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

Thai AirAsia adds routes to China, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2005

Chiang Mai sets a target of 4.2 million tourists for 2005

Diethelm Travel Asia launches crisis web link

Thai AirAsia adds routes to China, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2005

Thai AirAsia is going to launch five new flight routes to China, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2005.

Arak Chonlatanon (4th left, 3rd row), executive chairman of the Thai AirAsia, Tassapon Bijleveld (5th left, 3rd row) chief executive officer of Thai Air Asia, with 11 lucky guests and staff at the press conference held in Bangkok.

The five routes include three in China including Bangkok-Xiamen, Bangkok–Kunming, Bangkok-Guang Xao, Bangkok-Phnom Phen and Bangkok-Hanoi.

After carrying more than one million customers, Thai AirAsia awarded 11 lucky persons with Siemens mobile phones who were winners of the Thai AirAsia activities held as part of the one million flyers celebration.


Chiang Mai sets a target of 4.2 million tourists for 2005

Meeting suggests monks should be tourist attractions!

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai Tourism Promotion and Development Board has set a new target of 4.2 million tourist arrivals for 2005 following a meeting of the board held at Chiang Mai City Hall.

23 organizations such as police, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Northern Region 1, tourist police, Thai Hotel Association, Northern Chapter and local administration organizations participated in the meeting to discuss the direction of the 2005 tourism.

In 2004, arrivals were 3.8 million, and the new targets represent a 10 percent increase which it is hoped will result in a similar increase in revenue.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong said that from the Lanna cluster strategies, the main focus for Chiang Mai is the tourism industries because Chiang Mai is the transportation center and has many important tourist attractions.

At the meeting, the participants discussed 2005’s tourism strategies, tourist security, tourist attraction development and Lanna culture development and conservation.

It was suggested that monks should be asked to beg for alms in the morning throughout the inner city moat areas to promote the traditional image. Chiang Mai City has also to be tidy at all seasons to welcome tourists.

Pol. Lt. Col. Nutthawut Pokikanchanawat, Chiang Mai tourist police inspector, said that during last New Year festival, the police regularly patrolled and cooperated with the highway police to check alcohol levels of drivers at 32 checkpoints throughout the province to prevent accidents.

A group of tourist police also helped tourists with complaints of overcharged goods and services. Any tourists with complaints can contact Chiang Mai Tourist Police at 053 278 559, 053 278 798, or 053 278 564 24 hours a day.


Diethelm Travel Asia launches crisis web link

To provide clients, customers and anxious relatives with the latest information on the situation in Southern Thailand following the December 26 earthquake, Diethelm Travel Asia (DTA) has set up a special link on its website, making available emergency contact numbers, news and live updates on resorts in Phuket, Khao Lak and other stricken areas.

People looking for more information can click on a tab that reads, “Tidal Wave Update” at the top of the Diethelm homepage (www.diethelmtravel.com) and a link will take them to the latest information available with previous releases posted below.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone caught up in these unprecedented events - we hope that the information provided on our website will go some way to helping people deal with the constantly shifting circumstances in the affected areas,” said John Watson, chief executive officer, Diethelm Travel Asia. Watson added that while the tsunami had struck many areas of the Indian Ocean rim, it should be noted that most of Asia had not been affected by the tidal surges. For example, hotels and resorts in the Gulf of Siam, such as Koh Samui, Hua Hin and Pattaya had suffered no repercussions.

“This is a major humanitarian tragedy, but as far as tourism is concerned the effects will not be as severe as SARS which was endemic throughout Asia’s tourism industry. To get through this crisis we must help each other and work together - solidarity is the key,” said Watson.

Diethelm Travel offered its services to rival tour operator Asian Trails after learning that its office at the Holiday Inn on Patong Beach, Phuket had been struck by the tsunami.