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

THAI to fly Bangkok to New York

Nim See Seng attracting the weekend tourists

Site sought for Chiang Mai convention center

Dusit unveils new brand

Thailand launches Happiness on Earth

Troubled year for southern Thailand tourism

THAI to fly Bangkok to New York

Sunathee Isvarphornchai (2nd from left), Thai Airways International’s vice president for corporate communication relations; Manit Chaisukumarn (2nd from right), THAI’s general manager for USA Central and South USA; and Wit Kitchathorn (far right), THAI’s general manager for Northeastern USA, met Pisanu Chanvithan (middle), consul-general, Royal Thai Consulate-General, New York to consult on activities on the launch of a new route from Bangkok to New York commencing April 2005.


Nim See Seng attracting the weekend tourists

The Nim See Seng Hotel in Chiang Rai (very close to the Night Bazaar) is offering new promotions to attract tourists to the northern city, with general manager Isara Wongyanyong saying that the slogan of the hotel is that it is a Low Cost Standard Hotel. With today’s similarly positioned low cost airlines, it is now possible to spend weekends away without it costing King Mengrai’s ransom.

Regulars who know this Chinese style hotel can buy ‘memberships’ for B. 1000, which entitles the holder to a round table Chinese banquet for six, complete with four bottles of whiskey! The banquets are normally B. 550, without the four bottles of whiskey, so the value for money for a group of tourists is very evident. The banquet consists of eight dishes including choices of fish or meats, soup, stir-fries, salads, fried rice or noodles and a mixed fruit bowl and Thai or Chinese desserts.

In addition, the membership has other bonus features, such as a 10 percent discount on the already very inexpensive tariff. For example, a Standard room is only B. 450, a Superior B. 550, while a Suite is only B. 750 – and now deduct 10 percent as well, says GM Isara.

The hotel features three restaurants, an all day lobby coffee shop, the Lannchan rooftop live music restaurant and beer garden from 6 p.m. and the entertainment caf้ and restaurant featuring Thai singers and karaoke, if that is your wish, which opens at 7 p.m.

For a group, especially if it includes many local residents, a weekend away in Chiang Rai as a company incentives plan would be well received and quite inexpensive, particularly if you take up the membership offer.

GM Khun Isara can be contacted at the Nim See Seng hotel, 930/14 Phaholyotin Road, Amphur Muang, Chiang Rai, telephone 053 600 421, fax 053 754 492. English spoken but Thai preferred!


Site sought for Chiang Mai convention center

A new US$30-million convention center in Chiang Mai is expected to be completed by about September 2006, even though a decision about its exact whereabouts may not be made until the end of this year.

Tourism Authority of Thailand investment department executive director, Udom Metatamrongsiri, said work on the new center had to be completed in time for the opening of the Chiang Mai Horticultural Exposition in November 2006.

“The center would already be under construction but we have discovered that the chosen site is in a national park and nothing has been started yet because we have to get a decision from the government on whether national park status can be revoked,” Udom said. He said an alternative site at Nong Haw near the municipal sports complex in Chiang Mai City was available for immediate development and would probably be a better location because it was nearer to the hotels, was downtown, and did not require permission for change of use.

Tourism minister, Sontaya Khunplome, is on record as saying the location near the sports complex seemed more suitable. (TTG Asia)


Dusit unveils new brand

Dusit Hotels & Resorts is launching a new brand, D2hotel, the first opening in Chiang Mai in the first quarter of 2005. Dusit senior executives describe D2hotel as “modernistic Thai” and “warm but cool”. It is pitched at a rate level of around 3,700 baht.

The main Dusit brand is also undergoing rejuvenation with the completion of renovations at flagship Dusit Thani Bangkok, which now fields new room concepts, Club and Grand, that will start to filter to other Dusit properties.

Meanwhile, the Dusit Resort and Polo Club Cha-am/Hua Hin has dropped the “Polo Club” from its name and has appointed Simon Burgess executive assistant manager effective February 1, 2005. (TTG Asia)


Thailand launches Happiness on Earth

Jeffrey Studebaker,
TTG Asia

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the theme of its new promotional campaign, Thailand: Happiness on Earth.

TAT governor, Jutamas Siriwan, said the goal of the campaign, which replaces the now four yeas old Amazing Thailand campaign, was to highlight the quality of the country’s products and services.

“We will be placing emphasis on the happiness visitors can experience from Thailand’s friendly people, cultural attractions, fun festivals, natural landscapes, spas, and convenient transportation network,” she said.

A new logo is being launched to go with the new slogan. Featuring a half-circle representing the earth, it is emblazoned with a five-colored flower suggesting an image of uniqueness and fun. In support of the campaign, the TAT will be encouraging Thailand tourism operators to maintain high standards in their products.


Troubled year for southern Thailand tourism

Violence in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces is playing havoc with domestic and international tourism and is expected to make 2004 the worst year in recent history for the hospitality industry there. But bookings to nearby Samui, Phuket and Krabi are holding up well and 2004 could be a bumper year for hotels and agents.

Thai Hotels Association (THA) vice president, Prakit Chinamourphong, said the stark contrast between the safe destinations and the troubled areas of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat are likely to continue for the rest of the year.

“The three southernmost provinces are badly affected. They are quite dependent on cross-border business and the Malaysians have been told not to travel unless it is necessary,” Prakit said. But he added that tourists realize Krabi, Samui and Phuket are not in the danger zone and are entirely unaffected by the ‘southern problem’.

Problems in the south have turned 2004 into the worst year in recent memory for tourism operators in Hat Yai district. Malaysia-Indonesia-Thailand Tourism Association chairman, Tosavorn Wiwatsurakij, told reporters business was more than 50 percent down on last year.

“We are not getting any group bookings at all now, not even for the Loy Krathong festival at the end of November which is usually a really big event in the south,” Tosavorn said, adding there had been a stream of cancellations since 87 people died following a protest on October 25. (TTG Asia)