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Silkair and Bangkok Airways announce codeshare agreement

SilkAir and Bangkok Airways are pleased to announce that from 15 February 2012, they will codeshare on certain flights between Singapore, Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

“We are pleased to announce this codeshare partnership with Bangkok Airways. With the enhanced connectivity, customers now have the freedom to embark on a multiple-destination holiday within Thailand,” said SilkAir Chief Executive, Marvin Tan.

“Travelers can, for example, choose to fly into Chiang Mai for a trekking adventure through its hills, followed by a weekend of pure relaxation on the beaches of Koh Samui,” added Mr Tan.

Capt.Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, Bangkok Airways’ President commented, “This codeshare agreement allows passengers of both airlines to benefit from greater connectivity and flexibility when making their travel plans. From a business perspective, the agreement enables both SilkAir and Bangkok Airways to expand their respective networks and grow both inbound and outbound passenger flows.”

For more information and reservation please contact: SilkAir reservations hotline at (65) 6223 8888  or or Bangkok Airways call center at 1771 or (66) 2270 6699 or (PR)

AirAsia named “Value Airline of the Year” at 38th ATW Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards

Reinhard Hohler

 AirAsia, the world’s best low cost airline was named “Value Airline of the Year” at the 38th ATW Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. The highly prestigious award were presented to Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s Group Chief Executive Officer at a gala dinner and presentation ceremony attended by the very top of the world’s airline management.

ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards, is the longest running and most respected airline industry awards event. These awards go to airlines that have distinguished themselves through outstanding performance, innovation, and service.

ATW have attributed their choice of AirAsia as the winner of the “Value Airline of the Year” category due to the low cost carrier’s trailblazing efforts in the low-cost aviation industry through innovative solutions, efficient processes and a passionate approach to the business of connecting people, and serving the underserved markets.

Geoffrey Thomas, Chief Editor of Air Transport World commented, “AirAsia continues to confound analysts with its success, while its one time naysayers have not been heard from in years. Tony Fernandes is to be congratulated for his persistence in the face of a host of obstacles to develop an airline that is the talk of every boardroom and government in the region. Where once a farmer would look up at a vapor trail with envy, now that vapor trail is a reminder to book his family’s next holiday on AirAsia.”

The editors at ATW has also noted that AirAsia delivers value to passengers by enabling millions to travel affordably through lower fares, value to employees and to shareholders and/or investors. ATW acknowledged that since 2001, AirAsia has broken travel norms around the globe and has risen to become the world’s best value airline with a route network that spans across 23 countries.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Berhad said, “We are really honoured to be the winner of the ‘Value Airline of the Year” award. This award reflects AirAsia’s continuous effort in democratizing air travel.  It is a constant battle, but definitely worth the fight when so many people’s lives have been changed. We will continue to strive to provide low fares for all our guests, while improving our service.”

TTM PLUS 2012 has already created a positive response

Reinhard Hohler

According to TAT latest news in Bangkok, buyers from several countries are queuing up for registrations to the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2012 to be held during June 6-8, 2012, at Exhibition Central Hall 5-6, Impact Muang Thong Thani Exhibition Centre.

As of January 25, 2012, a total of 212 buyers from 41 countries have registered for TTM Plus 2012: the top five countries are India (53), United Kingdom (25), Australia (13), Russia (16), and the USA (12).

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, "We are very happy to get such a good response so early. It clearly shows the strength and popularity of Thailand as a tourism destination and sends a continued vote of confidence to us in this ongoing recovery process from the various crises that have affected us in recent months."

India is Thailand's biggest source market for visitors from South Asia and one of the fastest growing markets overall. Along with Russia, Indonesia and China, the so-called RICHI group, India is part of a huge catchment area with significant demographic and economic potential, all within medium-haul flying range from Bangkok.

The TTM+ is the country's premier annual trade event designed to promote travel and tourism to Thailand and its neighbours in the Greater Mekong Subregion. One of its primary objectives is to provide a platform for the region's small and medium sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) to cost-effectively promote their products and services, especially as many of them cannot afford to go to foreign trade shows.

The shows provides international tour operators with opportunities to survey new tourist attractions and design suitable packages for their markets, especially those which can combine both Thailand and the neighbouring GMS countries.

