“Privilege Card” soon on sale
The first set of Thailand’s ‘privilege card’ for
affluent tourists will be in service domestically on 15 September, with an
overseas launch of the card in major cities to be followed soon.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has agreed with the
‘privilege card’ project approved by the cabinet, said Tourist Authority
of Thailand (TAT) Governor Juthamas Siriwan, adding that a company owned by
the TAT, named Thailand Privilege Card Company, would run the project.
The card called “Thailand Elite” ensures that card
holders will be treated as the country’s special guests. The project will
also be launched in overseas markets, promoted mainly through advertisements
in magazines. Targeted cities in which the project will be launched include
New York, Paris, London, and Tokyo.
“The privileges will include special discounts on local
golf course membership, medical treatments, hotel room rates and others,”
Juthamas said. “Sixty-two hotels, 26 spas, 14 hospitals and world-class
golf courses have confirmed their willingness to participate in the
project,” she added. (TNA)
KLM receives first passenger to ticket his flight electronically
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines recently congratulated Michael
Leiper (left) as the first passenger to ticket his flight electronically via
KLM’s enhanced online reservation and booking system at www.klm.co.th
Leiper was personally greeted on KLM’s Bangkok to Amsterdam flight KL878
by KLM Bangkok station manager, Hans Jeronimus, and the flight’s purser,
Maria Monne, who presented him with a 50-euro tax-free shopping voucher. KLM
is offering shopping vouchers worth up to 100 euro to all passengers who
make an online booking through 30 September 2003. Mr. Leiper was also given
a free upgrade to business class on the flight.
Guide profession to be reserved for Thais
Labor Minister Suwat Liptapanlop sought to allay the
fears of Thai tours guides that their profession could be opened up to a
flood of foreign nationals. Speaking on August 28 in response to protests by
tour guides incensed by new regulations which they alleged would leave up to
30,000 Thai tour guides out of work, Suwat said that the tour guide
profession would continue to be closed to foreign nationals.
While conceding that the Cabinet had approved new
regulations allowing companies to hire foreign nationals in the tourist
business, in accordance with suggestions made by the Ministry of Tourism and
Sport to attract more foreign investment into the Thai tourism industry,
Suwat stressed that the Ministry of Labor had imposed several conditions on
the new rules.
Any tourism company wishing to hire a foreign national
will have to possess 2 million baht in registered capital to hire just one
person and the new regulations also prohibited companies from hiring more
than 10 foreigners. In addition, companies will have to bring 5,000 tourists
to Thailand each year to be eligible to hire foreigners. Requests by
companies to hire foreign nationals will be considered on a case-by-case
Lufthansa introduces medically based relaxation program on board
How can you relieve pressure in your ears when an
aircraft is descending to land? And how can you adjust your body clock to
time changes? From 1 September, Lufthansa will be providing answers to many
questions like these in its in-flight entertainment program.
The new relaxation channel in German and English combines
techniques that can be applied immediately with well-sourced background
Dr. Lutz Bergau, who for many years headed Lufthansa’s
Medical Service, discusses a number of topics, such as the specific pressure
conditions on an aircraft. Passengers will find that the simple breathing
and keep-fit exercises will enhance their flight experience. The exercises
are also demonstrated on the Lufthansa Flyrobic video or the current
in-flight entertainment program and further health tips can be viewed at
Thai Airways international (THAI) appears to be backing
off from earlier plan to launch a no-frills service in December, largely
because it has not yet found a suitable partner.
A spokesman close to THAI’s chairman, Thanong Bidaya,
told TTG Asia the airline did not want to operate a no-frills carrier
itself, preferring to find a partner that had some experience in running a
“We see this as a highly-specialized field. We
haven’t found the partner we’re looking for in Thailand so we’ve
started looking further afield. We’ve talked with Virgin Blue and we’ll
be talking with regional and European colleagues,” the spokesman said,
adding the partner would be offered a stake of up to 49 per cent in the new
THAI’s main contribution would be to provide ground
handling and maintenance, and it might also be prepared to make some Boeing
737-400 aircraft available. But it insists it will not run the service.
“We wish to be the facilitator only,” the THAI spokesman said. (TTG
TAT dives into the US
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be leading a
delegation of Thai dive operators to the DEMA Show, being held in Miami in
the first week of October.
The dive delegation will be accommodated on the
400-square-meter Thailand Country Pavilion. In all there are 14,280 dive and
travel industry professionals representing 721 professional organizations
from around the world participating in this year’s show.
A TAT spokesman said Thailand, with more than 2,700km of
coastline, is now seen as one of the world’s leading dive destinations.
TAT deputy governor for international marketing, Phornsiri Manoharn, said,
“International awareness of the quality and diversity of dive products and
services and marine ecotourism opportunities in Thailand is high. What we
have to do now is convert more of that awareness into holidays.” (TTG
South African Airways to suspend Bangkok-Johannesburg link
South African Airways is planning to suspend its thrice
weekly Bangkok-Johannesburg service from November 1 until January 31, and
may drop the service altogether.
A spokesman in Bangkok said nothing had been confirmed
but the carrier’s 18 staff had been told the SAA system would not accept
bookings from November 1 onwards. “We’re hoping the service will be
re-instated sometime next year, but we aren’t certain just at the
moment,” the spokesman said, claiming high operating costs, not bookings,
were the problem. (TTG Asia)
Dragonair launches flights to Bangkok in November
Dragonair will start its twice-daily scheduled flights to
Bangkok in November, according to the airline’s chief executive Stanley
Hui, adding the service will be important in taking tourists from China to
The first flights will be using the 150-seat Airbus 320
aircraft, which will be replaced next year by the 300-seat A330. Dragonair
also has rights from Hong Kong to fly to Manila, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney. (TTG