Vol. II No. 43 Saturday October 25 - October 31, 2003
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Emirates starts flights to Brisbane

Lufthansa flies to sunny climes - Rio, Dubai, Johannesburg and Miami

SWISS renews long-haul fleet

TAT launches Thailand Privilege Card Company

TAT pushes for ‘Loy Krathong’ to become global festival

SriLankan Airlines increases flights to Europe, KL

Probing the Chinese travel psyche

Chiang Mai’s OTOP goods worth 420 mio baht this year

Emirates starts flights to Brisbane

Brisbane, state capital of Queensland, is the airline’s fourth destination in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Emirates’ new service will boost tourism and trade ties. Initially, the flights will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 in three-class configuration, offering 18 First class seats, 42 in Business and 183 in Economy.

From 1 December 1st , a Boeing 777-300 will be operated on the route, which will increase the number of available Economy seats to 320, with the same number of First and Business class seats. Thus, an additional 2,660 Emirates seats per week will then be available into Brisbane. The Boeing 777-300 can also carry 23 tons of cargo.


Lufthansa flies to sunny climes - Rio, Dubai, Johannesburg and Miami

From 8 December, Lufthansa is again laying on a daily flight to Rio de Janeiro. The route from Frankfurt through Sao Paulo will be operated by a Boeing 747. Flights to the Brazilian east coast will be on offer initially for the duration of the winter timetable up to the end of March 2004. More frequencies will also be available from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo; instead of the previous seven flights weekly, Lufthansa is offering ten weekly initially up to mid-December.

Travelers seeking warmer climes will be tempted by flights to popular destinations on offer from Munich to Dubai, Johannesburg/ Cape Town and Miami: five weekly flights to Dubai, six weekly to Johannesburg and beyond to Cape Town and seven flights weekly to Miami. Flights to these sun-blessed destinations are available only in the winter timetable.


SWISS renews long-haul fleet

Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) has started the gradual renewal of its long-haul fleet and is replacing its Boeing MD-11s with the new Airbus 340-313.

The first of the new aircraft has been in operation on the Singapore/Bangkok/Zurich route since the beginning of October. The new aircraft has eight first class, 48 business class and 172 economy class seats as compared to the previous aircraft, which had 12 first class and 180 economy class seats.

SWISS Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei & Australia general manager, Heiny Rohrer, said, “We are waiting approval for a new marketing campaign. Meanwhile we will concentrate on selling the new features of the aircraft - mainly the flatbed and the enhanced entertainment system.”

The new SWISS Business Class features a generous seat pitch of about 152 cm and the lie-flat seats. Passengers can enjoy audio-video-on-demand in all the classes. (TTG Asia)


TAT launches Thailand Privilege Card Company

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has officially launched the Thailand Privilege Card Company which will operate services under the Thailand Elite Card Scheme to build up the numbers of VIP tourists, and to promote Thailand as a tourism hub in Asia. Businesspeople, celebrities and high-end tourists are the major targets group of the card.

TAT Governor Juthamas Siriwan said, “After the cabinet gave the green light to the Thailand Elite Care Project with a resolution to set up Thailand Privilege Card Company to run the services, the company was immediately established. Under the cabinet’s resolution, the company will be responsible for the card management and membership.”

Thailand Privilege Card Company Limited (THPC) was established with the registered capital of 500 million baht, with TAT being the company’s sole shareholder.

Juthamas said that the executive board and the management team were handpicked from a group of people who have renowned performances and abilities in various fields related to tourism.

“This project does not belong to TAT, but it is the business of all Thais. Everyone can participate in and get benefits as a host to welcome VIP tourists from all over the world to stay happily in Thailand. The project can help upgrade targeted groups of travelers to the high-end clusters with more purchasing power who can generate more income to the country. Thailand is the first country in the world to initiate this scheme; so I am confident that all Thais will support the project,” said the TAT Governor. (TNA)


TAT pushes for ‘Loy Krathong’ to become global festival

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s office in the historic province of Kanchanaburi is pushing for Thailand’s annual Loy Krathong Festival - the festival of lights - to become a ‘Festival of the World’, hoping to create a romantic atmosphere for the festival by creating 100 ‘moons’ floating in the sky above the Sri Nakharin Reservoir on November 8th.

