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16 Aug, 2004

Thailand, India Links Grow but Tourism Flows Remain Skewed

The growing economic contacts between Thailand and India are opening up opportunities to rectify at least two areas of critical imbalance in bilateral visitor flows. Even as the Indian tourist office is concerned about the large gap between Indian visitors to Thailand as against vice versa, the Tourism Authority of Thailand sees more opportunity for […]


9 Aug, 2004

Hotel Room Design Changes in Line With Changing Lifestyles

Changes in lifetstyles, technology and guest expectations are having a signfiicant impact on the design of hotels and guestrooms, according to a recent roundtable organised by the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The discussion, the first of its kind organised by the school, brought together design leaders from top […]


2 Aug, 2004

Nok Air Flogs Low Fares, But Public Finds Not All Fares are Low

Within hours of the Nok Air launch on 23 July, the phones started ringing at the call centres by people wanting cheap fares. The only problem was, only a few could get them; the rest had to be taken carefully through the intricacies of airline pricing, and explained why the low fares were not quite […]


26 Jul, 2004

TAT Starts Marketing Push for Restive South Thailand

It has long been claimed that Northeast Thailand is the country’s most neglected tourism area. However, with that area now set to be revived as a stepping stone to the Greater Mekong Subregion countries, it is the situation in South Thailand that is attracting the most attention, especially in the wake of the recent unrest. […]


19 Jul, 2004

TAT Overseas Office Chiefs Rue Rackets, Cheats

Long-standing complaints about tour-guide cheats, jewellery shopping commission rackets and low quality products and service standards continue to blot an otherwise flourishing tourism industry, heads of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) overseas offices indicated last week. Wrapping up a week of meetings to finalise tourism marketing plans for 2005, the TAT directors mentioned these […]


5 Jul, 2004

UN ESCAP to Develop Indicators for Tourism – Poverty Links

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has begun to develop methodologies and indicators to help governments and other stakeholders understand and measure how tourism benefits the poor. Although tourism, both international and domestic, is recognised as a major contributor to poverty alleviation worldwide, it has long lacked a uniformly […]


28 Jun, 2004

UK Foreign Office Agrees to Issue Travel Advisories “Sparingly”

In a major victory for global travel industry associations, the UK Foreign Office has agreed to fine-tune its travel advisory service and issue them “sparingly” and “only in situations of extreme and imminent danger.” In a written statement to UK Parliament on 22 June, the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, announced the outcome of a […]


21 Jun, 2004

Thailand Among Four “Favourite” Markets for Hotel Investors

Thailand has been described as one of the four “favourite” markets for hotel investors in the year ahead, along with China, Japan and Australia. At a hotel investment conference in Singapore last month, Scott Hetherington, Managing Director Asia, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, said the Thai markets have recovered from the affects of SARS and Bird […]


14 Jun, 2004

Airlines Seek More Efficient Infrastructure, Services

SINGAPORE: Global airlines have challenged their infrastructure and service providers worldwide to start doing their share to make the travel industry simpler and more cost efficient. At a panel discussion at the International Air Transport Association annual conference here last week, executives of major airlines said airports, immigration authorities, air traffic control providers, global distribution […]


7 Jun, 2004

Aussies Seek to Launch Airline for Backpackers

MELBOURNE: Bangkok is to be one of the five popular backpacker destinations to be connected by a new airline that will be dedicated almost exclusively to this fast-growing niche-market. The Australian-owned airline, backpackersXpress, is due to start flying in late October early November. It is planning a thrice weekly schedule between Manchester-Melbourne, and a twice-weekly […]


31 May, 2004

U.S. Airline Pilots Endorse John Kerry for President

In what is believed to the first political stand taken by a travel industry organisation, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), the union that represents most of the US airline pilots, last week endorsed John Kerry for US president in the upcoming November elections. In a press release posted on its website <www.alpa.org>, the […]


24 May, 2004

Asia-Pacific Cities Seek to Forge Tourism Linkages

BUSAN, Korea — Representatives of 39 Asia-Pacific cities met in Korea’s second largest city last week to discuss ways to promote tourism to and amongst their respective cities. However, they left the Tourism Forum organised by the Asia-Pacific Tourism Promotion Organisation (TPO) with little to show, making the entire event yet another example of how […]


