BANGKOK, 26 March 2013: Thailand’s Tourist Police will embark on a major campaign to improve security for tourists through a new Tourist Buddy App, due to be launched 3 April.
The campaign launch scheduled for Suvarnabhumi Airport, next week, will introduce the Tourist Buddy Application that visitors can download free to their smartphone devices to gain 24-hour access to Thailand’s Tourist Police assistance centres.
Its main advantage will come into play if a tourist faces an emergency or threatening situation. Using the smartphone App, a tourist can alert the nearest tourist police centre and through the GPS hook up it will immediately specify the exact location from where the request was being made. Police officers are expected to deploy and intervene promptly in the case of an emergency in the hope they can defuse a situation before a crime is committed.
BANGKOK, 25 March 2013: ETN Publisher and Pacific Asia Travel Association board member, Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, has thrown his support behind the Avaaz and Amnesty International campaigns to boycott the Maldives’ tourism industry.
He announced, Monday, that his publication, ETurboNews will not accept advertising or press releases from any Maldives government agency until the government ends human rights abuses against women.
ETN’s Online news called for tourism industry support for an outright boycott of Maldives’ tourism calling on the country’s leaders to end the practice of flogging as a form of punishment and amend laws to remove the provisions that allow flogging, as well as those that criminalise “fornication.”
BANGKOK, 25 March 2013: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, late last week, to adopt four key strategies to build the country’s tourism industry.
She told officials it was imperative to reach the government’s target of Bt2 trillion in tourism revenue by 2015. To achieve the goal the ministry was told to adopt the follow policies:
• Increase tourist length of stay;
BANGKOK, 22 March 2013: Tourism Authority of Thailand says it will market cycle tourism to build length of stay and tourism-related revenue at destinations beyond Bangkok.
It made the comments on the back of promotions for the first-ever bike show in Bangkok scheduled for this May.
TAT tourism products and business deputy governor, Vilaiwan Twichasri, said: “Bike tourism (cycle not motor bikes) is a global trend that is capturing the attention of more people and it is an important additional product that boosts the country’s tourism industry.”
YANGON, 21 March 2013: Myanmar on Wednesday announced the abolition of its US dollar proxy currency, in the latest step towards economic normalisation.
More thanUS$30 million worth of Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC) will be phased out of existence, Finance Minister Win Shein said in parliament, without giving a timeframe for the move.
The currency, introduced by the former junta two decades ago as an alternative to the US greenback — which it officially banned — is no longer required, he said.
CANBERRA, 21 March 2013: President Thein Sein on Monday became Myanmar’s first head of state to visit Australia since 1974, winning aid and defence concessions as he reaps new fruits of his liberalisation policies.
As the once pariah country approaches the second anniversary of a quasi-civilian regime led by the ex-general taking power, Canberra said it was increasing its support to recognise the reforms.
“As a close neighbour, Australia will benefit from a more open and prosperous Myanmar that is fully integrated into the region,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the country formerly known as Burma.
PHUKET, 13 March 2013: Six eastern Europeans were arrested Monday by Immigration Police at Rawai district accused of work permit offences, according to a report released by a local online news service.
It suggests that immigration police are preparing a crackdown on the island to enforce labour laws that are opening flouted by foreign workers.
Immigration police led by Pol Col Sanchai Chokkayaikij, Superintendent of the Phuket Immigration Office, raided the Rawai premises of Promo Co and OK Solution Co, which are owned by the same people – two Thai shareholders and Russian Maria Batura.
KUALA LUMPUR, 12 March 2013: Malaysian police said Monday they had cleared a remote village at the heart of a month-long incursion by Filipino Islamists as another gunman was killed, raising the toll in the crisis to 63.
But the remaining followers of a self-styled Philippine Sultan were still being hunted in a neighbouring village and surrounding farmland a week after Malaysia sent in the army to root them out.
Last week, travel advisories were issued by various countries, warning citizens to avoid Sabah.
BANGKOK, 12 March 2013: Thailand’s Chat Thai Pattana Party confirmed, Sunday, that it has forwarded its candidate to fill the vacant post of Tourism and Sports Minister to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The party has to find a replacement for Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister, Chumpol Silpa-archa, who died after a prolonged illness 21 January.
The party spokesperson, Watchara Kannikar, said the party sent the tourism minister’s nomination to the Prime Minister already and is awaiting her decision.
HANOI, 6 March 2013: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism estimates the country welcomed 570,476 international travellers in February representing a 16.33% drop from 681,849 visits during the same month last year.
Thailand’s outbound trips to Vietnam were not enough to keep it on the top 10 supply list. It moved down to 11th position with 15,488 visits. However, it still represented an 18.8% over the same month in the previous year.
China led the field with 130,530 trips, but declined 8.38% from 142,462, followed by South Korea, Japan, the United States, Taiwan and Russia.