US-led Iraq war already resulting in decreased tourism numbers
Domestic tourism could be key to survival
Prasit Sirisrisakulchai, former president of the Lampang
Tourism Association, said that tourism all over the world has already been
affected by the US-Iraq war, as many foreign tourists are postponing their
travel plans to observe the war situation.
In turn this is causing a crisis for tourism related
businesses in Thailand. In Lampang, the number of European tourists has
decreased by 30% and it is expected that numbers will decrease further.
However, Prasit believes that if the war is over within 3
months, the situation for Thai tourism will begin to improve from the end of
this year to the beginning of next year.
Chetnarong Kuankaew, current president of the Lampang
Tourism Association, stated that the tourist numbers in next month will be a
clearer indication on how severe this situation will be.
Chetnarong agreed with the domestic tourism marketing
campaign and the policy of promoting Thailand as a healthy tourist
destination after the war. He also said that Lampang Province is ready for
this because there are many health oriented tourist destinations in Lampang.
Qantas aiming for Rotary business
Qantas Airways recently joined Far-East
Air Trans Service & Tours to display the airline’s products and
services during the Rotary Club national meeting organized at Impact Arena
Muang Thong Thani exhibition center.
Pranee Wangwiwatsil (seated left), Qantas/British Airways sales executive
and Ms Sirin Atthabodeekul (seated right), Qantas/British Airways marketing
executive with Sanchai Phetaratana (standing 2nd from right), Far-East Air
Trans Service & Tours managing director and Ms Soraida Salwara (standing
2nd left), member of the Rotary Club Bangkok-Benjasiri. Others in the photo
are Far-East Air Trans Service & Tours staff.
Thailand’s special package deals for tourists aim to counteract war jitters
Tourism Minister Sontaya Khunpluem has reiterated that
nervousness over the Iraq war and fears of the deadly strain of pneumonia
have already taken a toll on Thailand’s $8.5 billion tourism industry.
“If the Iraq war drags on Thailand could see 50,000 fewer foreign visitors
this year than in 2002,” he said.
Last year 10.8 million tourists visited Thailand, a rise
of 7.3 percent from the previous year. Tourism revenue rose 11.5 percent to
360.6 billion baht, or $8.43 billion, adding up to 6.7 percent of the
country’s gross domestic product.
“We are working on a special discount package to
attract tourists. We are trying to make up for the lost number due to the
war and the deadly flu virus,’’ Sontaya said.
Thailand has cut its forecast for 2003 tourism arrivals,
a major source of foreign currency earnings, but still expects growth of 1.7
percent to 4.0 percent over last year, from a previous forecast of 6
The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) believes
attractive discounts for tour groups and hotels accommodations plus a
continued saturation campaign overseas to promote the kingdoms’ unique
culture, friendliness and safety could still produce very positive
Orient Thai now flies direct to Hong Kong
Orient Thai Airlines has begun direct flights from Chiang
Mai to Hong Kong. The inaugural flight was preceded by a ceremony and
reception at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on Sunday, March 30. It was
presided over by Kajit Habanananda, advisor to the deputy minister of
Habanananda gave a souvenir to Chao Duang Duen na Chiang Mai to mark the
inauguration of the Chiang Mai-Hong Kong service.
Tantiprasongchai, CEO & Managing Director of Orient Thai Airlines,
officially launched the company’s Chiang Mai-Hong Kong route.
The first flight was fully booked with all 450 seats
reserved. Udom Tantiprasongchai, CEO & managing director of Orient Thai
Airlines, said this was a good sign that people had faith in the standards
and security of the airline.
Udom said that following the success of the airline’s
Chiang Mai to Hong Kong service new routes would be introduced in the near
future. There will be new services from Bangkok to the Maldives, to Shanghai
and Taipei and increased domestic shuttle flights.
Habanananda, advisor to deputy minister of transport presided over the
Currently Orient Thai Airlines flies from Bangkok to Hong
Kong, Seoul, and Singapore. It uses four 450 seat Boeing 747s and one
Lockheed Tristar with 302 seats.
Kajit said three factors now affecting international transport were the
War in the Gulf, the SARS virus flu spreading in Asian countries and
unstable oil prices.