TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nok Air flies Club F. Super Models to Phuket

THAI introduces special menu to celebrate H.M. the King’s Birthday

Domestic tourism figures shoot above target

THAI AirAsia strengthens its presence in Singapore

Imperial group appoints group general manager

Oriental holistic hideaway to open next month

Star Alliance kicks of Circle Asia fare

Nok Air flies Club F. Super Models to Phuket

TQ PR Bangkok

Nok Air, the Thai low fare airline, is joining with the much talked about Club F. to fly the Club F. models and their crew, led by “Luk-Ked” Metinee Kingpayome, to Phuket as they prepare Club F. Body Paint 2005.

With the opening of its new route to Phuket and the launching of the latest ground service innovation, “beach check-in service”, Nok Air will provide comfort and convenience for Club F. models and crew to Phuket.

Joined by super models: Lina Christensen, “Bow” Benjasiri Wattana, “Luk-Mee” Rasamee Thongsiripraisri, and photographed by “Yai” Amart Nimitpark, the Club F. Body Paint 2005 album is expected to be released by mid December 2004.

Nok Air travelers have the option to make reservations for their desired flights on the Nok Air website (www. nokair.co.th), which provides them with the opportunity to choose their own seating, or they can call the Nok Air call center (1318). Payments can be made online or via the call center with a credit card, or at any 7-Eleven throughout Thailand featuring Counter Service Plus, or at Siam Commercial Bank ATMs (for SCB account holders), or at any Nok Air airport counter.

Nok Air has 3 daily flights to Phuket, as well as daily flights to Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Hat Yai, and Phitsanulok, operating Boeing 737-400s, each with a capacity of 149.


THAI introduces special menu to celebrate H.M. the King’s Birthday

To celebrate His Majesty the King’s birthday on December 5, Thai Airways International (THAI) is offering a special in-flight menu for first class passengers. Rainbow Trout fillets from the Doi Intanon Royal Project Foundation will be served on all international flights departing Bangkok International Airport December 1-23.

Kanok Abhiradee, THAI’s president, said that as part of the celebration of H.M. the King’s birthday, also Thailand’s National Father’s Day, the airline will serve Rainbow Trout fillet prepared in Isaan (Thai Northeastern) style with Thai Jasmine rice for the main course.

Business and Economy Class passengers will be served with Royal Projects’ mixed salad with River of Kings salad dressing or Royal Orchid salad dressing, as the first course, followed by tab tim fish fillet prepared in Isaan style and Thai jasmine rice for the main course.

In addition, THAI will serve ma-toom mousse cake topped with Doi Tung macadamia nuts for all passengers.

The special in-flight menu will help introduce Thai ingredients, and particularly those from the Royal Projects, to people worldwide.

For more information, passengers may contact THAI’s 24-hour reservation office at tel. 0-2628-200.


Domestic tourism figures shoot above target

Domestic tourism figures for the first half of the year exceeded the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s target, beating gloomy projections about the state of the tourism industry following the avian flu scare and violence in Thailand’s southern border region.

Statistics suggest that over 43 million visits were made by domestic tourists over the first half of the year, up 5.32 percent from the same period in 2003. But revenue from domestic tourism over this period stood at over 138 billion baht, with average spending at 1,682 per day, a drop of 8.9 percent from the previous year.

The TAT attributes the healthy figures to its heavy tourism offensive, with a number of activities since the beginning of the year designed to encourage domestic tourism. Other positive factors include the birth of low-cost airlines and interesting new tourism products such as spas.

TAT programs to encourage domestic tourism include activities to promote day trips from Bangkok and to encourage people to travel on weekdays. Even the country’s southern region, badly shaken by violence, recorded steady domestic tourism growth over the first half of the year. (TNA)


THAI AirAsia strengthens its presence in Singapore

Additional flights to Phuket and Bangkok

On November 5, Thai AirAsia opened its first non-stop link between Phuket and Singapore. With this new daily connection, Thai AirAsia consolidates its presence in Singapore with four daily flights.

To celebrate the new route, Thai AirAsia launched a promotion in September with 3,000 seats priced at S$0.29 (B. 7.20) for one way travel between Singapore and Phuket. This promotion was the cheapest fare never offered from Singapore by a low fare airline.

The standard Thai AirAsia cheapest current fare starts from 900 baht, or S$49.99.

All quoted fares exclude airport taxes and fees.

Flights leave Phuket daily at 9:30 a.m., arriving in Singapore at 12:10 p.m. local time. The return trip leaves Singapore at 12:45 p.m. and arrives back in Phuket at 1:35 p.m. local time. Flying time is a little over an hour and a half.

Thai AirAsia also launched a third daily mid-day flight from Bangkok to Singapore, bringing the number of weekly services to a total of 21 flights in each direction.

Flights leave Bangkok daily at 7:10 a.m., 11:45 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., arriving in Singapore at 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. respectively. Return flights leave Singapore at 11 a.m., 3:35 p.m. and 10:50 p.m., arriving back in Bangkok at 12:15 p.m., 4:55 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. respectively. Flying time is around 2 and a quarter hours each way.


Imperial group appoints group general manager

Vorapong Muchaotai, formerly general manger of the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai, was recently appointed group general manager Chiang Mai with responsibility for the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, the Imperial Chiang Mai Spa and Sport Club and Eurasia Hotel, Chiang Mai.


Oriental holistic hideaway to open next month

Pata

The Oriental Bangkok has announced that the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai will open on December 1. The hotel is 10 minutes from the Chiang Mai International Airport and five minutes from the city center.

The hotel features 74 colonial suites, 66 private villas, with some having plunge pools overlooking rice fields, and four themed suites including a penthouse spa suite.

Rooms feature authentic museum quality artifacts. A holistic center offers a Mandalay style 3,100 square meter spa including 35 treatment rooms, a health club, and tennis and squash courts.

Other facilities include a choice of stylish restaurants, a Thai cooking school, and a Thai shopping village.

Conference and meeting facilities consist of the Royal Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 600 people and a junior ballroom for up to 200 people. There are two break-out rooms and a conference room for up to 80 people. A variety of educational, cultural and children’s activities are available. For further information check the website www.mandarinoriental.com


Star Alliance kicks of Circle Asia fare

Pata

Star Alliance has launched the Circle Asia fare, providing more choices and value for those traveling through North Asia, Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific.

The fare, which became available for sale and travel on November 1, can be used for a circular trip covering all three geographic regions. The journey may commence at any destination served by a Star Alliance member carrier in these three regions, but the origin and final destination must be in the same country.

The fare is available at two mileage levels, 15,000 or 18,000 miles, and is offered for travel in first, business or economy class. The itinerary may cover up to 18 sectors and must include at least two stopovers, but only one stopover per city is permitted. Tickets issued on this fare are valid for a maximum of six months and require a minimum stay of three days.

The Circle Asia fare allows mileage accrual on any of the member carrier’s frequent flyer programs. In addition, Star Alliance member carriers offer a round the world fare and air passes for Asia, Brazil, Europe, Japan, North America and the South Pacific. The Star Alliance network also offers a special discount product for convention organizers and delegates called Conventions Plus. For further information visit www.staralliance.com or email: mediarelations @ staralliance.com