HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

THAI flies seven promotions to counteract low season slump

Mysterious Mekong - From Simao Port to Ho Chi Minh City

Thailand plans extravagant New Year celebrations

Metropolitan Bangkok joins Leading Hotels stable

Fray over THAI domestic ticketing

AirAsia moves into the heart of Singapore

THAI flies seven promotions to counteract low season slump

Thai Airways International (THAI) president, Kanok Abhiradee, announced seven promotional campaigns to boost sales and tourist arrivals into Thailand during low season, April-July 2005.

Kanok Abhiradee said that to promote the Thailand tourism industry and sales for travel to THAI’s new destinations, THAI’s Commercial Department created seven sales promotion activities to boost the travel market.

These included:

1.1 Revisiting Thailand 2005, on board lucky draw. 20,000 tickets will be distributed during lucky draws on all of THAI’s inbound flights to Thailand during December 2004 - July 2005 to attract passengers to re-visit Thailand during April-July 2005.

Kanok Abhiradee, THAI’s president

1.2 Visit Your Loved One, Royal Orchid Holidays Stop over Special Fare Package to invite passengers from Greece and Italy traveling to Australia and New Zealand to stop over in Thailand as a transit destination between January and September 2005.

1.3 Homecoming, a Special Royal Orchid Holidays Package created for Thais living overseas to visit Thailand during May - June 2005.

1.4 Corporate Traveler, to persuade overseas corporations and international companies in Thailand, to organize meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) in Thailand during April-July 2005.

1.5 Easy Travel Pack, A Royal Orchid Holidays Package offered to 45,000 London underground staff who are entitled to 48 vacation days to visit Thailand with the term of payment by Barclays Bank.

In addition they have Thailand Tourism Promotional Campaigns:

2.1 Wedding Events and Packages. A Lanna Wedding in Chiang Mai theme will be promoted, through a special Royal Orchid Holidays Package with emphasis on Northern Culture and Tradition as the selling point for European, Asian, Australian, and North American markets. An Underwater Wedding in Trang theme will be promoted, through a special Royal Orchid Holidays Package for couples and companions.

2.2 Star Alliance CEO Meeting in Chiang Mai December 11-13 during which THAI announced their cooperation for Happiness Thailand Year 2005.

Mysterious Mekong - From Simao Port to Ho Chi Minh City

Staff reporters

On January 7, 2005 Chiang Mai will host an exhibition, “Mysterious Mekong” to be held at the L’Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient. The exhibition will run through the month of January to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Informal Northern Thai Group (INTG). The INTG is entirely organized by volunteers with interests in matters on Northern Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Reinhard Hohler, with his daughter Sara, who is one of the presenters of the ‘Kids Only’ children’s program, produced by CBN Siam and broadcast on Channel 11.

The “Hovercraft Expedition Mekong” was co-organized by Brooker Group and Diethelm Travel in Bangkok on November 2-17, 2002 which covered nearly 3,000km of the river from Simao Port in Yunnan to its delta in the southern part of Vietnam. When the seats for an Australian film crew on the return journey were cancelled because of the Bali bombing accident in Indonesia, tour director Reinhard Hohler had to get it alone back to China.

In this exhibition “Mysterious Mekong”, Reinhard will position, promote, and protect the different geographical, historical, and economic aspects of the river. On hand will be a map of the river plus 72 selected photos to demonstrate the outcome of the expedition.

The 72 photos, available on CD, will highlight the expedition via Jinghong in China through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, displaying the hovercraft, the six members of the expedition and some scenery in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The transfer of the hovercraft around the Khon Falls will be dramatically exposed.

As well as a spectacular visit to Angkor, there the gravesite of the world famous French explorer Henri Mouhot is also shown to give the exhibition historical notes.

Preparations to hold “Exhibition Mekong 2004” were completed after the opening ceremony at the Sheraton Chiang Mai Hotel on March 25 for the PATA Mekong Tourism Forum. “PATA, through its Mekong Tourism Forum, is happy to endorse this exhibition as it celebrates the spirit of exploration and study in the Mekong,” said PATA Director-Development, Stephen Yong. “It is only through a greater understanding of the diversity of this region can we hope to develop truly sustainable travel and tourism products here.”

