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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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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.”


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 […]


8 Jan, 2006

Beware the new colonialism

Originally Published: 08 Jan 2006 The primary challenge facing the new generation of leaders in the developing world will be to maintain national independence against the influence and reach of global multinationals which are becoming more powerful than countries. Unless one is a keen student of global history – and let’s face it, who really […]


26 Dec, 2005

NGOs Warn of Downside of Liberalisation on Tourism, SMEs

Small and medium sized enterprises as well as independent hotels and tour operators in Thailand and other developing countries can expect to face more competitive pressure from global multinationals as a result of the World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong last week. While timelines for the removal of European agricultural subsidies are pushed back […]


25 Dec, 2005

Over the festive season, ponder the difference between water and oil

Originally Published: 25 December 2005 My previous column ended by volunteering a forecast on what will happen next on the global stage. So, here goes. Economic law says that whenever a commodity faces a shortage, its price goes up. Look around and see what’s in short supply these days – and try looking beyond mere […]


19 Dec, 2005

Chinese Outbound Hit by Scams, Growing Pains

China’s outbound travel is booming but industry officials are still struggling to cope with some of its negative operational and administrative side-effects, an outbound travel seminar in Beijing was told last week. Yu Chang Jiang, Director, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism, indicated that the country still considered Thailand to be the origin of one its […]


16 Dec, 2005

Acts of God Show the Wrath of God

Originally Published: 16 Oct 2005 Mahatma Gandhi said: “Every affliction has its own rich lesson to teach, if we would learn it.” Since December 26, the day of the devastating tsunami tragedy, the world has seen a number of so-called “natural disasters” that have afflicted hundreds of thousands of people of all castes, colours and […]


12 Dec, 2005

How Being Part of a Beer Empire Can Help a Start-up Airline

KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand’s PBAir and India’s Kingfisher airlines are both offshoots of their countries’ respective beer conglomerates. But while PBAir acquired the personal initials of the company’s founder, the Indian start-up airline assumed the well-established brand of the beer – and is capitalising big-time on its huge market value. The brand and the huge marketing […]


12 Dec, 2005

Early Warning Against The Liberalisation ‘Tsunami’

When Executive Director of the Hong Kong Hotels Association James Lu spoke at the October 2005 summit of the Institute of Peace Through Tourism in Pattaya, he referred to the anti-globalisation protestors in Hong Kong this week as being “armed thugs.”


2 Dec, 2005

Caring For People With Disabilities

December 2 is the annual observance of United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons. The travel & tourism industry is beginning to focus on people with disabilities (PwDs) both as guests as well as employees.


28 Nov, 2005

As WTO Talks Approach, Warnings Grow Over Text on Services

With the World Trade Organization ministerial talks set to go into session on 13 December 2005, civil society groups are stepping up warnings about the implications of new references to “plurilateral” negotiations in the draft text on services, and urging developing countries not to sign anything until they understand all its implications in full. The […]


21 Nov, 2005

U.S. CEO’s Assess Cost Of Anti-Americanism

The link between the US government’s geopolitical/economic policies and its impact on US business has taken a step forward with last week’s release of a detailed survey which sounded out the views and opinions of US corporate leaders on rising anti-American sentiment worldwide


14 Nov, 2005

Airports To IATA, Take A Hike

AUCKLAND — Airports Council International, which represents the interests of over 1,530 airports in 175 countries and territories, is to recommend to its members that they cease involving the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in discussions on user-charges at global airports. A resolution to this effect passed at the ACI General Assembly in Auckland on […]


13 Nov, 2005

Treating the Symptoms and Not the Cause Is a Recipe for Death

Originally Published: 13 Nov 2005 As the war on Islam spreads both in depth and breadth, here’s a very simple question for the “international community”: At which global body/tribunal/court can the world’s Muslims seek settlement of unresolved political disputes peacefully, fairly and democratically? Certainly not the UN, where the US, Britain and France have a […]


7 Nov, 2005

Use Internet to Grow Markets, UNCTAD To Developing World

MAKING more efficient use of the Internet offers the least developed countries one of the most cost-efficient opportunities to grow their share of the global tourism market, according to a UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report. To be distributed at the World Summit on the Information Society starting in Tunis, Tunisia, on November […]


31 Oct, 2005

Consumers Wary of Booking Online, Survey Shows

Rosy forecasts by online travel research companies appear set to hit a reality check with alternative consumer surveys showing high levels of concern about online purchasing due to fears about privacy and identity theft. A new Survey of US Internet Users for Consumer Reports WebWatch says that Internet users are becoming “more demanding of Web […]


30 Oct, 2005

Rabin’s Death Anniversary – Time for Jews to do Some Soul-Searching

Originally Published: 30 Oct 2005 November 4, 2005 will mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish terrorist named Yigal Amir. The violence that it spawned effectively fulfilled the killer’s aims of ending the Middle East peace process. It continues to this day, and has expanded […]


28 Oct, 2005

Anger Grows Over Bird Flu Double Standards

It so happened that the decision by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical company, to share the manufacturing of Tamiflu for treating bird flu came less than a week after the virus was found to have landed in Europe.


