Archive | January, 2009

West Java in Indonesia aims to lure Middle Eastern tourists

The West Java provincial government was planning to attract tourists from the Middle East to visit the province`s tourist sites, a local tourism official said.

Chairman of the West Java Tourism and Culture Office Herdiwan said here Wednesday the province had a number of interesting tourist objects which could attract Middle Eastern tourists, such as mountains and plantation sites.

west-java-in-indonesia“Middle Eastern tourists used to make Malaysia`s Bukit Bintang sites tourist destinations. Now, they are getting bored and start to have an interest in Indonesian tourist objects, especially those located in West Java,” Herdiwan said adding that there would be 600 Middle Eastern tourists to visit West Java this year.

Therefore, he said, in order to promote West Java`s tourism industry and create enjoyable tourism sites, the local government would restructure a number of its tourism sites.

The program, Herdiwan said, would be focused on three factors, namely access to tourist sites, development of well-known tourist sites and tourism promotion campaigns.

According to him, the West Java provincial government had put the development of tourism sites in its agenda this year.

To that end, he added, the local government had set aside Rp 11 billion to support the plan.

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Global economic turmoil halts upward trend in foreign travel

The current global economic slowdown brought the growth of international tourism to a standstill in 2008 and threatens to reverse the four?year gains made by the industry in foreign travel, according to a report published Wednesday by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Although international tourist arrivals reached 924 million in 2008, up 16 million from 2007 or a two percent overall increase on the year, growth stagnated in the second half of last year, hitting Europe the hardest.

The collapse of financial markets, sharp increases in commodity and oil prices and volatile exchange rate fluctuations combined to force a one percent decline in international travel in the six months from July, a trend that is expected to continue in 2009.

A three percent drop off in international arrivals across Europe after June meant the continent was the only region to experience stagnation over the whole year, reported the January 2009 issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Continue Reading

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Wataniya Airways passengers can now use Mobile Phones while onboard

Kuwait-based Wataniya Airways, a full-service airline, is offering passengers mobile inflight passenger communications services from OnAir.

The new commercial service, which will be available across Wataniya Airways’ fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, took to the sky Saturday onboard a flight from Kuwait to Dubai.

Wataniya Airways

Wataniya Airways

With the new Mobile OnAir service, Wataniya Airways passengers can stay connected inflight using their own mobile phones or BlackBerry-type devices to send and receive text messages and emails, and access the internet. Internet access is also possible from their laptops fitted with GSM data cards.

“Passengers travelling with Wataniya Airways appreciate the opportunity to stay in touch while they fly, particularly given today’s rapidly changing economic environment,” said George Cooper, CEO of Wataniya Airways. “Through our partnership with OnAir, we are delighted to provide our passengers with the industry’s most advanced mobile inflight passenger communications services – including Inmarsat SwiftBroadband services, which we are the first to offer in the region.” Continue Reading

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Carlton football to help promoting Malaysian Tourism

Carlton football

Carlton football

The Carlton football team flew into Penang yesterday to begin a five-day visit arranged by Tourism Malaysia office here.

Tourism Malaysia is a major sponsor of the club in the Australian Football League this season which begins next month.  The Carlton website said the visit would provide the team with first hand experience of Malaysia.

“This is a great opportunity and we are looking forward to our visit and the chance to see some of the attractions that are helping to make Malaysia an increasingly popular tourist attraction for Australians,” coach Brett Ratten is quoted as saying.

“Importantly we will be ambassadors for our club in Malaysia and look forward to improving their knowledge of the game,” Ratten said.  While it is a promotional visit, the players will have daily training sessions in Penang to ensure the players continue their pre-season conditioning.

“As well as training and the promotional programme with Tourism Malaysia, this trip is also about assisting the development of our leadership team,” Ratten said. Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, Malaysia, Tourism News, Tourism Promotion0 Comments

Cebu Pacific reports rise in 2008 passenger load

Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific on Saturday said it flew 6.7 million passengers in 2008, representing a 23 percent annual growth despite impacts of high fuel prices and the global economic turmoil in the second half of the year.

