ADB funds flow to the Mekong

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Mekong, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 12 July 2017: Achieving balance in Mekong Region tourism was the underlying theme of keynote addresses and discussions at breakout sessions during the 20th Mekong Tourism Forum held last week in the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang in Laos.

But will the region’s tourism policy makers listen to the call for caution, balance and possibly a rethink of long-term goals?

The region known as the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is heading for an astounding tourist head count of 66.9 million this year and based on the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016 to 2025 the region is on track to welcome 95 million visitors by 2025. Read more

Can the GMS connect rail by 2020?

June 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Mekong, News

LUANG PRABANG, 7 June 2017: Rail systems fail to figure in the Mekong Region travel picture, but that might change over the next 10 years as plans to build new lines and link existing rail networks take shape in the six-country region.

A report on the Greater Mekong Subregion website challenges readers. “Imagine boarding the overnight sleeper train in Ho Chi Minh City and waking up in Bangkok, or in Yangon a few days later.”

This is not a remotely possible today in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), but officials and executives of the Asian Development Bank believe that could change a dream into reality by 2020. Read more

Start-up battle for grants

June 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Mekong, News

BANGKOK, 5 May 2017: Twelve start-up travel enterprises from Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam will vie for a top prize of USD10,000 as they pitch their business plans to a panel of judges at the Mekong Tourism Forum, 6 June in Luang Prabang.

Four finalists will finish on the podium with the first winner taking home a prize USD10,000 and three runners up taking prizes of USD7,000 up to USD9,000.

The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) leads the grant programme that has the backing of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Mekong Business Initiative (MBI). Read more

Thai tourism outlook bright

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 20 April 2017: Kasikorn Research Centre estimates 11.81 million international travellers will visit Thailand generating THB612 billion during January to April this year.

The bank’s think-tank unit said inbound tourism has been challenged since the beginning of this year due to a slowdown of tourist arrivals particularly from China and mainly so-called zero-dollar tours.

This resulted in a marginal growth of 0.7% in inbound tourism, January to March. Major markets that lifted arrivals in Q1 were Russia, Lao PDR, South Korea and India. Read more

Thailand strives for ICAO green flag

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 23 March 2017: Kasikorn Research Centre says the ongoing ICAO and FAA process of recertification of Thailand’s aviation industry will strengthen the country’s ambitions to regain its status as a top regional hub.

It noted that the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has now issued its first Air Operations Certificate (AOC) under an ongoing recertification programme,  27 February.

Bangkok Airways was the first recipient as part of CAAT’s recertification programme, in partnership with CAA International (CAAi), which is part of the International Directorate of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA). Read more

Vietnam’s eVisa encourages travel

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY, 16 March 2017: Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism authorities claim that the launch of an eVisa, last month, has increased travel bookings to Vietnam and particularly the southern city which is the country main gateway.

Local media quoted the city’s Vietnam National University’s Tourism Institute head Nguyen Duc Tri, saying the eVisa also enables improved data and updates of foreign tourists visiting the country, which will help tourism officials to monitor trends and adapt the country’s tourism products to meet demand.

According to Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Immigration, 490 foreigners applied for an eVisa since it was introduced in February. Of that total 210 applications were filed a week after the pilot scheme was introduced Read more

Medical tourists bring in the dollars

March 13, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 13 March 2017: Medical tourism is a key factor to boost Thailand’s private hospital business, according to Kasikorn Research Centre most recent report.

The bank think-tank unit said private hospitals continue to be a rising star maintaining a high two-digit revenue growth rate and good proportion of it comes from international patients rather than the domestic market..

“Medical tourism helps to generate at least THB40,000 million a year in treatment fees, which does not take into account income related business such as retail, tourism, hotels and restaurants…the medical tourism market is a  key driver for private hospital business success,” the bank said. Read more

Thai domestic tourism to grow 7%

March 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Thailand, TRENDING

BANGKOK, 7 March 2017: Kasikorn Research Centre estimates Thailand’s domestic tourism will grow 7 to 8%, this year, circulating THB930 to THB938 billion in tourism related revenue to rural areas.

The bank’s think-tank unit said Thais travelling in the country helped to spread revenue from major towns and cities to rural areas.

“This year, domestic tourism has more room to grow, although there are no clear signs that incentive measures will be extended to promote visits in the country…intense competition among tourism operators, hotels and airlines including indirect sectors will drive domestic tourism forward.” Read more

Thai hotels face stiff competition

February 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Hospitality, News, Thailand, TRENDING

BANGKOK, 28 February 2017: Kasikorn Research Centre estimates Thailand’s hotel sector will generate THB560 to THB574 billion this year in gross revenue, an increase of 3.7% to 5.5% year-on-year, despite growing competition.

The bank’s think-tank  said competition in the hotel business continued to heighten in 2016, with more hotels in the pipeline.

“Now, as existing hotel operators carefully weigh their moves, new entrants venture into the market through mergers and acquisitions, bringing in new investment.” Read more

Bank survey backs zero-dollar crackdown

February 2, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand, Trade Talk

BANGKOK, 2 February 2017: Most Chinese tourists travelling to Thailand agree with Thailand’s clampdown on zero-dollar tours reasoning it could raise the country’s tourism quality and encourage more travel options, according to Kasikorn Research Centre survey.

The bank’s survey showed that 83.4% of Chinese tourists interviewed in the survey supported the crackdown and thought it would benefit Thailand’s tourism in the long-run.

And another 15% of respondents, while agreeing with the crackdown, were not sure of the outcome. Read more

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