The Chedi Chiang Mai welcomes local Skål Club
The newly opened The Chedi Chiang Mai welcomed 50 members and guests of Skål
International Chiangmai and North Thailand for this month’s meeting.
Eleanor Hardy, the Chedi’s GM and local secretary of Skål
International, welcomed the Skal group to her hotel.
MC Michael Vogt, spoke on his new assignment with the Panthip Group of
Companies to oversee the rapid development of the night bazaar area in
Chiang Mai. He also introduced the new General Manager of the Chiangmai
Mail, Australian Murray Dickson, who will now direct Chiang Mai’s first
English language newspaper into an even brighter future.
Many new faces were present at this May meeting, including Ivan Casadevall
who is the new General Manager of the Anantara Resort and Spa Chiang Rai.
The next meeting of Skål International Chiangmai and North Thailand
will be held at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai on June 29,
2006, whilst the most important Skal function in Thailand will be the Skal
World Congress which will be held in Pattaya in October 15-20 this year.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Skal Club, contact the
Secretary Eleanor Hardy by email to [email protected] or by fax to
Thai carrier announces non-stop flights to South Africa
Thai Airways International announced it will begin
offering non-stop flights between Bangkok and Johannesburg, South Africa, a
regional sales director said last week.
The service, which will start in November, is expected to address demand for
business travel from gem and precious metal dealers as well as increased
tourism, said Dullayapong Sukhanusas, Thai Airway regional sales director
for Europe and Africa.
The nonstop flights will run three times a week and are expected to also
attract regional businessmen from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the
“Advanced bookings have already reach between 30 percent and 40 percent
for November and December,” Dullayapong said. “The passenger load for
the first month will be satisfactory.”
The flights will start with a promotional rate in November of 30,000 baht
(US$785; €612) and are part of Thai Airways long-haul business strategy
and follow the recent opening of nonstop flights from Bangkok to New York,
Moscow and Los Angeles.
Thailand’s national carrier will use two, Boeing B777-200ER aircraft for
the 11-hour flights, which are its first ever non-stop flights to Africa.
The new aircraft seat 292 passengers. (AP)
A Malaysian Disneyland?
By James Arean (eTN Asia)
Rumours are rife in Malaysia that Tokyo Disneyland might set up a theme park
in the southern state of Johor, just across from neighboring Singapore.
According to published reports, Malaysian government-linked company UEM
World is negotiating with Oriental Land - the Japanese company which
operates Tokyo Disneyland - to create Disney ‘magic’ in a 2,000 acre
Talk of a theme park in Johor has circulated in the past. A number of theme
parks have already sprouted in the SE Asian region, the most recent being
Hong Kong, which apparently isn’t proving to be very magical. Shanghai is
planning one too.
It will be interesting to find out what the target demographic of a
Malaysian Disneyland would be. Certainly not neighbouring Singaporeans who
would think a Disneyland in Malaysia may not be the “real thing.”
Moreover, Singapore is likely to get its own theme park when the government
awards the license for the second integrated resort in its Sentosa Island.
The license for the first integrated resort went to Las Vegas Sands which
will develop a multi-billion dollar complex which includes entertainment,
hotels, convention centre and a casino.
To build a theme park of this magnitude, location is crucial and the
southern state of Johor isn’t exactly prime location. It isn’t an air
hub which makes it difficult to attract regional and international tourists.
One would need to transit through the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur or
through Singapore. Using Malaysia’s low-cost carrier AirAsia to support
this - as some might envisage - would have its own problems.
A theme park cannot exist by itself so it calls for development of hotels
and related facilities. Developers of hotels, for instance, need a critical
mass and decent yield before they would commit.
A Malaysian Disneyland also begs the question— Would a Malaysian
Disneyland in Muslim-dominant Malaysia still feature Porky Pig and Goofy,
Pigs are considered haram in Islam and Muslims are forbidden to eat pork.
Dogs are seen as impure.
A Malaysian newspaper has just reported that novelty pig calendars and toys
have been banned from a council office - in case they offend Muslim staff.
Workers at the department were told to remove or cover up all pig-related
items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box
featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
Currently, Malaysian government officials are refusing to commit either way
on the suggested theme park proposals.
Tourist centres unaffected by severe floods in North
Tourist attractions in Thailand’s flood-affected
northern provinces were not affected by the recent severe floods, the
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) confirmed saying that tourists could
access the attractions as normal.
TAT Advertising and Public Relations Department Director Vunsadej
Thavarasukha said that information from local TAT offices indicated that the
damaged areas were mostly farmland and lowlands, and that tourists could
access the famed tourist attractions normally, including Sukhothai
Historical Park, Srisatchanalai Historical Park, Tung Luang Handicraft
Village and Ramkhamhaeng National Park in Sukhothai Province.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has announced that the northern line
railway is still under maintenance although it was expected that the SRT
would open the northern line train service from June 7 onwards. However,
passengers wanting to visit the northern province of Chiang Mai may have to
transfer to bus services between Uttaradit and Phrae before catching a train
to Chiang Mai.
According to Vunsadej, visitors are still coming to tourist sites in Tak
province including Bhumibol Dam. Tourists can also still access Tak’s
Teelorsoo waterfall although the National Park, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation Department announced earlier that vehicles were not allowed
entry to Um Phang Wildlife Reserve from the beginning of June through to
October 31. Tourists can enter Um Phang Wildlife Reserve only by foot. (TNA)
Thailand one million off the mark
Thailand recorded 11.5 million visitors last year - one
million below the target, according to recently released official figures,
which show arrivals to Thailand last year dropped 1.15 per cent compared to
The number of visitors from Malaysia, Thailand’s main market, fell 2.2 per
cent in 2005 on the year to 1,373,946 visitors.
Arrivals from Japan, Thailand’s second biggest market, dropped 1.28 per
cent on the year to 1,196,654, while arrivals from third-ranked Korea
plummeted 9.18 per cent to 816,407 visitors.
The UK was the kingdom’s main European market in 2005, increasing 2.19 per
cent on the year to 777,843, whilst arrivals from the US rose 1.94 per cent
in 2005 to 639,658. Arrivals from Australia fell 7.32 per cent to 428,521.
The TAT has targeted 13.8 million tourists this year. (TTG)
Malaysia gets tough with owners of pirated goods
Malaysia is taking a tough stance against disc piracy.
Anyone caught carrying pirated CDs, DVDs, VCDs and software into or out of
the country is liable to be fined between RM2,000 (US$549.45) and RM20,000
for each infringing copy and jailed for five years under the Copyright Act.
Even tourists are not spared, with “Stop Piracy! Why Ruin Your
Holidays!” posters displayed prominently at major airports. These posters
also warn of the consequences of flouting the law.
At a recent press conference, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry
director-general, Mr Mohd Rozlan Mahayudin, said: “We want tourists to
know that it is a crime to keep pirated CDs, DVDs, VCDs and software in
their luggage.” (TTG)