Thursday, 25 February 2021


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to establish Thailand as the first country to welcome cryptocurrency holders by targeting Japanese tourists in the initial phase.

Though the agency downgraded its target for foreign tourist arrivals this year, it sees tourism during the post-pandemic era as emphasising quality and creativity, leading to its plan to add new segments with high spending.

After a discussion with the Technology Promotion Association (Thailand-Japan), the TAT determined it wants to attract cryptocurrency holders, a market that has grown significantly during the past few years.

Japan is considered one of the world’s top holders of bitcoin.

According to Dalia Research in 2018, 11% of Japanese own cryptocurrencies, higher than the global average of 7%, followed by Germany and the US at 9%.

“If we can prepare the country for the cryptocurrency market, it will help attract more opportunities from high-spending tourists, especially the young and wealthy generations,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT governor.

The TAT is conducting a feasibility study on implementing digital currency at tourism destinations.

The agency plans to talk with the Bank of Thailand and tourism operators such as hotels to prepare for new tourism practices in its long-term plan.

Mr Yuthasak said the use of cryptocurrency has to comply with regulations from the central bank and measures must be designed to deter money laundering.

“Even Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and a crypto influencer, might be interested in visiting Thailand,” he said.

In terms of the tourism target this year, he said the agency decided to slash its foreign arrival goal to 8 million tourists from 10 million.

Tourism receipts from foreign arrivals are estimated at 428 billion baht, down from the previous goal of 500 billion, with average spending of 53,500 baht per person.

Even though the industry faces uncontrollable factors, such as outbound restrictions in some countries, local sentiment towards international tourists, slow vaccine roll-outs and curbs on travel, the TAT still set higher goals than other governmental organisations.

On Tuesday, the National Economic and Social Development Council estimated Thailand will welcome only 3.2 million foreign arrivals.

The TAT plans to start a large sales campaign after April to bring back international tourists during the third quarter.

However, its overall revenue target remains the same at 1.2 trillion baht as the TAT expects to drive domestic revenue to 816 billion baht, up from 700 billion estimated earlier, with average spending of 4,000 baht per person.

Read the full article at Bangkok Post:

Photo: A healthcare worker thoroughly screen passengers upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Tags: cryptocurrency, Japanese tourists, TAT, Thailand, Tourism, tourism promotion

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1

Bangkok Airways to resume Passenger Lounges, Food and Beverages Kiosks

Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited announced that the airline will resume its passenger lounges, food and beverages kiosk services at Suvarnabhumi airport, Chiang Mai airport, Phuket airport, Krabi airport, Samui airport, Sukhothai airport and Trat airport in order to facilitate their domestic passengers. The service is scheduled to resume from 1 March 2021 onwards.

The table below shows operating hours of passenger lounges, food and beverages kiosk services at each airport:

Bangkok Airways - Lounge Opening Times

Passengers will still be required to wear protective facial mask at all times, except when drinking or eating. Moreover, the company (airline & airports) will continue to strictly follow precautionary measures against the COVID-19 that include disinfecting and cleaning all key areas such as check-in counters, passenger lounges, food & beverage kiosks as well as intensifying their social distancing procedures, especially at high–traffic points such as check-in counters, passenger buses, passenger lounges with limitation of users. The airline’s precaution and prevention plans are in accordance with the standards and guidance of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health and The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).


Songtsam Tours Becomes a Virtuoso Asia Pacific Preferred Supplier

Florence Li, Director of International Sales & Marketing, Songtsam announced that Songtsam Tours has now become a Virtuoso Asia Pacific Preferred Supplier. Songtsam Tours offers curated experiences in China’s Tibet and Yunnan Provinces by combining stays at its luxury boutique hotels and lodges designed to discover the region's diverse culture, rich biodiversity, incredible scenic landscapes, and unique living heritage.

“We are most delighted to welcome Songtsam Tours as our new Virtuoso Asia Pacific Preferred Supplier,” said Ms. Irene Lee, General Manager, Virtuoso Asia. “Over the years Songtsam has represented the core value of luxury travel and given the ultimate experience culturally, naturally, and sustainably. It touches our hearts to see the designated itineraries covering the beauty of nature with exposure to the culture, ecology, and wildlife, as well as the preservation of Tibetan origins.”

“We are extremely proud to become a Virtuoso Asia Pacific Preferred Supplier,” stated Florence Li. “Songtsam’s strong commitment to sustainability and the preservation of the essence of Tibetan culture, through its support of the economic development of the local communities, together with its focus on environmental conservation within Tibet and Yunnan, we believe, reflect the core values of Virtuoso.”

