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

Tiger Airways launches low fare flights from Chiang Mai to Singapore

Nok Air’s new package payment option

THAI explains cancellation of some domestic and international flights

Airport committee urges development plans

Major reforestation scheme planned for villagers

Accor set to score King Power deal

Yunnan Chinese Culture Center a new tourist attraction in Pai

Tiger Airways launches low fare flights from Chiang Mai to Singapore

Sandy Clark

Tiger Airways, Singapore’s low fare airline’s first flight arrived in Chiang Mai on Friday, February 18, 2005. This new airline started operation in September 2004 claims it can offer reliable point-to-point air travel at highly affordable fares.

Tony Davis (5th from left), president and CEO of Tiger Airways during the promotion in Chiang Mai. (Photo by Michael Vogt)

Tiger Airways has four Airbus A 320 with single class configuration of 180 seats. Currently it has four daily flights to Bangkok, one daily to Phuket and Hat Yai respectively, and four flights weekly to Chiang Mai (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).

CEO of Tiger Airways, Tony Davis, who was present for the inaugural flight said, “Chiang Mai is a very popular tourist destination for Singaporeans because it’s rich in traditional Lanna culture, has great weather, and most of all, has unbeatable sight-seeing in the nearby hills and mountains, not to forget the more affordable prices for golfers.”

To launch Tiger Airways inaugural flight from Singapore to Chiang Mai, Tiger Airways gave away 200 free tickets for Singaporeans to travel to Chiang Mai. Similar road shows will be organized shortly in Chiang Mai giving away free tickets to Singapore.

The average cost for one way Chiang Mai is 1,500 baht but to celebrate the launch of the new route, 3000 seats from 249 baht (one way) was launched in Chiang Mai.

Bookings can be done online anytime, but Tiger Airways currently operates ticket counters in Singapore, Bangkok and Phuket airports, opening two hours before departure. The current flights to and from Chiang Mai are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

For more information about Tiger Airways, visit www. tigerairways.com


Nok Air’s new package payment option

Staff reporters

Nok Air is collaborating with AEON Thana Sinsap in offering travellers the “AEON Super Package”, providing credit payment services for travellers during the up-coming holiday season.

With the “AEON Super Package”, travellers can choose a travel package to any of the five destinations from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Phuket or Hat Yai. The package includes hotel accommodation, return airfare with Nok Air and airport transfers. Payment can then be made with the AEON instalment payment.

Patee Sarasin, chief executive officer of Nok Air

Masao Mizuno, Managing Director, Aeon Thana Sinsap (Thailand) said, “We feel that the ‘AEON Super Package’ can serve to further stimulate the travelling habits of Thais, while promoting tourism within the country.” This concept was also backed by Patee Sarasin, chief executive officer of Nok Air.

AEON members can make reservations for one of the Aeon Super Packages through the AEON call centre at 0-2664-0381-2 and 0-2664-0396-7, while non-AEON members can apply for membership at the AEON call centre. Payment can be made with the AEON instalment payment option or full payment can be made through the AEON credit card. The packages are available from today through April 30, 2005.

Nok Air operates three daily flights to Phuket, as well as daily flights to Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Hat Yai, and Phitsanulok, operating Boeing 737-400s.


THAI explains cancellation of some domestic and international flights

Thai Airways International (THAI) has clarified the adjustment and cancellation of its domestic and international flight schedule effective 15 January 2005 onwards on the Taipei-Hong Kong-Phuket-Bangkok, Bangkok-Phuket-Singapore and Bangkok-Hat Yai-Singapore routes.

Kanok Abhiradee, THAI’s president, said that the flight adjustment between 15 January and 26 March 2005 was implemented to cope with the decrease in passenger demand, not to make way for Thai AirAsia to take over those routes since this depends on aviation rights which must be requested from the Air Transportation Department. In addition, the adjustment will be temporary and will be adjusted again for the Summer Schedule.

