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

Dog clothing business booming in Thailand

New smoking ban no big deal, Thai hoteliers say

Oman Air to operate daily Muscat-Bangkok

PATA Thailand appoints new executives

Dog clothing business booming in Thailand

Dog clothing in Thailand has grown into a booming industry as dog lovers are willing to pull out their wallets to clothe their furry companions.
Viriya Chansavangvong started her dog clothing business two years ago. She said the business is doing well because many dog lovers like to dress up their dogs, following human fashion trends or special occasions.
“Customers are so happy while shopping for clothes for their dogs. They usually buy for special occasions. For example, on Valentine’s Day, they hold their dogs, dressed up in a Valentine’s theme, and saying ‘Love’ to their lovers,” said Viriya.
The dog clothing business originated in western countries to keep dogs warm during winter. However, Viriya said Thai dog clothing also received a warm welcome worldwide because of the fine cutting techniques, together with lovely and comfortable designs, which Viriya noted to be the most difficult part of the business.
Before launching the “new fashion arrivals”, Viriya always seeks help from her beloved dogs, “Can do” and “Hoysum”, to be the fitting models and see whether the clothes are properly designed for a dog’s movements.
Viriya said her clothes, designed for dogs with a maximum weight of two kilogrammes, cost only around 170 – 290 baht. Her dog boutique also provides dog shoes, which could help prevent possible scratches on furniture and muddy paw prints.
The dog clothing business makes Viriya a monthly income of around two million baht. She said it had increased one hundred percent from last year, with Japan remaining the major dog clothes’ importer.
Viriya said the future of the Thai dog grooming business was still bright due to there being only a few producers in the market. Still, the producers need to keep creating new things to respond to the demands of dog lovers, who seek to pamper their pets, she said. (TNA)


New smoking ban no big deal, Thai hoteliers say

Thai hoteliers have downplayed the impact of the new ban on smoking in the country’s bars, nightclubs and pubs.
Thailand’s Public Health Ministry is to launch the new regulation, banning smoking in air-conditioned entertainment venues and Bangkok’s popular Chatuchak outdoor weekend market in February. The fine for violators will be 2,000 baht (US$67) for individuals and 20,000 baht for the owners of nightclubs, pubs and bars.
This new regulation is in addition to the ministry’s ban on smoking in public areas such as government buildings, hospitals and train stations, which was imposed four years ago.
Bangkok’s Siam @ Siam Design Hotel and Spa general manager, Mr. Sanya Saengboon, said all the hotel’s f&b outlets were already smoke-free and there were separate smoking areas for guests. “The impact from the new smoking ban will be minimal. There have been no serious complaints about this so far,” he said.
However, Holiday Inn Chiangmai general manager, Mr. Alan Watts, said that while the new law might not hurt the hotel’s f&b outlets, it would create a big impact for the standalone indoor entertainment venues. (TTG)


Oman Air to operate daily Muscat-Bangkok

Oman Air plans to increase the frequency of its direct Muscat-Bangkok service from five flights per week to a daily flight in March.
The airline launched the service in November last year. It is using a 129-seat Boeing 737-800 on the route, and is planning to switch to a 256-seat B767-300 within the next few months.
Country manager for Thailand, Mr. Bennet Stephens, said the airline enjoyed an average load factor of 70 per cent in the first two months of operations and a full occupancy in the first two week of January. The popularity of the flight prompted the airline to plan to increase the frequency, he said. (TTG)


PATA Thailand appoints new executives

The PATA Thailand Chapter new Executive Committee for 2008-2009.

The PATA Thailand Chapter, which represents over 100 international tourism-related organizations in Thailand, has appointed its new executive committee for 2008/2009.
The executive committee was appointed at the chapter’s annual general meeting on January 16. Mr. Luzi Matzig, Group CEO of Bangkok-based tour operator Asian Trails was appointed Chairman.
The committee’s focus will be to deliver education and skill training workshops for members and to offer tourism policy advice to the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The committee will also address ways to give members practical knowledge to help them comply with environmental requirements. An increasing number of overseas tourism companies now insist that Thailand’s tourism operators must have environmental policies and procedures in place before doing business with them.
The chapter has therefore appointed Mr. Vincent Tabuteau of East West Siam to head a new environment committee. It will be tasked with providing practical pro-environment procedures for member organizations to implement.
Mr. Matzig said: “The committee comprises very experienced hoteliers, travel agents, and experts in training, the environment, e-commerce and tourism support services. Together we will work to boost Thailand’s competitive position in international tourism.”
The committee also comprises senior executives from THAI Airways International and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The Chapter has pledged its support for PATA head office, which will organize the PATA CEO Challenge “Confronting Climate Change”. The two-day event, aimed at CEOs will take place in Bangkok April 29-30 and is being hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.