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

Chiangmai Hill 2000 Hotel announces appointment

Museum walk does not pay off

Not enough Skywards miles yet? No problem

Anantara targets 18 properties by 2013

Bangkok receives top award for city tourism

Nature lovers discover Phujong Nayoy National Park

Phuket airport slated for facelift

Chiang Rai Airport practices security measures in case of emergency

Chiangmai Hill 2000 Hotel announces appointment

Harn Chantrakul, Chiangmai Hill 2000 Hotel chairman of board, recently announced the appointment of a new general manager, Sangworn Santisuk. Santisuk has more than 20 years experience in the hotel sector, in Thailand and abroad, and over 5 years experience in Chiang Mai hotels.

GM Sangworn Santisuk


Museum walk does not pay off

Thai tour operators claim local army officials are denying tour buses access to the Hellfire Pass Museum in Kanchanaburi. The museum, which opened a year ago, was told recently the tour buses would have to park at the Thai army market 300 meters short of the museum and tourists would have to walk to and from the attraction. This became effective from August 15.

Tour operators including SI Tours, Destination Asia, Diethelm, Asian Trails and Footsteps in Asia, are concerned and have cancelled tours to the museum because many of their clients are not able to make the walk. “Many of our clients are war veterans or elderly relatives of soldiers who died there and a long walk in extreme heat is too much for them,” Destination Asia operations manager, Paiboon Sonjai, said.

Museum director William Slape said 700 would-be visitors by-passed the museum in five days and cancellations were pouring in. Attempts to contact local army officials were not successful. (TTG Asia)


Not enough Skywards miles yet? No problem

Skywards members will now find it easier to cash in on their desired rewards, by letting them acquire additional Skywards Miles.

Members of Skywards, the frequent flyer program of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines, who haven’t earned enough Miles for the reward they want, can top up their Miles total by purchasing additional Miles. These can then be used towards any reward of their choice. Skywards Miles can be bought for just USD 2.5 cents per Mile, the minimum purchase being 2,000 Miles.

In addition, members who want to upgrade their class of travel also can purchase the extra Miles. Skywards Miles can be purchased by contacting any Skywards service center in the UAE, the UK, Sri Lanka and Australia.


Anantara targets 18 properties by 2013

Royal Garden Resorts is planning to develop its Anantara brand into a region-wide chain with up to 18 properties running 10 years from now.

RGR’s chairman and CEO, Bill Heinecke, told TTG Asia there might be six units each in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. “We are looking to develop Anantara in quality destinations in these three countries, but the exact number in each will depend on many factors,” Heinecke said.

The Anantara name is on one of Royal Garden’s two properties in Hua Hin, and will next appear on the Baan Boran property reopening October near Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. The third property will be in Koh Samui and an announcement for one more in Phuket is expected soon. Additional properties are expected to open at the rate of one or two per year. (TTG Asia)


Bangkok receives top award for city tourism

Readers of one of the world’s best known travel magazines have voted Bangkok as the Best Tourism City in Asia and the third Best Tourism City in the world.

News of the vote by Travel Leisure Magazine has been warmly welcomed at the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

TAT Governor Juthamas Siriwan said, “This is a reflection of the hard work that has been done by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as well as the private and public sectors to improve the quality of the visitors’ experience in city. It will certainly go a long way towards moving ahead with our objective to make all of Thailand the Tourism Capital of Asia by 2006.”

The “best tourism cities” were rated in terms of attractions, arts and culture, cuisine, friendliness of people, shopping and value for money.


Nature lovers discover Phujong Nayoy National Park

The Tourist Authority of Thailand is promoting delightful tourist destinations off the beaten track under the theme of “Unseen Thailand”. One of those treasures is Ubon Ratchathani’s Phujong Nayoy National Park located approximately 100 kilometers from the provincial capital.

Trekking paths through this national park take visitors through magnificent scenery. Park rangers have set out a three-kilometer trail from their headquarters to the Houng Long Waterfall. The hike usually takes about 90 minutes and nature lovers are enthralled as they travel through the lush tropical forest. Rare plants, tall banyan trees and sometimes wild animals can be seen in the vegetation.

Further along the Lum Dom River one will find ornate Hindu-style carvings which once decorated a tall chedi at the site, but as one park officer explained, the river changed course through time and eroded the base of the chedi, which eventually collapsed. Now only the mystical carvings are visible.

Of course, the best lies ahead. Houng Loung Waterfall is tall and impressive. Its gushing white torrents spill into a large basin and its waters lap against a sandy beach. The atmosphere is lush and peaceful after the lengthy trek. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the best nature has to offer in this magical wonderland of serenity.


Phuket airport slated for facelift

Airports of Thailand (AOT) is planning to spend US$11.3 million to upgrade Phuket International Airport to make the facility more attractive to overseas visitors and foreign carriers. The investment program includes US$8 million for modifications and improvements to the international terminal, US$2.3 million for extensions to the parking apron and US$1 million for miscellaneous improvements.

An AOT spokesman said the work would be completed by the end of 2005 and would make arrivals and departures much quicker for the growing number of foreign visitors.

Phuket Airport director Boonchart Prompoon said the number of docking aprons would be increased from 11 to 15 and enlarged to accommodate larger aircraft.

“Also, the passenger lounge will be upgraded to cope with the increasing number of travelers. At peak times we are trying to process 1,000 passengers an hour which will be easier when the terminal has been upgraded,” Boonchart said. (TTG Asia)


Chiang Rai Airport practices security measures in case of emergency

Metinee Chaikuna

On August 21, Chiang Rai Airport management organized security training so that airport authorities could practice handling emergency situations, such as a bomb hoax and/or threat.

The training was held in accordance with Chiang Rai Airport’s emergency plan for this year. The exercise was held to rehearse the process in case of a real emergency.

Tawat Anukul, deputy managing director, regional airport stream, Thai Airport Co., Ltd., presided over the rehearsal beginning at 11 a.m. at Chiang Rai Airport.

This year, authorities practiced the procedures to follow to inform relevant organizations, such as government offices, airline companies, and private companies, in case of a bomb hoax or threat. The information stream includes reporting the process involved in handling this type of situation, and the work done in cooperation between the airport and other state offices.

Chiang Rai Airport director, Flying Officer Wisit Ewprapha said that this rehearsal received good cooperation from all organizations involved, and airline companies took special interest.

He also said that the success of the trial shows that Chiang Rai Airport’s safety measures would guarantee passenger security.