HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Potential home-stay participants receive training

Miss Universe 2004 Joins THAI project

Have you read “Chiang Mai’s Shopping Secrets”?

More tourists from 16 overseas markets to be wooed to Thailand

THAI introduces new ground support equipment

Miss Lamyai comes to Lamphun

Potential home-stay participants receive training

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Homeowners in Thailand who open up their homes for tourist accommodation have been given help to set up, improve and standardize their businesses.

Some of the participants listen in during the training course on Thai home-stays. (Photo by Vincent Leutwiler)

The Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Mahidol University and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport’s Office of Tourism Development held a training course on Thai home-stays at the Park Hotel, Chiang Mai on July 14-15.

As part of the ministry’s five year plan (2004-2008) to strengthen Thailand’s tourism capacity, it is encouraging the home-stay business to help distribute income and empower local communities, said La-ong Treepun of the Office of Tourism Development.

The goal is to increase the earnings of the local population at tourist sites by 15 percent a year and allow local administration organizations to oversee and manage at least 80 percent of local tourism sites effectively.

It was hoped that, after the training course, an understanding between local home-stay owners, villagers and government organizations would be formed in order to promote home-stays in the country.

A provincial committee has been established to make it easier for local owners to evaluate the quality requirements of home-stays as the ministry realizes it is difficult for them to liaise with the ministry at central level. Provincial committees will send the outcome of their evaluations to the Office of Tourism Development which will allocate a standard to each participating home.

The first evaluation will start in each province on August 1 and the evaluation process will take a month to complete. The result of each evaluation will be announced and, in September, a certificate will be given to each participating home that meets the set standards.

The standard of home-stays is based on accommodation, food, safety, management, activities, environment, added value and marketing promotion.

There are approximately 104 home-stays operating around the country at present. Many home-stays in the North have high tourist potential, like Mae Kam Pong in Chiang Mai’s Mae Orn district, which provides interesting trips through tea gardens; and Huai Hi in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district, where tourists can experience the lifestyle of the Karen peoples, forests and orchid planting in Doi Pui area, said La-ong.

Miss Universe 2004 Joins THAI project

Miss Universe 2004 Joins THAI’s “Weaving Your Dreams in the Sky” Project for HIV-Positive Children. Jennifer Hawkins (center), Miss Universe 2004, together with Wing-Commander Supachai Limpisvasti (in suit), Thai Airways International Technical Managing Director, and Sunathee Isvarphornchai (in suit), THAI’s Vice President for Corporate Communication Relations, welcomed 38 HIV-positive children from Baan Gerda, Lopburi province who recently flew with the carrier as part of THAI’s “Weaving Your Dreams in the Sky” Project. This project gives underprivileged children the opportunity to weave their dreams and improve skills and knowledge.

Have you read “Chiang Mai’s Shopping Secrets”?

Another Chiang Mai tourism marketing tool

Reinhard Hohler

Chiang Mai Charm Cluster supported the presentation of a new street directory and shopping guide at the Rydges Amora hotel Chiang Mai this month.

The Chiang Mai Cluster consists of representatives from both public and private sector organizations working together to improve Chiang Mai as a tourist attraction.

Jack Kelly, Senior Competitiveness Consultant of J.E. Austin Associates identified one of their strategic objectives as being to reposition Chiang Mai as a world class tourist destination by supporting the efforts private sector initiatives.

He said that the directory “Chiang Mai’s Shopping Secrets - 101 reasons to spend another day” produced by Track of the Tiger, represented such an initiative, as it would be an effective tool in promoting Chiang Mai shopping as a major tourist attraction.

Shane K Beary provided TAT statistics showing that the average expenditure for tourists in Thailand was 3,700 baht per day. But the same tourists only spent an average of 2,700 baht per day when in Chiang Mai. He reasoned that as the average length of stay per tourist in Chiang Mai was only three days, getting them to extend their stay by ‘just one day’ would increase tourism revenues by at least 25 percent. Shane Beary identified the main problems facing the industry one by one, and said that “Chiang Mai’s Shopping Secrets” was designed to address them.

The publication would be carried in bookshops world wide, getting advertisers’ products to a global audience, encouraging them to visit, and shop, in Chiang Mai.

He said advertizing rates were extremely low because they, and distribution costs, were subsidized by the sale price of the publication, being sold between 375-400 baht per copy.

The publication includes some 50 detailed maps covering 15 major shopping areas. The English and Thai text allows tourists to navigate their way quite easily without having to rely on others.

He also said the company would cross advertise with major airline magazines and online travel sites and would provide 5,000-10,000 ‘free’ promotional copies per year to organizations tasked with promoting Chiang Mai.