Songtsam (“Paradise”) currently offers two carefully crafted and curated signature routes: the Songtsam Yunnan Circuit, which explores the "Three Parallel Rivers" area (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the new Songtsam Yunnan-Tibet Route, which merges the Ancient Tea Horse Road, G214 (Yunnan-Tibet highway), G318 (Sichuan-Tibet highway), and the Tibetan Plateau road tour into one, adding unprecedented comfort to the Tibetan travel experience.
The Songtsam Experience

Travelers on Songtsam Tours will enjoy experiencing the local culture when staying at The Songtsam Hotels & Lodges. Usually located near a remote village, the hotels and lodges employ local staff and are an integral part of the surrounding landscape. Founded by Mr. Baima Duoji, in 2000, the Songtsam Group, on the 2018 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, is the only collection of luxury Tibetan-style retreats. The 12 unique properties can be found across the Tibetan Plateau, offering guests authenticity, within the context of refined design, modern amenities, and unobtrusive service in places of untouched natural beauty and cultural interest. Duoji’s desire is for guests to be inspired by the ethnic groups and cultures of the region, and most importantly to understand how the local people pursue and understand happiness.

With his long-standing interest in Chinese, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian art, Baima started collecting art long before he established his first hotel, Songtsam Lodge Shangri-La, which is located next to the famous Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La. Many of the properties across the Tibetan plateau are decorated with Duoji’s personal collection, with each hotel acting as a private art museum. Songtsam aims to share the beauty of humanity’s imagination and creativity with people from all over the world.


Quang Binh to host international flower festival in 2023

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) has approved the organisation of an international flower festival in Vietnam’s central province of Quang Binh in 2023, according to the provincial Department of Tourism.

Accordingly, the festival is scheduled to take place from December 1, 2023 to May 31, 2024, covering an area of 89 ha in Quang Ninh district’s Hai Ninh commune.

The event will be jointly held by PAN Asia Co., Quang Binh International Exhibition JSC, and Japanese event organizer Hakuhodo with a total investment of 122 million EUR (148.1 million USD).

The 183-day event is expected to attract about 8 million visitors, including 2.5 million foreigners.

The festival’s revenue is projected to reach 148 million EUR, contributing over 300 billion VND (over 13 million USD) to the State budget.

The AIPH is an international organisation dedicated to promoting horticultural producers and holding international garden and flora festivals or expositions.

Source: VNA
Photo: Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Ho Anh Phong speaks at a meeting with relevant agencies on the plan to organise the festival (Photo:

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism


ASEAN is committed to boost sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism in the region.

The commitment was made in the 24th Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers organised via videoconference under the theme “Unity for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Recovery”.

Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, led the Cambodian delegation attending the discussion from Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra here in Phnom Penh.

ASEAN tourism delegations also endorsed the Phnom Penh Joint Declaration on a more Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient ASEAN Tourism initiated by Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Declaration focuses on restoring the region’s tourism by tackling COVID-19 fallouts, job generation, and promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) promotion.

Read the full article at Khmer Times:

Photo: The video conference in progress. Ministry of Tourism
Tags: ASEAN, inclusive tourism, sustainable tourism

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Kimpton Key West Collection of Five Luxe to Laid Back Hotel Charmers Complete with Opening of Ridley House

Kimpton Key West, a collection of five boutique hotels centrally located in and around Old Town and world-famous Duval Street, is set to open Ridley House on March 15, 2021 marking the official completion of the group's unique collection that ranges from luxe to laid-back.

As the final addition to the Kimpton Key West collection, Ridley House joins Winslow's Bungalows, Lighthouse Hotel, Ella's Cottages and Fitch Lodge. Each of the five boutique hotels has undergone a thoughtful renovation and redesign that celebrates the eclectic style and sensibility Key West is known for, while preserving the charm and integrity of each hotel's rich history, distinctive personality and original architecture.

Ridley House features 23 elegantly appointed and expansive guestrooms spread across three historic homes - two Victorian and one Bahamian Eyebrow. Ideal for couples and those seeking a sophisticated, yet relaxed experience, the historic property sits on the lush grounds of what was once the estate of wealthy, 19th-century industrialist Richard Kemp, a merchant and furniture dealer who is also known for launching Key West's sponging industry.

With a prime corner location in Old Town near Duval Street, Ridley House is ideally situated for those seeking easy access to the island's numerous water activities as well as Key West's famous nightlife. Classic bohemian touches such as private porches, picket fences, low-hanging trees, a sparkling pool, and chic hammocks immerse guests into the serene and relaxing South Florida experience for which Key West is renowned.

