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

Author Archive

11 Jun, 2001

Thai Tourism Seeks Ways to Get 40-Year-Old Goose To Keep Laying Eggs

Having completed a week-long meeting of its senior officials last week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is today set to announce one of its most significant revisioning programmes since the agency was created in 1960. Like many other regional national tourism organisations which are doing the same for their own industries, the TAT is trying […]

more…

8 Jun, 2001

Major Issues Facing Travel & Tourism In The New Millennium

The former Deputy Managing Director of the Australian Tourist Commission  offers his thoughts upon completion of a term at the ATC that spearheaded Australia’s tourism promotion campaign built around the 2000 Olympics.

more…

4 Jun, 2001

Australian Tourism Mulls Life After Sydney Olympics 2000

BRISBANE: Australia has joined the growing club of countries with devalued currencies and its travel industry now faces major ‘restructuring’ in the post-Olympics era. The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) as well as its hotels and airlines are all facing shifts in their management, ownership and strategic directions as a result of the new realities that […]

more…

29 May, 2001

Australia, With New Tourism Chief, Mulls Life After 2000 Olympics

Ken Boundy replaces John Morse as chief of the Australian Tourist Commission and admits he has an hard act to follow.

more…

21 May, 2001

Thai Resort Club, Bought by German Bank, Faces Overhaul

An old 235-room holiday club in Pranburi, set up originally for the German market, has been partially bought by the Deutsche Bank and is undergoing a 300 million baht retrofit to join the growing range of classy resort properties in Thailand. The old Club Aldiana Siam is due to open in November as the Evason […]

more…

16 May, 2001

Emirates Agents “Convict” Aussies

EMIRATES AGENTS ‘CONVICT’ AUSSIES: Emirates Holidays, the in-house tour wholesaler of Emirates Airlines, launched its glossy 325-page brochure for 2001/2002 in Dubai last month. Twenty-four countries featured in the brochure strutted their stuff to 220 specially-invited travel agents. The Aussies took the cake. Here’s why.
2. BRIDGING THE GULF: Asia-Pacific NTOs are sharpening their marketing pencils in the Middle East. A roundup of the marketing campaigns and strategies mounted by the NTOs of Malaysia, Singapore, India all of which exhibited at the Arabian Travel Market.

more…

7 May, 2001

Dusit Becomes First Thai Hotel in the Middle East

DUBAI: While Asia-Pacific national tourism organisations are scrambling to set up marketing and promotional offices in the Arabian Gulf to tap the strong potential for outbound business, Thailand last week got its own de facto office: A distinctive ‘wai’-shaped building in arguably the most important commercial city of the entire Gulf. The rushed opening of […]

more…

30 Apr, 2001

Asia-Pacific NTOs Scramble to Tap Gulf Outbound Market

DUBAI: Asia Pacific national tourism organisations (NTOs) are scrambling to get their share of the Gulf outbound market in advance of the peak summer season for outbound travel from this lucrative part of the world. A better understanding of the cultural nuances of the Gulf countries, growing airline connections and a huge diversity of product […]

more…

27 Apr, 2001

Ten Great Business Opportunities In Travel

A TIME Asia staff writer offers his insights in this speech delivered at the PATA 50th anniversary annual conference in Kuala Lumpur.

more…

27 Apr, 2001

The Future Of Hotel Investment

Accor Asia-Pacific Chairman David Baffsky makes his predictions on the future of hotel investments in this speech at the PATA 50th anniversary conference in Kuala Lumpur.

more…

23 Apr, 2001

What is PM Thaksin’s “Real Agenda” Behind the Tourism Revamp Plans

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has long had a penchant for trying to do too much with too few resources in too little time. His attempt to revamp the tourism industry, while lauded by all concerned, is likely to face a number of reality checks on the long road between talk and action, somewhat like his […]

more…

19 Apr, 2001

PATA’s 50th anniversary Conference & Travel Mart in KL

Malaysia averted what would have been a major public relations disaster for its tourism industry by thwarting a planned rally by the political opposition parties to mark the April 14, 1999 conviction of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy and abuse of power. On the very day the whizbang 50th PATA annual conference […]

more…

18 Apr, 2001

PATA’s 50th Annual Conference: Excerpts From Presentations

The 50th annual conference of the Pacific Asia Travel Association in Kuala Lumpur saw a number of eminent speakers express a plethora of views about the past, present and future of travel & tourism. Excerpts from some presentations.

