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Thailand Tourism: What Needs to be Done?

With Suvarnabhumi not even yet back to full steam and thousands of travellers still stranded in Thailand, it may be a little early to start looking at what Thailand needs to do to kick start the tourism industry it’s economy so dearly needs. But with many hotels reporting less than 10% occupancy rates, and more gloom projected, now may be as good a time as any.

Billions of dollars have been pumped into making Thailand a world class destination, with improved infrastructure, hotels, spas and resorts that rank among the best in the world. But this year, little by little, serious cracks have been appearing in all the efforts made by TAT and the industry within Thailand as a whole.

At first there were protests, just a few here and there, scattered in areas that were easily avoidable by tourists. Then a few small bombs, a state of emergency declared in Bangkok. And then, the first very serious blow to tourism of the year came when the airports of Hat Yai, Krabi and Phuket were all closed by anti-government protestors, leaving thousands of innocent tourists stranded. Continue Reading

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Flights in Bangkok Airport Resumed

The anti-government protestors that have been holding Bangkok’s two major airports – Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang – as well as Thailand’s tourism industry and image under siege, returned the airports to the official authorities on Wednesday, after having caused enormous damage to the Thai economy.

While at first glance the end of the siege is excellent news, despite the protestors warning they could easily return, many of the stranded travellers have already made their way to other parts of Thailand such as U-Tapao, Phuket, Chiang Mai so the opening of Suvarnabhumi may not, in the very short term, make too much difference for those that have been trying to leave Thailand for over a week already. Continue Reading

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Thailand crisis may cause 100-M USD of loss to Cambodian tourism industry: Minister

The tourism industry of Cambodia will see a loss of 100 million U.S. dollars this year, if the current chaos in Thailand can’t be reversed in three months, Cambodian media on Tuesday quoted minister as saying.

The Thai capital is a regional hub, from where tourists can enter Cambodia, so the situation there can have direct impact over the tourism industry here, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thon Khong told Chinese-language newspaper the Commercial News.

About 1,500 passengers come to Cambodia through Bangkok everyday, making up 30 percent of all daily entry of visitors into the kingdom, he said.

“Each of them is expected to spend 770 U.S. dollars per day in the country,” he said.

When times were stable, 10 to 12 flights shuttle between Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Bangkok, but the crisis in the neighboring country has stopped the boom and will lead to loss to Cambodia for sure, he added.

Tourism is one of the pillar industries of Cambodia. Over two million foreign tourist arrivals are expected this year according to the government’s original plan, but the number has been scaled down by almost a quarter recently due to the global financial crisis.

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Travel Update : Tourism Situation in Thailand

The Iran Airlines special flight for Thai Muslim pilgrims to their annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca departed from U-Tapao Airport this afternoon.

14.45 Hrs – In order to facilitate stranded passengers with confirmed reservations, THAI organized 31 special flights, 18 outbound and 13 inbound, to depart throughout the day. THAI has provided transportation between Bangkok andf U-Tapao International Airport departing from Centara Grand and vie versa.

THAI has requested that confirmed passengers to pre-check their travel documents at least 5 hours prior to their flight departure time. This includes travelling time to U-Tapao at the Lobby Area of the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld. Continue Reading

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India terrorist attacks leave Eighty dead

In a series of attacks aimed at Western tourists, terrorists attacked India’s financial capital late Wednesday, killing at least 80 people with automatic weapons and grenades and rounding up foreigners as hostages.

India dispatched army troops to India’s largest city in an attempt to rescue at least 40 visitors, including tourists held captive at two luxury hotels in south Bombay.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Press Trust of India reported. Terrorism experts in the United States said the extent and sophistication of the attacks pointed to an al Qaeda-affiliated group.

According to CNN Indian victims include financier, journalist, actor’s sister, police

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Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific cancel Bangkok flights

Philippine Local airlines on Wednesday cancelled scheduled trips from Manila and Clark to the besieged Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific announced that the following flights are cancelled:

* Cebu Pacific Manila-Bangkok-Manila flights 5J 931 and 5J 932 for November 26
* Cebu Pacific Clark-Bangkok-Clark flights 27 5J 941 and 5J 942 for November 27
* PAL flights PR 730 and PR 732 for November 26

PAL spokesman Rolando Estabillo said the flag carrier has yet to announce flight cancellations for November 27 and will be monitoring developments in Bangkok before making further adjustments. Continue Reading

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Thailand political turmoil deepens amid continuous protests

Thousands of chanting protesters wearing yellow T-shirts and waving national flags have demonstrated on two consecutive days in what they say is an effort to topple the Thai government.

