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

THAI Introduces New Royal Orchid Holidays Packages

Meritus Chiang Mai Riverside Spa Resort opening soon

More Singaporean visitors come to Chiang Mai

Northern provinces welcome more Spanish tourists

THAI Introduces New Royal Orchid Holidays Packages

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited has introduced new Royal Orchid Holidays (ROH) packages for 2005-2006, for all customers to experience a variety of traveling styles which are fun, adventurous, peaceful and relaxing.

Vasing Kittikul, THAI’s Executive Vice President for Commercial Department said that the new packages aim to promote tourism in Thailand and introduce more variety in traveling preference for customers.

Interesting packages include:

Spa package: gives you more selections of spas with touches of Thai.

Thai Boxing Training Course: teaches all interested people about how to perform Thai boxing with its uniqueness and beauty

In addition, THAI’s ROH would also like to introduce many new contemporary-styled hotels such as Metropolitan Hotel located on Sathorn Road, Bangkok; Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai; Novotel, Chiang Mai; Islandia Tropical, Phuket; Poo Lay Beach, Krabi; A-Prime Resort, Krabi; Aiyapura Resort and Spa; and Amari Emerald Cove Resort, Chang Island, Trat. This also includes new destinations such as the Koh Chang package for travelers who love the natural beauty of underwater scenery at Thailand Bay.

As for travelers who love the beauty and nature of the North, ROH also offers:

Panda Visit package, Pang Chang, Chiang Mai and botanical garden.

Adventurous travel package.

Off-road package: travelers can experience the beauty of Chiang Mai, Hmong Village and Doi Suthep in four-wheel drive.

Rock climbing: travelers take an exploratory tour, traveling on a kayak, see an elephant show, swimming and fishing.

Cooking course in the jungle: travelers take a cooking course in a jungle where they can experience survival skills in a real life situation such as cooking with bamboo, setting fire or searching for raw and fresh materials for their cooking.

Meditation retreat at Lumperng Temple, Chiang Mai: suitable for Thai people who live abroad and visit their home country where they can perform a peaceful activity in meditation.

In addition, THAI’s ROH programs offer a selection of packages for outbound destinations, including newly launched New York, U.S.A. and forthcoming Moscow in Russia that will be available at the end of 2005.

For more information and to make reservations, interested passengers may call THAI travel agents.


Meritus Chiang Mai Riverside Spa Resort opening soon

Exotic Lanna splendor promised

Sandy Clark

Meritus Hotels and Resorts, a Singapore-based hotel management company with luxury resorts, will soon have a base in Chiang Mai. The new property will soon be seen at its riverside location, comprising 77 rooms, spa, fitness center, art museum, gallery and a conference room.

Inspecting the site were (from left) Assistant Managing Director Vorapong Muchaothai, Kritsana Sribnjarat, Standard Tours; Chiang Mai mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn, TAT Director Norther Office region 1 Junnapong Saranak and president of Chiang Mai Guide Association Somrit (Paul) Haikum.

Assistant Managing Director Vorapong Muchaothai launched the marketing drive on behalf of the owner, Chiang Mai mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn.

The smallest room will be 60 sq. m and a medium size room 110 sq. m with modern Lanna designs under the artistic influence of Thai Yai, Thai Lue and contemporary western styles.

One of the stylish rooms reflecting Lanna heritage and culture.

Mayor Boonlert stated in his welcoming address, that the opening was delayed for a couple of months due to the recent floods in Chiang Mai and a soft opening is now planned for May 2006 with the grand opening date set sometimes in August next year.

Meritus will bring Chiang Mai one step further to becoming the center of the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS) development plan under the current Thai government proposals to promote Chiang Mai as a ‘City of life and prosperity’.


More Singaporean visitors come to Chiang Mai

eTTR

Chiang Mai is beginning to attract more Singaporean visitors due to new flights directly connecting the two cities. In the first five months this year, direct visitor arrivals from Singapore to Chiang Mai International Airport increased 71 percent over the same period of 2004.

Tiger Airways, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, inaugurated its first Singapore-Chiang Mai service 18 February 2005, adding to the three weekly direct flights being operated by Silk Air, also a Singapore Airlines subsidiary.

In August, the Tourism Authority of Thailand organized a major road show in Singapore to attract Singaporeans as well as the large number of expatriates residing there.

TAT is promoting Chiang Mai as a cultural destination, health and wellness city, city of handicrafts, and gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub region countries.

“The direct flights are increasing travel to Chiang Mai. They will also help open up other destinations in north Thailand, such as the provinces of Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Lampang, as well as our neighboring countries of Myanmar and Lao,” said TAT governor, Juthamas Siriwan.

She said the new flights fit in very well with TAT’s cluster development policy, which involves promoting tourism to areas around the popular tourist destinations in order to prevent congestion there, while distributing visitors to new areas they may not have previously seen.

Over the past few years, the Thai government has poured billions of baht into investment to upgrade Chiang Mai’s infrastructure and tourism products to accelerate its transformation into a regional transportation hub for the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

The TAT Singapore office is working with local travel agents as well as with THAI Airways International and the Singaporean carriers to promote special packages to Chiang Mai.

Silk Air has informed TAT that its sales of special packages covering Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son have grown by 25 percent above the projected figure.

Chiang Mai is also getting good press in Singapore, becoming known as the hometown of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. New destinations like the Night Safari and the increasing number of deluxe hotels opening there are also attracting visitors.

Ms Juthamas said the destination is also being actively marketed to Singaporean honeymooners, women travelers and families. There are many spas and wellness centers, botanical gardens and hill tribe villages in Chiang Mai.


Northern provinces welcome more Spanish tourists

eTTR
Photo: Chiangmai Mail

Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son provinces welcomed 30 percent more Spanish visitors in the low season compared with the same period last year.

Chiang Mai Guide Association president, Somrit Haikum.

The northern provinces promote mainly nature and hill tribes as the selling points to attract Spanish visitors. Chiang Mai Guide Association president, Somrit Haikum said that all Spanish tourists visit the Golden Triangle and hill tribes, especially the long neck people.

“I realize the northern provinces can sell and market themselves. Previously we were always sold together with Phuket until the tsunami disaster. Now we have to sell alone and everything is going well. We found out that northern destinations need not be sold in combination with beaches and tourists are not decreasing to our region,” he said.

As a leading guide, Somrit explained that the guide association should increase the number of guides for Spanish and Korean tourists. “If we do not produce the guides, both markets will be overloaded and we will lose customers. Currently, many tour guides are interested in learning Spanish. Also I think, persons who want to be tour guides should speak at least two languages to survive in their occupation,” he said.

Chiang Mai Guide Association holds its committee meetings 29th and 30th of every month. This month’s topic is on the development of guide potential. Tel: 0 5381 8360.


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