more…

9 Apr, 2001

New Myanmar airline Chief Seeks Liberal ASEAN Traffic Rights Regime

Singapore: The Singaporean managing director of Myanmar Airways International (MAI) has called on ASEAN aviation regulatory authorities to start relaxing traffic rights restrictions in a way that will give the region’s smaller airlines room to grow. He also says it is about time for the smaller airlines to consider setting up their own association to […]

more…

3 Apr, 2001

Tourism Set for New Poverty Alleviation Role

The travel & tourism industry is undergoing a significant change of positioning, one that will have a long-term impact on the way it is funded and developed.

more…

3 Apr, 2001

The Future of Asian Economies

Imtiaz Muqbil

Just prior to the annual travel mart and conference of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) respectively in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) released its annual State of the Region report. It outlines a volatile economic scenario. Currency values, oil prices, public spending, trade […]

more…

2 Apr, 2001

ADB Plans First Seminar on Poverty and Tourism at Board Meeting

KUNMING: For the first time, a seminar on the role of ‘well-managed and well-developed’ tourism in alleviating poverty will be featured on the programme of the Asian Development Bank when it meets in early May 2001 for its annual Board of Governors meeting. Designed to come up with a set of policies on how to […]

more…

26 Mar, 2001

Nice I.T. Bells & Whistles but, Hoteliers Ask, Will They Deliver?

For all the hype surrounding the ‘solutions’ offered by the Internet and Information technology, hospitality industry investors and managers are taking a much more cautious approach towards further IT investments and demanding concrete proof that all the bells and whistles will deliver what the vendors say they will. Burnt by the continuing dot-com bust and […]

more…

26 Mar, 2001

The Sporting Life and Its Links to Tourism

Spurred by the high-publicity Olympics 2000 in Sydney, the World Tourism Organisation commissioned a study in 2000 to analyse the growing links between sports and tourism. An executive summary of how the French, Germans and Dutch travellers mix the two.
The Aussies are widely said to have got their Olympic experience right. But they also learned some lessons, and are now more than willing to share them.

more…

19 Mar, 2001

Aussies Fine-Tune Pitch for Incentives From Asia

In a revamped approach towards marketing incentives and corporate meetings in Thailand and the rest of Asia, the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) has launched a strategy to get Asian companies to upgrade the content, quality and standards of the incentive travel rewards for their staff and dealers. In Bangkok last week, a contingent of 80 […]

more…

19 Mar, 2001

European Tour Operators In Feeding Frenzy, But Beware The Result

Who’s gobbling up who is the talk of the town in Europe as giant tour operators embark upon a frenzy of mergers and takeovers in pursuit of market share, vertical and horizontal integration. Watching this M&A frenzy with concern, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is warning developing countries that they could be left holding the short end of the stick in the final outcome.

more…

18 Mar, 2001

Blowing up of Bamiyan Statues Leads to Islamic Soul-Searching

Originally Published: 18 March 2001 The destruction of the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan has led to a torrent of soul-searching in the Islamic world. The Internet has hummed with reactions and counter-reactions to this low-intelligence action by the Taleban, most of it against with the odd one or two in favour. One self-professed Muslim religious […]

more…

5 Mar, 2001

Internet Bookings Soar in Germany

Berlin: Travel bookings over the Internet have soared in Germany and are set to rise further as major travel groups compete furiously to tap the advantages of the online market. Research presented at the global travel trade show ITB Berlin by the German travel research group F.U.R. showed that 2.6 million Germans had used the […]

more…

1 Mar, 2001

Trade Shows Under Pressure

The International Travel Asia has been scrapped after only two years, a victim of many factors including costs, location and a glut of shows. Meanwhile, the Australian Tourist Commission has just completed its first Global Trade Show Review, and made available some preliminary results. As more such reviews are done by other national tourism organisations, everybody is going to be under more pressure to deliver more bang for the buck.