TAT is expecting 400 buyers from major markets (Europe, South Asia, East Asia, America and Australia) and new potential markets (East Europe, CIS Countries, Middle East, South America and South Africa). Buyers who have never offered a Thailand package and those who plan to broaden the quality and content of existing packages will be given priority.

Seller allotments provide for 425 booths which, in line with the theme of the 2012 event, will be zoned into four niche markets: Ecotourism, Golf, Health and Wellness, and Wedding and Honeymoon. The leisure group will be categorized into 7 groups such as Associations/NTOs, Entertainment, Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), Hotels and Resorts, Tour Operators / Travel Agents, Transportation, and other travel services.

So far, 232 sellers have registered in the following categories: hotels & resorts (192), tour operators /travel agents (18), ecotourism (1), health and wellness (4), transportation (1), entertainment / theme park / cultural products (8), golf (1), wedding and honeymoon (3), GMS (4).

This year, the TTM Plus 2012 is expected to attract a total of 1,000 delegates. For further information, please visit

Bhutan shines in the spotlight at PATA Event

Reinhard Hohler

According to PATA Communications in Bangkok, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has opened its three-day Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart (AT&RTCM) in Bhutan, one of the world's most secret and sought-after destinations. The event is the first international travel trade event to be held in the country.

Under the theme "High Value Tourism, Low Impact Footprints," AT&RTCM, running February 4-7, will address key issues facing responsible and sustainable travel. On February 6 a buyer-seller mart takes place for companies specialising in adventure and responsible tourism.

The AT&RTCM has attracted 232 delegates. Some 51 sellers from 35 companies have arrived from eight destinations including Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Among 48 international buyers from 18 destinations, 88% are first time buyers. The event has drawn a strong presence from Japan, Korea ROK, Singapore, USA and other destinations. Some 19 international media are in attendance.

Mr Martin J Craigs, PATA CEO said: "PATA is proud to be part of this historic event in Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan's ethos of high value tourism with a low impact footprint is one that many destinations would like to follow. All of us can learn from the Bhutan example and the high value-low impact debate it attracts."

AT&RTCM started February 3 with a complimentary tour of the Paro Valley and a full-day trip called the "Pursuit of Happiness," to Thimphu, organised by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) and the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO).

An E-Tourism - New Media Boot Camp was held February 4, the fourth E-Tourism Asia Boot Camp after Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Mr Jens Thraenhart, President of Dragon Trail, and organizer of the boot camp session in Bhutan, said it was designed to help local tourism businesses better leverage the Internet, mobile, and technology.

Mr Kesang Wangdi, Director General, Tourism Council of Bhutan and Mr Hiran Cooray, PATA Chairman officially welcomed delegates during the opening session in Bhutan on February 4.

On February 5, Ms Anna Pollock, CEO, DestiCorp UK Ltd delivered the keynote address, "High Value Tourism, Low Impact Footprints."

She said: "Adventure travel operators will survive and prosper over the next decade if they understand and harness the powerful forces for change occurring throughout the world. Achieving higher yields and making less negative impact requires a shift in the operating model of tourism. The industrial model on which tourism is based is collapsing. As it matures, it produces diminishing net returns to all participants, and relies on volume growth to compensate for yield declines."

Ms Pollok added: "As visitor volume increases, so do the costs associated with resource depletion, pollution and wealth concentration. A positive, viable alternative model is needed that focuses on place rather than product, puts purpose before profit, understands that it is about personality as opposed to brand, focuses on value (yield) over volume (price discounting) and learns to pull in customers rather than push or promote to them."

During the Plenary Session panel debate on February 5, Mr Rick Antonson, President and CEO, Tourism Vancouver, said: "Success with low impact tourism that brings high value requires shared attitudes of 'good guests and good hosts'. Visitors that offer high value and low impact are becoming among the most treasured guests in our industry. As tourism becomes the world's largest industry, there will be ever more respect placed on those visitors who offer high value and low impact."

In the same session, Mr Thuji Dorji Nadik, Director (Specialist), Tourism Council of Bhutan said: "By targeting high value tourism, tourism benefits are being distributed more equitably. In Bhutan, our challenge is to spread the benefits equitably and ensure regional balance in tourism development."