“We are delighted to announce the completion of Kimpton Key West as we now welcome guests to experience Ridley House,” said Kimpton Key West General Manager, Cheryl Martin. “In addition to the exceptional, heartfelt service guests have come to expect of the Kimpton brand, the five hotels that make up this truly unique collection offer something for everyone with an array of quaint accommodations, desirable amenities and an unmistakable vibe that inspires guests to kick-back like a true Key West local.”

Guests of Kimpton Key West can start the day with complimentary coffee, tea and breakfast; hop on one of the hotel's custom-designed loaner beach bikes (first come first serve) and explore Key West's art galleries, quirky shops, historic sites, and restaurants, before capping off the day with a buzzy beverage at one of Kimpton Key West's two poolside bars.

Complimentary offerings and amenities include a grown-up welcome beverage, high-speed WiFi, access to more than 7,000 newspapers and magazines on your smart device via the Press Reader app, and an in-room yoga mat and Turkish robes (available for purchase for guests who would like to take one home). Guests can also avail themselves of a snorkel kit with mask and snorkel to enjoy at the beach and throughout the island's various snorkeling spots. Boating and pool towels are also available.

An Inspired Collection for a One-of-a-Kind Destination

Kimpton Key West represents a complete reimagining of what was once known as the Historic Inns of Key West. Spread across six blocks, no two rooms in the collection's 219 total keys are the same. Kimpton Key West first debuted its new look and feel with the completed renovations of Winslow's Bungalows on March 1, 2020 followed by Lighthouse Hotel on June 1, 2020.

Winslow's Bungalows is the largest property in the Kimpton Key West collection at 85 rooms. It spans a lush, landscaped campus in the center of Key West just two blocks off Duval Street, and offers a spacious and relaxing setting complete with three private pools, an outdoor bar and vibrant gardens. Lighthouse Hotel, a historic property located adjacent to both the iconic Key West Lighthouse and the Ernest Hemingway House, features a collection of 45 guestrooms spread across several mid-19th-century buildings set amongst brick-paved gardens, a lively swimming pool and a pool-side bar.

With 44 guestrooms, Fitch Lodge, which completed its renovations on July 1, 2020, is the most value-driven of the collection, and in addition to its cozy neighborhood setting, features easy access to the Key West Ferry, charter boats, sunset sails, snorkeling adventures, deep sea fishing and more, making it ideal for couples and adventurous travelers looking to explore the crystal clear water surrounding the Florida Keys.

A peaceful oasis located in the heart of Old Town's art district, Ella's Cottages was unveiled on March 12, 2020 following the renovation and redesign of its 22 guest rooms, which blend cottage charm with historic character, thanks to each unit's cozy front-porch seating, a secluded pool and an intimate communal terrace.

Ridley House, opening in March 2021, is the collection's most elegant and closest location to the Key West Historic Seaport, Mallory Square and just a crawl away from Duval Street.

Kimpton Key West is offering savings of up to 25 percent for guests who book three nights or more with the “Stay Longer and Save” promotion currently available for booking exclusively on the collection's website. 

For more information on promotional offers or to book a stay, visit or call 1-877-219-4500 and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.


Kimpton Key West's 219 total keys span five distinctive hotels spread across the heart of historic Key West. All the properties within the collection offer the design-forward, friendly vibe for which Kimpton is renowned. All the while, no two rooms are the same. Lush landscaping, private entryways, winding walkways, and vibrant greenery highlight the grounds.

The five hotels of Kimpton Key West are Ridley House: 601 Caroline Street; Winslow's Bungalows: 725 Truman Avenue; Lighthouse Hotel: 902 Whitehead Street; Ella's Cottages: 811 Simonton Street; and Fitch Lodge: 1030 Eaton Street.


San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is the original boutique hotel brand, which pioneered the concept of unique, distinctive, design-forward hotels in the United States in 1981. Anchored in one-of-a-kind experiences, Kimpton now operates more than 60 hotels and 80 restaurants, bars and lounges across urban locations, resort destinations and up-and-coming markets in the United States, Canada, Europe, Caribbean and Greater China. Kimpton spaces and experiences center on its guests, offering inspiring design that evokes curiosity to forward-thinking flavors that feed the soul. Every detail is thoughtfully curated and artfully delivered, so that guest experiences remain meaningful, unscripted and ridiculously personal.

Kimpton's employees, empowered to provide heartfelt service and experiences, have built a highly regarded workplace culture that appears consistently on FORTUNE magazine's “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. As a result, Kimpton has been awarded, “Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Upper Upscale Hotel Chains” by J.D. Power three times.

