HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Orient Thai’s One-Two- Go going places

Phuket Air joins the discounted air race

PATA’s “Catch Me If You Dare” tourism session

Tourism Council’s first meeting in Chiang Mai

Orient Thai’s One-Two- Go going places

But the B. 999 fare has One-Two-Gone

Natchawi Srirat

The week-long special “One-Two-Go” B. 999 promotion fare on the CNX-BKK route finished on December 24. Every day was a sell-out, and any travelers who wanted to fly with Orient Thai needed to make sure that their seat reservations were confirmed in advance.

Crowds of people lined up at Orient Thai ticket counter to take advantage of the low fare promotion.

Opening up new air routes is on the agenda to be discussed at the executive board meeting next month. The possibility of a direct flight between Chiang Mai and Phuket or other provinces in the south of Thailand is also a discussion point.

Orient Thai has already been providing air services for the route Chiang Mai-Hong Kong-Chiang Mai, but air links to other foreign countries must again be discussed at board level.

Kajit Habanananda, chairman of Orient Thai Airlines

The airline chairman objects to the ‘low cost’ label. “I do not agree with the word ‘low cost’ airlines. No airline has low cost; it is only ‘low fare’ that they can supply to consumers. As a result, Orient Thai is not a low cost airline. We are a ‘low fare’ airline which aims to serve people by offering a low price, but not low service, even we don’t make any profits in doing this business, but at least people get to know us,” said Kajit Habanananda, chairman of Orient Thai Airlines.

Kajit added that in the future, there would be more improvements in the time schedule and seat reservation system, since many customers complained about the delays, due to the fact that so many people wanted to use Orient Thai services.

“Good news for Chiang Mai people is that Orient Thai’s main office here will be available to serve people in town by the end of this year, to facilitate travelers get tickets without having to go directly to the airport,” said Kajit.

Phuket Air joins the discounted air race

Fly north and get a free ticket

Phuket Air is offering two promotional fares to explore the southern and northern parts of Thailand, effective from now.

A return ticket Bangkok-Krabi or Bangkok-Phuket (Boeing 737) is being offered at 3,950, baht per person.

A return ticket Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai or Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai (YS-11) is 2,100 baht per person, plus you get a second ticket free. These fares are exclusive of tax and insurance, and some conditions may apply.

For further information or reservation call your nearest travel agent or Phuket Air at 02 679 8999.

PATA’s “Catch Me If You Dare” tourism session

Crisis management on the agenda

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has added a special full day session on tourism and crisis management to the 9th PATA Mekong Tourism Forum to be held in Chiang Mai, March 26-28, 2004.

Participants in the March 26 pre-forum seminar will have to cope with a simulated crisis which touches on issues which already affect tourism - terrorism, diseases, computer crime, environmental disasters and biological warfare. The program, called “Catch Me If You Dare,” encourages people to work together to solve problems effectively.

Public and private sector tourism participants will benefit by being able to:

* assess their own ability to handle a crisis situation

* better manage stress levels in a crisis

* develop communication techniques to enhance reputation management

* recognize individual and team strengths

* be creative with regard to new business realities

* better handle media in a crisis, and

* assess potential problems in managing public perception.

The initiative is a joint effort by PATA, Bangkok-based The Winning Edge’s Managing Director, Bert van Walbeek, and the international consultancy firm, Tirian.

Tirian’s managing director, Andrew Grant said, “The key to success is the ability of individuals and small teams from an individual country to work with the whole group - which represents the international community - to deal with the issues presented.” He added, “Crisis management, ethics, values, leadership, cross-cultural differences and many more subjects are tackled head-on. We create a fast-paced and realistic scenario.”

Following the simulation exercise on March 26, several issues will be discussed in the Mekong Forum such as Mekong travel product development, private sector investment and tourism as a regional growth engine. Plenary sessions will be built around the theme of protecting, positioning and promoting Greater Mekong Sub-Region tourism.

For information, contact PATA Manager-Support Services, Aaron Tan. Tel: (66-2) 658-2000 ext. 125, Fax (66-2) 658-2010. E-mail: [email protected] or visit PATA at

Tourism Council’s first meeting in Chiang Mai

Locals looking for assistance already

Phisut Itsaracheewawat

The first mobile meeting of the Tourism Council of Thailand was held in Chiang Mai at the Empress Hotel, to officially introduce the council and indicate the directions for all members.

The Tourism of Council of Thailand was established in December 2001 to help people in tourism related businesses, and to be a channel for negotiations and appeals to the government.

Vichit na Ranong, president of the Tourism Council, said that the council was needed to create unity in the business, reducing the threats of price cutting wars, and to improve the potential for tour agencies in rural areas.

“From now on, we have our own channel, which is more reliable than trying to attract the government’s attention to help us. We are not an individual person asking for help anymore, but right now we are integrated like a big organization appealing for help,” he added.

Many representatives from a wide range of tourism associations attended the meeting. Rachan Veeraphan, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand Region 1 (Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Tak and Kamphaeng Phet provinces) proposed a plan called “Lanna Links Global Research”, aiming to develop the tourism related businesses in this region with Lanna cultures.

“This region has high potential and the capacity to become a leader in the North, with an borders connecting with many neighboring countries, convenient transportation, and unique agriculture, handicraft and culture,” he explained.

However, Boonlert Perera, president of Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, showed concern that local entrepreneurs lacked the strength to compete with international tour agencies, suggesting the Tourism Council of Thailand give them help immediately.