24 Oct, 2005

Anti-Globalisation Protestors Prepare To Do Battle in Hong Kong

The battle-lines have been drawn for what promises to be a fiery 6 th Ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong in mid-December. Nearly 40 anti-globalisation protest movements, many of which will be present in Hong Kong, last week issued a statement calling on governments of developing countries not to sign the […]


17 Oct, 2005

Some Aviation Statistics May Be “Fabricated”

Some of the statistics and figures being touted by the aviation industry may not “correspond with reality” and may even be fabricated, according to the chief statistician of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Writing in the latest issue of ICAO Journal, the quarterly publication of the Montreal-based organisation that regulates the global aviation industry, […]


10 Oct, 2005

Key Future Issues Flagged at Peace Through Tourism Summit

PATTAYA — Comments made last week at the Third Global Summit on Peace through Tourism here last week indicate the kind of issues set to emerge in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry as it confronts the challenges of high security and changing geopolitical realities. Executive Director of the Hong Kong Hotels Association […]


3 Oct, 2005

PATA Chief Says Geopolitical Impact Deserves Discussion, Debate

The Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) last week sought to take the industry agenda into uncharted territory, noting that travel & tourism could “no longer afford to ignore” the impact of geopolitical issues and the growing perception of a religious divide. An industry survey presented to the PATA board of directors last week said, […]


2 Oct, 2005

Tracking Global Feng Shui: Move the UN HQ from New York to Bangkok

Originally Published: 02 Oct 2005 The Thaksin government is pursuing the goal (dream?) of having Deputy Prime Minister Surakiat Sathirathai appointed U.N. Secretary General after the end of Kofi Annan’s term in January 2007. Here’s a much better idea: Back the call made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the 60th General Assembly session to […]


26 Sep, 2005

Organic Food Industry Terms Itself a “Liberation Movement”

A conference in Australia last week has focussed attention on the growing global market share of organic agricultural produce and suggested that the travel & tourism industry look seriously at boosting its usage in food & beverage outlets. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) President Gunnar Rundgren of Sweden said that the 1,000 delegates […]


19 Sep, 2005

Aichi Expo 2005 Flags Environmental Changes to Come

NAGOYA: Already facing higher costs of providing security, the travel & tourism industry can expect to face even more costs in switching to energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies as the sun sets on the era of cheap oil. A tour of the Expo 2005 here last week indicated strongly that Japan expects to be at the […]


12 Sep, 2005

City-Tourism Group Seeks More School-trips

FUKUOKA — A new travel organisation devoted to linking the tourism potential of Asia-Pacific cities is to focus on promoting overseas trips by the millions of schoolchildren in its member cities. The Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia-Pacific Cities (known simply as TPO), approved the proposal at its 2nd General Assembly here last week. Other plans […]


5 Sep, 2005

Study Finds Global Visa Curbs Increasingly Restrictive, Imbalanced

A study of global visa regimes has signalled that governments will have to reconcile their push for democracy, free trade and open-market globalisation with the increasingly restrictive and inequitable visa curbs on free movement of people. The study says that visa restrictions have created a system that “is one of highly unequal access to foreign […]


4 Sep, 2005

On 9/11 Anniversary, Look at the Whole Picture

Originally Published: 4 Sept 2005 A week today, the arrival of yet another anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy will see the global media again reverberate with the “war on terror” rallying cry. But before rolling up the sleeves and swinging into action against Islamic ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamofascists’ or whatever else one wishes to call them, […]


29 Aug, 2005

Nepal Tries Rebranding, Shifts Marketing Focus to Asia

KATHMANDU – Facing the fallout from the negative publicity and travel advisories generated by a nagging Maoist insurgency, Nepal is reorienting its marketing strategies towards South and Southeast Asia, with Thailand being a primary target. An Indian company, Alchemy Social Infrastructure, has been hired to carry out a US$ 50,000 rebranding exercise that will be […]


25 Aug, 2005

Asians, Americans Have Different World View

Chinese and American people see the world differently – literally. While Americans focus on the central objects of photographs, Chinese individuals pay more attention to the image as a whole, according to psychologists at the University of Michigan.


