Old habits die hard

June 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Myanmar, News

YANGON, 30 June 2017: Myanmar’s civilian government on Wednesday defended the detention of three journalists who were reporting on an armed ethnic group, an incident that has fueled alarm at the erosion of press freedom.

The journalists were among seven people detained by the military, Monday, as they left a drugs-burning ceremony organised by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), one of several rebel groups fighting the state.

The journalists, who have been held incommunicado since then, included reporters from The Irrawaddy and DVB, which for years challenged the former junta’s iron grip on free expression with their covert reporting. Read more

Not brave enough to buy Air India

June 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, South Asia

NEW DELHI, 30 June 2017: Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra said he was not brave enough to take on debt-laden Air India after the government said it would privatise the ailing national carrier.

Air India, known as the “Maharaja of the Skies” for its turbaned mascot, is reeling under 520 billion rupees (USD8 billion) in debt which clouded the government announcement of the selloff late Wednesday.

It is unclear if the government will write off any part of the debt. But there appeared little enthusiasm among potential buyers as markets opened Thursday. Read more

Timor introduces ePassports

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE, 23 June 2017: Gemalto, a leader in digital security, partners with the East Timor government to issue electronic passports (ePassports) to citizens.

The complete solution is built around the ICAO-compliant ePassport model.

It comes with a suite of capabilities such as easy enrolments, biometric data capture, de-duplication of redundant biometric information, disaster and data recovery, as well as a full turnkey public key infrastructure and secure issuance of the document. Read more

STB rejigs travel agents act

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Singapore

SINGAPORE, 23 June 2017: Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Singapore Tourism Board are seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the Travel Agents Act and Regulations.

The public consultation exercise will run through to 12 July.

The review of the Travel Agents Act and Regulations is part of the government’s efforts to strengthen the regulatory framework and facilitate a pro-business environment in the travel agents industry as well as enhance consumer protection (1).  Read more

Tourism top of the Thai pile

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Thailand, TRENDING

LONDON, 23 June 2017: Thailand’s tourism sector is one of the strongest performers out of nine of the country’s industry sectors covered in a new study released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The WTTC Benchmarking Report 2017 compares Travel & Tourism to eight other sectors, which are considered to have similar breadth and global presence, across 27 countries and six regions.

The section on Thailand showed that business and leisure travel directly contributed THB1.3 trillion (USD37 billion) to Thailand’s GDP in 2016, which is higher than all other eight sectors researched in the study. Read more

Twerking Thai star told to tone down

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 15 June 2017: Twerking nine to three is the new way to make a living for a teenage Thai music star whose eye-popping dance moves have enraged the country’s military strongman.

Country music singer Lamyai Haithongkham, known for her signature “Nine Levels” twerking routine, has become a sensation in her homeland thanks to the kind of gyrating move that might even make Miley Cyrus pause for thought.

But now the 18-year-old has agreed to tone down her dancing after coming under fire from the country’s military leader. Read more

No change to Thai VAT

May 22, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 22 May 2017: Reports that Thailand would increase VAT, this year, were put to rest after the government confirmed it would not endorse a proposal to increase the tax from 7% to 8%.

An interim parliament’s committee on economics argued that raising value-added tax from the current rate of 7% to 8% would increase tax revenue by at least THB60 billion.

However, Deputy Prime Minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam, was quoted by Khao Sod news channel saying the government would not consider it. Read more

Cheapskates irritate Thais

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 8 May 2017: Perhaps it was a storm in a teacup, but social media pundits were having a go last week at Western tourists who travel Thailand without dipping into their own wallets. It’s almost a competition to see who can travel the furthest and longest on charity.

Hardly something to brag about, especially on your Facebook pages, but some couldn’t resist the temptation and the bragging rights that go with zero-dollar travel.

Apart from irate Thais who thought the freeloaders should be deported, the entire concept of travel on the cheap flies in the face of Thai government’s policies and ambitions for tourism. Read more

Vietnam targets beach tourism

April 26, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Vietnam

HANOI, 26 April 2017: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism says the government’s 2020 master plan for tourism development aims to develop seven key tourism zones, of which five are sea-island related zones, reflecting the importance of marine, coastal  and island tourism.

Local media quoted VNAT deputy general director, Ngo Hoai Chung, saying sea and island tourism has drawn a large number of foreign and domestic investors, accounting for 70% of the sector’s total investment.

Beyond tourism revenue, sea and island tourism contributes to the country’s socio-economic development while consolidating national defense and security.  Read more

Qatar: US airlines are bullies

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under AMERICAS, Aviation, News

DUBAI, 25 April 2017: The chief of Qatar Airways on Monday accused American carriers complaining over alleged subsidies to Gulf airlines of “bullying”, as he announced new US routes in defiance of mounting airport restrictions.

US carriers Delta, United and American Airlines have accused Qatar Airways along with Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad of benefitting from government subsidies to expand their transcontinental networks.

They have urged US President Donald Trump to take action against the Gulf airlines, who deny any form of subsidy. Read more

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