10 May, 2004

Qatar Unveils US$20 billion Tourism Development Projects

DOHA, Qatar — While the high profile Dubai gets much of the publicity related to its tourism development plans, its fellow emirate of Doha is seeking to catch up, and fast. Between 1-2 May, Qatar became the first Gulf country to host the annual summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the rich-man’s club […]


3 May, 2004

Emirates Says It Needs No “Guru’s Teachings” to Succeed

DUBAI: In announcing record profits of US$ 476 million last week, the management of the Emirates airline and travel group clearly enjoyed taking a few tongue-in-cheek digs at hawkers of ‘conventional wisdom’ in global aviation, its competitors as well as countries that artificially restrict traffic rights. The Dubai-based group said its profits for the financial […]


26 Apr, 2004

Bangkok Airways Rebrands Itself as Asia’s “Boutique Airline”

Repositioning itself as Asia’s “boutique airline” is expected to help Bangkok Airways generate revenues of US$ 154 million this year, up from US$ 115 million in 2003, the airline’s President & CEO Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth told a major travel industry conference last week. Revealing earnings figures that are rarely disclosed even in Thailand, Dr Prasert […]


19 Apr, 2004

Internet Helps Boost Bookings, But Not Rates

While the Internet is stoking more bookings for the US hotel industry, it is not necessarily translating into higher average daily room rates because of the huge price discounting that has resulted, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The study of the Effect of the Internet on Pricing was circulated at the recent International Hotel […]


12 Apr, 2004

UK Govt Publishes Review of Advisory Issuance Procedures

The UK government last week published a review of its controversial travel advisory issuance procedures and invited additional public comment before finalising the document. It is expected to be avidly discussed at the annual conference of the Pacific Asia Travel Association in Jeju, Korea, this week. However, the document is expected to come under fire […]


5 Apr, 2004

SAS Shifts Departure Control Centre to Bangkok

Since March 2002, about 250 Scandinavian Airlines flights worldwide have been taking off only after being cleared by young Thai load control supervisors manning a sophisticated computer centre on the 8th floor of the Glas Haus building, Sukhumvit Road. Just one door away, another group of Thais are processing thousands of letters which come in […]


29 Mar, 2004

ADB Pushes Overhaul of GMS Tourism Plans & Projects

CHIANG MAI – The Asian Development Bank is pushing for an overhaul of the tourism development strategy of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) to improve its marketing, facilitation and administration. Ten years after the formation of the GMS Tourism Working Group, the bank has allocated US$ 800,000 for a new study to draft out strategies […]


22 Mar, 2004

After Madrid Bombings, Travel Advisory Double Standards Under Fire

BERLIN: The train bombings in Madrid last week cast a pall over the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest trade show, but also raised hackles among several developing countries about double standards over the controversial application of travel advisories. In public and private comments, tourism ministers and senior delegates from Nepal, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India and […]


15 Mar, 2004

PATA Sends First Tourism Task Force to North Korea

The first tourism task force to operate into the world’s last purely communist country, North Korea, has painted a picture of a land that is ready for tourism from a scenic, cultural and infrastructure perspective but needs to significantly upgrade its management, marketing and accessibility. The task force was organised by the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia […]


1 Dec, 2003

Low Cost Airlines Set to Revolutionise Asian Travel

Like in other parts of the world over the past few years, the entry of low-cost airlines into Thailand is causing much hand-wringing amongst established players like Thai Airways International as well as struggling players like Orient Thai. However, unable to project them as potential commercial failures for the simple reason that they have proved […]


24 Nov, 2003

Asian Highway Pact Cleared, Set to Transform Asia’s Road Network

After years of arduous negotiations, representatives of 32 Asia-Pacific countries last week adopted an agreement that sets out the minimum terms, conditions and standards for joining, coordinating and developing the vast, 140,000-kilometre Asian Highway network. Due to be signed at the 60th ministerial session of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific in April 2004, […]


17 Nov, 2003

Global Shifts, Lifestyle Changes Affecting MICE Sector

Global geopolitics, economic factors, demographic trends as well as lifestyle changes are having a major impact on the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry, according to a research report. The report, prepared for the EIBTM, an annual European trade show featuring the MICE industry, says the impact is being felt across the board, from […]


