TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Embassies tackle SARS questions head on

Shanghai sees sun rise again on MICE business

Trang, Krabi and Satun bid to open up new sea routes to boost tourism

TAT forecasts revenue of over 700 billion next year

Lufthansa raises stake in Air Dolomiti to over 98 percent

Air-India adds another frequency on the Mumbai-Paris-Newark sector

Chiang Mai eyes links with Chittagong

Samui Island Carnival 2003 scheduled from July 18-20 to liven up low tourist season

Emirates launches five-a-week Dubai/Moscow service

Embassies tackle SARS questions head on

Bangkok TGG Asia

Every Thai embassy and consulate worldwide is appointing at least one person to run a post-SARS center to supplement the efforts being made by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The centers, called “tourism revitalization centers” (TRCs), will answer enquiries from travel professionals and the public about the safety of Thailand as a SARS-free destination.

A spokesman for the ministry of Foreign Affairs said TRCs had an important role to play in the 150 countries where TAT does not yet have an office.

“We want to encourage anyone in any of these countries to contact their Thai embassy or consulate and ask to speak to the TRC if they have any queries about safety, hygiene, health or anything to do with tourism,” said the spokesman.


Shanghai sees sun rise again on MICE business

TGG Asia

The exhibition industry in China has gone into top gear and hundreds of postponed shows will now get underway.

Since the self-imposed ban on holding conferences and exhibitions in the city because of SARS was lifted, Shanghai venues have been scrambling to find room on the calendar to accommodate the rescheduled shows. The result is that the city will be hosting 123 exhibitions between now and the end of the year, more than 20 of which are major international events.

Included among these is the 2003 Forbes Global CEO conference which will take place from September 16 to 18 as scheduled.


Trang, Krabi and Satun bid to open up new sea routes to boost tourism

Public and private sector officials in three southern provinces are surveying Andaman shipping routes in a bid to increase tourist numbers and pull in more tourism revenue. The president of the Trang provincial administrative organization, Kit Leekpai said that provincial administrative organizations in Trang, Krabi and Satun were joining together with public and private sector agencies to survey shipping routes in the Andaman Sea in order to promote marine-based tourism.

Statistics show that last year 1.4 million tourists visited Krabi, while 800,000 tourists visited Trang and 600,000 tourists visited Satun. If the shipping program was successful, the three provinces would see 5 million visitors each year, bringing in no less than 60 billion baht in tourism revenue and also act as a gateway to receive tourists from abroad, in particular Malaysia and Singapore.

Tourism destinations in all three provinces would be included in the Andaman program, which would be publicized to tourism operators both at home and abroad. In addition private sector operators would be able to create minor shipping routes to link up with the major routes on the program, which would help boost tourism in the region as a whole.

Krisphong Kiawkhong, president of the Krabi Chamber of Commerce, said that if the initial routes proved successful, a new circular route would be established linking Krabi, Phang-nga and Phuket. However, he said that public sector backing was vital for the success of the project, adding that he would request government funding of 1 billion baht to develop tourist destinations forming part of the program. (TNA)


TAT forecasts revenue of over 700 billion next year

Tourism revenue is likely to exceed 700 billion baht in 2004 as the tourism industry picks up in the wake of the drop in visitor arrivals caused by SARS.

Juthamas Siriwan, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said that forecasts for September this year signaled an improvement in tourist numbers, as September marked the beginning of Thailand’s high tourist season. While acknowledging that SARS had dented visitor arrivals for the year, she said that the drop was likely to stand at only 2-3 percent of total visitor numbers although this relatively small decrease would mask a more significant drop in revenue.

Pledging that the TAT would pull out all the stops to ensure that revenue returned to last year’s figures, she said that the rate of tourism growth this year would have to at least equal 2002 growth rate. (TNA)


Lufthansa raises stake in Air Dolomiti to over 98 percent

Lufthansa is raising its stake in Air Dolomiti to 98.8 percent, largely by acquiring the 23.7 percent share of the Italian regional airline’s equity held by its founder Domenico Alcide Leali.

