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Update May 2015


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
TRAVEL & TOURISM
 

New Student Plus Card from Bangkok Airways

University students can now apply for the Student Plus Card from Bangkok Airways for discounts and other benefits.

Bangkok Airways PCL launches “Student Plus Card,” a privileged card that exclusively designed for undergraduates or university students. The newly-launched Student Plus Card of Bangkok Airways will offer amazing privileges to a cardholder such as 10% discount on domestic air tickets, 1.2 FlyerBonus points, 30 Kilograms baggage allowance and many more. In addition to that, Student Plus cardholders can further enjoy extra benefits from participated restaurants, hotels, shops and car rentals.

Ms. Ariya Prasarttong-Osoth, Vice President – Sales of Bangkok Airways PCL said “In order to response to the growing numbers of young travelers or college students, we have recently launched our first-ever Student Plus Card campaign. This Student Plus Card is our new marketing campaign that aims to tab into university students market to introduce Bangkok Airways to them as well as to encourage them to travel more within Thailand.”

Ms. Ariya continues, “Moreover, we will offer an extra privilege which is 20% discount on domestic air tickets for 3 months to those who enroll themselves during 20th April – 31st July 2015.”

To enroll, interested applicants can simply apply for “Student Plus” card at all Bangkok Airways’ sales offices nationwide or at Bangkok Airways’ destinations Road show booth (22 April, 2015 at Central Plaza Lad Prao and 25-26 April, 2015 at Central Festival Chiang Mai.)

For more information please visit www.bangkokair.com/studentplus or contact our Call Center 1771.


Tourism Min boasts jump in tourist number in past 6 months

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has announced its success in pushing up the number of tourists by over 15 percent during the past six months.

During her presentation of the ministry’s six-month achievements, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul revealed that political stability in Thailand has been the main factor restoring foreigners’ confidence. As a result, the count of foreign visitors between October 2014 and March 2015 rose 15.42 percent year-on-year to 16.74 million while nearly 824 billion baht of tourism income was generated, an increase of 17.81 percent.

Chinese tourists represented the largest group of visitors to the Kingdom, with a growth of almost 70 percent, followed by those from Malaysia, Russia, Japan and Singapore respectively. The most popular destinations, meanwhile, were Chiang Mai, Phuket, Songkhla, Pattaya and Krabi. The ministry is also maintaining its revenue target for this year at 2.2 trillion baht, 1.4 trillion of which coming from foreigners and the other 800 billion from domestic travelers.

Ms Kobkarn stated that the ministry is coordinating with tourism operators in drafting a long-term tourism reform plan, which would seek to adjust tourism in each area in correspondence with the local way of life and accentuate the identity of each community. The minister is confident the plan will be finished within July, after which it will be proposed to the Cabinet. (NNT)


Thailand to host Asia’s first Travel Blog Exchange in October

Memorandum of the agreement signing ceremony for hosting the TBEX Asia 2015

The Thai tourism industry is set to significantly expand its social media profile when more than 1,000 bloggers and online writers worldwide convene for the first Travel Blog Exchange to be held in Asia between 15 – 17 October 2015, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre in Bangkok.

The TBEX Asia 2015 is being jointly supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). It will provide a unique opportunity for Thailand to showcase the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign and allow Thailand-based bloggers to network with their worldwide counterparts.

Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East, and the Americas) commented, “Travel bloggers have a very strong and loyal following on social media. We are truly proud that some of the world’s leading bloggers have chosen Thailand to host their first TBEX in Asia.

“As each of these online writers has an average of more than 10,000 followers, the TBEX Asia will help us promote a positive image of Thailand and attract more young generation visitors from around the world.”

TBEX was first held in 2008 and has been organised annually in Europe and the United States. As attendance has grown significantly, the organisers, TBEX LLC, have decided to venture into Asia in recognition of the immense market potential and high growth in visitor arrivals.

Between 22-26 March, 2015, TAT arranged a site inspection and preview trip along five unique travel routes across Thailand for the organising committee of TBEX Asia in a group of 30 leading bloggers from around the world.

Organisers expect that the breakdown of participants at the Bangkok event will include about 52% from the USA, 37% from Europe, and 11% from Asia and Australia.

In recent years, TAT has developed aggressive online and digital marketing strategies to promote tourism via all forms of new media and across all devices; such as, mobile phones, Smart Phones, and Tablets. These have been designed to reach specific target audiences worldwide, especially young travellers and families.