3 Nov, 2003

“Time for Assessment of Security Costs Facing Travel Industry”

The chairman of the Canadian Tourist Commission says it is about time global travel industry associations to start doing some serious calculations about how much upgrading security is going to cost the industry, and the impact it could have on profitability and travel patterns. In an interview last week, Mr. Doug Fyfe said it was […]


29 Oct, 2003

Indian Agents Convene in Malaysia As Rush Builds for Indian Market

KUALA LUMPUR: The mass rush to attract Indian tourists to Southeast Asia has become more competitive with the convening of a landmark annual congress by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) in Kuala Lumpur last week. About 1,100 TAAI member delegates turned up for the historic congress, TAAI’s first outside South Asia since 1983. […]


27 Oct, 2003

Security Companies Salivate at Opportunities From Terrorism

Security companies are salivating at the prospects of generating billions of dollars in business from travel & tourism as a result of the overwhelming anti-terrorism focus of the final statement issued by last week’s APEC summit. The leaders made a direct reference to travel & tourism when they agreed in the communiqué to “strengthen our […]


20 Oct, 2003

Thailand, Vietnam Top Youth Travel Survey

PATTAYA — Vietnam and Thailand are rapidly becoming two of the world’s most popular countries for backpackers, a survey of young travellers has revealed. The survey showed that 75% of respondents who described themselves as backpackers had visited Thailand and 87.5% had visited Vietnam on their “last big trip”. India came in third with 66% […]


20 Oct, 2003

Vietnam, Thailand Top Popularity Charts for Backpackers

PATTAYA — Vietnam and Thailand are rapidly becoming two of the world’s most popular countries for backpackers, a survey of young travellers has revealed. The survey showed that 75% of respondents who described themselves as backpackers had visited Thailand and 87.5% had visited Vietnam on their “last big trip”. India came in third with 66% […]


13 Oct, 2003

Brutal Cost-Cutting To Come as Thai Airways Cracks Revenue Whip

Thai Airways International served notice last week that its suppliers and associated can expect some hard bargaining as it strives to cut costs and boost revenues in preparation for additional privatisation in 2004. Airports, global distribution systems, travel agents and oil companies are among the groups expected to be targetted as the airline moves both […]


6 Oct, 2003

Head of World’s Newest Country Inaugurates PATA Travel Mart

SINGAPORE – The President of the world’s youngest country last week became the first head of state to inaugurate the annual travel mart of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and made a strong pitch for both visitors and investors to help him with nation building. President Xanana Gusmao of Timor Leste told the Asia-Pacific […]


22 Sep, 2003

“Crisis Management” Programmes Treat Only Symptoms, Not the Cause

The recent spate of crises buffetting the travel & tourism industry have given rise to a phenomena called “crisis management programmes.” But the industry only has to look at the examples of Sri Lanka and Nepal for proof that these programmes have very limited value unless the root causes of the problems are addressed. Last […]


22 Sep, 2003

How Effective are “Crisis Management” Programmes

The recent spate of crises buffetting the travel & tourism industry have given rise to a phenomena called “crisis management programmes.” But the industry only has to look at the examples of Sri Lanka and Nepal for proof that these programmes have very limited value unless the root causes of the problems are addressed. Last […]


15 Sep, 2003

France Resumes Post-SARS Marketing Campaigns in Asia

Tourism executives of the world’s top visitor-receiving country last week made a promotional comeback in Asia after a three-year break, indicating renewed interest in attracting the regional outbound market after the SARS-related slump. With 76 million arrivals a year, a mere 500,000 from all of Southeast Asia is probably nothing for France. But contemporary geopolitical […]


15 Sep, 2003

France Resumes Asia Promotions After Three-Year Break

Tourism executives of the world’s top visitor-receiving country last week made a promotional comeback in Asia after a three-year break, indicating renewed interest in attracting the regional outbound market after the SARS-related slump. With 76 million arrivals a year, a mere 500,000 from all of Southeast Asia is probably nothing for France. But contemporary geopolitical […]


8 Sep, 2003

As Visa Crisis Looms, Indonesia Seek Arrivals from ASEAN Countries

JAKARTA — Facing yet another crisis in the wake of a government plan to impose visas, the Indonesian tourism industry will next month dispatch a 30-member promotion delegation to Thailand, one of the few countries that might be excluded from the visa-requirement list. The delegation is due in Bangkok on October 8 for a four-day […]