22 Aug, 2005

NGOs Query Whether Post-Tsunami Rebuilding Has Been Sustainable

As the first anniversary of the tsunami nears, the Asia-Pacific travel and tourism industry will be judging the success of its recovery efforts by the number of visitors streaming back to the affected destinations. But a group of Asian and European non-governmental organisations last week put out a statement saying that they will be also […]


15 Aug, 2005

Firing of Thai Airways Boss Will Change Nothing

Of the many reasons cited for stripping the management powers of Kanok Abhiradee as president of Thai Airways International, the poor financial results of third quarter 2005 is certainly not the main one. Ensuring survival in one of Thailand’s most thankless jobs is not just about what you know but whom you know or perhaps […]


8 Aug, 2005

NGOs Protest Phuket-Andamans Twinning Agreement

A group of vocal Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have sent a strong letter of protest to Indian Congress party leader Mrs Sonia Gandhi over the agreement to twin Phuket with the Andamans. The letter, which addresses “the inappropriate choice of Phuket as model of tourism for the Andaman Islands”, may further cloud the Thai tourism […]


7 Aug, 2005

Vatican Shows Islamic World Where & How to Draw The Line

Originally Published: 07 Aug 2005 If the leaders of the Islamic world have been waiting for someone to show them where to draw the line in terms of how far they can be pushed around, the Vatican has just led the way. On July 29, the leaders of the world’s more than one billion Catholics […]


1 Aug, 2005

New Thai Airways Flights to Jo’burg Will Spur Asia-Africa Links

The launch of Thai Airways International’s flights to Johannesburg on December 3, 2005 will further boost the role of Bangkok as an Asian hub for contacts with Africa, set to be a major growth area of the future. THAI will be using its long-range A340-600 operating three flights a week under a code-share with South […]


25 Jul, 2005

TAT Faces Post-Tsunami Marketing Challenge

The Thai tourism industry is now dealing with an unprecedented marketing challenge – how to change the ‘mood’ of prospective visitors in order to overcome both the lingering effects of the force majeure tsunami as well as the ongoing negative publicity caused by man-made terrorism. The annual marketing meeting of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, […]


24 Jul, 2005

Wag The Dog Distractions: The Oldest Trick in the Book

Originally Published: 24 Jul 2005 “Soul-searching” of June 12 ended with this comment: “Today, ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ is on the wane. The real ‘Operation Infinite Justice’ has just begun. What’s likely to happen next? See the movie, ‘Wag the Dog’.” “Wag the Dog” is a Robert de Niro movie about a political distraction created by […]


18 Jul, 2005

Backlash Against Double-Standard UK Travel Advisories

The comment made by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he knew of no specific intelligence that could have prevented the July 7 bombings in London has sparked outrage in Asia-Pacific travel industry about the double standards in issuing travel advisories against developing countries. Mr Blair told the House of Commons on 11 July 2005: […]


11 Jul, 2005

Who Is Really Terrorising Tourism? Watchdog Group Asks

BANGALORE: While the world was preoccupied last week with the London bombings, a group of vocal non-governmental organisations in India last week warned that they do not intend to lose sight of a parallel form of terrorism taking place right through the Asia-Pacific region. Although the NGOs were focussed on Indian issues, they warned that […]


4 Jul, 2005

No Use if Australia is “Loved” But Not “Visited,” Corporate Plan Says

PERTH: Released here last week, the 2006/08 corporate plan of the Australian national tourism organisation, Tourism Australia, contains a noteworthy comment: “Destination awareness is not destination demand – just because we’re loved doesn’t mean we’re visited.” In other words, the Australian ‘brand’ may elicit a generally positive feel among global travellers, thanks to the country’s […]


27 Jun, 2005

Bangladesh Executives Bemoan Tourism Woes

DHAKA — Bangladeshi travel & tourism officials and executives got a chance to let off some steam at a seminar on sustainable development organised here last week by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific and the World Tourism Organisation. Thirty four years since gaining independence and 32 years since the establishment of the […]


26 Jun, 2005

Those Who Send Others to Die for a Lie Are all Cut from the Same Cloth

Originally Published: 26 June 2005 The editor of Sunday Perspective emailed me last week thus, “Several readers have requested that you comment on Islam’s view on killing of innocent people by Muslims. Is it OK for Muslims to kill people who kill fellow Muslims?” The answers to both those questions are short and easy, but […]