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30 Jul, 2007

Laos At the Crossroads — In More Ways Than One

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


23 Jul, 2007

Private Equity Funds Guidelines Claim to Promote “Transparency”

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


16 Jul, 2007

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

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


9 Jul, 2007

China Gives More Flight-Path Approvals to Facilitate Polar Route

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


18 Jun, 2007

Indian Aviation Industry Heading for Private Equity Hands

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


28 May, 2007

Asia, Africa Unite On Aviation Emissions

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


21 May, 2007

India Plans 100% Private “Merchant Airports”

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


14 May, 2007

India Nears Completion of Traditional Knowledge Library

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


30 Apr, 2007

Emirates Attacks Critics of Aviation’s Role in Global Warming

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


23 Apr, 2007

Indo-Pak Tourism Connectivity “Can Build Peace”

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


16 Apr, 2007

Kingdom Hotels Buys 6th Hotel in Asia

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


2 Apr, 2007

Hotel Boards Under Transparency Pressure

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


5 Mar, 2007

Indian Railways Upgrades To Regain Traffic Lost to LCCs

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


26 Feb, 2007

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

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


26 Feb, 2007

“Big Brother” Influence in Travel Grows Alongside Technology

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


19 Feb, 2007

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

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


5 Feb, 2007

Singapore Casino Barons Deflect Criticism Over Las Vegas Transplant

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


29 Jan, 2007

Asia-Pacific Airlines Group Blasts Growing Security Hassles

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


22 Jan, 2007

Thailand Set to Promote Its Unique “Royal Discovery” Projects

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


15 Jan, 2007

India Reaches Out Further To Make Diaspora Feel At Home

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


8 Jan, 2007

Thai Tourism, 20 Years After “Visit Thailand Year”

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


25 Dec, 2006

Thai Industry Sees No Impact Of Currency, Stock Crash

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


18 Dec, 2006

Intrusive Security Helps Private Jets Boost Marketing Pitch

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


4 Dec, 2006

Taj Hotels Acquires Ritz-Carlton in Boston

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


27 Nov, 2006

EU-India Aviation Summit to Yield Flights Bonanza

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


20 Nov, 2006

Weekend Bookings by Mobile Phone Debut at WTM 2006

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


6 Nov, 2006

Climate Change Report Blasts Aviation’s Growing Role

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


30 Oct, 2006

More Flights from Thailand to Buddhist Circuit Sites

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


23 Oct, 2006

Low Cost Airlines Facing Climate Change Scrutiny

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


16 Oct, 2006

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

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


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


20 Jun, 2005

Thai Industry Veteran Says 20 Million Visitors Would Be A “Disaster”

In a remarkable shift in tone and approach, the head of Thailand’s umbrella private sector industry association said last week that the target of achieving 20 million visitors by 2008 would be a ‘disaster’ for Thai tourism. After years of focussing on marketing designed to bring in the numbers at any cost, the comments by […]


7 Jun, 2005

‘Brand America’ Hit By U.S. Foreign Policy

The ‘deep unpopularity’ of US foreign policy is ‘dragging down’ its ‘nation brand’ and “may begin to have an effect on people’s acceptance” of US products, culture and tourism, according to a survey that claims to be the “first ever global poll of how the world sees the world.”


6 Jun, 2005

“Fair Treatment Of Staff Will Lead to Fair Treatment of Customers”

Travel & tourism companies looking for ways to better retain and motivate staff to deliver quality customer service are being offered a very simple piece of advice – ensure they are treated fairly in the workplace. Employee retention and motivation are major issues in the highly competitive, globalised travel & tourism industry which relies heavily […]


30 May, 2005

Indonesia Faces Tourism Backlash From Aussies Upset by Drug Verdict

Travel and tourism relations between Indonesia and Australia appeared set to take another hit following the guilty verdict against 27-year-old beauty therapist Schapelle Corby by a Bali court last week. An outpouring of emotional reaction against the verdict included several callers to radio talk-shows and website public comments indicating that they “will never travel to […]


18 May, 2005

Changing Lifestyles, Shifting Societies

Britain’s much vaunted ‘enterprise culture’ is little more than rhetoric, according to MORE TH>N Business. Research commissioned by the small business insurer, the direct arm of Royal & SunAlliance UK, found that alterpreneurs , not entrepreneurs, are the bedrock of Britain’s small business community. MORE TH>N Business has published the Health, Wealth & Happiness Report, […]


1 Nov, 2004

Thais Rue Image Fallout of South Thailand Conflict

The Thai travel and tourism industry has expressed shock and dismay at the deteriorating situation in south Thailand, with the Thai Hotels Association (THA) fearing that it is spiralling out of control and may get worse before it gets better. THA President Chanin Donavanik and Association of Thai Travel Agents President Suparerk Soorangura both agreed […]


27 Sep, 2004

PATA Mart Springs Back to Life After Shift to Bangkok

786 110 Once written off as moribund, the annual travel mart of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) bounced back to life last week with a hugely successful event that was relocated to Bangkok after six largely unproductive years in Singapore. A straw poll among several sellers gave the mart a rating of 7 to […]


20 Sep, 2004

Egypt Pledges Higher Tourism Profile in Asia

CAIRO — Egypt’s new tourism minister is promising to raise the country’s marketing profile in the Asia-Pacific as part of efforts to diversify its sources of visitor arrivals and balance out long-standing reliance on Europe and North America. Recording growing numbers of visitors from China and India, Mr. Ahmed El Maghraby told a press conference […]


13 Sep, 2004

U.S. Visitors Concerned Over “Sense of Welcome” in Europe, Study Finds

A new study conducted by the European Union to woo back American visitors has broken new ground by raising issues that reflect the impact of geopolitics and globalization on the travel & tourism industry. While the study does probe the routine marketing issues like image, perception, value for money, likes and dislikes, it also goes […]


6 Sep, 2004

What the New Bangkok Governor Promised the Tourism Sector

Now that Apirak Kosayodhin has been elected governor of Bangkok, it might be useful to cite the specific positions and ideas he cited for improving services and facilities for visitors to the city, as presented in his pre-election campaign pitch to the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) on August 25. Heading the list of […]


27 Aug, 2004

What’s Your Platform? Thai Tourism Sector Asks City Governor Candidates

The 1,367-member Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) last week set a new political precedent for the Thai travel & tourism by inviting candidates for the Bangkok gubernatorial election to outline what they plan to do for visitors and the tourism industry in one of Asia’s most popular cities. Rather than follow the long-standing reactive […]


23 Aug, 2004

Thailand Not Ready for 20 Million Visitors, Says ex-TAT Governor

FORMER Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Pradech Phayakvichien last week voiced concern about the government’s visitor arrivals target of 20 million by 2004, and asked whether the country is ready for such a deluge. Speaking at a seminar on Cultural Heritage Tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, […]