1 Sep, 2003

Tourism Will Need More Migrant-Workers, Posing New Challenges and Problems

A low profile meeting at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific last week focussed attention on one of the most significant elements of the global travel industry: Migration patterns. The travel industry is a major beneficiary of the huge numbers of migrants, mainly job-seekers, on the move as a result […]


7 Jul, 2003

Luxury Hotels Group Sees Surge in Internet Bookings

One of the world’s most unique group of luxury hotels is reporting a sharp surge in bookings received directly over the Internet, and plans to grow those numbers further in the months ahead. The Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), whose 290 exclusive properties are frequented by the world’s rich and famous, has seen […]


30 Jun, 2003

Aussies Seek Ways to Build Shield Against Future Shocks

MELBOURNE: High-level consultations are under way throughout the Australian tourism industry to finalise a medium to long term strategy designed to help grow the industry and better position it against future shocks. It is the first national review of Australian tourism since 1997 when a similar exercise was carried out for a plan to capitalise […]


23 Jun, 2003

The ATE, First Major Travel Show After SARS, Ends Strongly

Melbourne – Australia’s most important annual travel trade show, which came close to being cancelled a month ago, ended strongly last week amidst rising optimism and clear signs of a rebounding regional travel & tourism industry. The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) was the first major international travel event of the post-SARS era, billed as the […]


16 Jun, 2003

Cambodian Minister To Resist Visa-On-Arrival Cutback

Cambodian tourism minister Veng Sereyvuth said last week he would resist any attempts by Cambodian security authorities to alter the country’s visa-on-arrival policy as a result of the recent arrests of alleged “terrorists” in his country. “That will not be good,” he said in an interview last week. “We need tourists. We are a poor […]


2 Jun, 2003

Post-SARS Tourism Bunfight Starts

Over the next few weeks, Thailand’s tourism industry will be facing ferocious competition as Asian destinations mount vigorous big-budget campaigns to recoup the significant losses of the past few weeks. While 9/11 and the Iraq war hit tourism worldwide, SARS specifically struck a slew of regional destinations like Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, China […]


26 May, 2003

Throwing Marketing Money at Crisis May Not Prove Effective, Industry Execs Say

While there is a good deal of support for the government’s move to launch multi-million baht roadshows to address the short-term need to bring back visitors this low season, there is concern that the money is being spent in a highly imbalanced way that overlooks simpler and more long-term solutions. Interviews with industry leaders indicated […]


19 May, 2003

All-Economy Airline, Gulf Traveller, Launched

DUBAI: Gulf Air, the Bahrain-based carrier owned by the governments of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has launched the Middle East region’s first all-economy class airline, Gulf Traveller. The airline is to start flying on 1 June 2003 out of a new hub to be developed in the UAE state of Abu […]


12 May, 2003

SARS Scare Dries Up Business for Thais at Arabian Travel Market

Seriously tainted by the erroneous perception of coming from a SARS-affected country, Thai hotels and tour operators found themselves in the highly unusual position of twiddling their thumbs at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) last week. The lack of buyers was made worse by a poorly-managed communications counter-campaign that saw Thailand being clearly eclipsed by […]


28 Apr, 2003

SARS Strikes, Leading To Worst Fall in Thai Tourism History

International visitor arrivals at Bangkok airport have plunged by 41% in first three-week period of April 2003 over the same period of 2002 due to the SARS crisis, the biggest fall ever in the history of Thai tourism. Figures made available to this columnist last week showed that arrivals at Bangkok airport, the country’s major […]


6 Jan, 2003

Thai Aviation Department Rebuts Claims of Air Traffic Decline

After listening silently for more than a year to complaints about the decline in airline frequencies to Thailand, the Aviation Department has struck back, releasing figures which show exactly the opposite. In the current winter season 2002/2003, Thailand is being served by 79 foreign airlines operating a total of 670 weekly scheduled international flights, up […]


16 Dec, 2002

PB Air Helps Boost Embraer’s Foothold in Asia

Domestic Thai airline PB Air is to become the second in Asia to start operating the Brazilian-made aircraft, the Embraer ERJ 145, two of which are due to arrive in Thailand on Dec 23rd and go into service on Christmas day. The aircraft will replace PB Air’s existing Fokker F28 equipment on its routenet which […]


