HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

THAI upgrades Royal First Class and Royal Executive Class

Future uncertain for PATA’s Mekong Tourism Forum

10 ASEAN countries promoted by Philippine Beauty

TAT and Visa present Thailand Visitor Card 2005

THAI upgrades Royal First Class and Royal Executive Class

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) has upgraded and introduced world-class brand name in-flight products for Royal First Class and Royal Executive Class passengers.

Some of the new products which will be offered from April.

These include “Elle” and “Guy Larocche” Comfort Wear offered in various styles and colors, with PJs such as long robes, long nightwear and woolen PJs prepared in a quality cloth bag with sleeping blindfolds and slippers.

100% cotton slippers produced by Thai local people are offered to Royal Executive Class passengers traveling on the pilot project routes which are Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Seoul and London.

Toilet Kits including body lotion, eau de toilette and cologne are now included, with “Herm่s” brand offered to Royal First Class passengers and “L’Occitane” brand offered for Royal Executive Class passengers.

Travel Kits will be available from April onwards with “Herm่s” and “Bvlgari” brands offered to Royal First Class passengers. “Biotherm” and “Dupont” brands will be offered for Royal Executive Class passengers.

Noise Guard and Noise Cancellation earphones will be available from April onwards. OTOP Mangosteen scented soap, and OTOP products will be offered on the route Bangkok – Tokyo.

Kanok Abhiradee, THAI’s President, said that improvements were made in accordance to THAI’s vision and objective to be one of the three leading airlines in the world and the first choice carrier in Asia. THAI’s competitive development includes improvement of the airline’s corporate identity, premium passenger service, royal transfer, in-flight entertainment and seats.

Future uncertain for PATA’s Mekong Tourism Forum

Jeffrey Studebaker

The future of the annual Mekong Tourism Forum event is in limbo. Industry analysts are predicting the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and PATA will hand over financial and organizational responsibility to the Agency for the Co-ordination of Mekong Tourism Activities (AMTA). However AMTA, now under the auspices of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), has shown little enthusiasm for the event.

PATA vice-president development, Peter Semone

For the second year in succession AMTA director, Satit Nillwongse, will not be attending. That mantle of responsibility, taken last year by TAT deputy governor for international marketing, Phornsiri Manoharn, will this year be taken by her subordinate, TAT director international marketing development, Saichalee Varnapruk.

Conclusions are that TAT may be sending a message to the forum that it is no longer as much of a priority, and the futures of both MTF and AMTA are now shrouded in doubt. PATA vice-president development, Peter Semone, said one possible outcome would have the public sector meeting entirely restructured as a series of private sector events.

“The future of the event and of AMTA will be decided this weekend. PATA will be lobbying to move AMTA to the Ministry of Tourism and rename it as the Mekong Tourism Office, with clear goals and lines of accountability,” Peter Semone said.

10 ASEAN countries promoted by Philippine Beauty

Miss Thailand Elite is 2nd runner up and Miss Congeniality

There is always room for another beauty contest in Asia, even one which does not only rely on beauty and sexy outfits, but mostly promoting ASEAN national costumes.

On the far right Miss ASEAN 2005 from the Philippines, next to her Panisa Chaikanarakkil, Miss Thailand ‘Elite’, who earned Miss Congeniality and second runner up. (Photo by Daisy Vogt)

The first Miss ASEAN pageant was looking for a smart woman to become a goodwill ambassador to promote ASEAN human and natural resources for tourism, business, and industry. Eight countries sent their representative for two weeks to Indonesia, where they were judged on a 100 point scale. Forty points for intelligence, 30 for natural beauty, and 30 for etiquette.

Two weeks prior to the contest, they toured Indonesia’s provinces, participated in TV shows, attended official parties and got to know each other before appearing in front of a huge live and TV audience in Jakarta.

23 year old Filipina Jhezarie won the hearts of judges and audience with answers that even left the MC speechless. “May we all join hands for a better future,” was just one of the quotes which helped her gain the title and made her the first ASEAN goodwill ambassador, stationed in Jakarta for one year, to create friendship and cooperation among the different countries, through politics, trade, and culture.

Before Jhezarie was crowned, Miss Thailand Elite, Panisa Chaikanarakkul, who was sent as Thailand’s representative through the ‘Elite Privilege Card’, won the title of Miss Congeniality, Miss Indonesia Imelda Fransisca became Miss Favorite, and Jhezarie also won the title of Miss Natural Beauty. 22 year old Imelda from Indonesia and 23 year old Panisa from Thailand became the first and second runner-ups respectively.

Eight girls took part from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Only Laos and Cambodia did not send participants to the first beauty pageant of the 10 nation organization.

TAT and Visa present Thailand Visitor Card 2005

TTR Daily

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in co-operation with Visa International is introducing the Thailand Visitor Card 2005.

The Thailand Visitor Card 2005 is a discount card that entitles cardholders to discounts of between 5 percent and 30 percent at almost 3,000 participating establishments around Thailand and especially in the popular visitor destinations of Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Cha-am, Ko Samui and Hat Yai.

The card is being made available to individuals and families planning a trip to Thailand over the next year. There is no membership or entrance fee. The card is being distributed by TAT’s international as well as domestic offices. Travelers planning a trip to Thailand can simply call at the nearest TAT office to apply for the card.

Visitors who are already in Thailand at the time of the launch of the Thailand Visitor Card on April 1, 2005 are invited to contact the TAT Head Office on Petchaburi Road or the nearest TAT office.

Cards issued from April 1, 2005 onwards are valid until March 31, 2006.

Designed to reinforce Thailand’s reputation as a “shopping paradise”, as of April 1, 2005, the Thailand Visitor Card will be welcomed at a wide range of participating establishments representing a variety of products and services.

These include department stores, restaurants, hospitals, recreation centers such as golf courses, spas, accommodation, in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Cha-am, Ko Samui and Hat Yai.

TAT spokesman, Mr Tanes Petsuwan, told TTG Daily News the card would also be available at major international airports – Don Muang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai. He said the card would be available from April 1 and would be valid until the end of March 2006. “The card will be given free of charge and has to be used in conjunction with a current valid Visa credit card.”