Vol. III No. 37 - Saturday September 11 - September 17 2004
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nok Air celebrates opening of Udon Thani route

Sky Watch: Life’s Little Luxuries

Cleaner public toilets for tourists

Improved roads will bring more tourists to Chiang Mai attractions

Nok Air celebrates opening of Udon Thani route

Nok Air and its point of sale provider, 7-Eleven Counter Service Plus, celebrated the airline’s service to Udon Thani, the province where ancient civilizations flourished 5,000 years ago, and these days the gateway to the Mekong region and Laos.

Celebrating Nok Air’s flights to Udon Thani are Maneerat Tangthansup, marketing department manager (2nd left), Onvara Rojanavas, deputy general manager call service (3rd left), and Prasert Manuphibul, general manager operation office (4th left), Sehapan Chumsai, Nok Air’s executive vice president marketing (3rd right), and Pinyot Pibulsonggram, Nok Air’s vice president marketing (2nd right), at Udon Thani’s Nong Prajak Park.

With the objective of providing travelers with the most convenient options and services, Nok Air joined with Thailand’s largest convenience store chain, 7-Eleven and its subsidiary, Counter Service Plus, to offer an easy option for purchasing Nok Air tickets. This option, along with the other payment channels Nok Air, including the 1318 call center, Nok Air websites, and for Siam Commercial Bank’s ATM card holders nationwide, makes Nok Air one of the most convenient ways to fly.

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

Sky Watch: Life’s Little Luxuries

Asia Pacific aviation news from PATA

* Emirates has introduced safety cards with Braille and extra large fonts aimed at visually-impaired passengers. “The new safety cards will offer an extra assurance to the visually impaired that at Emirates their well-being is as important as that of any other passenger,” said Emirates Senior Vice President-Service Delivery Terry Daly.

* In 2005, Finnair will install in its six MD-11s, business class seats that transform into flat beds and upgraded in-flight entertainment systems The MD-11s are currently deployed on flights to New York, Miami, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. A fleet of Embraer 170s will soon replace Finnair’s MD-82s, MD-83s and ATR72s.

* Air New Zealand will name its international fleet after famous places in New Zealand, starting with its eight B747-400s. The names chosen so far are Auckland, Bay of Islands, Christchurch, Dunedin, Kaikoura, Rotorua, Queenstown and Wellington. Each name will be painted near the nose of the aircraft together with a two meter long image.

Cleaner public toilets for tourists

The Ministry of Public Health, which recently described public toilets as “the first door to welcome tourists,” pledged a massive cleanup operation. According to Dr. Vichai Tienthavon, the director-general of the Department of Health, recent research shows that public toilets in airports, temples, markets, gas stations, train stations and other tourist areas are hotbeds of bacteria. He said that dirty toilets led to the spread of disease, which could damage the country’s reputation as a tourist destination.

His words were backed by government scientist Sukon Jiasukun, who described public toilets as “one of the first impressions made on tourists as they entered the country.” Citing the fact that some public toilets in US airports even have small television screens, he said that the state of public toilets reflected a country’s level of development.

Ministry of Public Health research shows that hygiene in Thailand’s public toilets is at a ‘medium’ level. Interestingly, the research also suggests that although men’s toilets are generally cleaner than women’s, they are considerably smellier. Unfortunately for some western tourists, who are often appalled by Thai-style squat toilets, the research also found that over half of the toilet users surveyed preferred to squat rather than sit.

Ministry of Public Health scientists urged that measures be taken to ensure that Thailand’s public toilets meet minimum hygiene standards. (TNA)

Improved roads will bring more tourists to Chiang Mai attractions

The Highways Department opened a new road on August 28 aimed a attracting many more tourists to the popular northern province of Chiang Mai, while announcing a 3 billion baht program of road improvement plans for the province.

The new road, which runs from Hang Dong to Chiang Mai University, in fact represents the expansion of an existing two-lane road into a major four-lane highway. The province hopes that the road, which cost over 300 million baht to upgrade, will attract visitors to some of the province’s newest state-run tourist attractions, including the Night Safari and the international convention center which is scheduled to host a global agricultural exhibition. However, the road still lacks adequate lighting due to a funding shortfall.

Bancha Ekthammasit, a government engineer working on the project, said that the Highways Department planned to spend an additional 3 billion baht on the upgrade of roads in the province, including the expansion of the two-lane roads linking Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and Lampang – both important tourist destinations - into four-lane highways.

The department hopes that by next year, its road improvement programs will have slashed maximum journey time from any northern province to Chiang Mai International Airport – slated to become the region’s next aviation hub - to less than two hours. (TNA)

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