The Bangkok–India route, which is considered a highly profitable route, will not be cancelled. Passengers may request flight details or make their reservations through the Reservation Office 24 hours a day by calling Tel: 0-2628-2000 and 0-2280-0060.


Airport committee urges development plans

The committee working on the development of Bangkok’s new international airport will propose the urgent establishment of a new corporation to revamp the area in the airport’s vicinity, amid fears that delays could lead to unsystematic planning.

A source from the Suvarnabhumi Airport Development Administration Committee, speaking to reporters, said that as soon as the new Cabinet was in place the committee would propose its plans to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for immediate endorsement. With the airport due to open in September this year, the committee is anxious that its plans get off the drawing board as soon as possible.

As Bangkok’s new airport and the central plank in Thailand’s bid to become a regional aviation hub, Suvarnabhumi will necessitate systematic development. Studies by the committee have shown that over the next 30 years, the population of the area surrounding the airport is likely to swell to 1.8 million, with over 100,000 jobs created by the end of this year alone. Failure to plan properly, the source warned, could lead to a host of future problems.

In addition to the development plans, the committee will also propose the establishment of a Suvarnabhumi town development corporation, which will play an integral role in the development work.

“Both the area administration plans and the establishment of the corporation must be undertaken as a matter of urgency. If we can’t do this simultaneously with the airport’s opening, the area will lack planning”, the source said, pointing to the airport’s future role as a centre of international business and industry. What was vital, the source said, was to ensure careful zoning which would delineate residential and industrial areas. (TNA)


Major reforestation scheme planned for villagers

The Thai government is planning to launch a major reforestation program including encouraging villagers to inhabit forest areas with promises of land-use rights and contract-farming deals.

The latest official survey revealed that more than 57 million rai of forest land throughout country have been reduced to wasteland, a senior forest official Virapol Suthipornpalangkul revealed. From the survey, more than 340,000 people live in the country’s degraded forests nationwide.

Under the new scheme, the government plans to introduce more than a million rai of commercial forest land. Under this deal, the government will encourage residents living in these forest areas without official permission to plant fast-growing trees of commercial value, like eucalyptus, in order to improve the soil quality. The government will offer to buy the products from these trees under a contract-farming arrangement and grant land-use rights to the villagers. (TNA)


Accor set to score King Power deal

Jeremy Colson, TTG

Accor Hotels Asia Pacific is looking to be appointed as the operator of a 400 room Novotel on a site behind the Siam City Hotel in downtown Bangkok.

To be called the Novotel King Power Bangkok, the new property is a key component of a development that also includes offices, shops, a classical dance theatre and duty-free shopping.

The development will also feature a new head office for King Power Duty Free, the company that has leased the site from Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau.

Novotel King Power is slated to open mid-2007 and is the second new Novotel to be announced by Accor this month. The other is the 600 room Novotel Suvarnabhumi Hotel which is in an advanced stage of construction at Bangkok’s new airport.


Yunnan Chinese Culture Center a new tourist attraction in Pai

Staff reporters

The Yunnan Chinese Culture Center may become a new tourist attraction in Santichon, Pai, which could change its image from that of a drug village.

On February 9, Prasit Prasertsri, Mae Hong Son deputy governor, presided over the opening ceremony of the Yunnan Chinese Culture Center at Baan Santichon, Pai district, Mae Hong Son. The exhibition shows the ancient Chinese pace of living and lifestyle and there is also a market for local products. Boonlor Lorariyawat, headman of Baan Santichon, said that the name of Santichon has been notorious for drug connections but the government is now keeping a weather eye on this area.

In an effort to revive its popularity, the villagers built the culture center in the middle of the village to attract tourists. From now on, they fondly hope, it will create only fame for the village and the polyglot villagers will be happy again.

Presently, 264 villagers claim to be Thai, 807 are still waiting for nationality permits, 205 persons are liberal Chinese, 133 are migrating Chinese, 48 are former nationalist Chinese combatants, 284 are identified as hill tribe people and 137 remain unidentified.