Tuesday, 31 December 2019

VIETNAM ADVISED TO TAP POTENTIAL FOR SPORTS TOURISM

At a paragliding festival in Yen Bai province.
Photo: VNA
With its diverse terrain and favourable climate, Vietnam has the opportunity to organise sport events to attract more tourists to the country, experts have said.

Do Cam Tho, Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Finance under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said at a recent seminar in Hanoi that the eastern and northwestern regions hold a lot of potential for sports tourism, especially adventure sports.

Adventure sports have already been held on northern mountain provinces such as Fansipan in Lao Cai province, Pu Ta Leng, Pu Si Lung and Bach Moc Luong in Lai Chau province and Ta Xua-Tram Tau in Son La province, which measure from 2,865 m to 3,143 m, the official added.

Tho suggested organising running and mountain bike racings in Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Yen Bai and Lao Cai, and parachuting in Hoa Binh, Son La, Yen Bai, Lao Cai and Ha Giang.

With a dense network of rivers, the Mekong Delta is suitable for boat races. Coastal localities could host beach sports like kite boarding, yacht racing, motor racing and scuba diving, he said.

Vietnam has invested in infrastructure to serve major sports events, with the most noteworthy being the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix 2020.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, VNAT Deputy General Director, said sports tourism has become an important global trend, adding that it is growing twice as quickly as tourism in general.

Read the full article at VietnamPlus: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/vietnam-advised-to-tap-potential-for-sports-tourism/162360.vnp

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
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

Son La welcomes 1.8 million visitors over 10-month period

The northwestern province of Son La received approximately 1.8 million visitors, including 70,000 foreign visitors during the first 10 months of the year, earning an estimated VND 1,200 billion in tourism revenue.

These remarkable figures can be attributed to the province’s tourism promotion activities, the improvements made in overall service quality, the rapid progression of tourism investment projects, and the effective implementation of regional tourism development activities.

In addition, the locality has also fully tapped into its range of community tourism sites, including the villages of Hua Tam, Na Bai, Ang, and Bon in Ngoc Chien commune.

Furthermore, visitors have the opportunity to experience a tour of the Son La reservoir by boat, enjoy the white clouds overhead in Ta Xua, or relax in the hot mineral springs found in Ngoc Chien commune of Muong La district.

In order to achieve the goal of welcoming 2.5 million visitors this year, the province has invested in human resource training as a means of meeting the necessary requirements for tourism development.

Pham Duy Khuong, deputy director of the Son La Provincial Museum, one of the region’s most historic tourist attractions, said the provincial museum will co-operate with relevant units so as to speed up conservation work and train qualified staff who can better meet the demands of visitors in the future.
Source: VOV

Parkes Elvis Festival

It’s been 40 years since Elvis Presley left the building, yet 26,500-plus Elvis fans continue to gather in the Central NSW town of Parkes annually to celebrate The King each January.

Record crowds are expected for the 2020 Parkes Elvis Festival, which will take place from Wednesday 8 to Sunday 12 January 2020. The theme of the 2020 Festival is Frankie and Johnny.

Parkes Elvis Festival is something on everyone’s bucket list, and why wouldn’t it be when people of all ages can don a wig and glasses to relive the rock’n’roll heyday that took the world by storm!

Parkes Elvis Festival
8-12 January 2020
Parkes, NSW, Australia
https://www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au/

ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) to Meet in January

ABOUT ATF
The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one tourist destination. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member states of ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries. ATF was established in 1981. 2020 marks the 39th anniversary of the event.

ABOUT TRAVEX
ATF also provides a platform for the selling and buying of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member countries, through the 3-day TRAVEX event.

The unique and specialised ATF TRAVEX makes it easy and convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business and meet quality participants through pre-scheduled business appointments that take place on-site. Both parties can maximise their participation through flexible one-to-one pre-scheduled meetings to explore, negotiate and ink deals with each other.