In January 2015, Kimpton became part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) family of hotel brands. 


The creation of a town centre in Sydney’s thriving north-west, which will feature new homes, create more than 2,000 jobs and provide the public with more open space, has been approved by the NSW Government. 

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the new town centre will change the face of The Hills Showground area and serve the community for decades to come. 

“This exciting new development in the heart of The Hills will create homes, jobs and outstanding public spaces on the doorstep of a Metro station. 

This development will also inject $995 million into the economy while creating 1,920 construction jobs and 674 operational jobs at a time when we need them most,” Mr Stokes said. 

The development will include nine building envelopes, ranging in height from three to 21 storeys, with the NSW Government and Federal Government committing to jointly fund upgrades to intersections of Showground Road with Carrington Road and De Clambe Drive, Castle Hill.


Destination NSW

W Hotels opens the doors to W Melbourne, unveiling its second hotel in Australia

It's time to press play. W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, opened the doors to Melbourne's first luxury lifestyle hotel -- W Melbourne -- at 408 Flinders Lane. In the heart of an eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne brings the community's iconic laneway culture and emerging music scene to life. Inspired by the contrasts of the city, the hotel slowly reveals itself to visitors as guests peel back layers to unearth the unique personality of each space.

"It was a natural choice for us to launch our second W hotel in Australia in one of the world's most culturally diverse cities," said Sean Hunt, Area Vice President, Marriott International. "With its bold style, energizing nightlife and great appetite for what's new and next, Melbourne is a brilliant new addition to our luxury portfolio, and solidifies our confidence in the travel recovery here in Australia."

Igniting Endless Possibilities

Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem brings innovation and brand storytelling to life through their evocative approach to W Melbourne. Drawing on the city's diverse and contrasting character, W Melbourne's design inspiration is translated into vignettes of Melbourne's streetscapes, letting guests uncover the dynamic city's past from behind the scenes.

Upon arrival at W Melbourne, guests are introduced to the neighborhood's iconic laneways, famous for their graffiti street art and offbeat, eclectic characters. Victorian bluestone tiles connect the Living Room to the laneway, blurring the line between the exterior and interior, where the Welcome Desk stands ready to greet guests. A vast lenticular art installation by local painter and digital artist Rus Kitchin immerses viewers into a canopy of Australian flora and fauna growing above the famed Hosier Lane. The illuminated glass and wood of the Flinders Lane entrance is juxtaposed against the shadows of the hotel's foyer.

W Melbourne has 294 luxuriously stylish guest rooms and 29 suites, with design details curated to reflect Melbourne's fascinating history and culture. The hotel's Wonderful, Fabulous and Mega category rooms are inspired by the neighboring street-level newspaper kiosks that back to the 1960s. Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning skyline views. The Marvelous rooms feature a vibrant wall graphic of a fairy wren, a bird native to Australia, pulling back a layer of fabric to reveal a colorful Melbourne scene. The graphic pays homage to the city's roots as a fashion hub, with Flinders Lane at the center of its textile trade. The 175-square-metre Extreme Wow Suite (W Hotels' modern interpretation of the traditional presidential suite), is on the hotel's highest floor at Level 15, and features a large balcony with expansive views of the Yarra River and an interactive music station -- a fresh take on an old-school jukebox.

New/Next in Melbourne Dining

W Melbourne's distinctive restaurants and bars are all set to amplify Melbourne's dining landscape with innovative, original takes on the city's multicultural cuisines. All-day dining restaurant Lollo, under the culinary creative direction of celebrated chef Adam D'Sylva, offers a menu that's designed to be shared and celebrates the chef's mixed heritage. At the centre of the action and pulse of the hotel is cocktail bar Curious, with its design as impressive as the evocative cocktail list. The bar welcomes guests into a cocoon-inspired space formed by its overhead timber beams in a parametric sequence with low lighting and muted colour palettes. Signature Japanese restaurant WARABI focuses on the freshest seasonal produce with seating for only 30 diners and a private dining room for ten. Culprit channels Melbourne's café culture into an original bar concept that adds a new twist to the dining experience with a sophisticated floor-to-ceiling charcuterie display and a Vermouth tasting tray.

Electric Events

Mixing work with play, guests will be captivated by 830 square metres of ultra-modern conference, meeting and event space at W Melbourne, setting the stage for spectacular events with fully adaptable conference equipment, world-class audio-visual facilities and contemporary cuisine from the expert in-house catering team. The jewel in the crown, the GREAT ROOM, is a 426 square metre pillarless ballroom with an abundance of natural light and 4x5-metre LED wall. To celebrate the region's diverse seasons and autumn as a popular time to visit, Melbourne-born visual artist, Ash Keating utilized soft pinks and violets to light up the GREAT ROOM ceiling for an enchanting experience for guests.