more…

26 Feb, 2001

If Airlines Sold Paint

Mike Hatton

What if airlines sold paint the way they sell seats? Mike Hatton, Chief Executive, Australian Federation of Travel Agents, once worked in the hardware business and now paints a typically hilarious Aussie dialogue if a customer walks into the offices of Royal Paint Airlines.

more…

26 Feb, 2001

Asia-Pacific Countries Get How-To Update on Tourism Satellite Accounts

BANGKOK – Asia Pacific countries have take yet another step on the long and arduous road towards setting up a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) with the conclusion last week of a major meeting designed to show them exactly how to go about it. The meeting, organised by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and the United […]

more…

19 Feb, 2001

Thais Plan Convention Bureau, But Remain Unclear About Its Role

After some initial hesitation and, indeed, suspicion, the Thai travel & tourism industry is warming to the setting up of a convention and exhibition bureau solely to market the country’s growing range of opportunities in this lucrative sector of the travel business. However, backers of the bureau still need to convince the Thai cabinet to […]

more…

18 Feb, 2001

“Brilliant” thinking of today no match for the simple and very clear wisdom of the past

Originally Published: 18 February 2001 The latest hoopla over mad-cow disease and the collapse of the European beef industry is further testimony to how the principles of global religions are being proven true, bit by painful bit, with entire industries ultimately paying the price. Beef is banned in Hinduism, primarily because of its association with […]

more…

5 Feb, 2001

Malaysia Reports Surge in Arrivals from Thailan

BANGKOK — A near doubling of visitor arrivals from Thailand to Malaysia has played a major role in helping our southern neighbour report a surge in tourism arrivals for 2000. After slumping in 1998, total arrivals into Malaysia began recovering in 1999 and are projected to have crossed the 10 million mark in 2000, a […]

more…

22 Jan, 2001

Thai Hotels, Tour Operators Hold Joint Caucus to Ponder State of Industry

Nearly 400 high-level tour operators and hotel managers turned up last week in a major show of strength designed to provide the industry with a state of the union report and bolster cooperation between the two sides. In a little more than two hours, representatives of both sides provided short but comprehensive briefings of developments […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

Asian Destinations Get Tips on Attracting More Japanese Honeymooners

Destinations in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, especially beach resorts, are having virtually no success in attracting the lucrative Japanese honeymoon market, according to the latest results of a bi-annual survey carried out by the Japanese tour operator JTB Inc. The latest survey, covering the period October-December 2002, shows that the only Asian destination to have […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

Thai Hotels, Tour Operators Hold First Joint Meeting to Assess State of the Union

Nearly 400 high-level tour operators and hotel managers turned up last week in a major show of strength designed to provide the industry with a state of the union report and bolster cooperation between the two sides. In a little more than two hours, representatives of both sides provided short but comprehensive briefings of developments […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

Kenya Airways Flights to Bangkok Will Bring Africa Closer to Asia

The upcoming launch of Kenya Airways flights from Nairobi to Bangkok underscores the growing aviation contacts between Africa and Southeast Asia but has also highlighted the problem created by last year’s removal of visa-on-arrival privileges for African citizens. As of 3 September 2003, Kenya Airways will become the third African airline to serve Bangkok after […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

I.T. Revolution Will Lead to Air Travel Boom, says SAS Environmental Report

The global Information Technology revolution will not cut demand for air travel; in fact, the opposite is likely to prove true, according to an environmental audit report released by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) last week. The report is part of a self-critical environmental audit conducted annually by SAS to monitor the impact of its operations on […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