The office’s director Pramet Amatayakul said, “The TAT is joining up with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and a concert organizer Ninja Return to organize the festival to be entitled ‘100 Full Moons: A New Fantastic Experience’ on the Sri Nakharin Reservoir on Loy Krathong night.”

Participants can float their krathongs on the reservoir, soak up the romantic atmosphere of 100 ‘moons’, and have a chance to listen to a concert given by Thai popular singers. The occasion will end with a grand ‘Moonlight Firework’ finale, with the fireworks lit from under the water.

Tickets will cost 3,600 baht per couple, which includes one night’s accommodation in a luxury hotel or resort and a barbeque dinner. (TNA)


SriLankan Airlines increases flights to Europe, KL

With two new A340 aircraft, SriLankan Airlines is increasing flights to London, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, and Kuala Lumpur for its new winter schedule.

Services to Kuala Lumpur will be increased from the existing five per week to a daily frequency.

The number of flights to from Colombo to London’s Heathrow Airport will be increased from nine to eleven, with flights on Monday, Friday and Saturday returning via Male, and the rest being direct Colombo-London-Colombo operations.

Paris, which presently has three direct flights, will receive an additional flight making it four services per week.

Frankfurt, which currently receives one direct flight and another via Zurich, will have three direct flights. Zurich, which presently has four direct flights and one linked to Frankfurt, will have five direct flights. (TTG Asia)


Probing the Chinese travel psyche

Capturing the Chinese outbound traveler can be a long and expensive process, but ultimately they are no different from other travelers with the same wants and needs. This was the message from a session entitled ‘China Outbound - Catch the Wave’ at the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific recently held in Hong Kong.

Despite hopes by five-star brands, the panel confirmed the majority of Chinese outbound were still leisure travelers on packages tours predominantly staying in lower-grade hotels.

Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong executive director, Joseph Tung, said, “Fifty percent are leisure travelers whose first priority is shopping. For the moment it will still be a tour group market. And while we are seeing tours being offered that use four and five-star hotels, the operators report that these do not sell as well.”

Six Continents vice-president marketing brands, Asia Pacific, Lucinda Semark, said, “We are looking at improving the Chinese language ability in the hotels in the same way that a few years ago having Japanese speakers was an advantage. We are reaching out to the high-end traveler with TV advertisements and working with ground handlers who tend to influence where people will stay.”

But Hong Kong Disneyland vice-president marketing and sales, Roy Tan Hardy, cautioned the process of targeting the Chinese market could be expensive. “It is possible to spend one million dollars on research that has a shelf life of three months,” he said. “Our research shows simply that the Chinese traveler is looking for good service, quality and variety. These are three things they don’t get at home.” (TTG Asia)


Chiang Mai’s OTOP goods worth 420 mio baht this year

Chiang Mai Governor says, “Give your boss an OTOP”

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said that during the September OTOP exhibition held at Muangthong Thani, Bangkok, OTOP products from Chiang Mai realized 140 million baht in sales. He added, “We hope that we will bring in about 600 million baht by the end of this year, and in 2004 maybe we can get up to 800 million baht.”

He also asked for cooperation from government officials and regular, everyday people to support OTOP products by using them as presents and/or gifts on special occasions, such as New Year and birthday gifts.

Responding to policy set by the Ministry of Interior, he said that if someone wants to give a present to their boss, they should choose an OTOP product first. It is unknown if this was meant as a hint to his staff. He said that that there are almost 200 kinds of products to choose from, with 74 types of 5 star OTOP products, and 94 types of local products.

The governor also said that there are currently orders for OTOP products totalling more than 30 million baht.



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