More details are available from Track of the Tiger telephone 01-764-9950. Last minute advertising is accepted up until Monday July 19.

More tourists from 16 overseas markets to be wooed to Thailand

With still months to go to the peak season, and violence in the South giving Thailand bad publicity in the public mind overseas, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has signed two significant marketing agreements to boost the country’s tourism promotion efforts.

The TAT on July 15 signed a pact with the national airline, Thai Airways International (THAI) that has formed a strategic partnership with US Cendant Travel Distribution Services Inc., one of the world’s largest travel companies.

It is also wooing 52 top tour operators and wholesalers in 16 countries and territories through a Memorandum of Understanding to promote and develop high-quality tour packages in their respective home markets, according to TAT governor Juthamas Siriwan.

Bob Coggin, vice-chairman of Cendant TDS, said in a TAT media statement released in Bangkok this is the first time that Cendant TDS has worked with both a national tourism organization and a national airline to promote travel to a country.

The initial campaigns will focus on encouraging visitors to Thailand from six key markets: the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Other geographic markets will be targeted in the future.

Coggin said, “We are working with TAT and THAI Airways at every level including identifying targeted segments of the tourist market” such as families, students and even honeymooners.

TAT, THAI Airways and Cendants Internet websites will collaborate to promote specific Thai cities, which could include Pattaya and Chiang Mai.

Thai hotel chains and resorts, including those already on the Cendant TDS websites, as well as new suppliers can also participate.

“This TAT agreement with Cendant TDS and THAI Airways fits perfectly with the Memorandum of Understanding to be signed with the 52 wholesalers, of which 24 are in China and 10 in Hong Kong, further broadening the depth of geographical exposure for Thai tourism products and campaigns,” the statement said.

Other wholesalers and tour operators are from Scandinavia (3), Taiwan and Russia (2 each), and one each from Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Macau, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, UK, and USA.

Juthamas said, “These agreements will create strong partnerships at various levels and help us hit our target of 12 million visitor arrivals in 2004.”

Visitor arrivals to Thailand during the first quarter of 2004 totalled 2.97 million, an increase of 4.39% over the same period in 2003, “indicating strongly that there has been little impact as a result of the disturbances in south Thailand,” the TAT statement said.

THAI introduces new ground support equipment

On July 9 at the Ground Support Equipment Services Department, Bangkok International Airport, Kanok Abhiradee, president of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited presided over the introduction of THAI’s new ground support equipment which aims to enhance passengers and airline customers’ convenience with high quality equipment.

The new equipment includes:

1. Passenger buses for transfer of passengers between the parking bays and passenger terminals, total 20.

2. Wide bridge lower loader for transfer pallets in and out of the aircraft compartment of wide body aircraft, total 23.

3. Transporter for transfer of pallets to and from the wide bridge lower loader, total 21.

4. Air condition unit used to air condition the aircraft cabin when the aircraft’s internal air conditioning system is not in use, total 7.

5. Passenger step vehicle to serve passengers during aircraft embarkation and disembarkation, total 19.

6. Conveyor belt for conveyance of commercial goods in and out of the aircraft compartment of narrow body aircraft and individual packages, in and out of wide body aircraft, total 17.

Miss Lamyai comes to Lamphun

Lamyai Lamphun Festival August 6-15

Vincent Leutwiler and Gerard Krebs

Prayoon Wongpanit, deputy Lamphun governor said the purpose of the Lamyai Lamphun Festival was to promote lamyai cultivation and consumption as well as assist the vendors and farmers to sell more lamyai in the markets.

The grand opening will start on August 6, at 3 p.m., beginning with a parade of lamyai floats, consisting of 15 floats decorated with lamyai and the Miss Lamyai beauty contestants, who will be wearing something a little more fetching than a bunch of lamyai.

Seated on the floats in the grand parade will be the lamyai farmers’ beautiful daughters. The parade will start on Intayongyot Road, Lamphun and end at the Lamphun Provincial Stadium, where the fair will take place. The beauty contest will be judged during the parade and the most beautiful Miss Lamyai will be crowned.

After the grand opening ceremony, there will be Thai culture shows including Thai boxing and other traditional Thai activities. There will also be a competition for the largest lamyai fruit. There will be an exhibition showing planting and growing lamyai fruit without chemicals, a cooking competition for lamyai dishes, sales of fresh lamyai, dried lamyai and OTOP products at the weekly market.

Lumphun province invites all interested people and tourists to come to the Lamyai Festival 2004. If nothing else, you’ll know what a lamyai looks and tastes like!