BANGKOK, 27 March 2017: The first time I witnessed a demonstration of Sabrage, the art of opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre, was at the St Regis Bangkok a few years back. It was quite impressive especially the part when the cork, still attached to the bottle’s lip, shot off in the direction of the well stocked bar lined with expensive wines and liquors.
It made it to the bar top and landed an ice bucket. Well done, cried the F&B manager and we all applauded the feat like kids at a circus.
Where I hail from there was a significant lack of champagne culture. In the 1960s folk in Manchester, UK, frowned on pub goers sipping champagne, let alone whacking them with a sabre. Read more
BANGKOK, 23 March 2017: Trump’s arch enemy, The Washington Post, fielded an alternative explanation for the US laptop travel ban that it claimed was more to do with commercial reasons than a terrorism threat.
Writing in The Washington Post, Wednesday, Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman, professors at George Washington University, suggested that the ban might have been more to do with economic protectionism than a national security threat.
Domestic Homeland Security says the new rules were introduced because of intelligence that shows terrorists are continuing to target airlines flying to the United States. Read more
BANGKOK, 22 March 2017: The latest inflight ban on laptops and other devices larger than a mobile phone sends mixed messages, most of them the worrying kind.
Once the US declares an aviation related ban it is usually adopted worldwide. Within hours the UK introduced a similar ban and Canada is likely to follow later today.
Right now the US ban relates to 10 airports in the Middle East and airlines based there that fly to US destinations, but three of the identified airports – Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi – are major hubs for global networks. Read more
BANGKOK, 20 March 2017: Expedia’s study on Thai airline travellers’ perceptions of good inflight manners hits the nail on the head, but some of the blame for delinquent behaviour should be placed at the boardroom doors of domestic airlines.
Yes, seat-back kickers are animals. They spoil your flight with their fidgety Kung Fu kicks, although I tend to put it down to the absence of breast-feeding when they were cuddly babies. They still think they are infants in a cot kicking the living daylights out of a feeding bottle. Could there be another reason?
Perhaps they are considerably taller than the airline’s arbitrary ruling on the average height of an Asian passenger. Read more
BANGKOK, 13 March 2017: Michelin Guides arrive on Thailand’s varied and exotic dining scene and the government’s decision to seed the project with a USD4.1 million grant raises a few eyebrows and a chorus of dismay from foodie tourism critics.
Understandably, the government is keen to exploit Thailand’s success that has placed its devilishly hot, spicy cuisine top-of-the-table in almost every capital city, worldwide. It’s a success story that is now justifiably the pride of Thailand’s chefs and restaurateurs, who spent decades striving to elevate Thai cuisine to become an international brand without a dime’s support from government.
Now Michelin has dropped by to pick up the cheque and frankly it might be resented, or seen as a waste of public funding. Read more
BANGKOK, 6 March 2017: Chinese are not alone when it comes to spitting out of car and bus windows, or urinating behind an obliging tree, but we conveniently like to think they have a monopoly on bad manners.
Late last month, China National Tourism Administration released a survey on whether Chinese travellers were improving their manners when visiting the top 10 overseas destinations.
BANGKOK, 27 February 2017: We are comfortable with Fair Trade having read the small print on the label of our joggers that confidently assures us they were manufactured with an eye on ethics.
Fair play is internationally accepted as the ruling principle in the drive to rid global sports of cheats. No one challenges that enterprise.
So why is the tourism industry slow to campaign for fair prices? We don’t see the UNWTO coming out in condemnation of dual pricing that is practiced by many of its member countries. But there is no doubt that establishing prices based on nationality is a form of discrimination for the rest of the world. Read more
SINGAPORE, 24 February 2017: Sabre Corporation and Egencia, the business travel company of Expedia, released, Thursday, analysis and recommendations on ways companies can support their road warrior employees while travelling.
The joint whitepaper titled, “The Year of the Business Traveller: Four keys to use data to support road warriors in 2017”.
Based on analysis of Sabre’s global air, hotel and ancillary booking data, companies have the opportunity to increase traveller satisfaction in several areas, especially for road warriors. Read more
BANGKOK, 20 February 2017: UNWTO should be applauded for its efforts to introduce a charter on tourist protection. It’s a subject that rarely raises glasses in a toast of support at travel trade cocktail parties.
The trade is usually preoccupied with protecting its own interests in the time of crisis. That could extend to outdoing competitors with a not-to-be missed discount loaded with small print to trap consumers during a tour operator’s hour of need.
UNWTO has put the shoe on the other foot this time looking at how we should care for consumers in their hour of need. Read more
HELSINKI, 20 February 2017: Visitors to Helsinki, the capital of Finland, can enjoy a traditional Finnish sauna any time of the year, but twice a year a special kind of sauna festival gets underway.
The 11 March event opens the doors to private saunas throughout the city for everyone to enjoy.
The sauna has traditionally been a social gathering place among Finns, yet most of the saunas in Helsinki these days are in private use only. Helsinki Sauna Day opens the doors to many private saunas for the public to enjoy. Read more