Vol. IV No. 46 - Saturday November 12 - November 18, 2005
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Amari awarded ‘Best Domestic Hotel Chain’

Nok Air adds Chiang Mai-Udon Thani route

Cabinet approves tsunami anniversary plan

TAT promotes certified home-stays

Tourism suffers slight fall but all set for buoyant winter

Elephant lunch will be a jumbo-sized buffet

Amari awarded ‘Best Domestic Hotel Chain’

Kurt Ruffli received the trophy for ‘Best Domestic Hotel Chain 2005’

During the TTG Asia Awards for the ‘Best Domestic Hotel Chain’ at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort in Pattaya, Kurt Ruffli was on hand to personally receive the trophy.

Receiving the award, he stated, “We did not win because I sit in a comfortable chair in the head office in Bangkok, but because in our hotels we are providing exceptional standards of excellence and expertise that have been noticed by the travel trade. In fact, this award belongs to all the employees of Amari.”


Nok Air adds Chiang Mai-Udon Thani route

Nopniwat Krailerg

Nok Air has opened a new route between Chiang Mai and Udon Thani to help support investment and tourism between the North and the Northeast.

Sihapan Chumsai na Ayuthaya, administration and marketing vice president of Nok Air, said that during the initial phase from now until December there are two flights per week, on Friday and Sunday. Flying time is only 50 minutes, a sharp contrast to the eight-hour road journey.

Sihapan said that in addition to spurring trade and tourism between the two regions, the link also opens a new route to Lao PDR.

Ticket price during the launch period is from 1,250 to 2,050 baht, with 60 seats available on each flight. If the route proves successful, more flights will be added.


Cabinet approves tsunami anniversary plan

The Thai cabinet has approved a 300-million baht plan to commemorate the first anniversary of the December 26 tsunami that devastated the country’s Andaman Sea coast, killing almost 5,400 people. The anniversary organizing committee submitted the plan to the cabinet at a meeting recently.

Details released by the committee show a total of 14,123 people have been invited to attend the December 25-27 memorial events. The guests include Thai and foreign survivors and immediate relatives of those who died, as well as a number of foreign heads of state. To cater for those attending the various events, a total of 4,500 hotel rooms have been reserved in the southern provinces of Phuket, Phang-nga, Krabi and Trang, and 5,000 in Bangkok.

Thai ‘home stay’ style accommodation in local residents’ homes is also being offered as an alternative. Sponsored guests are being offered two nights’ free accommodation and return air tickets paid by the Thai government.

Tsunami memorial services are set to be held at 10 am on December 26 at six locations: Patong Beach; Kamala Beach and Mai Khao Cemetery in Phuket province; Bang Niang and Nam Khem villages in Phang-nga province; and Phi Phi Island in Krabi.

On the afternoon of December 26, a foundation-laying ceremony for a tsunami memorial will be held in Phang-nga’s Khao Lak Lamru National Park followed by evening religious rituals at Chongfah beach, also in Phang-nga.

The six coastal provinces of Phuket, Phang-nga, Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Satun were devastated by the December 26 tsunami.

The first anniversary commemoration ceremonies and other activities in the affected provinces are also aimed at rebuilding confidence in Thailand as a tourist destination. (TNA)


TAT promotes certified home-stays

eTTR

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is promoting certified home-stays in Thailand to attract foreign tourists. Prices vary from B. 300 to B. 700 per person per night but excludes activities such as merit making, offering food to Buddhist monks, fruit tasting, boat building, producing rice and shellfish farming.

In North Thailand, tourists can visit Ban Mae Kampong in Chiang Mai, Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang, Ban Muang Pon in Mae Hong Son and Ban Lap Lae in Uttaradit.

In the Northeast there is Ban Prasat in Nakhon Ratchasima, Ban Chiang in Udon Thani and Phu Thai Kok Kong Cultural Village in Kalasin.

The central region offers Ban Plai Pong Pang in Samut Songkram, Ban Rang Jorakae in Ayutthaya and Bang Chao Cha in Ang Thong.

In the South there is Ban Na Teen in Krabi, Koh Yao Noi Island in Phangnga, and Sin Manee Oyster Farm in Surat Thani.


Tourism suffers slight fall but all set for buoyant winter

Saksit Meesubkwang

Tourism in the North of Thailand has been slightly down for the past nine months but the high season is expected to perform well and there are no signs of the avian flu scare having any effect on visitor numbers.

Ob-ua Karuthanoot, new director of the Bank of Thailand Northern branch, said that the number of Thai and foreign tourists was down during the month of September because of the high cost of fuel oil, the violence in the Deep South, and the flooding in prime areas such as Chiang Mai.

These factors combined resulted in a decrease of 4.2 percent in arrivals at the airport and a reduction of hotel occupancy to 40.5 percent, although the rate being paid for a hotel room showed an increase of 1.9 percent. Ob-ua added that the nine months between January to September saw the average room rate rise by 6.9 percent with hotel occupancy at 50.6 percent.

This winter with its especially cool weather is expected to attract Thai and foreign tourists to the region. The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Chiang Mai province are organizing various activities during the approaching season and this is expected to generate even more visitors.


Elephant lunch will be a jumbo-sized buffet

Nopniwat Krailerg

A buffet lunch for elephants is on the menu from December 2 to 4 at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Hang Chat district, Lampang.

A conference chaired by Lampang Deputy Governor Chareunsuk Chumsri to find ways of promoting tourism and finding revenue to support Thai elephants decided to hold the event at the same time the local ceramics fair is being held, as it can be promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and attract tourists already in the region for the fair. The elephant buffet has been staged in previous years and has proved successful.

Residents, students, government departments and the private sector will be invited to participate by providing food, and the elephants will take part in games and compete for trophies, although hopefully before lunch.



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