In a press release, the 13-year-old airline company attributed the passenger load growth to the increase in its seat capacity coupled with “trademark low fares”.

Cebu Pacific Philippines

Cebu Pacific Philippines

“The 2008 challenged us to look for ways to stimulate travel and sustain our domestic and international operations. And we were able to successfully convince more Filipinos to travel by air despite economic uncertainties,” Lance Gokongwei, the company’s president said.

He said domestic passengers grew 20.7 percent to 5.38 million in 2008, while international passengers rose by 33 percent to 1.4 million. But the company has not yet released the figures of turnover and profits last year. Continue Reading

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Etihad Airways and Bangkok Airways signs Codeshare Agreement

Etihad Airways has teamed up with Bangkok Airways in a new codeshare agreement. Under the deal, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will place its two-letter ‘EY’ code on Bangkok Airways’ flights between the Thai capital city and the popular islands of Phuket and Samui.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said, “Asia is an important market for Etihad and there is huge demand amongst our customers to travel beyond the Thai capital, which this new codeshare agreement now allows. We are expecting the new services to be extremely popular, particularly with leisure travellers looking for a luxury beach break on two of Asia’s most beautiful islands.”

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways

Captain Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, the President of Bangkok Airways, added, “Koh Samui and Phuket are regarded as our favorite destinations for visitors worldwide. To cooperate with Etihad, as one of the leading and fastest-growing airlines in the world, not only increases access for passengers who would love to explore the beauty of these famous destinations, but also helps promote and accelerate tourism industry in Thailand. We strongly believe this new cooperation will be very successful.”

Since launching services to the Thai capital in April 2004, Bangkok has quickly established itself as one of Etihad’s most popular business and leisure travel destinations, with average seat factors last year exceeding 80%. The Abu Dhabi-based airline currently operates a double daily service to the capital city.

The codeshare services operate from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok and further on to Koh Samui with double daily flights while service to Phuket operates on a daily flight.

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SkyCity Marriott Hotel officially opened in Hong Kong

Marriott officially opened the 658-room Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel on Thursday. The new hotel is Marriott International’s fifth hotel in Hong Kong but its first Marriott branded property.

Marriott is managing the hotel under an agreement with the owner, Union Sky Holdings, a partnership between Shun Tak Holdings, and a joint venture of Dragages Hong Kong and GR8 Leisure Concept. It is Shun Tak Holdings’ first direct foray into the Hong Kong hotel sector.

SkyCity Marriott Hotel HongKong

SkyCity Marriott Hotel HongKong

More than 300 guests witnessed the official handover of the property by owners Pansy Ho, Managing Director of Shun Tak Holdings, Nicolas Borit, Managing Director of Dragages Hong Kong and Marcus Lee, President of GR8 Leisure Concept to Craig Smith, Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific of Marriott International.

Officiating guests included Margaret Fong, Tourism Commissioner for the Hong Kong Government SAR, Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Stanley Hui Hon-chung, Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority Hong Kong. Continue Reading

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AirAsia launches Daily Flights between Bangkok and Bali

AirAsia has launched direct daily flights to Bali from Bangkok.

The route which opened for bookings in December strengthens AirAsia’s rapidly growing network in the region.

The low cost airline also launched flights on Tuesday between Guangzhou, China and Bangkok. Both routes are operated by Thai AirAsia, an associate of the AirAsia group.



To celebrate the launch, AirAsia is offering special online fares for flights to Bali from Bangkok from THB999++ one way.

To avail the special promotion, bookings must be made by 1 February 2009, for travel between 9 February and 30 April 2009.

The daily flights to Bali depart Bangkok at 06:15 to arrive in Denpasar at 11:25. Flights from Denpasar leave at 11:55 for a 15:20 scheduled arrival in Bangkok.

