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27 Jun, 2011

U.S.Mayors Seek to Plug Tax Evasion By Online Travel Companies

Mayors of U.S. cities have passed a resolution that highlights alleged tax evasion by online travel companies (OTC) and calls on the U.S. Congress not to block legal action to get them to pay up.


2 Jun, 2011

Southern Laos Border Town Comes of Age by Hosting Mekong Tourism Forum

PAKSE, LAOS – The southernmost Laotian province of Champassak raised its profile on the tourism map of the Greater Mekong Subregion by holding a successful 12th Mekong Tourism Forum between May 27-28. The first international tourism event to be held here, the MTF will boost traffic along the East-West and North-South corridors of the Asian […]


27 Feb, 2011

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

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


9 Feb, 2011

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

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


4 Oct, 2010

Turkey’s Iran Arrivals Up, Israelis Down

By Imtiaz Muqbil

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


18 Jan, 2010

Domestic Indian Hotel Chains Will Challenge Foreign Ones, HVS Report

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


11 Jan, 2010

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

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


4 Jan, 2010

“Crotch-bomber” Attack Means Windfall for Security Apparatus

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


28 Dec, 2009

Last Minute Surge Props Up Thai Tourism in 2009

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


14 Dec, 2009

Climate Justice Panel Fails To Find The Right Balance

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


30 Nov, 2009

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

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


23 Nov, 2009

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

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


16 Nov, 2009

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

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


2 Nov, 2009

Victory In Anti-Muslim Racial Profiling Case

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


26 Oct, 2009

Germany Steps Up Push For Visitors From Asia

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


21 Oct, 2009

In Asia, France Promotes Spiritual Tourism to Lourdes

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


12 Oct, 2009

UNWTO Joins Bandwagon Of Global Restructuring Groups

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


5 Oct, 2009

UNWTO Survey Shows Tourism Prominent In Economic Stimulus Packages

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


28 Sep, 2009

PATA New Business Plan Hopes To Stop Membership Slide

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


21 Sep, 2009

Tourism NGOs Mobilise For Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

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


14 Sep, 2009

Videoconferencing Sector Steps Up Marketing Drive

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


7 Sep, 2009

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

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


31 Aug, 2009

Telecom Union Toolkit Boosts Travel Access For The Disabled

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


17 Aug, 2009

MICE Industry Undergoing Shakeout, But Still Optimistic

Like other arms of the travel & tourism industry, meeting planners and incentive organisers are undergoing a shakeout due to the ongoing business slump but see themselves re-emerging as a “leaner, smarter, more cost-effective, and additionally creative” sector in 2010. Results of a survey of more than 1,000 buyers in the meetings and incentive travel […]


10 Aug, 2009

Turkish Airlines Seeks Stronger Bangkok Links, Eyes Australia Traffic

One of the major objectives of last week’s visit to Bangkok by Turkish Airlines CEO Dr Temel KOTIL was to boost the joint market share of his carrier and Thai Airways International on the Australia-Turkey sector, using Bangkok as a transit point. Turkish Airlines officials said that in the 12-month period July 2008 – June […]


3 Aug, 2009

Thailand At Forefront Of Tourism Slump

As statistics on the tourism industry from all sectors begin to flow in for the first half of 2009, Thailand appears to be at the forefront of the slump, reporting some of the worst industry declines in arrivals and hotel occupancies. Hotel statistics released last week by Smith Travel Research indicated that Bangkok and Phuket […]


27 Jul, 2009

Europe Sees Bleak Travel Outlook in 2009

Thanks to the economic slowdown, European travel & tourism is expected this year to slide back to 2006 levels, and the impact of the swine flu virus could make it worse, according to the second quarter report of the European Travel Commission released late last week. The ETC tracks travel trends to and within Europe, […]


13 Jul, 2009

Indian Railways to Link Country’s Four Mega-cities

India’s four major megapolis cities are to be linked for the first time by non-stop, point-to-point train services under the new Railways Budget proposal for 2009-10 presented to the Indian Parliament last week. The proposed services covering Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai are part of an ongoing upgrade of one of the world’s largest […]


