Vol. II No. 30 Saturday July 26 - August , 2003
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

US$5.8 million campaign to boost Singapore exhibition and convention industry

EVA adds 1st Airbus and unveils new ‘Premium Laurel’ Business Class

Cambodia calls on Thailand to open new road link for tourism

Tourist arrivals starting to pick up

Thailand number one destination for Singapore tourists

Phuket to spend over 5 million baht on beach guard scheme for tourists

Dragonair flies high

Tourism minister in global bid to prevent tourism crisis

SWISS: 5.3 million passengers carried during the first half-year

US$5.8 million campaign to boost Singapore exhibition and convention industry

Singapore’s exhibition and convention industry on July 17 unveiled a US$5.8 million ($241.2 million baht) promotional campaign designed to invigorate this hard-hit sector in the wake of the recent SARS crisis. The campaign is spearheaded by SACEOS (Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers) and is expected to reach Asia, Europe and the USA.

SACEOS members (left to right): Lindy Wee, vice president exhibitions, Dilys Yong, president, SACEOS and Stepehn Seet, director of the Singapore Expo.

The objective of the campaign is to attract Asian businesses to use Singapore’s exhibition and convention industry as an international platform to network and trade. There is a need to highlight the commercial benefits of doing business through exhibitions and conventions both in Singapore and in Asia as a whole.

The investment will be used to facilitate a comprehensive global promotion-campaign and a series of trade missions to key business markets in Asia, Europe and USA for the industry.

Dilys Yong Mee Hiong, SACEOS president says, that while there are indications that the Singapore economy is improving, the Asian and Singapore exhibition and convention sector as a whole has the capacity to host a lot more events.

“We are inviting Asian businesses to continue to use our exhibitions and conventions sector because it is the best marketing platform for deals and ideas. This is particularly the case when new business opportunities are more of a challenge because of the current global economic turndown,” said Ms Yong Mee Hiong.

One significant activity of the campaign will be to commission a research study. This will assess international opinion regarding Singapore as a MICE (Meeting, Incentive Travel, Convention and Exhibition) destination, and to establish whether the international business community’s confidence in Singapore has returned post SARS.


EVA adds 1st Airbus and unveils new ‘Premium Laurel’ Business Class

EVA Air took delivery of its first A330-200 in Toulouse on June 26. The new A330-200 is presently being deployed on routes to Manila, Hong Kong and then on Japanese routes in the middle of August. It’s advanced, state-of-the art equipment will provide passengers with world-class service and comfort.

The new A330-200 is the first of 10 to be delivered to EVA Air between now and 2005. The introduction of the A330-200 showcases the carrier’s new generation of business class, Premium Laurel.

EVA’s new A330-200 also upgrades economy class. Every seat on the plane is served by Matsushita Avionics Systems Corps’s interactive IFE system 3000i - the most advanced in-flight entertainment system on the market and comes with a 6.5 inch screen and stereo headset.

Lavatory faucets now incorporate proximity sensors and there is a lavatory 60 inches wide for handicapped people. The broadened lavatory has also been equipped with a baby care station.


Cambodia calls on Thailand to open new road link for tourism

Cambodia is asking Thailand to construct a new road link and permanent border crossing in Kantharalak district, citing enormous benefits for cross-border trade and tourism.

The request was made when Gen Jum Su Jiet, leader of the Cambodian-Thai Border Liaison Department, and Prieb Tan, governor of Phra Vihear Province, called on Sri Saket’s deputy provincial governor, Lt Warong Siriphanich, and local politicians and police officers.

Gen Jum said that Cambodia had already built a road from Alorngweng district to within 500 meters of the Thai border at Ta Thao, and now wants Thailand to construct a road to link up with it on the Thai side. He called for negotiations to open Ta Thao as a permanent checkpoint.

Since the Khao Phra Vihear border crossing was re-opened on May 31, tourists have flocked into Sri Saket Province, and tourist numbers have bounced back to an average of 500 a day. Sri Saket is now liaising with Phra Vihear Province to draw up regulations for visiting Khao Phra Vihear’s ancient Khmer temple. (TNA)


Tourist arrivals starting to pick up

According to TAT Governor Juthamas Siriwan, the number of foreign visitors to Thailand is expected to reach normal levels within the next two months. Arrivals of tourists from countries formerly identified as SARS-affected rose by up to 30 percent between June and July.

TAT contributes the improvement to several factors including its intensive public relations campaign, improved infrastructure and better management of tourist attractions. New international convention centers and boating piers are also expected to boost arrivals once they are completed.

