HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Air Asia scores sponsorship deal with Manchester United

THAI organizes Beach Queen contest attempting to revive southern tourism

SATS to upgrade products

TAT marketing plan for 2006 - A Grand Invitation

WTO reports sparkling 2004 results

TAT zooms in on three regional markets

Air Asia scores sponsorship deal with Manchester United

Nonthawan Songserm

Manchester United announced a new one year deal with AirAsia, to be the Club’s official low fare airline. In doing so, AirAsia goes down in history as the first Asian low cost airline to successfully associate itself with one of the biggest football club in the English Premier League.

(Front, sitting from left) Andy Anson (commercial director, Manchester United), David Gill (CEO, Manchester United), Tony Fernandes (Group CEO, AirAsia Berhad), and Sir Bobby Charlton. (Back standing) Tassapon Bijleveld, Thai AirAsia’s CEO (second from left); Sendjaja Widjaja, PT AWAIR’s president director (third from right); Arak Chonlatanon, Thai AirAsia’s executive chairman (right).

The agreement, which includes global advertising and sponsorship activity, starts in August 2005, and covers AirAsia’s associate companies Thai AirAsia and AWAIR in Indonesia.

An official signing ceremony was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Hong Kong to mark the partnership ; a first for both AirAsia and Manchester United. Present at the ceremony were Manchester United’s representatives David Gill, CEO; and Andy Anson, Commercial Director; who met with officials from AirAsia, Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer; Tassaporn Bijleveld, CEO – Thai AirAsia; and Sendjaja Widjaja, President Director PT AWAIR. The signing was witnessed by Sir Bobby Charlton, Peter Draper, Marketing Director, Manchester United; and regional media from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Berhad said: “Manchester United stands for creativity, passion and the best of football. The partnership signifies our determination to be the best and have the highest quality product. In the ensuing years AirAsia will stand for all that Manchester is, in becoming the best quality and value for money airline in the world. Now Everyone Can Fly… including all the Greats.”

THAI organizes Beach Queen contest attempting to revive southern tourism

Thai Airways International (THAI) will organize the “Beach Queen Thailand 2005” activities to be held from July to October 2005 in Krabi and Phuket provinces.

The contest will be held to strengthen tourism and revive the southern Andaman provinces. Due to the decrease in tourists and being the low season, THAI was appointed by the government to help revive tourism to the region.

The contest will be a first in Thailand allowing young women between 18 and 25 from all over the world to participate.

The contest will be held in two rounds, the first to select the final 30 Thai women will be held in Krabi province. The winner and first runner-up will join with the international women in the final round to be held October 1 at Patong Beach in Phuket.

The winner of the contest will receive a cash prize of US$10,000 (B. 400,000) and a first class round-trip ticket and first class accommodation from destination of origin to Phuket or Krabi. The winner will also be appointed as Beauty Ambassador of the Andaman.

Applications are open from now to August 31 on website For more information, Tel: 0 2938 7877 ext 519.

SATS to upgrade products

Sze Toh Yuin Munn

Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS) will invest S$23 million to upgrade its products and services in the next financial year of 2005/06.

New offerings for this year include a SATS Special Care Check-in Lounge for airline passengers with restricted mobility and accompanying family and friends, and a 24hr check-in service at Changi Airport, both available from August.

Come October, subject to regulatory approval, SATS will introduce a “Pet Hotel” for pets in transit.

To further improve communication with customers, SATS also recruited about 60 native language speakers from China, Korea and Japan, with Hindi speakers to be introduced in September.

Next year, self-service check-in kiosks will be introduced.

Aside from new product offerings, SATS will invest money on staff training, strengthening its air cargo hub, and upgrading its in-flight dining. (TTG Asia)

TAT marketing plan for 2006 - A Grand Invitation

Reinhard Hohler

The eagerly awaited Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) A Grand Invitation marketing briefing for the fiscal year 2005-2006 was held at the Sofitel Central Plaza Hotel in Bangkok. There were several market and product descriptions and also parallel table top presentations.