COMPONENTS
OFFICIAL MEETINGS | 12 to 16 January 2020
ASEAN National Tourism Organisation (NTO) Meetings: Formal meetings between officials of ASEAN NTOs, led by their respective Executive Heads, and representatives from China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India and Russia.
ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meetings: This includes the attendance of ASEAN ministers, as well as their counterparts from China, Japan, Republic of Korea and India.
Association Meetings: Involving ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA), Federation of ASEAN Travel Association (FATA), ASEAN Airlines Association (AAA), and ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHRA)

TRAVEX (3-Days) | 14 to 16 January 2020
Exhibition and Business Appointments: Facilitates the selling and buying of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member states.
Networking: Extends conversations into informal settings with opportunities to engage industry peers and function hosts.
Pre- and Post-Event Activities: Ranges from Friendly Golf Games to Tours, perfect for getting to know Brunei better.
TTG Asia Media
1 Science Park Road #04-07 The Capricorn Science Park II Singapore 117528
Tel : +65 6395 7575
Fax : +65 6536 0895
Website : www.atfbrunei2020.com
Company Website : www.ttgasiamedia.com
General : atf@ttgasia.com
Seller : atfsellers@ttgasia.com
Buyer : atfbuyer@ttgasia.com
Media : atfmedia@ttgasia.com

#tourism #Cambodia #Indonesia #Laos #Malaysia #Myanmar #Philippines #Singapore #Thailand #China #Japan #SouthKorea #Vietnam #visitseaasia.travel #TRAVEX #BandarSeriBegawan #travel @brunei.tourism #tourism #Brunei #SouthEastAsia #BRIDEX #ATF #ASEAN #TravelByASEAN #ASEANTourismForum #ATFBrunei2020 #visitSEAsia #TheHolidayandTravelMagazine

Reef HQ Aquarium to be Upgraded

Reef HQ Aquarium, the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, has received $26.9 million in the Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook budget review.

CEO for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Josh Thomas said the Authority welcomed the opportunity to upgrade infrastructure at the 32-year old facility which has received more than 4 million visitors since opening in 1987.

“We’re pleased that the Australian Government is investing in the National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef, which will benefit greatly from the maintenance and refurbishment of our facility,” Mr Thomas said.

“This is a welcome investment in the Far North Queensland economy, tourism and educational services. The refresh of Reef HQ will ensure the award-winning coral exhibit continues to attract significant tourist numbers to the region.

“Many of Reef HQ’s tanks and facilities will be upgraded, along with our famous Turtle Hospital.

“Works are planned over four years, with particular focus being given to minimising periods of closure and ensuring the safety of staff and visitors during construction.

“Even if Reef HQ Aquarium closes for a short period of time, our precious animals and their life support systems will of course be maintained,” Mr Thomas said.

Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said he was delighted to have been able to secure the funding ahead of Christmas.

“Reef HQ is one of Townsville’s most famous and beloved attractions, and I’ve been working closely with CEO Josh Thomas to ensure it’s here to stay for many decades to come,” Mr Thompson said.

“This upgrade not only secures Reef HQ’s future, but creates local employment opportunities too.

“I can’t wait to see the many improvements that are on the way.”

More detailed information will be available early in 2020.

teq.queensland.com

Climbing Mt. Fuji: The top recommended itinerary

The Japan National Tourism Organization sent Aussie adventurers, Hayley and Kyle, to climb Mt Fuji for the first time! Taking two days in total, including a night spent up on the mountain, the fun-loving duo returned with a wealth of experiences and recommendations they want to share with you!

Overview
This recommended itinerary takes place over 2 days. On the first day, the hike begins from the Fujinomiya 5th station (2,400m) and goes up to Akaiwa Hachigo mountain hut (3,300m) located at the 8th station where you rest for the night. This first climb is around 4km and will take most of the day.

On the second day, the final ascent to the top of Mount Fuji starts early in the morning and finishes with the descent back down to the 5th station.

Note: The Fujinomiya trail begins at 2,400 meters and is the shortest in distance to reach the top, but is also steeper and rockier in comparison to other trails (Yoshida, Gotemba and Subashiri). The duration of the ascent depends on many variables including weather conditions, route conditions, temperature and fitness level.