“The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is expecting higher tourism revenue this year as soon as its new marketing campaigns are launched. A total of 11 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Thailand this year, bringing in about 340 billion baht in foreign currency,” Juthamas said.

The targets are tourists from 37 countries worldwide, mainly from Europe, the USA and Japan. TAT will continue its plan to make Thailand ‘The tourism capital of Asia’ under its marketing plan for 2004. The plan will be launched in October, the beginning of the 2004 Thai fiscal year, though it will cover the calendar year of 2004. The scheme is geared to draw well-heeled tourists who will enter the kingdom for longer stays. (TNA)


Thailand number one destination for Singapore tourists

Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Singapore office director, Uemporn Jeeraganwisan, recently stated that Thailand has emerged as the top tourist destination for Singaporeans venturing abroad for the first time after the SARS crisis.

Attributing Thailand’s popularity among Singaporeans to its proximity to Singapore and its low costs, Uemporn said that TAT and Thai Airways had sold over 20,000 packages to Singaporean visitors as part of the ‘Thailand Smile Plus’ program. “At the moment Singaporeans have a problem with costs, as the economy is not good. This means they are choosing short-haul destinations in preference to long-hauls,” she said.

On August 7, the Thai Hotels Association and Association of International Conference Promotion will hold a road show in Singapore. Rayong, Chantaburi, Trat and Pattaya and are planning road shows in Singapore in September.

In order to stimulate the Singapore market in the latter half of this year and in 2004, the TAT will introduce new tourism destinations in provinces already favored by Singapore tourists, plus shopping tours and programs that allow Singaporeans to taste Thai fruits. (TNA)


Phuket to spend over 5 million baht on beach guard scheme for tourists

The government has allocated Phuket province a budget of 14 million baht for its project to establish a center to oversee tourists’ safety on the island. As part of the project the province has trained three batches of life guards and beach guards to act as volunteers to help tourists during the monsoon season.

This year the provincial administration has set aside a budget of over 400,000 baht to train 100 life guards with help from the local police force, Wachira Hospital, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). A total of 5.5 million baht will be spent this year on expanding the program.

Life guards and beach guards will be spread out along four key points: Kamala Beach, Nakhale and Patong beaches, Karom and Kata beaches, and Ao Sen and Yanui beaches. While in the past the scheme had focused only on Karom and Kata beaches, the growing number of tourists necessitated better coverage. (TNA)


Dragonair flies high

Dragonair is roaring back into action. Revived after a severe bout with SARS, the Hong Kong carrier says passengers to both China and regional destinations are coming back strongly. At the same time, the airline is poised to start charter services to Japan and Bangkok.

Dragonair chief executive, Stanley Hui, plans to have 80% of all scheduled flights back in the air by August and expects load factors will be back to 80% of the pre-SARS level by December. “It’s a happy problem to manage,” he said, talking about working on recovery plans. (TGG Asia)


Tourism minister in global bid to prevent tourism crisis

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Sontaya Kunplome is appealing to leaders of tourism industries across the globe to work together in order to prevent a global tourism crisis.

Sontaya, who was invited to give a special lecture at a two-day meeting in Hong Kong organized by the World Tourism Organization on the revival of Asia’s tourism industry, told the 500 delegates gathered for the meeting that over the past seven years the global tourism industry had passed through a series of crises. “These included attacks on various world currencies, terrorism in the United States and Bali, the war in Iraq and SARS,” he said.

Accusing the tourism industry of doing too little to protect itself from these crises, he noted that SARS in particular had had a devastating impact on tourism, with the blow from SARS three times as severe as that from the Iraq war.

“The tourism industry plays an extremely important role in Asian nations. When the tourism industry falls, it has repercussions on the overall economies of several countries. This in turn leads to a chain reaction, causing a slowdown in Asia’s regional economy. It is now time that people within the tourism industry, both from the public sector and from the private sector, work together to manage a danger warning system to protect the industry from crises in the future, so that we do not need to use public taxpayers’ money to solve problems after they occur,” Sontaya said. (TNA)


SWISS: 5.3 million passengers carried during the first half-year

In the first six months of 2003, SWISS carried a total of 5.3 million passengers on its scheduled flights. The average seat load factor from January to June was 68.7 percent.

On the European network, an overall seat load factor of 54.7 percent was achieved during the first six months. This figure is marginally below the previous year level of 55%.

During this period high seat load factors were achieved on services to Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Norway and the Czech Republic. The reduced demand in Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK resulted in seat load factors below expected targets on these services.



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