Road carnage tarnishes Thailand’s reputation

November 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Editor's Post, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 20 November 2017: It was a bad week for Thailand’s dreadful road safety record with critics claiming the country must now have the worst safety record in the world.

The driver of a minivan that ploughed into the back of a truck killing four Japanese tourists and their guide, last week, has since been charged with reckless driving causing death.

A tour bus taking school children on a field trip flipped out of control killing three children and injuring 48. Within days a double-deck tour bus careered off a hilly road killing one passenger and injuring 30 senior citizens, who were on a weekend tour of Petchabun province. Read more

Monarch rolls down shutters

October 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, EUROPE, News

LONDON, 3 October 2017: Monarch Airlines ceased trading, Monday, triggering a move by the British government to bring home 110,000 customers stranded abroad.

The British airline and its holidays business entered administration, with KPMG appointed to oversee the financial chaos.

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority described the situation as “the biggest ever UK airline failure,” adding that “all future holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating”. Read more

PAL in a pickle over unpaid fees

October 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, Philippines

MANILA, 2 October 2017: The Philippine government has threatened its flag carrier with legal action over unpaid fees and ordered it to pay millions in back charges, as President Rodrigo Duterte said he could cut off its access to Manila’s main airport.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) owes 7.3 billion pesos (USD142 million) in landing, navigational and other fees, according to the government, which says some of the charges date back years.

Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters Thursday that the transport ministry had issued the airline with a final demand for full payment, and was prepared to take legal action in order to “protect the interest of the government”. Read more

India’s Kerala taps adventure

September 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, News, South Asia, tour operators

KUMARAKOM, India, 29 September  2017: India’s Kerala State has been rebranded a “land of adventure in a bid to attract young international travellers, according to, the Minister of Tourism, Government of Kerala, Kadakampally Surendran.

He made the comments at the opening of the 13th Annual Convention of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI), Wednesday.

Adopting the theme  ‘Emerging Pathways’, the annual convention aims to position India as the adventure capital of the world. Read more

Thailand’s rail plans speed up

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 28 August 2017: Thailand’s government  approved a draft contract for the  construction and design of the first phase of the country’s high-speed railway project with China, last week.

The first stage of the  high-speed railway will link Bangkok and the northeast province of Nakhon Ratchasima and is scheduled to be operational by 2021.

The Thai cabinet and the National Legislative Assembly, have approved the first phase of the new railway and once all phases are completed, it will offer a fast train link from Yunnan province in China to the eastern seaboard on the Gulf of Thailand and eventually to Malaysia and Singapore. Read more

VFS Global acquires competitor

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Middle east, News

LONDON, 25 August 2017: VFS Global completed the acquisition of visa service provider TT Services (TTS) earlier this week a move that strengthens VFS hold on the lucrative visa processing business.

According to VFS Global, thee transaction enables it “to leverage core competences and brands and to further enhance operating performance.”

The press statement says the change in control will have no impact on the business operations of the two companies. Read more

Cambodia introduces marine tax

August 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Cambodia, News

PHNOM PENH, 24 August 2017: Sihanoukville authorities confirmed, this week, they will introduce a new tax on tourists claiming it will help to protect the environment.

News of the new environment tax surfaced earlier in the month. In its latest update to travel partners, Asian Trails, a leading tour operator in Cambodia, confirmed the tax would be levied on all tourists using boat transport for an overnight stay or a  full-day excursion to off-shore islands.

Tourists will be charged a USD2 tax at the point of departure. Read more

Air Berlin on the brink

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News

FRANKFURT, 18 August 2017: Air Berlin is in talks with three competitors about buying up its assets, the insolvent airline’s boss said, Thursday, warning that not all jobs would be saved.

“Aside from Lufthansa, we are in contact with two other interested parties from the aviation industry,” Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

The negotiations have been going on for weeks, he said, and all three airlines were financially sound and large enough “to offer Air Berlin a secure future” while keeping Germany as an operations hub. Read more

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

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