Itinerary
DAY 1

8:30–9:30am | Arrive at Mt. Fuji Fujinomiya 5th station
9:30–10:30am | Begin ascent on Fujinomiya route
On a clear day you will be rewarded with views of the Pacific and surrounding mountains, including Hakone and Lake Ashi. Be sure to take as many rests as needed to give your body time to slowly adjust to the change in altitude.
3:00–5:30pm | Arrive at 8th station Akaiwa Hachigo mountain hut
Once you reach the 8th station, enjoy a hot meal and get ready for bed. The hut is quiet compared to huts on other trails, however it is far from the Hilton. You’ll be sleeping on Japanese futons in a bunk (mixed gender) that can get quite crowded—all part of the experience!

DAY 2
1:00–3:00 am | Rise and shine
1:30–3:30 am | Depart hut for Mt. Fuji peak
This final twilight climb offers a secluded, spiritual experience, offering you a stunning sunrise over the clouds. The summit of Mt. Fuji is approximately a 2 hour climb from Akaiwa Hachigo at a relaxed, steady pace.
3:30-5:30 am | Arrive on Mt. Fuji peak
The sunrise atop Mt. Fuji is known as goraiko or “Buddha’s Halo”. The sun gradually appears in dazzling shades of purple, pink, and orange over the sea of clouds that Japanese call “the ocean of cotton”. Various temples, shrines, and torii gates scatter the large dominating crater on the summit. After you’ve admired the sunrise, spend an hour following the circuit of the mountain’s 8 peaks, including the 3,776m above sea level peak, Kengamine, the highest point in Japan.
5:30-7:00 am | Descent to Fujinomiya 5th station
The descent takes about half the time but still requires significant effort due to the steepness. We recommend stopping by Akaiwa Hachigo for breakfast or to pick up any excess luggage you might’ve left.
10:00-1:00 pm | Arrive at Fujinomiya 5th station
You did it! Now onto your next destination!
Q and A
Hayley and Kyle answered some questions that should help you out if you decide to do the climb yourself. View the excerpt below, or check out Hayley and Kyle’s blog for the full Q&A here!
Do I need a guide?
Now, it’s not compulsory to have a guide, but it’s highly recommend having one. The trails can be confusing and easily mistaken if you’re on your own. Guides will also help with communicating between the locals at each station, as a lot of the Japanese don’t speak English.

We had a guide the entire time and felt he was extremely helpful with adjusting to the altitude, guiding us along the best trails and of course making sure of our safety. We booked our guide here.
How do I book a mountain hut?

Firstly you want to find the hut you would like to stay in. Preferably the highest hut along the trail you wish to follow. Here is a list and information of all the mountain huts.

Note: most mountain huts are only open during the official climbing season.

Secondly, you will need someone to book the hut who speaks Japanese, as majority of the staff at mountain huts don’t speak English. This could be a hotel receptionist, or your guide if you decide to take a guided tour.

Thirdly, you want to try book in advance if you are climbing over a weekend. The price is approx. 9000 yen including dinner and breakfast.

What is it like sleeping in a mountain hut?
Some of the huts can sleep up to 100+ people, leaving you only a tight sleeping space of only 1m. If you’re a light sleeper, make sure to pack an eye mask and ear plugs to help you sleep as it is loud throughout the night. You are provided dinner and breakfast which is usually a serving of curry and rice. If you are vegetarian, you will have to bring your own options.

There is no tap water on site, so washing your hands or face, or refilling your water bottle isn’t possible. If you need more water you will need to purchase bottled water at the hut.

What’s the best time to climb?
Mt Fuji is only open to hikers between early July to early September, and peak time being on weekends. These dates are due to the weather conditions being safe for travellers.
How much does it cost to do the climb?
While it doesn’t officially cost to climb the mountain, a donation towards the conservation of the mountain will be requested if you go beyond the 5th or 6th stations. 1,000 yen is usually the amount that is donated but you can donate more if you wish. It is also advisable to bring a handful of 100 yen coins as the toilets are not free to use.

