Archive | May, 2009

Philippine Airlines offers 5-day low-fare promotions

Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Saturday announced it is offering a new round of low fares — as low as US$ 98 — to 20 trans-Pacific and regional routes, including to Australia.

Philippine Airlines, in a statement, said the five-day sale from June 1 to 5 dubbed “Way to Go”, covers the travel period from September 1 to December 25, 2009 on five trans-Pacific destinations — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Vancouver — and from July 1 to November 30, 2009 on 12 regional destinations, including Australia.

“During these difficult times, we are offering our loyal passengers the opportunity to travel at much lower prices, without sacrificing quality of service, safety and comfort,” said PAL president Jaime J. Bautista.

The all-in, round trip, economy fares (exclusive of government taxes) are available through PAL’s website (philippineairlines.com ), at any PAL ticket office or accredited travel agents.

Tickets must be purchased within 24 hours after getting a confirmed booking, but not later than June 5, 2009.

The promo covers Manila outbound tickets as well as Cebu-Narita-Cebu, with return flights dated no more than 21 days after departure for tickets to the US, Canada and Australia. For other destinations, trip must be completed within eight days.

The regional points covered by the promo include Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Saigon, Jakarta, Shanghai, Osaka, Beijing, Fukuoka, Nagoya, as well as Sydney and Melbourne in Australia.

The new round of low fares have all figures ending in 8.

Posted in Airline News, Asia, Aviation News, Philippines0 Comments

World Hotel Group Ranking 2009

WORLD, 26 May 2009: UK-based InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) retains its number one position in the world, surpassing the 600,000 room mark.

Meanwhile, Hilton Hotels recorded the largest growth among the top 10 at 9.3%, bringing their global room count to over half-a-million.
Projects already launched prior to the financial downturn transpired in 2008, hence why there are still such positive increases. Although some growth is still expected, the rest of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 will prove to be much slower, with companies acting a lot more cautious in order ride-out the current economic uncertainty.

According to Director of Development, MKG Hospitality, Vanguélis Panayotis, franchise contracts will now be the major battle ground for these leading hotel groups. Continue Reading

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South Korean island smartens up ahead of ASEAN summit

South Korea’s Jeju Island is sprucing itself up, ready to greet visitors with various cultural events and programs ahead of the summit between President Lee Myung-bak and the leaders of Southeast Asian countries, the local government said Wednesday.

South Korea is set to host a series of summits and ministerial meetings among leaders of ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, on the country’s resort island of Jeju on June 1-2.

Jeju, a volcanic island dominated by South Korea’s highest mountain Halla, has been preparing thoroughly for the upcoming Korea-ASEAN summit, aiming to boost tourist recognition.

With a humid subtropical climate warmer than that of mainland Korea, Jeju has developed a culture and language that are distinct from the rest of the country due to the relatively isolated location. Home to thousands of local legends and myths, Jeju is considered a top vacation spot. Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, South Korea0 Comments

Philippine Airlines Enhances Mobile Services

Philippine Airlines flight schedules, promo fares, advisories, products and services, including mileage points earned by Mabuhay Miles members, can now be conveniently accessed through WAP-enabled cellphones as an alternative means of retrieving information posted on the PAL website.

The PAL mobile service can be accessed by holders of WAP-enabled mobile handsets by logging on to philippineairlines.mobi

The PAL Mobile Service includes such information as actual flight status, travel advisories, promo fares (buy one-take one, discount privileges, etc.), Econolight and PAL Express fares and schedules, excess baggage rates, balance check on mileage points earned for Mabuhay Miles members, and other PAL products and services.

Flight bookings/reservations still have to be completed by calling the PAL Reservations (855-8888) or visiting any PAL ticket office.

Posted in Airline News, Asia, Aviation News, Philippines0 Comments

Travel Agents to Win with Promotion to Sell Novotel Hotels in Hong Kong

Accor has launched a competition for travel agents throughout Asia Pacific giving them a chance to win a free trip to Hong Kong for two.

Agents just have to book rooms (on any public rate and including agents based in Hong Kong) at any Novotel hotel in Hong Kong between May 20 and August 19th 2009 for stays during the same period. When the booking materializes, the agent will receive one entry into the competition to win a trip to Hong Kong.

Three runner up prizes will be drawn, one on June 23, one on July 23 and one on August 25. The runner up winners will receive an overnight stay in any one of the 83 Novotel Hotels in the Asia Pacific region of the winner’s choice. Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, Hongkong, Hotel News0 Comments

Denmark records decrease in visitors due to long visa processing procedure

A waiting period of up to six months for a visa to visit Denmark is costing the tourist industry between DKK 200 – 300 millions, travel insiders claimed, the Denmark Embassy’s News ex-press reported Tuesday.

The official application process for visitors applying for a visa from outside the European Union (EU) is three months, but according to Jens Zimmer of hotel and restaurant trade organization Horesta, “in most instances it’s far longer.”

Both tourists and business travelers have no time to wait for so long and therefore we lose them to other places instead,” he said

“Norway and Finland, which have a far shorter and easier application process, receive two to three times as many Chinese visitors than we do, so it’s time to set up a better, more effective procedure,” he stressed.

Posted in Europe0 Comments

Tourism Malaysia gets down to business in Damascus

Following a well-received promotional campaign in Jordan, Tourism Malaysia is now in Damascus to coax more Syrians to visit Malaysia.

Leading the charge is Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general for planning Azizan Noordin, who arrived in the Syrian capital Monday evening after traveling by land from Amman.

Malaysia welcomed 4,066 Syrian tourists in 2008, and 1,153 visitors from this Arab republic of over 19 million people came to Malaysia during January-March this year.

