Skål International Bangkok
inaugurates new President
Record attendance at February 12 meeting
The Skål International
Bangkok Executive Committee at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok.
Robert Lee, Samir Wildemann, Brian Sinclair Thompson, Malai Sakolviphak,
Deborah Bundityanond, Andrew Wood, Khun Natwut, Kusa Panyarachun, Scott
Smith, Somsak Kiratipanich and Anton Knecht.(l-r).
Skål International Bangkok held its monthly meeting on
February 12 at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Bangkok. A record attendance
of over 80 Skålleagues and guests witnessed the inauguration of the Bangkok
Club’s new president, Mr. Andrew Wood, GM of the Chaophya Park Hotel, who
received the chain of office from outgoing president, Mr. Brian Sinclair
Thompson, VP Swiss International Airlines.
The keynote speaker was Natwut Amornvivat, the President of the Thailand
Convention and Exhibition Bureau who spoke on the “Role and Objectives
for TCEB in 2008 and beyond.”
Skål International Bangkok was formed in 1956 and is a member of Skål
International, the world’s largest association of travel and tourism
professionals, with over 22,000 members in 500 clubs in over 80 countries
globally. Skål aims are to promote tourism through friendship and peace
along with a commitment to eco-tourism and the pursuit of sustainable
development. Its Eco Tourism Awards are presented annually at the Skål World
Congress, this year to be held from October 12-17 in Taipei.
Government earmarks Bt110bn to stimulate grass-roots economy
New policy to be introduced
as a priority in rural areas
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Suwit Khunkitti last
week revealed that the government planned to spend Bt110 billion (US$3.3
billion) to help stimulate the economy at the grass-roots level through the
village fund and the small, medium, and large-scale enterprise fund. He
stated that the government was paying serious attention to moves which would
jump start the country’s general economy. An additional 80 billion baht
would be set aside from the village fund and around 30 billion baht from the
SML fund to stimulate the economy in rural areas and local communities.
The extra funds would be injected into local communities this year through
the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Government
Savings Bank, in order to create more income for people in the rural areas.
Stimulating the grass-roots economy should help to provide the impetus for
recovery in the general economy. The new government will pay attention to
increasing incomes and reducing spending at the grass-roots level. During
the past two years, livings of people in rural areas have been ignored;
hence the necessity to revive the village fund and SML projects.
Suwit said that this particular government policy must be delivered before
priority can be given to basic infrastructure development, construction of
electric mass transit rail routes in Bangkok and its environs, dual-track
rail lines upcountry, and water resources management. The deputy premier
said he had discussed with Transport Minister Santi Prompat the planned
construction of the rail system in support of distribution of products into
many areas including industrial estates, in order to reduce total production
New Thai Tourism chief wants to see the money
Revised 2008 targets set - optimism rules
New Thai tourism and sports minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, plans to boost
the revenue from this year’s targeted 15.9 million foreign visitors to
800 billion baht, instead of the 600 billion baht target recently
announced by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Reports also said Mr.
Weerasak, 43, who has a master’s degree in law from Harvard University,
has vowed to set a higher domestic tourism revenue target than the
current 385 billion announced. Approximately 83 million trips are taken
annually by domestic tourists. In addition, he is aiming for a double
digit growth contribution from tourism revenue to Thailand’s Gross
Domestic Product. This represents a growth of more than 10 per cent
compared to TAT’s original target of 5.6 per cent for this year.
His plans call for more quality tourists from emerging markets such as
China, India and Russia in line with the global tourism trends toward
intra-regional and short-haul travel. He is also hoping to encourage
more flights, to collaborate more with related state agencies and to
amend present laws hindering the growth in tourism. The new minister has
held several advisory and deputy-ministerial positions in previous
governments, including the first Thaksin administration. (TTG)
New Boutique Hotel
scheduled for Chiang Mai
Old City location for first of new brand
The Thai property development company Tanayong has appointed newly
established InVistion Hospitality to create their new boutique hotel
brand, U Hotels and Resorts. 10 hotels and resorts will be developed
within the next 5 years in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Each property
will have no more than 100 guest rooms and suites, and will be
positioned as “niche accommodation”. The first development under the new
brand name will be the 41 room U Chiang Mai, situated on Rajchadamnoen
Road in the Old City, scheduled to open by the middle of 2008.
Thai Airways International start new Bangkok-Koh Samui service
Flights twice daily from Suvarnabhumi
Thai Airways International’s new route involving twice-daily flights
between Bangkok and Koh Samui began on February 15, ending the criticism
over Bangkok Airways’ monopoly on the lucrative route. The national
carrier is operating the flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport to facilitate
connections for international passengers, using a Boeing 737-400 with 12
business class and 137 economy class seats.
The airline’s commercial executive vice-president, Pandit Chanapai, said
the airline had targeted a cabin factor of 75 per cent on the route in
order to break even and had planned for revenue of more than 300 million
baht during the summer schedule ending September 30. He said the airline
already had a base of 14,000 international passengers per month, which
in the past it had been forced to transfer to Bangkok Airways’ onward
flights to the popular holiday destination. As a result of the new
service, Thai Airways would now be able to handle the demand on its own.
In related news, Pandit also mentioned that the airline planned to
launch a new twice-weekly service between Seoul and Phuket in July.