What should I pack?
  • Water
  • Weatherproof pants, jacket and shoes
  • Head torch
  • Thick breathable socks, beanie and gloves
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, glasses and hat)
  • Lip balm, ear plugs, eye mask, face wipes
  • Panadol and basic first aid
  • Small garbage bags for rubbish
  • 100 yen coins for bathroom
  • Snacks (food for dinner if vegetarian)
  • Spare clothes

Thinking of climbing Mt. Fuji? Plan your trip today!

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office
Suite 1, Level 4, 56 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia

5 Travel insurance consumer trends to spot in 2020

1) Transformative travel
In 2020, be on the lookout for hashtags and concepts lifted off yoga mats and wellness mags. Gone are the days of ‘bucket-lists’ and 20 postcodes in 20 days. Instead, we’re now about ‘slow travel’, ‘retreats’ and ‘transformative travel’. Insurers that cover transport alternatives - such as sailing, cycling and carbon-offsetting, will win the conscious-consumption vote.

2) Extra experiencial
Transformative travel connects to ‘doing’ rather than ‘seeing’. In 2020, travellers are getting active in pursuit of happiness. They’re walking, they’re houseboating, and missioning off-grid. For insurers, an uptick in activities and exotic locations, leads to risk, which leads to soaring premiums. Instead, we see the industry responding with an adaptive approach to policy building, by offering a truly broad range of optional extras built around trending activities, and better cover for non-included medical conditions.

3) Essentially covered
For decades, travel insurance offered two choices, ‘basic’ or ‘comprehensive’. In 2020, as consumers continue to individuate, and product differentiation rises, we see insurance plans diversify from the binary standard. In particular, entry level cover, or bare essentials plans, will join the market. As emergency medical cover is the key driver to purchase, watch as ‘medical-only’ plans find an audience.

4) Self-service
Remember the days of calling up an insurance broker to buy travel insurance? The industry has come a long way. But in many cases, the business of travel insurance can still feel analogue and ‘manual’. In the same way that consumers want instant quotes, and lightening quick purchase paths, they also want to access customer service and information without having to navigate a phone tree within restricted hours. Compared to the customer support offered by finance and health insurance, travel Insurers are lagging, but in 2020, the introduction of chat bots, live chat, user profiles and dashboards will bring the industry up to speed.

5) Value over price
Travellers who’ve had to make a travel insurance claim understand that buying travel insurance purely on price is not a good idea. According to the Smartraveller Survey of Australians' Travel Insurance Behaviour 2017, “33% of travellers just choose the cheapest policy without checking the small print”, but this trend is changing. More and more customers are educating themselves that the cheapest is not always the best.aust

About the author
Insured by us is an API-driven insurance platform with a record of well over $100 million in gross written premium to date. Designed to make the business of travel insurance easy, IBU offers a complete suite of digital insurance features in a single, integrated platform.

REVITALISED FORMAT FOR CTW CHINA 2020

Last month, organisers revealed that CTW China conference content development is underway with a community survey broadcasted to regional and local Chinese industry professionals to ensure the programmed topics stay relevant.

Other format changes announced include a re-designed format with 2 full days of conferences starting at 10.30am that will take precedence over business appointments to re-emphasise meaningful knowledge exchange for CTW China delegates as well as moving away from speaker-centric lectures to more delegate-led session to encourage suppliers and procurement professionals to find mutual interest and develop connections.

Corporate buyers can also look forward to winning attractive lucky draw prizes, with an additional reward scheme in place specifically for local corporate buyers who attend the conference and take part in business meets.

IT&CM China 2020 and CTW China 2020 will be held from 24 – 26 March in Shanghai. To explore how you can make the most out of the exhibition, sponsorship, and networking opportunities at IT&CM China and CTW China, contact us at itcmchina@ttgasia.com and ctwchina@ttgasia.com respectively.