The successful display of the exhibition was sponsored mainly by the German Embassy in Bangkok. Now, it can move to other venues and hotels that were involved with Expedition Mekong, such as SOFITEL/ACCOR Hotels within the region. Consequently, any kind of sponsorship is heartily welcomed.

(Profile of Expedition Mekong’s tour director Reinhard Hohler. He is an experienced tour director and media travel consultant in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. He was born in Karlsruhe/Germany, a port on Europe’s Rhine River. After first studying geology in his hometown and later ethnology, geography and political science at Heidelberg University, he moved to Thailand in 1987. Reinhard has led more than 100 study tours, mainly in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Yunnan, Hainan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. He also co-authored a book on Yunnan and a TV documentary about the “Emerald Buddha” in Bangkok. Being a life member of The Siam Society in Bangkok and currently working on a project about German explorer Dr Adolf Bastian’s travelogue of Southeast Asia in the early 1860’s, Reinhard lives in Chiang Mai with his wife and daughter. For further information, please contact Reinhard Hohler by email: [email protected]

Thailand plans extravagant New Year celebrations

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has unveiled plans to hold extravagant New Year celebrations in five of the country’s main tourist centers. The TAT will spend 20 million baht to create a colorful and lavish New Year’s count-down celebrations in Bangkok, the northeastern province of Nakorn Ratchasima, the southern provinces of Phuket and Songkhla, and the northern resort province of Chiang Mai.

“The tourist authority will create different themes in each province. In Bangkok it will be a fair and a pop stage show, while Nakorn Ratchasima will celebrate ‘Mo Lum’ or a traditional performance in northeastern music and dialect” TAT Governor, Juthamas Siriwan said.

In Chiang Mai, TAT has invited the two tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams to join the New Year count-down. Juthamas said the two tennis stars were hired to star in a 60-minute television documentary aimed at attracting more foreign tourists to Thailand. (TNA)

Metropolitan Bangkok joins Leading Hotels stable

TTG Travel Hub

Como Hotels and Resorts’ flagship property in Thailand, the Metropolitan Bangkok, has been invited to join Leading Hotels of the World (LHW).

Como launched the outpost of their original London property in the Thai capital in November 2003. Since then the Metropolitan has been acclaimed worldwide for its sleek design, superb dining and refreshingly accurate attitude to service.

Other Bangkok hotels that are members of Leading Hotels of the World include the Sukhothai, the Peninsula, Dusit Thani and the Banyan Tree.

Fray over THAI domestic ticketing

Since November 1, domestic tickets on Thai Airways International (THAI) can only be issued as e-tickets through Amadeus, and agents not using the CRS have been left out in the cold.

A THAI spokesperson confirmed that domestic tickets, when bought separately from international tickets, are now only available through THAI offices or Amadeus. This has rankled some agents using other systems, such as DTC Travel managing director, Tom Bishop, who are now obliged to take in an Amadeus terminal. “It turns the clock back twelve years to when CRS was claiming monopoly on tickets for certain airlines,” Bishop said.

In addition, some reservations made previously by agents using Galileo, Abacus or Sabre may no longer be honoured.

“In May, a customer booked a THAI flight for New Year’s Day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It was confirmed on Galileo but when we tried to obtain the e-ticket through Amadeus this month, the reservation no longer existed and all flights were full,” Bishop said. (TTG Asia)

AirAsia moves into the heart of Singapore

New sales office in the CBD

Luc Citrinot

AirAsia has opened a new sales office in CBD Singapore. The new office is in the Peninsula Plaza Building, 111 North Bridge Road 2, 02-34/35, a few meters away from Singapore’s new Parliament House and close to one of Singapore’s most lively entertainment areas at Boat Quay.

The new office will provide AirAsia’s customers with the convenience of making inquiries, bookings and payments. The office is open everyday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Alternatively, customers may also purchase their AirAsia seats via its website at, by contacting the Call Centre at +65-6733 9933, or at its airport sales office in Terminal 1 of the Changi International Airport.

Thai AirAsia had flights connecting Bangkok and Singapore since February this year. It presently operates three daily flights serving Bangkok and Singapore. On November 4, Thai AirAsia launched a new route between Singapore and Phuket, offering more opportunities for Singaporean beach-lovers to enjoy one of Southeast Asia’s renowned resorts.