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

Emirates’ Skywards members get speedy check-in when departing from Dubai

PM wants Bangkok’s new airport completed on time

Crowds flock to see ‘miraculous’ Buddha image

Lufthansa increases flights to Asia

Thailand tries keeping business at home

IT&CMA seminar workshop draws in future leaders

Emirates’ Skywards members get speedy check-in when departing from Dubai

Emirates Airline recently unveiled special kiosks which will offer quick check-in time at Dubai International Airport departures hall for Emirates’ First and Business Class customers. Kiosks are also located in the airport’s main departures hall for Skywards members traveling in Economy Class.

Members of Skywards, the frequent flyer program of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines, who are carrying only hand baggage, can check themselves in, using their membership e-cards.

The facility is also available to customers who are members of Skywards’ partner airlines - British Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines.

But the speedy departure process doesn’t stop there. Customers traveling in First, Business or Economy Class can also use their e-cards to pass through the electronically-controlled gates (e-gates) at Immigration, giving them more time before their flight.

Six e-gates have so far been installed at the airport; two for Arrivals, two for Economy Class Departures and two for First and Business Class Departures, allowing customers to bypass manual Immigration checks.


PM wants Bangkok’s new airport completed on time

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra recently called a meeting to address the delays that have put the construction of Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport four months behind schedule.

Speaking after chairing a meeting of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Development Committee, Thaksin said, “I am aware of the obstacles and problems that needed solving. I have called all concerned parties together to redress delays to construction. They need to work hand-in-hand to complete the project on time.”

Regarding the delays during construction of the passenger terminal, the prime minister said, “The roof designed by MJT Company must be modified to solve the problems.”

Suvarnabhumi Airport has been plagued by numerous delays since the mid-1990s when the plans finally got off the drawing board. The new airport is due to open for service on September 29, 2005. However, construction on the passenger terminal is approximately 26.42 percent behind schedule, and construction of the aircraft stands is approximately 10.22 percent behind schedule. (TNA)


Crowds flock to see ‘miraculous’ Buddha image

Crowds of worshippers and tourists recently flocked to a temple in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son to see an ancient Buddha image which was said to be emitting snow flakes from its middle finger.

Luang Pu In Paphsasaro, abbot of Wat Tai Baan Dert in Yasothon’s Muang district professed bafflement at the ‘miracle’, but said that religious officials would come and inspect the image to try to determine the cause of the phenomenon. The temple is thought to date back from AD670. (TNA)


Lufthansa increases flights to Asia

Good news for Lufthansa passengers: Lufthansa increased its services to Asia at the end of July and will again reach the level prior to the SARS crisis on the routes from Frankfurt to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Frequencies from Frankfurt to Beijing increased by 40 percent. The Chinese capital will be served with daily flights from Frankfurt. As of 12 September, instead of the smaller Airbus A340, the route will be served by a Boeing 747, so seat capacity will also increase.

With three weekly flights from Munich to Shanghai, as of September 2nd Lufthansa will also extend another important part of its Asia program. Lufthansa passengers will benefit from a wider range of flights from the new Terminal 2 in Munich.

“Asia is the most important future market for business and an attractive tourist destination. The demand in the Asian traffic is increasing again,” said Lufthansa German Airlines Executive Vice President Thierry Antinori.


Thailand tries keeping business at home

Thailand’s first meeting, incentives, convention and exhibitions (MICE) event targeting domestic buyers was recently held at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok.

Organized by The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) newly-established Convention and Exhibition Bureau and the Tourism Council of Thailand, the exhibition attracted more than 300 sellers.

About 3,000 executives of Thai government agencies, trade associations, companies and multinational companies based in Thailand attended the one-day mart. One of the key objectives was to encourage them to first explore domestic opportunities for their meetings, seminars, incentive travel program and exhibitions before looking overseas. (TTG Asia)


IT&CMA seminar workshop draws in future leaders

IT&CMA (Incentive Travel and Meetings Asia) 2003 seminar and workshops will feature a new component, the Asia-Pacific Future Leaders Forum. The forum is the first of its kind in the region and is made possible by the show organizers, TTG Asia Media, in collaboration with Imex, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

It is aimed at encouraging young people to join the meetings and incentive travel industry and will include a lineup of industry leaders who share their personal experiences and careers. Other confirmed topics include event management in changing times by Meeting Professionals International, crisis management for event planners and suppliers, and creative marketing for MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) destinations by SITE Asia-Pacific chapters.

Meanwhile, members of SITE International, which is holding regional meetings with its Asian chapters in Bangkok concurrently, are expected at IT&CMA 2003. SITE’s executive director and CEO, Ms Brenda Anderson is also one of the speakers at IT&CMA. (TTG Asia)