HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nok Air hatched

Mae Hong Son road show previews tourist attractions

The Changing Mekong

A round-up of Asia-Pacific aviation news

Koldowski to talk ‘Total Tourism’ in Thailand

Nok Air hatched

Tom Van Blarcom

Nok Air, a truly Thai low cost airline, recently gathered its cabin crews in the heart of Bangkok to publicize Nok Air’s take-off. The two days around the city gave the Nok Air crews the chance to introduce themselves and the airline to the people of Bangkok. From Sukhumvit to Siam to Silom, and on to Victory Monument, the cheerful parade fulfilled its goals, demonstrating the unique culture that is Nok Air.

Nok Air has daily flights to Chiang Mai, Had Yai, and Udon Thani. Reservations can be made at www. or by calling 1318.

Mae Hong Son road show previews tourist attractions

Tourism to bring in 900 million baht this year

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Tourism Authority of Thailand together with Tourism Business Association, Mae Hong Son province held the Mae Hong Son road show July 30 to August 1 at the Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai.

Fon Nok, Thai Yai traditional dance, at the opening ceremony of the road show.

Tourism-related businesses like resorts, hotels, tourism sites and even OTOP entrepreneurs brought their best products and special promotions to introduce to Chiang Mai people with the aim of drawing more domestic tourists to the province.

Issareth Phusara, Head of the Mae Hong Son Tourism Coordination Center, said that the province had approximately 230,000 tourists per year. This amount is almost equal to the province’s population itself. Foreign tourists outnumbered domestic tourists by 25 percent and Pai district is very well liked by foreign backpackers who long for exotic experiences.

The Tourism Coordination Center set a goal of 900 million baht income to accomplish in this year. However, Issareth said that Mae Hong Son tourism situation during last three months was decreased due to the violence in southern Thailand that had caused insecurity in tourists’ minds. During that crisis foreign tourist numbers dropped 30 percent.

The province offers special package of 3 days 2 nights with starting at 2,300 to 3,500 baht. The price of the package depends on the hotels where the tourists stay. The package includes traveling in four districts, Pai, Pang Ma Pha, Muang and Mae Sariang respectively.

The package includes Huai Nam Dang National Park, Wat Klang in Pai, Lodge cave in Pang Ma Pha district, Long Neck Karens’ village, Fish Cave, Phra That Doi Kong Moo, Wat Hua Wiang and Wat Chong Kam in Muang district, Bua Thong field (only during early November to December when the flowers are blooming) in Khun Yuam district and Mae Sariang district as the final destination.

For more information on this package, please contact the Mae Hong Son Tourism Coordination Center at 0-5361-2982-3.

The Changing Mekong

Pluralistic societies under siege

Reinhard Hohler

On July 28-29, the international symposium ‘The Changing Mekong: Pluralistic societies under siege’ took place at the Sofitel Raja Orchid Hotel Khon Kaen to also commemorate the 72nd birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

I-San music performers featuring the ‘khaen”, a bamboo reed mouth organ.

Jointly organized by the Center for Research on Plurality in the Mekong Region (CERP), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, U.S.A., its main aim was to provide a broad opportunity for researchers to present their research on the Mekong region’s current issues and to produce a better understanding of how people’s lives are influenced by global and market-driven forces.

Some of the speakers addressing the audience (from left to right): Dr. Katherine Bowie, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A., Carool Kersten, University of Payap, Chiang Mai, Dr. Bonnie Brereton, University of Khon Kaen, and GMS Consultant Mark Pillai from Malaysia.

Drawing more than 200 participants from all over world, the introductory key note speech was given by Srisak Vallibhotama, Professor Emeritus from Silapakorn University, Bangkok entitled ‘Mekong on the brink of disaster’ illustrated with interesting satellite photographs.

Nuan Sarnsorn (right), director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Northeastern Office Region 5, Udon Thani, studying the display of the exhibition of Expedition Mekong 2002, presented by Reinhard Hohler (left), Chiang Mai (Photo: Klaus Berkmueller).

Realting to Chiang Mai was the panel discussion on ‘Ethnic and Religious Diversity: Then and now’ chaired by American Dr. Bonnie Brereton, a Fulbright Scholar, Khon Kaen University. Representations were made by Carool Kersten from Payap University in Chiang Mai, who observed the evident pluralism in 17th century Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Dr. Katherine Bowie, University of Wisconsin-Madison, who focused on village beliefs about forest spirits in Northern Thailand. The Malaysian consultant on the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) singled out Chiang Mai to become the transportation and communication hub of the GMS, while Khon Kaen and Isaan will be the economic center of the East-West Corridor stretching from Danang in Vietnam to Moulmein in the Union of Myanmar.

An attractive I-San dancing girl, resembling a proto-historic “naga” princess.

Another valuable contribution of Dr. Chotima Chaturawong from Silapakorn

University, Bangkok highlighted ‘Burmese’ monasteries in Northern Thailand.

The key note speech on the second day of the international symposium was given by Vietnamese Professor Pham Duc Duong who emotionally explained a common inherited Mekong culture, comprising mountainous Mon-Khmer, wet rice growing Tai, and Austronesian ‘sea’ characteristics.

A concluding plenary session gave directions and perspectives for the Mekong in the next decade, to effectively control the many planned mega projects, curb drugs and human trafficking, facilitate more trans-border activities, and establish transnational institutions.

Much thanks went to Professor Yaowalak Apichatvullop, Director of CERP, Khon Kaen University who organized an outstanding think-tank style event that was successful under all the circumstances.

A round-up of Asia-Pacific aviation news

PATA Director KC Sim

*Virgin Atlantic Airways (49 percent owned by Singapore Airlines) has teamed up with Linguaphone to offer in-flight language courses. Spanish for English-speaking passengers and English for Spanish-speaking passengers. The airline hopes to add Chinese and Japanese languages to tie in with North Asian routes.

*Singapore Transport Minister Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, at the Fourth APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting in Bali, July 28, said, “Only with a strong and liberal transport sector can trade, investments and tourism flourish.” He added: “For every USD 100 spent on air travel, the economy gains USD 325; and 100 extra jobs in the air transport sector produce 610 jobs within the country.” The aviation sector has to anticipate and facilitate this vast potential for growth, he noted.

*In the first half of 2004, Boeing delivered 151 airliners to customers worldwide while rival Airbus delivered 161 aircraft.

*Kuala Lumpur International Airport handled 589,996 tonnes of cargo in 2003 and is 29th in the international ranking of airports for cargo volume handled and 11th in Asia.

Koldowski to talk ‘Total Tourism’ in Thailand


PATA Managing Director-Strategic Intelligence Centre John Koldowski will talk about ‘Total Tourism’ at the ITS Thailand Travel Trade Forum, August 20. He will identify the steps that can be taken by tourism authorities, trade associations, travel suppliers and travel agents to embrace the holistic inbound, outbound and domestic approach to tourism promotion.

Moderated by TTG Asia Editor Raini Hamdi, panelists will include Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Juthamas Siriwan, Association of Thai Travel Agents President Suparerk Soorangura, Airline Club of Thailand President Vasing Kittikul and Accor Asia Pacific Senior VP Brian Deeson.

For further information, please contact organizers TTG Asia Media. Tel: (65) 6395-7555. Fax: (65) 6536-0896. email [email protected] itsthai Web site: www.