HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Eco-tourism mooted for Chai Prakan district

THAI sees no need to cut ticket prices

Emirates to be official airline for BMW International Open 2003 a golf tournament

HM suggests improvement of drainage system at new Bangkok airport

Global airline traffic picked up in June after being hit hard by SARS

TAT road show planned to lure Russian tourists

Eco-tourism mooted for Chai Prakan district

Nantanee Jedsadachaiyut

A pilot tourism project has been launched after natural springs were discovered in Chai Prakan District, Chiang Mai. Watcharin Srisattabud, head of the research project, said that the natural resources and environmental conditions in both Den Rong and Tham Nong Bia villages could be developed into new tourism sites.

These attractions include a large cave called “Tub Tao,” which people have kept as a sacred place, and “Nam Ru,” the largest natural springs in the district.

In the Sridongyen Tambon area, the four natural springs Nam Ru Baw Hin, Nam Ru Ton Term, Nam Ru Ta-kian, and Nam Ru Luang were found, some of them 10 meters deep and 100 meters long.

In July, the water becomes reddish, with the local fable being that a large serpent lived under the ground, but scientific reasoning describes a reaction of underground conditions and the influence of hydrology.

The local people would like to take an important role in natural resources and environmental conservation for sustainability. “Furthermore, the location could be an important tourism site and could provide additional income for the villagers as well,” said Watcharin.

Local researchers said that after collection of the data on tourist attractions and natural resources, they would set up field trips to other communities, and join the tour guide training program before launching a pilot tourism project in the village on September 12-13. After the trial period they will assist in evaluating the tourism project to develop the community eco-tourism.

THAI sees no need to cut ticket prices

THAI’s president Kanok Abhiradee recently reiterated that Thai Airways International would not cut air ticket prices for local flights as a marketing strategy to boost its performance. “The national carrier can not reduce prices because its operation in some air routes is still experiencing financial difficulties, and a price cut by 10-20% would cost the airway more than 10 billion baht,” Kanok stated.

Kanok added that it would be better if the company brought profits to improve its business to compete with foreign rivals. “Price cuts can be adopted from time to time and as a last resort. There are other approaches we can depend on. Suppose all airways opt to adopt a price-cutting strategy. It will end up in a loss-loss situation”, Kanok said. (TNA)

Emirates to be official airline for BMW International Open 2003 a golf tournament

The tournament, held at the Golf Club Munich Nord Eichenried from 28 - 30 August 2003 ranks high on the list of popular events for the touring professionals and compares favorably with the Dubai Desert Classic, another event for which Emirates is Official Airline partner.

Emirates is already well-known in Germany for sponsoring sport. The airline is one of 15 Official Partners of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Germany. Henry Hasselbarth, Emirates Regional Manager North and Central Europe, said, “Our sponsorship of sporting events in Germany not only emphasizes the importance of the German market to us but also how committed we are to developing our business here.”

The BMW International Open 2003 forms part of the PGA European Tour and carries a total of EUR 1.8 million in prize money. This year 154 professionals will take part, including leading golfers Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer, defending champion Thomas Bj๖rn, John Daly and Padraig Harrington.

HM suggests improvement of drainage system at new Bangkok airport

The drainage system at Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan, which is still under construction, has caused His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to express concern over future flooding because the location is in a low-lying area.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said, “His Majesty the King raised the issue when I was granted a personal audience with the beloved Thai monarch recently. His Majesty the King expressed his concern over the drainage system at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and its vicinity, and suggested that the system be improved.”

The government has heeded His Majesty the King’s advice, and authorized the Royal Irrigation Department to study the areas and to implement the best way to improve the drainage system in the areas. (TNA)

Global airline traffic picked up in June after being hit hard by SARS

Hong Kong (AP) - Airline traffic worldwide picked up sharply in June but remains depressed following the SARS crisis and a full recovery will take time, a leading industry official said Monday.

“The worst is over, but the road to recovery will be long,” said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association, or IATA.

International air traffic was off by 11.8 percent in June, when compared with the same month a year earlier, but that showed a marked improvement from the 21 percent traffic plunge in May, according to the Geneva-based IATA.

Asia-Pacific airlines, which were hit hardest by SARS, saw a 35.8 percent dive in traffic during June, compared with a plunge of 55 percent in May. Severe acute respiratory syndrome sickened more than 8,400 people and killed more than 800, most of them in Asia.

Travel advisories from the World Health Organization were imposed on several Asian areas hit hard by SARS, devastating air traffic in the region. The disease originated last year in Mainland China and was spread by air travelers from Hong Kong to Singapore, Vietnam and Canada - all places that suffered fatal outbreaks.

SARS has now come under control and with the travel warnings lifted, airlines are rebuilding schedules and seeing passengers come back.

“The industry turned the corner in June,” Bisignani said. “Although we are still well below where we were at the same time last year, travelers are returning.”

Bisignani said pent-up demand is helping, as is the summer vacation season in the northern hemisphere. Many airlines have also been offering a variety of discounts to lure back the travelers.

TAT road show planned to lure Russian tourists

Thailand ground handlers will be visiting the former USSR early next month with a week-long road show focusing on two major cities in the Ural Mountains region.

Led by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), a group of 30 members of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) will be in Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk from September 4 to 11.

TAT deputy governor for overseas markets, Phornsiri Manoharn, said the Ural Mountains region in north-east Russia had been identified as a source of quality tourists. ‘There are some large, rich, industrial towns in the Urals with great potential for quality and volume,” Phornsiri said.

ATTA spokesman, Somjai Pongphak, said Uzbekistan Airways is currently serving traffic from Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk to Bangkok via Tashkent (Kazakhstan). But from November, Siberian Airlines will be flying regular charters direct to Bangkok. “This will give a big boost to arrivals,” said Somjai.

Thailand attracted 69,000 visitors from Russia in 2002, an increase of 17 per cent over the previous year. (TTG Asia)