For the marketing action plan 2005-2006, the following products to promote are deemed to be important with the emphasis on:

1. “Thai-ness” and culture, especially religion and its practice

2. Shopping in centres, such as Bangkok, Hat Yai, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai

3. New beaches in Koh Chang, Koh Samui, and along the Andaman Sea

4. Niche markets, such as diving, golf, women, youth, and health tourism

5. Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) as a single destination, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

Secondly, the following Thai products are special assets:
1. Food
2. Shopping items
3. Soft adventure tours

Finally, the nature of travel should be supported on all fronts to use the current strategies to position Thailand as a tourist destination, such as familiarization trips, hard sales/soft sales, trade fairs, advertising and campaigns to attract tourists in the low seasons. The increasing cost of living should be a point of awareness and will influence the inflation rate.

The whole day briefings ended with a press conference, where Juthamas Siriwan, governor of TAT, commented on a video presentation on the tourist attractions of Thailand and the ongoing “Happiness on Earth” campaign. Facing the crises evoked by 9/11, the Bali, Madrid and Jakarta bombings, SARS, Iraq War, tsunami and the political trouble in the deep South, she holds that the tourism industry in Thailand is marked by quality, sustainability and competitiveness. She emphasized the importance of the niche markets and announced the official target of 15 million tourist arrivals for the year 2006.

To reach this ambitious target, the main markets from Japan, China and South Korea should be promoted and India as an emerging market developed by attracting corporate filmmakers. Introducing charter flights into the newly built Suvarnabhumi International Airport will help to develop Australia and New Zealand as new markets. The revival of the European market will depend on the post-tsunami situation in Phuket and the status of Thailand as “Gateway to Indochina”.

The Middle East has the potential to become the crossroads of the world to connect to emerging markets in Africa. Putting the important market of North America aside, there are also emerging markets in South America.

TAT Governor Mrs. Juthamas unveiled the “Grand Invitation” campaign for 2006, to celebrate the 60 years reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great. There will be 60 mega-events throughout the year to invite tourists from all over the world to come to Thailand. The “five faces” of Thailand in the north, northeast, east, central and south will guarantee all the happiness on earth.

WTO reports sparkling 2004 results

Tourism earnings worldwide grew by 10.3 percent in 2004 and international tourism receipts reached a record US$ 622 billion, according to the latest World Tourism Organization (WTO) World Tourism Barometer edition.

WTO said growth in tourism receipts also matched growth in international tourist arrivals, which increased by 10.7 percent last year.

The increase in tourism receipts amounted to US$97 billion, but this was flattered by the depreciation of the US dollar in 2004. This caused receipts earned in currencies such as the euro, the Canadian dollar, the Japanese yen or the Australian dollar to be exchanged into larger amounts of US dollars.

Europe earned 52 percent of worldwide tourism receipts, the Americas 21 percent, Asia-Pacific 20 percent and Africa and the Middle East, three percent.

All regions posted positive results in 2004, ranging from two percent for Europe to 24 percent for Asia-Pacific. (TTG Asia)

TAT zooms in on three regional markets

Faith Chang, Melbourne

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is boosting its advertising and marketing budget to draw more visitors from Australia, China and Japan, following deputy prime minister and finance minister, Somkid Jatusripitak’s recent trip to China.

TAT governor, Ms Juthamas Siriwan, has requested 470 million baht from the government to devise and implement tourism marketing-driven strategies in China and Japan.

The TAT is projecting to gain around 20 billion baht in tourism revenue from an expected 1.1 million Chinese and Japanese tourists in the second-half of this year.

Although inbound figures from Australia dropped 16.97 percent for January to December 2003 from the same period in 2002, Thailand saw a marked improvement of 36.8 percent in arrival figures in 2004.

Thailand also experienced growth of a 5.7 percent in January 2005 compared to January 2004, with 34,507 Australians visiting the country. (TTG Asia)