HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

THAI introduces special bonus for Royal Orchid Plus members on Scandinavian routes

Airlines to phase out paper tickets by 2007

Southern jails to be turned into tourist destinations

Win a trip on SIAís record flight to New York

Chiang Rai to grow quality tea

Fruit growers look to China to eat into over-supply


THAI introduces special bonus for Royal Orchid Plus members on Scandinavian routes

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited announced a special offer of "bonus miles" for Royal Orchid Plus members traveling on its new class of travel, on Scandinavian flights, between Bangkok-Copenhagen and Bangkok-Stockholm, effective immediately.

Suthep Suebsantiwongse, THAIís commercial executive vice president

Suthep Suebsantiwongse, THAIís commercial executive vice president, said this is being done to meet passengersí needs, demand in the Scandinavian market, and provide passengers with special services with "Touches of Thai" comfort. THAI offers special bonus miles and additional benefits for ROP members as follows:

Bonus Miles

Royal Executive Premium Class earns additional 50% or 150% of actual miles flown. Economy Deluxe Class earns additional 25% or 125% of actual mile flown.

The two new classes THAI introduced on its Scandinavian routes are:

Royal Executive Premium Class: Passengers will be seated in a more spacious cabin. Fare for the Royal Executive Premium Class is equivalent to THAIís Royal Executive Class full fare, with a capacity of 18 seats.

Economy Deluxe Class: Passengers will experience special services with more comfortable seating. The fare for Economy Deluxe Class is equivalent to THAIís Economy Class full fare, with a capacity of 62 seats.

Economy Class remains the same with a capacity of 325 seats.

Currently, THAI operates the Bangkok - Copenhagen route 6 times per week, every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, utilizing Boeing 747-400 aircraft. THAI also operates the Bangkok - Stockholm route 4 times per week, every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, utilizing Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

Classes / Redemption:    1 Ticket:        2 Tickets:
Economy Class               65,000         125,000
Business Premium Class 105,000        200,000
Upgrade From: Mileage:
Economy Class to Economy Deluxe 35,000
Economy Deluxe to Business Class Premium 40,000

Airlines to phase out paper tickets by 2007

Paper tickets will be a thing of the past if a resolution passed at the 60th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM), taking place in Singapore from June 6-8, is successfully implemented.

The meeting agreed on the target date of December 31, 2007 to completely phase out paper tickets. IATA issues some 300 million such tickets yearly, each costing US$9. Board of governors chairman, Isao Kaneko, said IATA would help the industry reach the target date. The project is part of IATAís strategy to achieve greater cost efficiency for the aviation industry.

Other priorities in the plan to simplify the business and reduce costs include encouraging higher usage of self-service kiosks, bar-codes that can be printed by the passenger thus replacing the magnetic strip currently found on paper tickets, implementing radio frequency identification baggage tags to replace bar-coded tags Ė an initiative that is estimated will save the industry US$350 million as a result of baggage mismanagement, and setting up an automated interline system.

IATAís director general and CEO, Giovanni, Bisignani called for the industry to "shift our agendas from fire-fighting to building a new industry structure." Some 600 airline heads and senior executives attended the AGM. (TTG Asia)

Southern jails to be turned into tourist destinations

Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana announced that he had authorized the hiring of 500 new detectives from the southern border region to aid the work of the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) in stamping out violence in the three southernmost provinces.

He has also authorized the hiring of local people to upgrade prison facilities in the region, and to transform the areas surrounding local jails into tourist destinations, he said. (TNA)

Win a trip on SIAís record flight to New York


Singapore Airlines is offering a chance to win a pair of Raffles (business) class and a pair of executive economy class tickets on its record-breaking non-stop flight from Singapore to New York. Simply visit www. non stop or www. non and enter the "More Time to Spare" online contest.

Contestants are asked to submit a short description of their favorite activities or places to visit in Singapore or New York if you had four hours to spare.

The contest will run until July 12, 2004. Winning entries will be announced on the Web site and winners will be contacted via e-mail. There is no limit to the number of entries that can be submitted by each participant. For further information visit:

Chiang Rai to grow quality tea

Chiang Rai Province is urging its farmers to grow a crop which millions of people across the world would find difficult to live without: tea.

Chaleewat Thongyuu, head of the Chiang Rai cooperative department, said the northern border province is accelerating a scheme to encourage farmers to cultivate high quality tea in a dual bid to solve drugs problems and poverty.

The provincial cooperative department is gathering young Ulong tea plants, together with equipment and fertilizer, to distribute to farmers in the region. Financial support for the project has come from the Interior Ministry, which is providing 24.55 million baht to fund the project. Stringent quality checks will ensure that the tea is of superior quality. Within the next two years, the Chiang Rai Tea Cooperative hopes to be able to purchase the tea for processing and distribution at home and abroad. (TNA)

Fruit growers look to China to eat into over-supply

Nopniwat Krailerg

A Chinese importing company which supplies 3,000 Chinese supermarkets has ordered 200 containers of longan fruit after a delegation from Chiang Mai visited Shanghai to promote the fruit last week.

The Chiang Mai delegation led by Governor Suwat Tantipat went to promote trade and link up with fruit importers in Shanghai. It specifically promoted longans because of the glut of the fruit in Thailand, which has led to falling prices.

Previously longans were previous sent to China through Kwantaung province, and then transported to Shanghai. The long delivery time caused spoiling of the fruit by the time it arrived in Shanghai. Now the fruit will be sent directly to Shanghai.

The marketing promotion of Thai longans in China is part of the provinceís integrated development strategy to increase trade and investment in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region and other countries.

Asst Prof Witcha Sa-ardsud, director of the Post-Harvesting Institute of Chiang Mai University, who was part of the delegation, said that Chinese people ate longans because of their belief in its benefit to their health. "Shanghai has 20 million people, and if each of them eats one Thai longan per day, they will help Thailand get rid of its over-supply of the fruit."

Asst Prof Witcha added that if the government builds good relationships with other Chinese provinces at governmental level and secures the cooperation of importing companies, the fruit could be distributed throughout all of China.

Attention would be paid to the quality of the exported longans as their sulphur content has been found to be very high. "This is an important consideration because Chinese people are very health-conscious," he added.

Chainarong Karnmanee, acting head of the Chiang Mai Provincial Agricultural and Cooperatives Office, revealed that this yearís crop of longans will be larger than last year.

The northern provinces supply about 500,000 tons of the fruit, or 92 percent of the total amount produced in the country. Production is expected to increase by 40 percent. This will cause a further drop in price.

20,000 tons of longans are currently distributed to existing markets, while 150,000 tons are exported and 100,000 tons of longans are earmarked for canning and drying.

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The price includes a daily buffet breakfast, return airport transfers from Chiang Rai International Airport, all entry fees and tour transportation. The package allows adventurers to enjoy the landscape and Thai culture by trekking to remote hill tribe villages, mountain-biking to lakes, taking cooking classes, watching elephants bathe in a river and visiting Myanmar and Lao PDR.

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