Ms Isabel Sebastian, Sustainability Advisor, Yangphel Adventure Travel & Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Bhutan said: "Many visitors to Bhutan can attest to the fact that this is a country of 'happy coincidences'. Tourists to Bhutan are woven into the daily flow of people's lives, rituals and landscapes with very little staged experiences. The Bhutan experience will only keep attracting high value/ low impact tourists as long as tourists continue to meld into life in Bhutan and only as long as the authenticity of this experience is protected. Herein lies the greatest challenge for all involved tourism industry players. We all need a lot of courage and wisdom to ensure that the Bhutan experience is protected."

Mr David Wilks, Director, Commercial Business, Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawhai, New Zealand, addressed Plenary Session II on best case studies from New Zealand, "100% Pure You". He said: "From a tiny country at the bottom of the world has emerged one of the most recognized tourism brands globally. 100% Pure New Zealand wasn't just clever marketing; it was also a bit of good luck. In an increasingly well wired world, delivering on an aspirational brand promise can be tough. For New Zealand to do this our tourism operators must face the challenges and opportunities that come from understanding that conservation is good for business -- and business is good for conservation."

The ribbon cutting ceremony on February 5 was presided over by Mr Kesang Wangdi, Director General, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Mr Hiran Cooray, PATA Chairman and Mr Martin J Craigs, PATA CEO. Local and international journalists from China, India and Nepal attended the event.

Mr Costas Christ, President, Beyond Green Travel LLC/Editor and Columnist, National Geographic Traveler/Chairman, World Travel and Tourism Council -Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, USA delivered the closing address on "experiential and transformation travel".

He said: "Sustainable tourism may be the most significant transformation in the history of modern travel, as it continues to redefine the global tourism industry as we have known it. It also transforms the way people travel, emphasising meaningful experiences that both enrich the individual traveller and help to safeguard cultural and natural heritage in destinations around the world."

He added: "This is not a trend or a fad, but rather, an evolution of travel and tourism. We are living in a remarkable time of new and inspirational innovation in sustainable travel that is rewriting the way tourism businesses operate. It is also sparking a growing awareness among today's travellers about giving back to people and the planet. Those businesses that understand this sustainable tourism transformation that is underway and become part of it, will be the businesses that prosper in the emerging global green economy.” For more information, please visit

Shangri La Chiang Mai wins TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award

Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai was chosen as the top luxury hotels in Asia and top five in Thailand by TripAdvisor in its 2012 Travellers’ Choice Awards. TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site with over 60 million first-hand travellers’ reviews and opinions.

“We are very proud of these awards. The awards are testament to the passion, dedication and care that our associates demonstrate daily at Shangri-La.” said George Baird, the hotel’s general manager.

Reviewers recognised the services provided by the hotel’s colleagues, facilities and location.

“Stayed at this hotel in 2010, it is one of the best.  From check-in to check-out, the service was great, the food very competitively priced, when back to Chiang Mai will definitely stay here again.” said one reviewer.

Another reviewed said, “Shangri-La has shown itself to be one of the best hotel groups; the staff were very friendly and helpful, and the hotel was, as we expected, simply the best.”

As TripAdvisor has continued its growth globally, featuring sites in 30 countries and in 21 languages, the Travellers’ Choice Hotels Awards now highlight a broader range of spectacular properties across the globe. “It is an honour for Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai to be the ranked in the list to receive this admirable recognition by TripAdvisor’s travellers.”

Kan Air offers special discounts for February

Beginning today, Kan Air is offering special price tickets for the “Month of Love”. The first six seats sold in each flight are only 990 Baht for a return ticket, after that the ticket is 1490 Baht. All seats will go for 1490 Baht in March. Flights depart Chiang Mai Sunday at 4 p.m. and Friday at 4:50 p.m. and return Sunday at 4:50 p.m. and Friday at 5:35 p.m.

One way tickets to Phitsanulok are 899 Baht until the end of February. In March the price goes up to 1,790 Baht. You can book online at their website or phone 02-551-6111

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]y]

Silkair and Bangkok Airways announce codeshare agreement

AirAsia named “Value Airline of the Year” at 38th ATW Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards

TTM PLUS 2012 has already created a positive response

Bhutan shines in the spotlight at PATA Event

Shangri La Chiang Mai wins TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award

Kan Air offers special discounts for February