Vol. V No. 26 - Saturday June 24, - June 30, 2006
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Rai attempting to boost tourist numbers after a re-think

Thailand Grand Sale resurrected

Cambodia goes for seaside airport

Further delays expected for Airbus 380

PB Air airline temporarily stops Mae Hong Son flights

Thai agents face industry-wide clean-up

Chiang Rai attempting to boost tourist numbers after a re-think

Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Somkiart Chuenthirawong, president of Chiang Rai Travel Association and consultant to the Regional Tourism Federation of Thailand disclosed that Chiang Rai has recently seen tourist numbers fall.
To attempt to reverse this trend, a meeting was held with the eight Lanna provinces, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Lampang and Lamphun to work out how to develop tourism, and to create strategies to improve Chiang Rai so it would be the center of the upper Mekong River basin area tourism.
According to the strategies, old tourist venues will be improved, OTOP Tourism Village concepts will be applied, service and personnel standards will be developed, the ancient Chiang Saen City will be promoted as a world heritage site and tourism destinations for specific groups of tourists will be worked out. It is hoped that all these evolutionary strategies will support Chiang Rai tourism to become livelier.


Thailand Grand Sale resurrected

Nopniwat Krailerg
In yet another ploy to stimulate tourism in the low season, the Thailand Grand Sale concept has been resurrected. The program of offering discounts is being instituted inn the main tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Had Yai, Phuket, Pattaya, and Nakorn Ratchasima. Businesses joining this program will present products which are priced 10-50 percent lower for Thai and foreign tourists from June 16 – August 15, this year.
This latest Thailand Grand Sale was announced by Thongchai Wongrianthong, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor; Pornthip Ornnoom, director of tourism business investment department of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT); Sirirat Thiangtham, marketing manager of Visa International Co., Ltd., and John D. Thomson, Sales, Marketing, and after sales service director for the ASEAN Region of Chevrolet Sales (Thailand).
It is hoped to promote Thailand as the shopping paradise. In Chiang Mai, the Central Airport Plaza Department Store, business owners at Nimmanheminda Road, Baan Thawai, Chang Klan, and about 400 shops are joining this program. Tourists who enjoy the program do not only get 10-50 percent discount; those who buy more than 500 baht worth by Visa card will get a chance to receive special price travel package from hotels and airlines. They will also have an opportunity to win one of 15 Chevrolet cars.
To be eligible, look for shops with the symbol “Thailand Grand Sale 2006”.


Cambodia goes for seaside airport

Cambodia has approved plans for an international airport in the coastal city of Sihanoukville. The initiative is part of a plan to propel tourism within the country.
Like Cambodia’s other smaller airports that were once part of an extensive domestic network, the facility in Sihanoukville, 230 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh, is currently closed. The government however, hopes to reopen it to domestic flights by the end of the year and later introduce international routes.
Soy Sokhan, an official with the state for civil aviation, said that the rebuilt airport would be able to facilitate direct flights from neighboring countries, allowing visitors to head for the country’s beaches and also have a quick link to the Angkor temple town of Siem Reap.
There are also future plans to reopen the airport in the north eastern town of Kratie, near a stretch of the Mekong river home to endangered Irrawaddy dolphins that Cambodia hopes to preserve as a tourist attraction.
Almost 1.5 million tourist arrivals were recorded in 2005, mostly from Asian countries, and the hope is for three million annually by 2010. As per the information available, last year, tourism earned Cambodia US$ 1 billion, of which 15 percent went to the state and the rest to the private sector. (eTN Asia)


Further delays expected for Airbus 380

AS many as 10 airlines including Singapore Airlines (SIA), Qantas, Emirates, Lufthansa and Air France will be affected by Airbus’ announcement of a further delay of up to seven months in the A380’s delivery schedule.
This was blamed on “production ramp-up issues” and comes on top of a six-month delay previously announced in late 2005. Airbus will now deliver only nine aircraft in 2007 instead of the 20 to 25 originally scheduled and the delivery shortfall will carry into 2008 and 2009.
It will impact plans by airlines to inject capacity on high-demand services into airports that are faced with severe slot constraints. These include airports in London, Tokyo, Sydney and Los Angeles.
By operating an A380 on one of its three daily services into Sydney or London, SIA could offer an increase in capacity of up to 8.8 per cent without utilising any additional slots - a valuable gain given the high year-round demand on these routes and high fuel cost.
An SIA spokesperson told TTG Daily News: “We are disappointed with the news of further delays but will work with Airbus to minimise the delays and their impact.”
SIA still expects to receive its first A380 by the end of 2006 and this latest delay will not impact on its “First to Fly the A380” status. However it will probably defer SIA’s planned phased decommissioning of its older Boeing 747-400s (TTG).


PB Air airline temporarily stops Mae Hong Son flights

Chiangmai Mail Reporters
PB Air has temporarily canceled flights on its Bangkok-Mae Hong Son route from May 5 – October 26 due to lack demand.
However, PB Air in Mae Hong Son is still open for PB Air ticket reservation for other operating flights. From October 26, PB Air will reinstate the Bangkok-Mae Hong Son route, said a company spokesman.


Thai agents face industry-wide clean-up

Bangkok - Upon receiving numerous complaints in recent months from agents and consumers concerning e-ticket fraud - wholesalers acting as retail agents and airlines dealing directly with corporations - the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) wants to “clean up” the industry with regulations requiring outbound agents to get certified.
TTAA president, Anake Srishevachart, said the TTAA wanted to work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to set up the regulations to certify outbound agents as well as solve unethical issues in the travel sector.
He said: “There are many outbound agents. Some are qualified and some are not so qualified. We get so many complaints from agents and consumers. Some agents are cheating. Some agents don’t have a licence. We must clean up this problem.”
In a bid to halt malpractice, the TTAA plans to reinforce the registration initiative by asking computer reservations system owners to co-operate by disclosing distribution legacy system installation points.
The association said some agents were guilty of issuing e-tickets without creating a genuine PNR.
The TTAA is also considering surveying members so it can set a standardised, industry-wide service and consultancy fee in preparation for zero commission. The service and consultancy fee would be modelled on the one in place in Singapore.
TTAA vice-president, Charoen Wangananont, told members during the associations’ recent monthly meeting even familiarisation trips would come under scrutiny.
He said the association would scan people who wanted to participate in such trips to ensure they were “travel business partners and not cousins or friends”.
World Travel Service tours manager, Viraj Chimprasert, supported the TTAA proposals. “At the moment it is very easy for anyone to become a travel agent or tour operator because of the (lax) rules and regulations. When these agents have no business, do you know what they do? They contact wholesalers and other people and undercut them.
“What will happen in the end is the whole industry will plunge into disarray. Now is the time to consider this (the TTAA’s proposals). We have to screen people coming into the industry.” (TTG)



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