The Tourism Malaysia team present here includes its regional director for Africa, West and South Asia Abdul Rahman Shaari and overseas director for Saudi Arabia, Levant, Yemen and North Africa Ahmad Husni Ahmad Basri.

The rest of the delegation is made up of several hoteliers and travel agents from Malaysia who took part in the Arabian Travel Market 2009 which concluded in Dubai on Friday. Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, Malaysia, Tourism News0 Comments

Tourists to Thailand drops by half

The number of international tourists to Thailand plunged more than 50 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2009, with the forward hotel bookings also sluggish due to the current A/H1N1 flu threat, Thai tourism associations said Monday.

Chinese, Japanese and South Korean tourists represented much of the drop in visitor numbers between January and April, The Nation said on its website quoting Association of Thai Travel Agents president Surapol Sritrakul.

The recent outbreak of A/H1N1 flu has become the latest obstacle to tourism, along with the prolonged worldwide economic crisis and internal political problems, Surapol said.

He added that it’s too soon to predict the impact of the new strain of flu on tourism since there is no confirmed case in Thailand yet.

“If the disease reaches this country, the tourism sector will suffer an even greater impact,” he said.

The flu is also hitting outbound tourism business, with local travel agencies now receiving cancellations of trips to flu-infected countries. Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, Thailand, Tourism News0 Comments

Lajes Das Flores : A Fresh New Destination

If you stand on the beach at Faja de Baixo and look out at the sea you can imagine that there is nothing but water between you and the eastern coast of the United States. Behind you, 40 waterfalls cascade down soaring cliffs. There is not a more enchanting place than Flores, and its tiny neighbor Corvo. Together they make up the Western Group of Azorean islands – over 150 miles from the Central Group, Flores’ landscape is quite different from the rest of the Azores, it feels younger, and windswept.

Flores western coast is a flat slice of land, called a Fajã, running from the cliffs of the mountain plateau to sharp black rocks and beaches along the Atlantic. Tiny towns, with white washed houses flow to the sea, and a dozen of waterfalls splash from the cliffs behind them. In this mild climate, there are cedar forests, tidal pools, and trails to climb to the waterfalls, and even ponds to swim in at the foot of waterfalls.

The central mountain plains are dotted with seven crater lakes, all easily accessed by foot or car, all at different heights, so that some are actual higher than others that lie along side. The landscape here is like an English moor with lines of hydrangeas that follow the road’s that rise fall with the green landscape. Sheep, goats and cattle graze amid the dark crater lakes, and rabbits dash back and forth from the brush.

The southern coast is home to the former whaling town of Lajes Das Flores, where the black ramp leading up to former whaling factory is still the best way to the rocky beach. Old tripots and whaling implements are on display at the factory. Nearby restaurants serve the fresh catch of the day, and 19th century church crowns over the village. Continue Reading

Posted in Travel and Tourism News0 Comments

Balicasag, Bohol’s island paradise dive site

Chosen as one of the top 20 diving spots in the world, this 25-hectare island off the tip of Bohol province in Central Visayas is a fish sanctuary of over 2,000 species that make marine biologists and scuba divers agog each time they dive.

It features a never-ending undersea spectacle of God’s creations such as giant stingrays, sea turtles, napoleon rash, whale sharks, white tip-sharks, devil mantas, colorful clown fish, tuna, to name a few, that make the coastal waters around the island their permanent abode. Thousands of caves and caverns underneath also abound in the island.

This writer made a survey of the area last April 29 and concurred that indeed, Balicasag is not only a diver’s paradise but also lately has become a perfect getaway place for honeymooners, who savor the ambiance of the sea with flock of birds flying overhead and fresh sea breeze blowing on 24/7.

Ms. Mayen Go, the energetic resident manager of the Balicasag Dive Resort operated by the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), said that “foreign and domestic tourists are coming to the island paradise in droves after they learn from friends by word of mouth on how spectacular this tiny island is.” Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, Philippines, Travel and Tourism News0 Comments

Hotels in Thailand gets lower number of guests

Data from STR Global, a leading provider of market information to the global hotel industry, highlights the plight of local markets in Thailand and puts the effect of the country’s recent political disruption into a regional context.

The ongoing political unrest in Bangkok has severely affected the country’s hospitality industry, which already has to deal with worsening global economic conditions, and now concerns of a possible swine flu pandemic.

 Over the five months from November 2008 to March 2009, the four Thai markets tracked by STR Global have reported monthly declines of more than 30% in revenue per available room (RevPAR) against the comparable period the previous year.

The falls in RevPAR were driven by declining occupancy levels that were not matched by similar declines in average room rates. Continue Reading

Posted in Asia, Hotel News, Thailand0 Comments

How could Swine Flu affect Australia’s travel and tourism industry – a view about the unquantifiable ”X” factors we are all facing

When SARS was in its infancy in 2003, Tim Harcourt Chief Economist at the Australian Trade Commission said, “Every year economic forecasters have to contend with an “X Factor”, and I am sure that it is fair to say that this year we are already not only dealing with two “X Factors” and let’s call the first the global economic crisis and the second, the “X+1 Factor” the dramatic increases in the cost of fuel.

Now though we are dealing with another potentially cataclysmic factor, let’s call it the “X+2 Factor” – the outbreak of Swine Flu in Mexico and its rampaging and potentially devastating progress throughout the world.

As Tim Harcourt also said in 2003, “How many more can there be?” “Sure, we can all do our trend forecasts, factor on tax changes and other once-off policy related factors, seasonally adjust here and there, nip and tuck and so on.”

“And just when we economists think we have a handle on everything – whoosh! – in comes “Factor X” and wipes out all our neat little certainties and sensible predictions.” Continue Reading

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