Following the increase in Lufthansa’s stake in Air Dolomiti on 16 April from 20.7 percent to 51.9 percent, Lufthansa made - in accordance with Italian law - a public offer to purchase the stock held by all Air Dolimiti shareholders. Effective 8 July, the shares acquired in the takeover offer will be transferred into Lufthansa’s ownership. Lufthansa will acquire the remaining shares in a “squeeze-out”. The shares will be de-listed from the Milan stock exchange on 9 July 2003.

Air Dolomiti is Italy’s most successful regional carrier and the holder of numerous awards, among them the Regional Airline of the Year Award 2002. It operates a modern fleet of 21 aircraft, linking destinations in north and central Italy with airports in Germany and other European countries.


Air-India adds another frequency on the Mumbai-Paris-Newark sector

Air-India will now have 15 services a week to the USA. While seven of these services are operated on the India-London-New York sector, three are operated to Chicago via London. The remaining five services are to Newark via Paris.

Air-India has also reintroduced two of its five Mumbai-Delhi-Hong Kong services effective July 11. These flights were temporarily withdrawn by Air-India in April 2003 in view of the adverse impact of SARS on passenger traffic to/from Hong Kong. Both these flights to Hong Kong will also operate on the extended sector to Osaka, as earlier. These two flights will be operated on Tuesdays and Fridays. Air-India proposes to step up flights to Hong Kong in line with traffic growth on the India-Hong Kong sector.


Chiang Mai eyes links with Chittagong

A delegation of businesspeople from ten of Thailand’s Northern provinces will travel to the Bangladeshi city of Chittagong to assess trade and investment opportunities. The move follows the launch of the Chiang Mai-Chittagong air route at the beginning of this year.

President of the 9th Provincial Chamber of Commerce, Rachan Weeraphan, said the delegation will introduce a number of goods and services in the form of a ‘table top sale’, including tourism, healthcare, education, food, silk, toys, household goods and products forming part of the ‘One Tambon, One product’ (OTOP) scheme.

The trip aims at boosting bilateral trade and investment between the two regions, which fall in line with the government’s goal of transforming Chiang Mai into a regional aviation hub. (TNA)


Samui Island Carnival 2003 scheduled from July 18-20 to liven up low tourist season

Ruangnam Jaikwang, president of the Tourism Association of Samui Island said that Samui Carnival 2003 will be organized from July 18-20 at Laem Din, Chaweng Beach.

The grand opening ceremony of the carnival will begin at 6p.m. with a variety of colorful caravan floats taking over the main street, followed by hordes of enthusiastic dancers dressed in dazzling costumes and trinkets. Visitors will also experience the country’s first on-water carnival parade. Prize money will be awarded for the most outstanding float.

The festival is divided into three zones: Food Zone, Fun Fair Zone, and Dance Zone.

In Fun Fair Zone, kids and the young-at-heart can enjoy rides and activities in the festival’s spacious Fun Park, which includes Ferris wheels, carousel and the water-dunking game. Competitions will be held such as boxing on a log and a coconut juice drinking contest.

From 8 p.m. onward, there will be both local and international bands playing retro, rock and roll, reggae and hip hop at the Dance Zone. >From 10 p.m. to midnight several famous DJs from top clubs in Bangkok and abroad will take the stage. There will also be a dance marathon with a prize of a free air ticket.

The event wraps up on Sunday with a fireworks display and an awards presentation ceremony for the parade contest. (TNA)


Emirates launches five-a-week Dubai/Moscow service

The five-a-week link to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport will boost booming business links between the Russian capital and the commercial heart of the Middle East, and offer Russian customers convenient connections to Emirates’ major Far East business and leisure destinations.

Flights leave Dubai on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 0830, reach Domodedovo at 1355, and return to Dubai to touch down at 2310 the same day, providing the only full-service link between the two, and encouraging the growth of trade and tourism between the UAE and Russia.