Posted in Airline News, Asia, Aviation News, Thailand0 Comments

Thailand Tourism Board approves new tourism measures

In an attempt to shore up Thailand’s battered tourism industry, the Thai Cabinet on Tuesday approved measures to support the sector by waiving visa fees for foreign tourists for three months.

Deputy government spokesman Putthipong Punnakan said measures the measures would cause the government to lose Bt800 million in tourism revenue.

Moreover, Airports of Thailand (AoT) and the Aviation Department will lower airline landing and departure fees by 20 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. The landing fee for chartered flights will be reduced by half, he said.

Thailand beach resorts

Thailand beach resorts

AoT will pay Bt500 million to help compensate for the loss in revenue which is intended to encourage airlines to lower their fares.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will allow visitors free entry to visit national parks nationwide for two years. The government will pay Bt250 million as compensation to the Department.

The Cabinet also approved increasing advance crop mortgages on agricultural products by another Bt13.580 billion. Of the total, Bt12.625 billion will come from loans and the rest from the government subsidies.

The funds will be invested in a government-sponsored mortgage program for corn for animal feeds, oil palm and rubber, he said.

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Posted in Asia, Thailand, Tourism News, Tourism Promotion1 Comment

Tiger Airways gets it first A319

Tiger Airways’, on of the largest budget airline in Asia gets its first Airbus A319 aircraft. The Airbus A319 arrived in Singapore on Monday evening straight from the factory in Hamburg Germany.

Rosalynn Tay, the managing director of Tiger Airways Singapore said, “I am so excited about growing our fleet. With more planes we are able to have even more low low fares for travellers. The best thing about this plane is that it is 98% the same as our A320s but with less seats and a lower operating cost. This is the perfect aircraft for route development and ensures that the airline is in the right position to exploit new opportunities as they are presented.”

The A319 has been successfully operated with low fare airlines across the world with significant fleets in service with airlines such as EasyJet and Spirit.

Rosalynn Tay said, “the A319 is a proven low fare aircraft type. With these additional Airbus aircraft we have the opportunity to aggressively expand our paw print to more destinations with our famous low low fares.”

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HongKong, Macao and Taiwan stays attractive for travelers

Outbound travel to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao remains popular with mainland travelers during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday season, an online survey has showed.

About 11 percent of people polled in an online survey released by market research firm Nielsen during the weekend picked overseas travel destinations over domestic ones for the coming vacation, with the top three places for short-haul trips being Hong Kong (60 percent), Taiwan (29 percent) and Macao (23 percent).

Hong Kong Tourism

Hong Kong Tourism

“In these challenging economic times, travelers on the mainland are looking for ways to save, including organizing trips themselves and planning short- to medium- haul trips,” said Grace Pan, head of travel and leisure research at Nielsen’s China operations.

The number of tourists from the Chinese mainland visiting Taiwan during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday season, which starts next week, will hit 10,000 travelers, Oma Hai, chairman of the China Travel Agencies Association and director of ProTour Travel Co in Taiwan, said last week Continue Reading

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Posted in Asia, Hongkong, Macau1 Comment

Cebu Pacific offers ZERO fare for Asian flights; Adds more flights to Shanghai, Macau, and Kuala Lumpur

Cebuy Pacific starts the year right with zero fare promotion for most of our international routes from Clark, Cebu, Manila, and Davao hubs.

Take the opportunity to travel to our neighboring Asian destinations! We’ve allocated more than 70,000 seats for the international seat sale. This includes CEB’s flights to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kaohsiung, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore, and Taipei.

Get ready to unwind because we are also offering a P1,999 promo fare for our Manila-Osaka (Japan) thrice weekly service. Passengers availing the Osaka promotion may refund their surcharges.

The seat sale STARTS NOW until January 22, 2009 and is valid for travel from February 1 to March 31, 2009. This is nonrefundable, and is exclusive of applicable surcharges and government taxes. Continue Reading

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