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

Skal Thailand- A Driving Force in Asia

Nok Air and SGA Airlines

Five major bodies quit Tourism Council of Thailand

Skal Thailand- A Driving Force in Asia

Skal Directors gather at the recent 29th Annual General Meeting in Bangkok

Andrew Wood

The 29th Annual General Meeting of the Skal Clubs of Thailand was recently held at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok.

President-in-waiting Thomas Hoeburn, GM of the Hilton Hotel in Hua Hin, attended his first ever National Committee meeting. Joining Thomas were Skalleagues from Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Bangkok and Koh Samui.

Reporting a growth of 24% in forecasted members by the end of the year, National President Malai Sakolviphak chaired the meeting discussing a wide range of topics. All areas reported growth in membership with the exception of Pattaya due to management changes and transfers; however it was expected to pick-up with the new Executive board shortly to be in place. It was recorded that SI-Pattaya and East Thailand had put on a spectacular World Congress in October of last year, which had received worldwide acclaim from all who attended. No mean feat for a small volunteer club in a very busy resort destination.

International Councilor Andrew Wood indicated that with the forecasted growth in numbers, Skal Thailand would represent over 20% of Skalleagues in the Asian Area by the end of 2007. This also includes the re-joining of two important large clubs, two Asian dragons, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Asian area presently stretches from Mauritius; to the Middle East; S.E. Asia and all the way West to Guam. There are currently 33 Clubs in 17 countries that make up the Asian Area. Development plans include Dubai, South Africa and Vietnam.

Highlights of the meeting included Skal Samui President Horst Hornung reporting on the plans to host the 37th Skal Asian Area Congress, in Koh Samui in May 2008.

During the dinner a number of awards of appreciation were also given, namely to Mr. Brian Sinclair-Thompson the Bangkok Club President and to Khun Prapansak Bhatayanond for his many, many years of support to the Skal movement, including hosting the previous Skal World Congress in 1996 in Bangkok.


Nok Air and SGA Airlines

Nok Air and SGA airlines have entered into an agreement to co-brand their flight services. This is the first co-branding of flight operations in Thailand according to executives from both airlines.

SGA Airlines and Nok Air team up to connect cities in the North.

Their joint-flight service will provide more convenience for travelers commuting to smaller cities in Northern Thailand that SGA currently flies to, such as Phrae and Pai. As of this month SGA will begin a third route operating from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.

Their new agreement will provide SGA service on NOK air’s distribution channels and on Nok Air’s website. Passengers flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and/to Phrae or to Pai can travel on Nok Air flights from Don Muang to Chiang Mai and connect to SGA flights in Chiang Mai. All routes can be booked thru the Nok Air website: www.nokair.com. Bookings for flights Chiang Mai - Phrae, Chiang Mai – Pai and Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai can be done thru SGA’s website: www.sga.co.th or the SGA Call Center at 02-664 6099.


Five major bodies quit Tourism Council of Thailand

In a move that shocked the Thai tourism industry, five major tourism associations have pulled out of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) with immediate effect, leaving the council with only 55 travel-related association members.

The five associations united under the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (FETTA) are Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), The Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association, Thai Travel Agents Association, Thai Hotels Association and Association of Domestic Travel.

Speaking on behalf of FETTA, ATTA’s president, Mr Apichart Sankary, said: “We have put up with (TCT) for already five years, but until now we have not seen them successfully tackling issues affecting the Thai trade. It’s now time for (FETTA) to tackle the problems ourselves.”

Meanwhile, TCT’s board held a meeting early last week and concluded a letter would be sent to ask the five associations to reconsider.

TCT president, Mr Kongkrit Hiranyakit, said the council worked in accordance with the 2001 Tourism Council of Thailand Act, and opened for members to express opinions and offer suggestions on tackling issues confronting the industry.

He said: “But so far, the council has yet to see any suggestions even as two of (FETTA representatives) sit on the vice-president post and one on the committee. Our works are accepted on a national level by the government, but they need to come in and hear us tell them of our achievements and progress on our plans.” (TTG)