About IT&CM China 2020
The Leading International MICE Event in China

IT&CM China 2020 will be held from March 24 to 26 at Shanghai Exhibition & Convention Center of International Sourcing. This is the 14th instalment of the international MICE event that seeks to “Promote China to the World and the World to China”. The 2020 event expects an attendance of 3,000 MICE professionals from sectors including DMCs, PCOs, corporate travel and associations, over 500 hosted delegates, over 14,000 business appointments as well as over 75 business, education and networking sessions.it

Co-located with CTW China as China’s Only Doublebill Event In MICE and Corporate Travel, IT&CM China is part of the IT&CM Events series by TTG Events, a business group of TTG Asia Media. This event is co-organised by CITS International M.I.C.E. - a wholly-owned subsidiary of CITS (China International Travel Service), and MP International.

For more information on IT&CM China,
visit www.itcmchina.com | WeChat ID: ITCMC

Monday, 30 December 2019

VIETNAM’S BOOMING DOMESTIC TOURISM A GROWING MARKET FORCE

Halong Bay
Vietnam’s industry players should look to tap into the rapidly growing segment of high-spending domestic tourists which remains a key driver of growth in the country’s travel sector, claim hoteliers.

As Vietnam’s middle-class continues to grow and rising levels of disposable income are spent on travel, domestic travel is rapidly on the rise.

According to figures from Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, domestic tourists increased by 6.8 million to more than 80 million in 2018.

In 2018, out of Ho Chi Minh’s 36.5 million visitors, 29 million were domestic tourists. Hanoi welcomed 28 million visitors, of which 22.5 million were locals. Meanwhile, 4.7 million out of Danang’s total 7.7 million arrivals were Vietnamese, and 7.2 million of the 12.5 million tourists who visited Quang Ninh were locals.

As a swathe of new destinations emerge and leading hospitality brands spread their reach to outlying areas, hoteliers say that the domestic market holds huge potential.

Andrew Langston, senior vice president – business development at Centara Hotels and Resorts, said: “One of Vietnam’s major strengths is its very robust domestic travel sector, which is at an all-time high. Many Vietnamese choose to travel and spend within the country, even more so as new resorts create new experiences and locations. This is a market that hotel operators should not underestimate.”

The Thai brand recently unveiled an ambitious plan to open more than 20 properties in Vietnam by 2024.

Local travellers are also playing a key role in driving business growth for hotels opening in lesser-known areas.

Best Western Hotels and Resorts is gearing up to open a property in emerging Vung Tau, which has been on the radar of investors and developers due to undergoing and imminent development and the construction of a new airport in neighbouring Dong Nai province.

Olivier Berrivin, managing director, international operations, Asia, said: “This is a popular seaside resort that already draws many local visitors from Ho Chi Minh City.”

This year, Anantara opened a property in the emerging coastal destination of Quy Nhon. Regional general manager IndoChina, Pieter van der Hoeven, said that currently the significant majority of tourism in the area is domestic.

Read the full article at TTG Asia: https://www.ttgasia.com/2019/11/15/vietnams-booming-domestic-tourism-a-growing-market-force/

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
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

LUXPERIENCE 2019 HIGHLIGHTS

Following a successful 2019 program, held in October for the first time after several years showcasing in September, we have committed to the iconic Sydney venue - International Convention Centre for next year’s ninth instalment.

The response from Luxperience’s post-event survey has been overwhelmingly positive and we are pleased to share with you some of our statistics across a range of key metrics:
  • 93% of buyers were satisfied with their experience
  • 93% of buyers have indicated that attending Luxperience is important to their organisation
  • 93% of buyers are likely to recommend Luxperience
  • 97% of exhibitors were satisfied with their experience
  • 90% of exhibitors have indicated that attending Luxperience is important to their organisation
  • 89% of exhibitors are likely to recommend Luxperience

2019 AWARD WINNERSCongratulations once again to our Luxperience Award winners.

The Luxperience awards recognise the industry’s best-in-class showcasing leaders, change-makers and trendsetters and we are delighted to share with you our winners for this year.