6 Jul, 2009

Abacus, Amadeus Chart Out Target Markets

New product announcements by two of the Asia Pacific region’s leading travel technology companies indicate how they are seeking out new opportunities in times of total flux in the travel & tourism industry. Singapore-based Abacus is targeting small & medium sized travel agents while Madrid-based Amadeus, which has a regional office in Bangkok, is targeting […]


29 Jun, 2009

Hotel Occupancies Falling Worldwide

With a few exceptions, hotels worldwide are reporting significant decreases in occupancies, average daily rates (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) with major tourism destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Dubai and New York among the worst hit, according to STR Global, a lodging industry benchmarking and research company. The company’s statistical comparative analysis figures for […]


22 Jun, 2009

Melbourne Set To Give Sydney A Run For The Money

MELBOURNE: Barely a few months after the February 2009 bushfires, and in spite of reports of a swine flu outbreak, Melbourne has hosted a highly successful Australian Tourism Exchange and announced a slew of new developments designed to help it overtake key rival Sydney as Australia’s Number One city. The early June 2009 opening of […]


15 Jun, 2009

Kuala Lumpur Hotel “Converts” to Sharia Compliance

KUALA LUMPUR – After 15 years of being run by conventional rules of management and hospitality, the De Palma Hotel in Kuala Lumpur has “converted” to Islamic sharia compliance, and business is booming. The bar is gone. One of the function rooms is now a prayer hall. Prayer mats are available in all rooms, and […]


8 Jun, 2009

First Global Road Safety Conference to Convene in Moscow

The First Global Ministerial Conference on road safety is to convene in Moscow on November 19-20, 2009 in an attempt to find ways to reduce the thousands of deaths and injuries occurring on roads and highways every day.


1 Jun, 2009

PATA Financial Clean Up Continues

Facing another tough financial year in 2009, the Pacific Asia Travel Association is pushing ahead with internal financial clean-up and administrative overhaul in preparation for formal approval of the changes at the next board meeting in Hangzhou, China, this September. Also under way is a re-writing of the by-laws that will change the structure, role […]


25 May, 2009

European Business Travel Faces Tough Times

European business travel is expected to take the hardest hit as a result of the ongoing financial crisis, according to a market intelligence report issued by the European Travel Commission (ETC) last week. Although Europe is world’s biggest inbound/outbound travel region, the report painted a bleak picture of the industry prospects, pointing to sharp declines […]


4 May, 2009

A Crisis A Day Keeps Visitors Away

A crisis a day keeps visitors away. That was the cry of despair in the global travel & tourism industry as it rushed last week to salvage what was left of its tattered and rapidly deteriorating situation. Even as the industry was dealing with short-term issues like the financial crisis, long-term issues like climate change, […]


27 Apr, 2009

“Better To Be Lucky Than Good,” Says Air Astana CEO

ALMATY — Bad bets made on hedging the price of fuel have cost many global airlines dearly but the Kazakhstan national airline, Air Astana freely credits the “luck” of bureaucratic, tax and legal considerations for staving off what would have been a financial disaster. “It’s better to be lucky than good,” says the airline’s President […]


20 Apr, 2009

Air Astana Flights To Bangkok Unaffected by Thai Crisis

Almaty, Kazakhstan:  If Thailand is looking for ways to prop up the moribund travel & tourism industry in these difficult times, it may need to venture into countries where the troubles in Thailand get little media coverage, where governments don’t issue travel advisories and where the people have the money and the means to travel, […]


6 Apr, 2009

Thailand Roadshow Targets Secondary Indian Cities

The Tourism Authority of Thailand last month held its first marketing roadshow in two of India’s key secondary cities, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh, as part of a strategy to diversify the sources of its visitor arrivals beyond the main Indian gateways. A total of about 230 travel agents turned up in the two cities for what […]


23 Mar, 2009

Uncompromising Aviation “Safety Standards” Should Be Applied In the Financial World, Too

A brilliant analysis of the global financial crisis by the UN Conference on Trade & Development suggests that world financial regulators can learn a lot from the stringent safety rules rigorously applied by the aviation industry — arguably the first time that a clear linkage has been made between a financial crash and an aircraft […]