A whole range of award-winning social media campaigns have been rolled out, comprising of contests and competitions that allow participants to compete for prizes, including free stays in Thailand.

Social media networks are playing an increasingly important role in the tourism sector. The Internet has changed consumer behaviour in many ways, both in terms of the way people buy their travel products, the destinations they choose, the amount of time they have to travel, and the amount of money they spend. People are eager to share experiences via social media, making it the equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing, the most powerful means of personalised publicity for any destination. For more information, visit: www.tbexcon.com (TAT)


Amazing Thailand – The Farang’s Guide for Good Living in the Land of Smiles

By Colin Jarvis
When I first saw this book by Brad Walker I thought it was yet another salacious account of a Farang Kee Nok (Low class westerners) and his adventures in the bars of Pat Pong and Soi Cowboy. When I read the introduction I was relieved to find it was no such thing. It was well written and promised a much wider range of interest than beaches, booze and bar girls.

As I read through the first half of the book I thought I was wrong. It was about beaches, booze and bar girls. However, Brad Walker had a deep personal relationship with every one of these. Everything he says is based on his personal experience of which he has a great deal. His honest and robust description of his past life is at once horrifying, gripping, even entertaining. The man certainly has stamina and had a willingness to make the same mistakes over and over again. Now he seems determined that readers of this book should not make the same mistakes that he has.

He is certainly an expert at living a hedonistic existence on a shoestring and a worthy tutor.

In the second half of the book he covers the more practical aspects of living in Thailand as a foreigner. He describes his life living in a Thai village, the problems of communication both cultural and linguistic, coping with Thailand’s bureaucracy, surviving on a limited income, earning a living and investing the proceeds, keeping healthy and planning for illness and, of course, eating and drinking.

All of the subjects he covers in some detail yet in an lively style that keeps the reader mesmerised even if they are experts on the subject themselves.

Unusually for such a book, Mr Walker covers, albeit briefly, the history and culture of Thailand and its religion as it is practised in this country. His thoughts are not just theoretical but based on a thorough knowledge learned from his Thai family and friends. He truly appreciates the culture but has a very balanced view of it.

He is also particularly brave in that he discusses politics and the Royal Family in a very honest and insightful manner. He provides the most succinct explanation of the Thaksins and the red yellow shirts I have ever seen.

This book is not for me or anyone who has lived in Thailand for many years, who is still delighting in their Thai family and who have found their feet in whatever career or way of life they wish to follow.

This book is very definitely for, and should be required reading for, any single male from Europe or America who finds themselves drawn to the Thai lifestyle commonly lived by single Western males, particularly those of a certain age. It is a mine of information and knowledge that will help keep such hopefuls out of serious trouble and enable them to get the most out of this wonderful country.

Learn from Brad Walker’s mistakes and enjoy the good living that is available in the Land of Smiles.

Cover of the new book by Brad Walker on living in the Land of Smiles


Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai joins Preferred Hotels & Resorts

The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai is joining Preferred Hotels and Resorts.

Having rebranded itself from Preferred Hotel Group on 4 March 2015, Preferred Hotels & Resorts represents the finest and most diverse global portfolio of independent hotels with five distinctive collections that allow one to craft their own inspirations as they travel the world in search of memories and new opportunities. The Preferred Promise of the finest properties, impeccable service and imaginative experiences will be shared with all five collections: Legend, LVX, Lifestyle, Connect and Preferred Residences.

A global leader in the hospitality industry since 1968, Preferred Hotels & Resorts has over 650 properties across its worldwide brands. All guests of Preferred Hotels & Resorts experience the high quality standards and unparalleled service levels every hotel in the portfolio is required to maintain by the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Integrated Quality Assurance Program.

The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai joins the Legend Collection, the ultimate portfolio of exceptional properties in the world’s most remarkable destinations. Globally sophisticated and culturally refined, the singular properties within this collection feature exquisite accommodations, stellar and intuitive personal service, renowned dining and exceptional spas, setting the stage for the most unforgettable experiences.

For The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, one of Asia’s best-loved luxury hotels and one that is consistently recognized year after year with international awards and accolades, it is a perfect match.

“Joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ world-renowned and superbly respected collection of hotels and resorts is a great opportunity for The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai and one that we are very excited about. We look forward to adding our distinctiveness, character and charm to the group’s global offerings”, said The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai’s general manager Andrew Quinlan.


TAT expects Songkran foreign tourist arrivals to rise 30 percent

The lifting of martial law is expected to result in more foreign tourists visiting Thailand during the Songkran festival, whereas Japan and South Korea's banning of Thai chartered flights should not affect foreign tourist arrivals into the kingdom, said Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) acting governor Chuthaporn Roengronasa.

According to Ms. Chuthaporn, the TAT expects no less than 300 chartered flights to enter Thailand between April 11-19. This influx of visitors would push the number of foreign tourist arrivals during the Songkran period to roughly 500,000. About 14.5 billion baht of revenue is expected to be generated as a result. The projected number of foreign tourist arrivals during this Songkran exceeds last year's figure by 30%. According to the TAT acting governor, the expected rise of foreign tourist numbers may be attributed to the lifting of martial law and a more stable political climate.

Commenting on Japan and South Korea's banning of Thai chartered flights, the TAT chief said the ban's effect will be more apparent on outbound flights from Thailand to the two countries whereas tourists from Japan and South Korea will still be able to enter Thailand via routine flights, and chartered flights originating from the two countries. (NNT)


AOT forecasts 15 percent revenue growth in fiscal 2015

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airports of Thailand PLC. (AOT) Prasong Poontaneat revealed that the company’s overall revenue would not be affected by Japan’s ban on Thai chartered flights, as they can be replaced by foreign operators.

The CEO expressed confidence that AOT’s revenue for fiscal year 2015 would grow 15 percent, exceeding previous estimates by more than 10 percent. He attributed the gains to higher-than-expected growth during the first three months of 2015, which may lead to a 10 percent growth in the number of passengers this year.

He elaborated on the figure, saying that Chinese tourists are likely to increase by a million from last year’s five million visitors. The number of Russian travelers is likely to decline by five percent, but will be compensated by an increase in Indian tourists.

The AOT CEO also touched on the second phase of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport development project. Mr. Prasong said the matter is being forwarded to the Ministry of Transport and awaits approval from the National Economic and Social Development Board.

He said the project bid is tentatively set for the beginning of 2016. Major developments include the construction of the third runway, second passenger terminal, secondary plane hanger, eastern passenger terminal expansion and parking lot & office building.

Upon the project’s completion, the international airport would be able to accommodate 85 million passengers a year.(NNT)


Spice Up Your Business Campaign with the TAT

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department, TAT (second from left) and Mr. Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President of TCEB (third from left) at the press conference to announce the ‘Spice Up Your Business Agenda’ campaign

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has pledged strong support to a campaign launched by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) to build awareness of Thailand’s MICE industry and reinforce Thailand’s positive image as a premiere MICE destination.

Spice Up Your Business Agenda_02Under the theme slogan, ‘Spice Up Your Business Agenda’, the TCEB campaign includes an aggressive digital marketing plan, development of an innovative Thai MICE web portal, and launch of a mobile application for MICE travellers and professionals to allow easy access to the Thai MICE database. The campaign aims to increase MICE visitor numbers and spending.

A series of online marketing promotion and PR campaigns will be conducted throughout 2015 in high potential key markets.

MICE delegates to Thai trade exhibitions and companies organising meetings in Thailand are also being offered a broad range of discounts, value-added services and complimentary facilities; such as, a meeting package, airport transfer, as well as, premium hotels and spa. Full details are available at the campaign website: www.SpiceUpYourBusinessAgenda.com

In addition to TAT, the campaign is being backed by Thai Airways International PCL, the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of International Trade Promotion, and Visa International (Asia-Pacific), LLC.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director of the Advertising and Public Relations Department, TAT reaffirmed the benefits of this campaign to the MICE and tourist industry.

He said, “MICE travellers have high-spending power. Their contribution to the Thai economy starts from making business deals and topped up by the recreational spending that follows. TAT aims to increase the number of quality tourists, and as such we have been an active partner in this campaign which will reaffirm Thailand’s position as the world’s best business and leisure destination. It will accommodate and facilitate MICE travellers as well as attract them to come to Thailand and stay longer for leisure. Therefore, the benefits of the Spice Up Your Business Agenda 2015 campaign are far beyond the MICE industry but help the tourism industry as a whole.”

