Air India flags off inaugural Lucknow-Jeddah flight
India’s Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime
Minister, flagged off the inaugural Lucknow-Jeddah flight at a glittering
function held at Amausi Airport in Lucknow on May 21st.
The commencement of direct flights between Lucknow and
Jeddah will enable passengers from Udar Pradesh and adjoining areas of Bihar
to fly with greater comfort as they will no longer have to travel by train
or bus to Delhi to take their international flight.
While flights to Jeddah, operated with A-310 will depart
from Lucknow on Tuesdays and Fridays, the flights will leave Jeddah for
Lucknow on Mondays and Thursdays.
Survey shows Thailand among top tourist destinations
Thailand came in third - tied with the Caribbean island
countries - as the first places that came to mind when thinking of tourist
destinations, making it the only Asian destination in the top 10, according
to the so-called “Branding Thailand” survey.
Italy and France came first and second, respectively
while Spain and the United States were tied for fifth, followed by Brazil,
Mexico, New Zealand and Switzerland, which all shared the 7th spot.
The Branding Thailand survey was conducted by the Kellogg
School of Management at Northwestern University in the United States and the
Sasin Graduate School of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn
The survey said Thailand was rated highest for
hospitality to visitors. It also made it to the top in people’s minds as
an exotic holiday destination, followed by India, China and Egypt.
Thailand was also top of the list when it came to value
for money for shopping holidays with plenty to offer at good prices.
However, respondents said that shopping was not a priority factor when they
chose to travel.
Interestingly, China was voted as truly representing
Asia, thanks in part to its gigantic size, while Thailand came in second.
India and Malaysia tied for third. For Thailand, scenery, natural beauty and
cuisine were leading factors.
The survey respondents, meanwhile, suggested that in
order to become a “Tourism Capital”, the ‘must-have’ attributes
*Good infrastructure, wide range of accommodation, easy
accessibility and good transport.
*A multitude of attractions and activities, beautiful
scenery and landscape.
*Unique, stable government, economy, and environment.
*Welcoming locals who can communicate easily in English.
“Exotic” seems to be the most distinguished and
representative word for Thailand, followed by “friendly people”,
according to the survey.
And when it came to products and services, food immediately popped up.
Textiles, garments and jewelry were also outstanding categories, though
tarred with “cheap” and “imitation” images. (TNA)
First natural history museum projected in Phuket
The southern resort island of Phuket will seek a 300
million baht budget to build a natural history museum which is expected to
be a new tourist attraction.
Phuket Governor Pongpayom Vassaphuti said, “The natural
history museum, which will focus on islands and sea, is expected to boost
our long-stay tourism program. Being the first of its kind in Thailand, the
museum will exhibit plant species gathered from remote islands throughout
Apart from the museum, an area will be set apart for
growing plant samples. Visitors will be able to see vegetation as green and
fresh as found on verdant islands.
A plot of land at Ban Khao Daeng in Muang district of
Phuket is chosen to be the location of the natural history museum.
The plan was proposed to the mobile cabinet meeting in
Phuket on May 26. “If the government approves the plan, the project will
take about 18 months to complete,” the governor added. (TNA)
TAT to showcase district products in tourist offices abroad
The One Tambon, One Product (OTOP) village scheme will be
touted to Thai tourist offices around the world. Deputy Prime Minister
Somkid Jatusripitak called on the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to
showcase the products hoping this aggressive marketing program will attract
more foreign tourist arrivals.
The scheme comes on the back of the official opening of
an ‘OTOP corner’ in the TAT office in Fukuoka on May 22 during
Somkid’s tourism road show to three of Japan’s most important cities.
Somkid said he asked the Department of Export Promotion,
the TAT and the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) to join hands in
finding locations to showcase OTOP products, confident that if potential
tourists could see the products it would encourage them to travel to the
OTOP products chosen for display Fukuoka include
wickerwork products from Ang Thong Province, and tie-dyed cloth using
natural dyes from Nakhon Ratchasima Province.
The communities producing these goods have both received
TAT and Department of Industrial Promotion support. These products have also
been joined by goods produced in small and medium enterprises from across
the country, and the displays will be varied in accordance with the seasons.
Suthep Keausang, assistant director of the TAT’s
development division, said, “When selecting OTOP products the TAT will
focus on a combination of culture, traditional ways of life and local
Thai Hotels Association expects hotel occupancy rate to fall 25 percent
Due to a variety of outside factors, including residuals
from the war in Iraq and the SARS virus outbreak, Thailand’s hotel
occupancy rate could fall by as much as 25 percent.
Thai Hotels Association manager Kaewkwan Chuenbumroong
said the average occupancy rate of hotels in the southern resort of Phuket
plunged to 30 percent in May from 70 percent in April, and the rate in
Bangkok fell from 30 percent in May from 40 percent in April.
The Thai Hotels Association has 429 member hotels
throughout the country, with a total of 85,630 rooms.
Kaewkwan said the rate for the first six months of this
year is expected to fall by almost half. “We are worried the industry will
lose billions of baht from the fallout of the combined impact of the SARS
health scare, fear of terrorist attacks and lingering affects of the war in
Iraq. Unfortunately, the SARS outbreak has done the most damage. Three and
four-star hotels that cater to tourists from Singapore, China, Taiwan and
Singapore have had to reduce costs and lay off staff. We hoping the speedy
containment of SARS will improve traveler sentiment.” (TNA)
Emirates wins world’s best airline lounges vote
Emirates Airline’s focus on superior customer service
has been applauded once again. The airline’s First and Business Class
lounges at Dubai International Airport have been voted the World’s Best
Airline lounge for 2003.
The Airport Lounge of the Year, the world’s largest
survey of airline lounges organized by Skytrax, attracted more than 918,336
eligible nominations over a six-month period.
The award is a result of the extensive refurbishment and
upgrades that were implemented last year. The spacious lounges are split
into two levels with soothing decor, fully carpeted, leather upholstered
seating areas with sofas and arm chairs, surrounded by lush plants and
restful fountains. Cozy guest bedrooms upstairs with en suite showers,
television and trouser presses provide privacy and personal space.
Lounge staff offer caring service 24 hours a day -
serving a wide range of hot and cold meals and refreshments, making
bookings, issuing tickets and boarding cards.
Department stores urged to reduce prices for tourists
Thailand’s Tourism Minister Sontaya Kunplome has called
on the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to encourage department stores
across the country to reduce prices for domestic and foreign tourists in
order to ensure that tourists continue to flow into the country.
The TAT has been asked to negotiate with participating
stores and further meetings will be held to finalize details of the scheme
prior to the official launch of the program.
In addition, Sontaya called on the TAT to liaise with
coach companies to provide cut-price day-trip packages for students and
young people. He expressed hope that this would help stimulate domestic
tourism and boost the income of the coach companies concerned.
Thailand’s next major tourism fair is due to be held on
June 5-8 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, where visitors
will be offered 30-70 percent reductions on package tours and special
promotions for low season travel.
Visitors will also be offered 25 percent reductions on
airfares, and discussions are currently underway with the State Railway and
coach companies to offer low-price tickets.
“This second ‘Tour Thailand - Get Lucky’ fair will
be held at the same time as the Thailand Grand Sale. I believe revenue from
the event will reach around 60 billion baht, up from 40 billion baht last
year,” the tourism minister said. (TNA)