2 Dec, 2002

Mombasa Bombings Mean “Soft & Vulnerable” Tourism Now a Target

LAST week’s bombings in the Kenyan beach resort of Mombassa pose a grave danger to the future of the global tourism industry, and more specifically to that of Thailand, too. While international intelligence and security officials are admitting that the ‘soft and vulnerable’ tourism industry has now become a target worldwide, Thai industry executives are […]


25 Nov, 2002

Big Companies Gobbling Up Small Seems To Be Over

LONDON: The era of large travel companies gobbling up small travel companies appears to be over. Mr Roger Luscombe of Continental Capital Partners told a seminar at the recent World Travel Market 2002 that the mergers and acquisitions among travel companies that dominated the industry for the last 2-3 years is “not happening”. He noted […]


28 Oct, 2002

Music to the Ears of Team-Builders in MICE Sector

The boom in global conventions and meetings business is creating huge cross-linkage opportunities for the music and entertainment industry. While traditional music remains in demand for regular functions like opening and closing ceremonies, corporations with big budgets and specific team-building needs are turning to companies like Spirit of the Dance and Human Rhythms. Both were […]


21 Oct, 2002

Global Aviation Contracts, But Thai Airlines Buck Trend

Global airlines are going through a bad patch and the aviation industry appears ready for a major downturn. Not so, apparently, in Thailand where airlines appear to be bucking the trend. In the last few weeks, Thai Airways International has rolled out a string of announcements designed to present an upbeat picture about its future […]


14 Oct, 2002

Industry Executives Begin to Brace for Fallout from Attack on Iraq

The Asia-Pacific tourism industry is beginning to prepare for yet another crisis that is expected to follow an attack on Iraq, an informal survey of regional industry executives reveals. Mr Ken Boundy, managing director of the Australian Tourist Commission, said ATC executives have met with all the CEO’s of the state tourism organisations to start […]


14 Oct, 2002

Bali Bombing Leaves Industry in Shock

The Pacific Asia travel and tourism industry was in a state of shock yesterday as it sought to contemplate the wide-ranging impact of the devastating bomb blasts in Bali over the weekend. “There is no such thing as a ‘safe place’ in the travel and tourism industry any more,” said Mr Alwin Zecha, managing director […]


7 Oct, 2002

Food & Catering Sector Faces post-9/11 Security Headaches

Kuala Lumpur: Security concerns are creating major financial and administrative headaches for suppliers of food and catering services to the aviation industry in the post-9/11 era. Although not a single incident of hijacking or terrorism has involved security lapses in catering, suppliers say they are suffering from an image of being the “soft-under-belly” of aviation, […]


30 Sep, 2002

Amadeus, Abacus Chase SMEs in Asian Travel Industry

Two of the Asia-Pacific’s leading global distribution systems (GDSs) are beginning to target one of the most neglected travel industry customer segments: the thousands of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who badly need access to low-cost reservation and booking systems to drive business. Both are testing the technologies and administrative systems that will be […]


16 Sep, 2002

How The Oriental Awoke to the Potential of the Middle East Market

In the hotel business, location is everything. A few weeks ago, Kurt Wachtveitl, general manager of The Oriental, realised that his hotel’s riverside location was not his only asset. In a letter to various embassies of the Middle East countries inviting them to book their guests at The Oriental, he pointed out that Thailand’s most […]


9 Sep, 2002

Indonesian Travel Groups Oppose Attack on Iraq

JAKARTA: In what could be an industry first, Indonesian travel and tourism associations are to mount a joint campaign to oppose an attack on Iraq. Citing the small but steady recovery taking place in one of the country’s leading foreign exchange earning industries, the Indonesian Tourism Council and the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board (ITPB) are […]


2 Sep, 2002

Malaysian Airlines to Sell Off Assets as Part of Restructuring

Malaysia Airlines is to sell-off all its aircraft and many of its properties, including its headquarters, in a revolutionary attempt to become a debt-free ‘virtual airline,’ according to a detailed report on the restructuring plan published this week by Aviation Analyst – Asia Pacific. Under the plan, all the carrier’s assets and liabilities are to […]