Analysts say it would be no easy job to end the years-long political turmoil that has been marked by accusations and unceasing protests and that the turbulence will cause Thailand’s economy additional disturbances.


Since late May, Bangkok has seen almost daily anti-government rallies led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) against two successive governments of the People’s Power Party (PPP). Continue Reading

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Travel Advisory : Bird flu outbreak occurs in central Vietnam

A bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in Nghe An, a central province of Vietnam, the local newspaper Liberty Saigon reported on Wednesday, citing a statement from the provincial People’s Committee.

The outbreak was spotted at the Dien Hong commune, causing the death of nearly 1,000 poultry. Specimens from the dead poultry have recently been tested positive to the bird flu virus strain H5N1, according to the statement.

The local authority has established a zone covering the outbreak to prevent the virus from spreading. Consumption and sale of birds and bird-related products within the zone are banned.

Bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam, starting in December 2003, have killed and led to the forced culling of dozens of millions of fowls in the country.

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United Kingdom updates Tobago travel advisory

“Although most visits to Tobago are trouble free, crime against tourists in Tobago and the inability of the Tobago authorities to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators remains a concern. The authorities on the island are taking positive steps and the situation is beginning to improve,” is how the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office begins its description of Tobago.

The update came in the second paragraph, “In 2008 there have been a number of serious robberies against tourists and residents. Some of these incidents have been accompanied by violence, including attempted rape. A resident Swedish couple were murdered at their villa in Bon Accord on 9 October 2008. Caution is therefore advised when renting villas in the south west of the island. All villas should have adequate security measures in place, including the provision of external security lighting, grills and 24-hour security guards. You should be aware of your surroundings at all times and preferably carry a mobile ‘phone with roaming capability for use in emergency. Petty theft from cars has also increased.” Continue Reading

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United Kingdom Travellers To Africa And Asia Continue To Ignore Health Messages About Preventing Malaria

A study by the Health Protection Agency’s Malaria Reference Laboratory (HPA) and published in today’s shows that despite highly effective measures available to prevent malaria, the burden of disease among UK travellers has steadily increased over the last 20 years.

There were 39,300 cases of malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006. Of these 20,488 were in UK travellers (visitors from the UK to malarious countries) and the remainder were among visitors to the UK.

The majority of the malaria cases in UK travellers (65 per cent) were in people visiting friends or family in Africa or South Asia . Continue Reading

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New Report Details How as Commercial Air Carriers Struggle, Private Jets Boom at Public’s Expense

As Americans prepare to pay extra for checked bags, wait in long lines, and endure crowded commercial flights this summer, super-wealthy private jet owners are enjoying tax breaks and luxury at the public’s expense. “High Flyers: How Private Jet Travel Is Straining the System, Warming the Planet, and Costing You Money,” a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Essential Action, exposes the impacts of private aviation on the air traffic system, carbon emissions, and everyday travelers.

“While air travel has become more expensive, uncomfortable and degrading for the rest of us, a growing class of ultra-rich Americans are fueling a boom in private jets and flying high on tax breaks,” said Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and coordinator of the Working Group on Extreme Inequality. “The surge in private jets has real costs to taxpayers, shareholders, and everyday air travelers. These high flyers aren’t just living large on their own privilege; they’re threatening our environment, security, and the cohesion of our country, at our expense.” Continue Reading

Posted in Aviation News, Travel Guide, Travel Warning1 Comment

More pressure on Australia to lift Bali travel

The pressure is mounting for Australia to follow the United States’ lead in revoking its advisory against travel to Bali, Indonesia.

Adding to those putting pressure on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) is the Little Bali Hotel & Resort Company (LBHRC). The LBHRC call for action follows the release of a State Department statement issued on Sunday, 25 May advising the US government’s decision to lift the warning, in place since November 2000, “due to objective improvements made by Indonesia in its current security situation.”

LBHRC founder Mike Parker-Brown said he was hopeful DFAT would quickly follow the US government lead in downgrading its current grade four “reconsider your need to travel” advisory to a lower level.

“The US government has obviously recognized the investments the Indonesian government has made, financially, time wise and with manpower and technology, to make the destination much safer,” Parker-Brown said. Continue Reading

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