New Malaysian Resort Launches Marketing Pitch in Thailand

The launch of a marketing campaign by a Malaysian highland resort in Bangkok last week has opened a new chapter in the promotion of intra-regional ASEAN travel, expected to be a big winner if global tourism does not plunge into crisis next year. Mr Zulkifly Said, Director, Tourism Malaysia, hailed it as the first time […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

Rising Food Prices Set to Impact on Hotel F&B Costs

Rising food prices are unlikely to affect Thailand’s attraction as a tourism destination, but are forcing change amongst both hotel food & beverage outlets as well as independent restaurants, according to Sanjog Modgil, President of the Food & Beverage Managers Association of Thailand. As a rice-exporting country that is largely self-sufficient in food, except for […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

Asian Highway One Step Closer to Taking Shape

Regional road-transport officials have taken yet another step forward on the Asian Highway by clearing a first reading of the proposed Intergovernmental Agreement designed to harmonise the technical and legal aspects of this far-reaching infrastructure project. With funding help from the Japanese government, representatives of 26 Asia-Pacific countries met in Bangkok early last November to […]

more…

1 Jan, 2001

Huge Post-Attacks Swing Seen in Asian, Arab Travel Away from U.S., Europe

The Managing Director of a major tour operator in Saudi Arabia has forecast a sharp shift in business and leisure travel away from the US and Europe to Asia but warned that future choice of destinations by the lucrative Middle East market will depend on where Arab and Muslim guests feel welcome. Mr Zawfir Ziard […]

more…

10 Dec, 2000

How Marketing Gurus Tap the Persuasive Power of Religious Conversion

Originally Published:  Dec 10, 2000 Research done in South Africa into why people convert from on religion to another is now being used by modern-day marketing gurus to get customers to switch from one product to another, or to remain loyal to one product. Operating on the premise that any theory which one works in […]

more…




28 May, 2000

Why are Some Prayers Granted, and Others Not?

Originally Published: May 28, 2000 Have you ever noticed how often, when all the chips are down and none of the conventional solutions work, people turn to prayer? Even more often, if the prayer produces the desired result, it is dismissed as a “miracle”? This predilection not to give credit where it’s due has long […]

more…

5 Mar, 2000

My mother-in-law’s last days: One woman’s misery was another’s profit

Originally Published: 05 Mar 2000 My mother-in-law died last week after an 18-month battle with cancer. That was about 12 months more than the doctors had given her after she was diagnosed. She was 73, the third elderly person in my family to move on in the last six years. Shuttling her in and out […]

more…

20 Feb, 2000

UNCTAD Conference Shines Light on Alternative Paradigms

Originally Published: 20 Feb 2000 Last week’s UNCTAD conference was dominated by discussion of the machinations and manipulation of global players in pursuit of power and riches — and the consequences thereof. Certain global players already have both power and riches. Others are in pursuit of it. The domination of the weak by the strong […]

more…

6 Feb, 2000

Has Thailand Lost the Virtues of the Middle Path?

Originally Published: 06 Feb 2000 There can be few better representations of a country that has long forgotten its spiritually-mandated middle-path than Thailand’s recent spats with the Burmese. In the first case last year, the alleged terrorists who took over the embassy were given a comfortable exit to the border, courtesy of our deputy foreign […]

more…

23 Jan, 2000

Globalisation Will Make Religion Even More Relevant

Originally Published: Jan 23, 2000 When the United Nations Human Development Report for Thailand was issued in late 1999, various commentators leaped upon it with great gusto for post-mortems on the causes and consequences of the recent economic crisis. But on Page 17 of the HDR was a comment that caught my eye, one that […]

more…

26 Dec, 1999

When Will Humanity Heed the Unseen Signs That Abound On the Road to Spirituality?