The campaign is targeted at international business travellers, international delegates, trade visitors and trade exhibitors attending trade exhibitions or organising meetings in Thailand between March to December 2015. It is valid from now until December 2015.
Further details are available here: www.SpiceUpYourBusinessAgenda.com. (TAT)


New hotel planned for Nimmanhaemin area

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Absolute Hotel Services Group announced recently that they plan on opening a new hotel in the trendy Nimmanhaemin area in late 2016. The hotel, which will be the second U-Hotel & Resorts property in Chiang Mai, will be called U-Nimman and will have 140 rooms in an industrial modern design with a Lanna influence.

The new hotel will feature all day dining in the restaurant with a terrace bar, library, spa with five treatment rooms, swimming pool, gym and large garden area. The hotel will also offer a large banquet space and function lawn to cater events and meetings.

When launched, the hotel will have an all-day dining restaurant with terrace bar, library, spa with five treatment rooms, swimming pool, gym and large garden area.

Additionally guests will have access to U-Hotel’s new 24 hour service concept which allows guests to have their rooms for 24 hours from check –in and breakfast any time during their stay. Additional amenities such as special pillows, teas and soaps can be selected when booking online.


Chiang Mai International Airport shows double digit growth for February

1.49 million passengers in the first two months of 2015

Chiang Mai International Airport recorded 1.49 million passengers in January and February 2015.
(Photo by calflier001 via Wikimedia Commons)

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Mai International Airport registered double digit growth in both aircraft movements and passenger traffic for the month of February, 2015. International passenger traffic grew 44.18% from 123,326 passengers to 177,810 passengers in February. Domestic passengers grew by 22.28% from 432,320 to 550,261 passengers.

Aircraft movement for the same month also grew with international aircraft movements growing by 31.52% from 1,082 to 1,423. Domestic aircraft movements grew from 3,299 to 3,924 or 18.94%.

Suvarnabhumi showed slight growth in aircraft movement with domestic increasing 2.41% and international 5.44%. However, International passenger traffic increased 23.14% from 3,088,517 to 3,803,348, while domestic passengers decreased 3.46% from 789,860 to 762,507.

Don Mueang Airport showed a jump in international aircraft movements in February, going from 3,453 to 4,838 or a 40.11% increase. Domestic aircraft movements also grew 26.41% from 9,673 to 12,228. International passenger traffic showed a huge increase of 69.29% as more international flights landed at the airport, with the numbers of international passengers using the airport going from 33,700 to 649,57.
Chiang Rai International Airport saw 39.27% increase in aircraft movements from 848 to 1,181, while passenger traffic grew 23.81% from 110,843 to 137,233.

In January and February Suvarnabhumi had the most passengers at9.33 million followed by Don Muang second with 4.6 million, Phuket third with 2.41 million and Chiang Mai with 1.49 million passengers.


Kan Air starts direct flights from Chiang Mai to U-Tapao

The new flights to U-Tapao will use the 66 seat ATR72-500.
(Photo by Rawipadccp via Wikimedia Commons)

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Kan Air, the Chiang Mai based airlines, will be adding new routes in April, starting with a new direct flight to Pattaya’s U-Tapao Airport that will fly three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and will offer the flights for 990 baht one way. The airline will use a 66-seat ATR72-500 for the Chiang Mai flights and also for the flights to Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani and Udon Thani.

The airline plans on adding flights from U-Tapao to Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen and Udon Thani for 990 baht one way and from Don Mueang to U-Tapao, starting from 490 Baht.

Direct flights from U-Tapao to Chiang Mai will begin April 10 and can be booked online at www.kanairlines.com.



HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update April 21, 2015

New Student Plus Card from Bangkok Airways

Tourism Min boasts jump in tourist number in past 6 months

Update April 10, 2015

Thailand to host Asia’s first Travel Blog Exchange in October

Amazing Thailand – The Farang’s Guide for Good Living in the Land of Smiles

Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai joins Preferred Hotels & Resorts

TAT expects Songkran foreign tourist arrivals to rise 30 percent

AOT forecasts 15 percent revenue growth in fiscal 2015

Update April 2, 2015

Spice Up Your Business Campaign with the TAT

New hotel planned for Nimmanhaemin area

Chiang Mai International Airport shows double digit growth for February

Kan Air starts direct flights from Chiang Mai to U-Tapao

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