Inspiring Award: Pearls of Australia
Meaningful Award: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Connections Award: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Destination Award: Visit Rwanda

READ MORE ›

luxperience.com.au

Ha Noi to open 51 spring flower markets ahead of Tet

Ha Noi has planned to organise Tet flower
markets at 51 locations across all its districts
Ha Noi has planned to organise flower markets at 51 locations across all its districts to meet the demands for shopping and entertainment on the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet) 2020.

The flower markets will be held from January 4 to 24 (the tenth day to the thirtieth day of the twelfth lunar month).

The markets will offer various types of flowers, ornamental plants, fruit trees, and handicraft productswhich are typical of the Tet holiday.

Hoan Kiem District will have a flower market at Hang Ma Ward, Hai Ba Trung District will run three flower markets, Thanh Xuan District will organise two markets, and Hoang Mai District will hold two markets.

Other districts will open more markets, such as five markets in Bac Tu Liem District, seven markets in Tay Ho District, nine markets in Ha Dong District, and others.

The Hanoi Department of Transport is assigned to ensure traffic safety and order around the flower markets while the Department of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for ensuring environmental sanitation for the duration of the markets.
Source: Nhan dan online

Parkes Elvis Festival Rock'n'Roll Dancing Comp

McDonald's is the proud sponsor of our Rock'n'Roll Dancing Comp, so be sure to visit with those dancin' feet!

If you feet are too sore from dancing, the drive through is open 24 hours!

Haven't registered yet? You can here http://bit.ly/2ooiHDC

#ParkesElvis

Parkes Elvis Festival
8-12 January 2020
Parkes, NSW,  Australia

The Opening of New Hoshino Resorts Properties 2019-2020: The opening of 8 properties in Japan and overseas

Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel
Hoshino Resorts started running the hotel HOSHINOYA Guguan in June 2019, Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel in October, and will open Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Nasu in November. Five new facilities are planned for 2020, and the number of managed facilities is expected to reach 45 during 2020. In order to meet guests' various travel needs and goals, Hoshino Resorts is developing brands such as the luxury flagship resorts "HOSHINOYA," hot spring ryokans "KAI," resort hotels "RISONARE," city tourism hotels "OMO," and free-spirited hotels "BEB," and is planning to accelerate the speed of opening facilities in Japan and overseas, focusing on these brands. Hoshino Resorts aims to become a world-class hotel management company by evolving an original form of hospitality, such as visit proposals unique to Hoshino Resorts that take advantage of the local culture and unique experiences.

The outline of future plans
■ October 1st, 2019 - Reopening after renovation
Name: Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel
Location: 2-2 Uehara, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Number of rooms: 138
The concept is "a jungle resort on an island where Iriomote cats live." This largest resort hotel on Iriomote Island offers a stay where guests can experience the overwhelming natural charms of Iriomote Island, such as tours that give the opportunity to encounter rare ecosystems and island cultures.

Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Nasu
■ November 1st, 2019 - Newly opening
Name: Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Nasu
Location: 2301, Takakuotsu Michishita, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi Prefecture
Number of rooms: 43
The concept of RISONARE Nasu is an "Agriturismo Resort." RISONARE Nasu aims to establish a new style of travel, such as extraordinary spaces and meals unique to resort hotels and activities to experience the season, focusing on agricultural experiences through which the guests can come into contact with local production activities.

■ January 15th, 2020 - Reopening after renovation
Name: Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
Location: 412 Lewers Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815, USA
Number of rooms: 112
A resort hotel that strongly reflects the rich culture of art, music, and food that Honolulu boasts of, based on the theme of "an OHANA Friendly retro boutique hotel for enjoying Waikiki to the
fullest."
*OHANA means "friends and family" in Hawaiian.