Originally Published: 26 Dec 1999 As the world stands poised on the threshold of a new millennium, numerous publications have paid tribute to the growth of human knowledge that has led to extraordinary discoveries in medicine, chemistry, physics and other sciences. But two inventions come closest to resembling the link between humanity and the message […]

more…

12 Dec, 1999

Secrets of Success for Personal and Professional “Partnerships”

Originally Published: 12 Dec 1999 Of all the many social trends taking place in the modern world these days, perhaps the most evident is the rising rate of divorce. A friend of mine sent me some newsclips which reported that 50% of American marriages end in divorce, and many of those that don’t are mere […]

more…


19 Sep, 1999

Warning: Beware The Consequences of Not Heeding Warnings

Originally Published: 19 Sept 1999 We live in a world full of warnings. Read any newspaper on any given day, and you will see the word “warning” at least once in a headline, especially in the business and environmental sections. Now that the Asian economic crisis is sort-of over, we are hearing warnings about the […]

more…

19 Sep, 1999

Weighing the causes and costs of global wars and conflict

Originally Published: 19 Sept 1999 Between the lines of the inspiring rhetoric on the International Year of the Culture of Peace that rang out at the UN Conference Centre this past week, there was one sobering conclusion: There is no consensus on precisely why global peace is proving so elusive, nor how precisely to start […]

more…

8 Aug, 1999

When Will Global Religions Show More Tolerance and Less Parochialism?

Originally Published: Aug 8, 1999 As the turn of the millennium approaches, everyone is in the midst of conference-mania. At every street-corner hotel, there is a high turnout of big brains, egos, economists, futurists, and an assortment of techno-pundits, all with a solution to the world’s problems. Each of them identifies a particular problem facing […]

more…

25 Jul, 1999

Key Question for Globalisation Gurus: Is Life Getting Any Better?

Originally Published: 25 July 1999 Buddhist scripture suggests that before taking any action, we should listen, think, question and then act. In a world that has become almost totally mesmerised with globalisation, a growing body of social scientists, environmentalists, researchers and indeed economists themselves who have both listened to and thought about the conventional wisdom […]

more…


16 Mar, 1999

ITB Berlin: “An Event With No Limit”

Prof Dr Manfred Busche, chairman of Messe Berlin, launched the ITB Berlin in 1966 and watched it grow into the world’s largest trade show. In this interview with Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil he indulges in a little nostalgia, discusses the secrets of ITB’s success and his plans after retirement in June 1999.

more…


21 Dec, 1998

World Faces Spectre of U.S. Dictatorship in 21st Century

Originally Published: Dec 21, 1998 The events of December 15-19, 1998, namely the bombing of Iraq and the US impeachment debate, have set the stage for an extremely dangerous final year of the 20th century. All indications are that it is going to get worse, not better. If Saddam Hussein has lied about the presence […]

more…

29 Nov, 1998

Situation Wanted: Neutral, Trustworthy Peacemakers

Originally Published:  29 Nov 1998 I am poring through a book called ‘Who’s Who of Religions.” Edited by Professor John Hinnells, former Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Manchester, the book is a detailed compilation of the lives, writings and philosophies of hundreds of prophets and popes, disciples and apostles, imams […]

more…

12 Jul, 1998

All Religions Seek to Light the Lamps and Illuminate the Way Forward

Originally Published: 12 July 9998 The link between what the eye sees and the mind instructs is one of the central themes of every religion. Modern management’s adaptation of it is the statuette of the three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Every religion instructs us in the art […]

more…

17 May, 1998

The U.S. Will Run out of Steam Sooner or Later

Originally Published: 17 May 1998 It’s been a good past fortnight for the global religious movement. The coinciding of Easter, the Haj and the Kumbh Mela festivals brought together peoples of three of the great global faiths in a unified display of prayer and spiritual rejuvenation. They reminded us that night is always followed by […]

more…

1 Mar, 1998

America should stop playing judge, jury and executioner

Originally Published: 1 March 1998 Though the recent diplomatic effort by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to avert the US bombing of Iraq is being touted as a victory for him and the UN, it was first and foremost a victory for the power of prayer. No doubt, millions of people world-wide, and especially within Iraq, […]

more…