19 Aug, 2002

Wider Security Concerns Over Baggage Thefts At Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport

The recent spate of thefts and pilferage from baggage at Don Muang airport has again raised serious concern about security, but airport and airline executives are undecided who should take responsibility or what should be done next. Incidents of pilferage began after the Airports Authority of Thailand stopped securing checked-in baggage with a wrap-around plastic […]


12 Aug, 2002

Ousted TAT Governor Goes To Court

The action initiated by former Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Pradech Phayakvichien against the TAT chairman and board seeks to declare unlawful and illegal the order removing him from the post. It will also have broader ramifications on the search for a new governor. The Administrative Court is expected to take at least two […]


29 Jul, 2002

Leisure Conference to Break New Ground, Ponder New Topics

A fundamental and long overdue change is taking place in the subject matter discussed at global travel conferences, one that will have a profound impact on the forces shaping the future of the industry. International tourism industry academics, meeting for the biennial 7th World Leisure Congress in Kuala Lumpur, will be setting aside well-worn topics […]


22 Jul, 2002

Bangkok Skytrain Moves to Double Daily Tourist Useage

Bangkok’s popular Skytrain has embarked upon a number of long-overdue initiatives to double the number of tourists using it daily. After having nearly totally ignored the huge potential of visitor traffic since opening in December 1999, and lost millions of baht in untapped business, the management of the Bangkok Mass Transit System PCL (BTS) is […]


15 Jul, 2002

Thai Airways Chief’s Apology to Travelling Public Leads to Head-Scratching

Last week’s unprecedented apology by Thai Airways President Kanok Abhiradee to representatives of upmarket clients who have taken their business elsewhere was not only the first of its kind in aviation history but has left some wondering whether the chief executives of other Thai state enterprises will follow suit. Airline chief executives do not extend […]


8 Jul, 2002

Marketing Via Movies Can Backfire, Says Study

While national tourism organisations are falling over themselves to promote movies being made in their destinations, they are paying little attention to the consequences of the success of the policy and the destination management problems that may result, according to a study by an Australian researcher. Sue Beeton, senior lecturer in tourism at La Trobe […]


17 Jun, 2002

TAT Survey Shows Visitors Fret About Being Cheated

For years, the Thai tourism industry suffered from two serious ‘image’ problems: Bangkok’s traffic and environmental conditions, and the city’s barefaced nightlife. Now, both those complaints have been dethroned by the latest ‘image problem’: Dishonesty of the city’s public transport drivers and jewellery shops. In a survey of 500 visitors earlier this year, the Tourism […]


27 May, 2002

Second Bangkok Airport Faces Further Delay

A conference on the future of Thai airports last week made little headway in clarifying some of the major issues related to the opening of Suvarnabhumi, the second Bangkok International airport. While the official position remains a prospective inauguration in 2005, virtually no-one believes it will be possible, with airline veterans in Thailand saying 2008 […]


20 May, 2002

Thai Women Tourism Leaders Plan Local Chapter of Global Network

Some of Thailand’s top women executives in the travel and tourism industry are exploring the possibility of setting up their own separate grouping in the wake of the momentum generated by the annual convention of the International Federation of Women’s Travel Organisations (IFWTO) in Bangkok last week. At least 15 individual members are needed to […]


2 Apr, 2002

Just Months After 9/11, The Industry Changes Hands

1. THE INDUSTRY CHANGES HANDS: The travel and tourism industry has now slipped well and truly into the hands of security companies, insurance firms, intelligence agencies and diplomats. A serious problem looms.
2. UP IN ARMS AGAINST ADVISORIES: A number of governments resent being held hostage to “unfair, capricious and arbitrary” travel advisories. At least two ministers are speaking out. The UNWTO feels they have a point.


15 Oct, 2001

Islamic Tourism Ministers See Post-9/11 Shift to Intra-Islamic Travel

Affected like all other countries by a decline in visitor arrivals, tourism ministers the world’s 56 largely Islamic countries last week adopted a plan to refocus marketing and promotion strategies at their easiest target markets: the world’s one billion Muslims themselves.


8 Oct, 2001

Airlines Predict Huge Drop in Traffic Post-9/11

The International Air Transport Association is forecasting that capacity on international scheduled services will drop by an average of 10-20% during the next three months as a result of the turbulence affecting the airline industry in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US.