FIT and WET on Level 14 will inspire the W 'Detox.Retox.Repeat' brand signature wellness philosophy, offering spectacular views alongside an ultramodern fitness facility, gold-roofed indoor pool, poolside bar and DJ booth.

"W Hotels is a perfect fit for Melbourne with its 24/7 energy and design, music and fashion in the brand's DNA," says Damon Page, General Manager. "I am so excited to be part of the fab team responsible for bringing this iconic brand to one of the world's great cities. We will showcase everything from our Whatever/Whenever service promise, our four vibrant bars and restaurants to epic music programming and next level happenings".

Rich Experience in Japan

Immerse yourself in intimate, special experiences. 

Work your muscles and enjoy unique outdoor adventures in Japan! 

Connect with Japanese culture, try your hands at special workshops to make an item exclusively to yourself, or admire the gorgeous views upclose.

To learn more, check out the "Indulge in Japan's finest, your lavish retreat" campaign site!

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)
Facebook Visit Japan Now

A Brief Update of Attractions & Virtual Tours Around Arizona February 2021

New sculpture at Sedona Heritage Museum

The Sedona Heritage Museum recently accepted a gift of a bronze sculpture by famous local artist Joe Beeler. The sculpture is entitled “Charlie”, and is a portrait of Beeler's friend and co-founder of the Cowboy Artists of America, painter Charlie Dye. The gift was accompanied by a specially bound, limited edition book titled “Charlie Dye one helluva western painter” and was written by Paul E. Weaver.
Sedona Heritage Museum's response to COVID-19.

Fresh Foodie Trail in Mesa offers GeoTour component

Visit Mesa launched the new Fresh Foodie Trail GeoTour, offering a fun, family-friendly socially distant activity in the destination. The new GeoTour is aimed at promoting the East Valley agritourism attractions that are popular experiences this time of year. The new tour will lead geocachers to the farm stops on the award-winning Fresh Foodie Trail and lucky treasure hunters can collect a series of limited-edition stickers along the way. Guests that find all 10 geocaches will earn a digital souvenir through Attractions participating in the tour include Steadfast Farms, Jalapeno Buck's, True Garden Urban Farm, and other regional farms in the area.

Newest Talking Stick Entertainment District Trail Celebrates Local Sweets

On February 1st, the Salt River Indian Community's Talking Stick Entertainment District rolled out its newest trail, the Talking Stick Sweet Treat Trail. The Salt River Indian Community has several Trails for guests that they have developed over the last 5 years. The Salt River Art Trail highlights local art installations, all of which celebrate life in the desert and the history of the Pima and Maricopa people, the Salt River Tasting Trail, which features unique entrées with Arizona flair, and now, the Talking Stick Sweet Treat Trail which features sweet treats at 13 restaurants, ice cream shops and candy stores within the Talking Stick Entertainment District. The Sweet Treat Trail includes locally inspired favorites like fry bread at Talking Stick Golf Club and caramel filled churros at the District's newest quick serve restaurant- Rusty Taco, and not to miss new items like the lemon cooler pizza cookie at Barro's Italian Eatery at the Pavilions at Talking Stick. For a complete list of sweet treats on the Trail, visit

The following are a few virtual tours from throughout the state, for more please visit our website.

Arizona State University Art Museum

ASU Art Museum is taking this time to post daily #museumfromhome experiences on Facebook and Instagram. Also check out the ASU Art Museum YouTube channel to see a performance at the museum, an interview with a curator and more videos.


Come visit us online as we explore our Wildlife Park through Facebook Live. Animal Keeper Dave takes us on a behind-the-scenes adventure as we get to visit our favorite animals every Tuesday.

Biosphere 2

Behind the scenes with daily Facebook Live posts featuring their directors, staff and researchers.

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Virtually navigate through the galleries at Desert Caballeros Western Museum, getting close to the art as if you were really there. The tour is extensive, featuring 60 artists separated into sections with an 'I' icon. This icon, once clicked, will take the user to that artist's page to view all works and the opportunity to purchase.


COVID-19 Updates in Arizona

For visitor guidance due to COVID-19 such as mask-wearing, a list of tourism-related reopenings or closures, and a link to public health guidelines, click here: Some attractions are open year-round and some are open seasonally or move to seasonal hours. To ensure the places you want to see are open on your travel dates, please check their website for hours of operation.


Official State Travelers Guide: