded that prayer from strangers had […]

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10 Apr, 2006

Tension Grows Between Airports, Airlines Over User Charges

The turbulence in the global aviation industry is heightening tensions between airlines and airports. The latest example is last week’s row between the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global airlines club, and Munich airport. In a speech on 7 April, Giovanni Bisignani, the IATA Director General and CEO, called on the European Commission to […]

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3 Apr, 2006

Laos Visitor Arrivals Cross the One Million Mark

Visitor arrivals to Laos crossed the one million mark in 2005, with Thais accounting for more than 60%, according to detailed arrival figures released last week by the Lao National Tourism Administration. The total arrivals of 1,095,315 included 603,189 Thais, well ahead of Vietnam which came in second at 165,151 visitors. This was followed by […]

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2 Apr, 2006

New Research Unveils the Link between “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”

Originally Published: 02 April 2006 A research paper by political scientists from two of America’s top universities has blown the lid off one of the most taboo subjects in the field of international relations – the massive influence of the Israeli lobby in the US political establishment, colleges, think-tanks and the media, and its impact […]

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27 Mar, 2006

Fair-Trade Group Wins Tourism Award

BERLIN: A South African NGO that pushes the cause of ‘fair trade’ in tourism has been given a major German tourism award with an accompanying call for its principles and practises to be “exported” and globalised. The Institute for Tourism and Development (Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung) conferred its annual “To Do!” award on the […]

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20 Mar, 2006

Pakistan Seeks Tourism Dividend from Peace With India

BERLIN: Seeking to cash in on the peace dividend with India, Pakistan is also going on a tourism promotion offensive, a move that could give a big boost to Thai Airways’ flights to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Hashim Khan, Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, told a press conference at the ITB Berlin that although […]

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13 Mar, 2006

Germany Seeks Tourism Dividend From World Cup 2006

BERLIN: The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is moving rapidly to take advantage of this summer’s “festival of World Cup football” to attract around five million additional overnight stays. Alongside the millions of fans who will be watching their teams in the stadiums or on giant screens in towns and cities across Germany, the organisers […]

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6 Mar, 2006

ITB Berlin Turns 40 As Industry Swirls With Change

BERLIN: The world’s largest travel show, ITB Berlin, celebrates its 40th birthday this week amidst tumultuous changes taking place in global travel & tourism. Thailand will be fielding its biggest contingent ever — 117 companies will be part of the Thai pavilion, up from 111 companies last year, and several other companies will participating separately […]

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5 Mar, 2006

How Conventional Wisdoms Can be Wrong, Very Wrong

Originally Published: 5 March 2006 One of the best parts of writing a topical and controversial column is the emails I get from like-minded people who, for reasons I can well understand, shy away from penning their thoughts to Postbag but do keep me pumped up enough to make it worth the effort. This week, […]

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27 Feb, 2006

As Indian Hotels Boom, Staff Shortage Looms

With India forecast to require 100,000 to 125,000 hotel rooms nationwide over the next five to seven years, the big question making the rounds is how to deal with an equally rapidly growing headache – poaching of staff. A study by hotel consultancy HVS International says that while India’s teeming population will generate no shortage […]

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20 Feb, 2006

Impact of Tsunami on 2005 Arrivals to Maldives, Sri Lanka

Visitor arrivals to the tourism-dependent Maldives slumped by a massive 35.9% in 2005 but Sri Lanka, the other island-nation devastated by the December 2004 tsunami, appears to have been less affected, just released arrival figures show. According to the first set of full-year 2005 visitor statistics provided by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), arrivals […]

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6 Feb, 2006

Indian Tourism Surge Hits Speedbreakers

MUMBAI: India’s fast-tracked travel & tourism industry is beginning to face major hurdles, speed-bumps and growing pains, which do not augur well for the future. Speakers at a major travel show here last week noted that while the economic benefits of liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation are seeing inbound, outbound and domestic tourism grow to record […]

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5 Feb, 2006

Shouldn’t ‘Never Again’ Apply to All?

Originally Published: 5 Feb 2006 On 27 January, the United Nations system marked its first Holocaust memorial day at a global level. Its overt objective is for present generations never to forget the genocide against the Jews and for future generations to remain vigilant against it ever occuring again. But a deeper analysis will yield […]

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30 Jan, 2006

Globalisation May Backfire, Labour Leaders Warn Tourism Industry

In a veiled jab at the globalising travel & tourism industry, well-known for shedding jobs with every business downturn, labour and union leaders last week used the World Economic Forum in Davos to remind governments and multinationals that economic liberalisation and free-trade may backfire big-time if continued in their present form. The International Confederation of […]

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23 Jan, 2006

“War on Terror” Scaring Britons Off Foreign Travel, Poll Shows

If fear of terrorism is impacting on where and how people choose to travel, the publicity surrounding the so-called “war on terror” is also exacting a toll, according to a number of global public opinion surveys. Publicity about other safety fears like health scares and natural disasters is worsening the situation, with a growing perception […]

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22 Jan, 2006

Non-Resident Indians Hear Warning About Foreign Funding of Sectarian Agendas

Originally Published:  22 Jan 2006 HYDERABAD –  Indian expatriates living abroad who believe in a secular and communally harmonious India as espoused by its founding fathers have been urged to remain “vigilant” about foreign funding of sectarian agendas back home. Speaking at a convention of the overseas Indian diaspora here earlier this month, Mr George […]

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20 Jan, 2006

The Growing Global Trust Deficit

Two global surveys of people in over 60 countries and 2,500 leaders from business, politics and civil society conducted in preparation for the 2006 World Economic Forum,  yield a strong feeling that we live “in a world where trust in leaders is declining.”

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16 Jan, 2006

New Hyderabad Convention Centre Hosts Indian Diaspora Caucus

Hyderabad, India: The convening here of the 4 th annual overseas Indian diaspora caucus between Jan 7-9 also marked the opening of the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), claimed to be the first of its kind in South Asia. It also launched the first of roughly US$4 billion worth of real estate projects to be […]

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