30 Sep, 2001

Bleak Days Ahead as Post-9/11 Crisis Roils Travel Sector

THE global travel & tourism is confronting a bleak scenario for at least several months to come but all indications are that Thailand is still managing to hold its own – so far.


17 Sep, 2001

Industry Ponders Life after 9/11

IN the mad scramble that will start for what little life there will be left in the travel industry following the US retaliation to come, Thailand ‘s ability to maintain its share could hinge to a large degree on two conditions: safety & security, and total neutrality.


10 Sep, 2001

PM urged to Reinstate Respected Thai Airways Chairman

If there is one thing that many in the Thai aviation and tourism industry agree on, it is that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra needs to reinstate Prof Chai-anan Samudvanij as chairman of THAI.


3 Sep, 2001

JTB Forecasts 20 Million Japanese Outbound by 2005

A major travel forceast report by the giant Japanese tour operator Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) predicts that the country could generate 20 million overseas travellers by 2005 but major shifts taking place in the market demographics need to be closely monitored.


27 Aug, 2001

Shinawatra Group Shows Thai MICE Sector How Mobile Phones Can Help

Looking to squeeze some added business out of two once high-flying global industries, travel and telecoms, the Shinawatra group of companies last week moved to boost its profile amongst a key target market: Members of the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA).


20 Aug, 2001

Tourism Educational Institutions Seek Ways to Make Training More Relevant

A growing regional network of travel & tourism educational institutions is making steady headway in helping overcome one of the region’s most pressing problems: The chasm between the quality of manpower being produced by these institutions and that actually required by the private sector.


14 Aug, 2001

Travel Agents’ Advice on Health & Safety Not Up To Par

As mass movements of people across countries leads to a corresponding increase in health and safety risks, the role of travel agents in providing proper preventive advice is becoming crucial. However, researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, say agents are not rising to the task.


6 Aug, 2001

Asian Hotels Alliance Plots Marketing Blitz to Take On Global Chains

MARKETING chiefs of the newly-formed Asian Hotels Alliance (AHA) are to meet in Pattaya today to work out finer details of how the newly formed group is to be financed, structured and operated as it strives to growing competition from multinational hotel chains.


23 Jul, 2001

New Thai Airways Chairman Seeks to Sweep Clean

Bit by bit, Thai Airways International chairman Prof Chai-anan Samudavanij is proceeding with a plan to make THAI what he calls a model example of how state enterprises can and should be restructured in a global economy.


16 Jul, 2001

Report Highlights Challenge of Change Facing NTOs

The recent changes in the structure and focus of the Tourism Authority of Thailand are in line with similar changes being made world-wide. According to a report by an Australian-based consultancy company, national tourism organisations (NTOs) face more changes as direct-distribution, competitive pressures, budgetary-shortages and changing consumer lifestyles create an ‘entirely new marketing environment.” Published […]


9 Jul, 2001

First China Aviation Report Says Huge Restructuring to Come

Along with other elements of its economy and services sector, China’s multi-billion dollar aviation industry is being rigorously restructured in preparation for the liberalisation and competition that will come with its entry into the World Trade Organisation. Exactly how the country’s dozens of airlines and airports are being reorganised, and the impact this will have […]


2 Jul, 2001

First Thai Spa Association Faces Standards Test

Thailand’s first spa association is due to be set up this month but faces the critical challenge of ensuring the upkeep of standards amongst its members and staff. Indeed, while the association is being set up primarily to ensure that business flows to those facilities which claim to be genuinely professional, in a country and […]


25 Jun, 2001

First Meeting to Link Tourism Along Mekong – Ganges Rivers

A relatively low-key meeting took place in Bangkok last month to build stronger tourism linkages between Mekong countries and India, one of the most promising future source markets for visitor arrivals. The First Tourism Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Expert Group Meeting was held in Bangkok on 29 May, to identify ways to boost intra-regional tourism flows […]


18 Jun, 2001

Life Set To Begin at 40 For Thai Tourism Industry

It is said that life begins at 40. That is certainly proving true for the Thai travel & tourism industry which last week witnessed four press conferences that were amply indicative of the shape of things to come. The TAT announced details of its new Tourism Action Plans for 2001/2 in which it is going […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]