16 Mar, 2009

Hotels Fear Slew of Bankruptcies in 2009

Berlin – A survey of 261 European hotel executives has revealed a worse-than-expected outlook for the hospitality industry with 79% of respondents predicting hotel chain bankruptcies in the next twelve months. Four in ten hotel executives anticipate that more than five chains will go into administration in the next year. In the United States, a […]


2 Mar, 2009

Asean Summit To Help Lift Intra-Regional Travel

Last week’s ASEAN summit is to set to give a major lift to intra-regional travel and tourism, from both a quality and quantity perspective. While the process of ASEAN integration will drive travel for leisure, business, conventions, and many other sectors, the industry can also expect to come under rigorous check-and-balance qualitative scrutiny from civil […]


9 Feb, 2009

New PATA Chief Outlines Future Roadmap

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) The Pacific Asia Travel Association has dumped its much-hyped CEO Challenge conference as part of a sweeping revamp of internal and external activities being enacted by President and CEO Greg Duffell following his official takeover last week. “It’s a tough year for holding events,” Mr Duffell […]


26 Jan, 2009

ASEAN Cross-Border Travel To Boom

Faced with the ongoing international financial crunch and a projected flattening of arrivals from long-haul international markets, ASEAN national tourism organisations are set to give a long-overdue boost to cross-border and intra-ASEAN travel, according to presentations made at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Hanoi earlier this month. ASEAN countries have long been their own best […]


12 Jan, 2009

ASEAN To Jettison Tourism Brand

HANOI — Just a few weeks before the ASEAN summit in Thailand in February, ASEAN tourism industry officials have signed off on a plan to jettison the ASEAN brand name in their tourism campaigns and make it a co-brand to new tagline built on the name “Southeast Asia.” At the ASEAN Tourism Forum here last […]


29 Dec, 2008

Low-Cost Airlines Help Aviation End 2008 With “Small Growth”

Scheduled airline passenger traffic in 2008 attained a “small overall growth” in 2008 largely thanks to a “significant increase” in the performance of low cost carriers, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The UN-affiliated global aviation regulatory agency reported that although passengers carried on scheduled air services worldwide increased by around 0.8 % in […]


15 Dec, 2008

Bangkok Airport Reopens, But Industry Braces for Backlash

The Thai tourism industry has begun to downsize big-time as visitor arrivals plunge in the aftermath of the airport closure . Even as promotional packages are rolled out to entice visitors, staff, operations and marketing budgets are beginning to feel the cost-cutting knife. Hotels are being most affected. Staff are being asked to take unpaid […]


8 Dec, 2008

Short-term Drop in U.S. Business Travel to India Seen After Mumbai Attack

The attack in Mumbai will prompt short-term cancellations in business travel to India and Pakistan, and initiate long-term interest in hotel security and guest safety on the part of corporate consumers, according to a survey conducted by the Alexandria, Virginia-based Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE). ACTE represents a membership of senior business travel industry […]


1 Dec, 2008

Under Seige, Tourism Sector Needs to Ask Hard Questions

The twin debacles in Bangkok and Mumbai last week have opened a new chapter in the history of the crises-ridden travel & tourism industry and will require some radical new thinking amongst the new generation of emerging leaders. The tourism promotion campaigns of both “Incredible !ndia”  and “Amazing Thailand Amazing Wonders” have been shot to […]


24 Nov, 2008

Exhibitions Sector Faces Turbulence in 2009

Chief executives of the global exhibition industry are preparing for a downturn next year but feel that larger events, as well as those in the so-called Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), will be less impacted than others. These were among the upcoming trends identified at a break-out “CEO Think Tank” session during the […]


17 Nov, 2008

Obamania At The World Travel Market 2008

LONDON — Kenya, Indonesia and the city of Chicago have latched on to the “Obamania” bandwagon with tours and marketing campaigns highlighting their social, familial and cultural links with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. Mr. Obama had a Kenyan father and Indonesian step-father. He lived in both countries during his childhood. He now resides in Chicago. […]


3 Nov, 2008

India Blocks Bid To Grade Destinations

India has blocked a bid by the UN World Tourism Organisation to “evaluate” destinations, an effort which was designed overtly to upgrade product development but which critics saw as being yet another thinly-disguised “beauty contest.” Indian Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mrs. Ambika Soni took up the matter in her capacity as chairperson of the […]


27 Oct, 2008

Thai Tourism SME Group Scores Big Win at ITB Asia 2008

SINGAPORE: Eleven small Thai hotels and service apartments scored a huge win here last week by pooling their meager resources to produce a high-powered joint presence at the Asia Pacific’s newest travel show, the ITB Asia “We were busy all through,” proclaimed Mr. Kamol Ratanavirakul, President of the Thai Hotel and Hospitality Management Association, brandishing […]


20 Oct, 2008

IATA Silent on Fuel Surcharges, But Rails Against Passenger Taxes

After remaining strangely silent as airlines levied massive fuel surcharges on their passengers, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has now come out with a thundering condemnation of the higher departure taxes that European governments are planning to pass on to airline passengers to partially fund the massive bank bailout packages. Although Mr. Giovanni Bisignani, […]


6 Oct, 2008

Travel & Tourism Braces for Impact of Financial Crisis

The global travel & tourism industry is bracing for yet another crisis as the fallout from the turmoil in financial markets begins to make itself felt. In the U.S., both the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and the Air Transport Association (ATA) early last week urged Congress and the Bush administration to take action to shore […]


29 Sep, 2008

PATA CEO Makes Early Exit

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) HYDERABAD — Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO and president, Peter de Jong, will vacate the helm of the association on 17 October, some six months ahead of the schedule outlined in his own statements in which he said he was prepared to handover responsibilities to a […]


15 Sep, 2008

PATA Hit By Financial Downturn

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) The Pacific Asia Travel Association is to report declines in income from its major revenue generating activities this year, setting the stage for what is expected to be a testy board of directors meeting in Hyderabad, India, between 19-21 September. Financial statements to be presented to […]


8 Sep, 2008

Thailand Counts Costs of Political Crisis

The Thai tourism industry began to survey the damage caused by the nearly two-week long political situation, amidst general agreement that the situation was not as bad as it could have been and will bounce back quickly once normalcy is returned. Industry executives said that most of the damage had been done by usage of […]


25 Aug, 2008

Tourism Australia Performance Audit Boosts Cause of Transparency in Tourism

The cause of transparency and good governance in travel & tourism organisations worldwide has taken a huge step forward with the publication of an Australian government audit of about A$184 million worth of marketing service contracts by Tourism Australia, as well as conflict of interest issues amongst its board of directors. Although the audit notes […]


18 Aug, 2008

Economic Crisis Means Bleak Days Ahead for Australian Tourism

Although Australian tourism is preparing for a publicity windfall following the projected release of the movie “Australia” later this year, its future outlook is almost entirely at the mercy of oil prices and the strength of the Aussie dollar, according to its national forecasting body. Says the latest report by Australia’s Tourism Forecasting Committee, “For […]


11 Aug, 2008

Telecoms Sector Offers Alternative to Travel

Advances in information and communications technologies (ICTs) which have facilitated the growth of global travel & tourism industry are set to play an increasing role in both reducing and managing the growth still to come. Those same technologies that greatly assisted the development of reservation and payment systems that helped low cost airlines shake the […]


4 Aug, 2008

Malaysia Seeks Larger Share of Islamic Travel Market

KUALA LUMPUR — Although its branding tag-line presents itself as “Truly Asia,” Malaysia is seeking to build on its Islamic credentials to capture a dominant share of the Islamic market. Presenting a marketing blueprint to an Islamic tourism conference here last week, Tourism Malaysia Director General Mirza Mohammad Taib noted that Malaysia is the second […]


28 Jul, 2008

PATA CEO Job Now Open

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) In a move that should pave the way for a long overdue organisational revamp, the Pacific Asia Travel Association has begun the search for a new President and CEO to replace Peter de Jong following his planned exit by April 2009. In a letter to Board […]


7 Jul, 2008

Transparency Pressure Pressure Piles Up on PATA

Another former chairman of the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association has backed calls for good governance and transparency, warning that “if things do go off the rails, and the law steps in, it can get very ugly.” The comment by Jon Hutchison, the PATA Chairman between 1997/98, is doubly significant because he chaired a Task […]


23 Jun, 2008

Australia Tourism Struggles To Cope With Slowdown

PERTH: Affected by high fuel costs and the strength of its currency, the Australian tourism industry is struggling to deal with what appears to be a pronounced slowdown in visitor arrivals. The industry ended 2007 with a fractional arrivals growth of 2.5% to 5.6 million. In Jan-April 2008, visitor arrivals totalled 1.9 million, unchanged over […]


16 Jun, 2008

Former PATA Chairman Calls for Deep Financial Audit, Membership Survey

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) A former chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association has made an unprecedented public call for a comprehensive probe into PATA’s financial management as well as a thorough membership survey to determine its future directions. Responding to the recent travel trade press reports about errors in […]


9 Jun, 2008

U.S. Frequent Flyers Cutting Back on Travel

American frequent air travellers are cutting back on flying, thanks to lengthy lines for check-in and security screening, flight delays, cancellations, longer flight times, baggage issues and other such hassles, according to a survey commissioned by the US Travel Industry Association. “Compared with other parts of the travel experience including renting cars, staying at a […]


2 Jun, 2008

Media Probe Yields “Clerical Lapses” in PATA’s IRS Report

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) was last week forced to “update” its filings with the US Internal Revenue Service after a media investigation showed up two instances of a “clerical lapse” that could have seen it face penalties and possible fines. The same investigation by the Bangkok-based travel publication TTR Weekly also showed up […]


2 Jun, 2008

Indian Buddhist Sites Slated For Upgrade

The Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Nalanda are among the 20 “mega-destinations” and “mega-circuits” prioritised for infrastructure investment by India’s Tourism Ministry in the next few years. With foreign visitor inflows having crossed the five million mark in 2007 and domestic tourism booming, thanks to improved air, road and rail linkages, the ministry […]


12 May, 2008

Aussies Seek to Clear Skilled Migration Visa Backlog

The Australian tourism industry is to be a primary beneficiary of an effort to clear a backlog of applications for temporary skilled migration visas by June 2008. The move is designed to ease the country’s labour market pressures and skills shortages, specifically in the accommodation, catering and retail sectors, and underwrite the competitiveness of Australian […]


5 May, 2008

Lowest Turnout Ever At A PATA Conference

The Pacific Asia Travel Association last week sought to keep the focus of its message on the environmental outcomes of its first CEO Challenge conference while downplaying the fact that it recorded the lowest turnout of paying delegates in the history of PATA conferences. At the closing press conference after the two-day event last week, […]


28 Apr, 2008

PATA CEO Challenge Opens, Minus the Keynote Speaker

When the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s PATA CEO Challenge opens here tomorrow morning, most of the association’s own board members will not be present, nor will the keynote speaker, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Citing a number of professional or personal reasons, roughly 50 of the nearly 80-member board will not […]


21 Apr, 2008

WTTC Summit Seeks “New Maturity” In Travel Industry

When the chieftains of some of the world’s largest travel & tourism companies meet for their annual summit in Dubai today (April 21-22), their agenda will reflect both the new realities of the industry as well as the mistakes the industry continues to make in addressing those realities. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), […]


14 Apr, 2008

2007 Thai Visitor Profile Analysis Indicates Six Key Trends

The statistical profile of Thailand’s visitor arrivals in 2007, just made public, clearly indicate six major trends that will impact on existing and future marketing and development plans. The final arrivals figure for 2007 as tabulated by country of residence, a far more important indicator of travel trends than by country of nationality, is a […]


31 Mar, 2008

Thai Tourism Sector To Help Subsidise PATA “CEO Challenge”

The Thai tourism industry has stepped in to help prop up the financial fortunes of the PATA CEO Challenge due to be held in Bangkok between April 29-30. In addition to the five million baht subsidy provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the problem-plagued conference on the theme of climate change, the Thailand […]


24 Mar, 2008

Youth Travel Trends Identified in 2007 Survey

Millions of young people taking to the road each year say that travel is impacting on their values and attitudes, and making them think about wider issues like social justice, poverty and international relations, according to a survey of global youth travel. The survey report, Youth Travel Matters: Understanding the Global Phenomenon of Youth Travel […]


10 Mar, 2008

India, Vietnam to Top List of German Outbound Travel Spots

BERLIN — India and Vietnam are expected to top the list of popular destinations for outbound German travellers by the year 2015, according to a study released at the ITB Berlin last week. The study by Tourism Intelligence International said that the popularity of these new destinations will be one part of a major shift […]


25 Feb, 2008

US Convention Industry Asks: Is It Overbuilt?

A study of North American convention and exhibition centres says that the supply-demand balance has matured and that as there is “not enough business to go around”, the future of these centres will depend on how competitive they are. It raises the question: Is the industry overbuilt? Conducted by the hospitality industry consultancy company HVS, […]


18 Feb, 2008

New Thai Tourism Minister, But Same Policies

Like with many other aspects of the new government’s thought-process, clear signs are emerging of the tourism policy reflecting the same old directions of the former Thaksin administration –- couched somewhat in terms of language and priority, but largely the same. In his public and official statements, Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Khowsurat is stressing […]


11 Feb, 2008

Japan Outbound Slumps, Inbound Surges

Japan’s outbound travel boom appears to be over after reporting three years of stagnation. The good news is that Japanese arrivals to Thailand are bucking the trend.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, outbound Japanese travellers totalled 17.4 million in 2005, rose by a fractional 0.8% to 17.5 million in 2006 and are projected to have slumped 1.3% to 17.3 million in 2007. On the other hand, inbound arrivals are surging, from 6.72 million in 2005 to 7.3 million in 2006 and up again by 13.8% to 8.3 million in 2007.

Although the goal of attaining 20 million outbound travellers by 2010 is now looking slightly elusive, the goal of 10 million inbound travellers in the same year is looking well within reach.

Many of the destinations once hugely popular with Japanese visitors are reporting downturns.


4 Feb, 2008

IATA Needs A Policy Revamp — Whose Interests Is It Really Serving?

In reporting the latest financial results of its 240 member airlines last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that 2007 was the best in recent memory “despite the ambiguity of strong passenger growth,” weaker freight demand and oil prices being higher than ever. The airline club said that international passenger traffic demand grew […]


28 Jan, 2008

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

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


21 Jan, 2008

PATA Blackout on “CEO Challenge” Registrations

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


14 Jan, 2008

Tourism Backlash Fears Follow India-Australia Cricket Spat

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


24 Dec, 2007

ICAO Issues First Aviation Environmental Report

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


17 Dec, 2007

Telecoms Target Aviation Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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


10 Dec, 2007

EIBT Industry Report Rues Impact of “Age of Turbulence”

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


26 Nov, 2007

Road Transport Union Seeks Classification System for Tour Coaches

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


19 Nov, 2007

Signs of Trouble Emerge for PATA CEO Challenge Summit

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


29 Oct, 2007

GEO Report Seeks to Assess Monetary Value of Biodiversity

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


22 Oct, 2007

Condemnation of Air Passenger Tax Unwarranted & Unsound

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


15 Oct, 2007

Bangkok to Host Tourism Disability Conference

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


8 Oct, 2007

More Air-links Sought between Thailand & Northeast India

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


1 Oct, 2007

Iran Challenges ICAO Claims On Safety

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


17 Sep, 2007

Airline Crew Unions Berate Impact of Cost-Cutting

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


10 Sep, 2007

Kingdom Hotel Investments Targets Asia for Growth

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


27 Aug, 2007

India Okays Merger of Two National Airlines

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


20 Aug, 2007

Thailand Seeks Closer Trade, Tourism Ties with Islamic World

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


13 Aug, 2007

Sri Lanka Hosts 2007 World Tourism Day to Polish Image

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


6 Aug, 2007

2010 Commonwealth Games Host India Makes Sports Tourism Push

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