■ March 12th, 2020 - Newly opening
Name: Hoshino Resorts KAI Nagato
Location: 2245 Fukawayumoto, Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Number of rooms: 40
"KAI Nagato," the 16th facility in the KAI brand, will open at the Nagato Yumoto hot spring. This is a Japanese hot spring resort with the theme of "teahouse mansions," which have a long history in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Here, guests can come into touch with history and culture, such as facilities based on samurai tradition and special local activities where "Akama- suzuri" ink stones, made from red clay, are used.

Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe
■ March 19th, 2020: Newly opening
Name: Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura
Location: 1-30 Ariakecho, Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture 
Number of rooms: 90
"BEB5 Tsuchiura," the second facility, will be opened based on the brand concept of "kicked-back stays with the crew." BEB5 Tsuchiura presents a new value of travelling by combining accommodation and bicycles tailored to the bicycle-friendly town planning of Tsuchiura.

■ April 20th, 2020: Reopening after renovation
Name: Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Kohamajima
Location: 2954 Kohama, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Number of rooms: 60
This is a resort hotel with a 60-room private villa and a large beach with the concept of "Swim with gentle manta rays at this Yaeyama beach resort." RISONARE Kohamajima offers a resort stay with a variety of beach experiences and a view of the white sand beach and the blue sea.

■ April 15th, 2020: Soft opening
May 20th, 2020: Grand opening
Name: HOSHINOYA Okinawa
Location: 474 Gima, Yomitanson, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Number of rooms: 100
All rooms are designed to be on a lower floor with an ocean view. The concept is "a gusuku estate." A facility surrounded by walls called "gusuku walls" creates a resort stay that envelops the guests in true Okinawan scenery, such as the beautiful sea and natural coastlines, and makes them feel as if they were actually living there.


Add caption
■ April 15th, 2020: Soft opening
May 20th, 2020: Grand opening
Name: Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe
Location: 560 Gima, Yomitanson, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Number of seats: Around 200 seats
Various types of seats that take advantage of the unique terrain created by the natural coastline are interspersed in the "Banta Cafe," which boasts an overwhelming view and scale, so that guests can freely spend their time gazing at the beautiful ocean which spreads in front of them. Guests can enjoy fresh food and drinks made using Okinawan ingredients at their favourite spot.

Challenge yourself to the Kokoda Trail in 2020 Save $200 on 2020 departures

With 2020 fast approaching there is no better time to start making those New Year’s resolutions and South Sea Horizons has just the challenge to add to that list.

The Kokoda Trail has been a place of pilgrimage for Australians, and others, for many decades. It is a place of ANZAC reverence and of personal challenge.

South Sea Horizons has been leading groups along the Kokoda Track since 2008 with an exceptional trek completion rate of 99%. In 2020, travellers can not only experience the Kokoda Trail, but can enjoy $200 off selected tour dates.

The Kokoda track is one of the many walking tracks in Papua New Guinea that existed long before the Europeans discovered this part of the world. It was used for trade and cultural interaction between tribes and is still used for these purposes to this day. During the course of World War II, the Japanese decided to use this trail as means of ground attack against the Australians in Port Moresby. The idea was to take Port Moresby and use it as a base from which to stage a direct assault on Australia.

One end of the track lies in the north of the country at a village called Kokoda. It winds up and down over the rugged Owen Stanley ranges and finishes in the south at Ower’s Corner nearby Port Moresby. Both Kokoda and the Northern coastal plains were the scene of violent close contact jungle warfare as the Australians retreated in the face of the Japanese onslaught. The Japanese were finally stopped at Imita Gap as they had extended their supply lines too far in the rugged terrain and began to die of starvation. The Australians then chased them all the way back to the northern coastline.

Today the remains of the war lie strewn in the jungle and the track has reverted to quiet solitude, disturbed only by occasional trekking group. There are several villages along its length inhabited by peace-loving, hospitable locals. These are the descendants of the people who became known during the war as the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ because of their selflessness in helping wounded Australian soldiers.

Papua New Guinea owned and operated, South Sea Horizons practise responsible-tourism that gives back to the communities they interact with. They only employ local Papua New Guineans as porters, historians and cooks. The local porters used while trekking include direct descendants of the last remaining ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy-Angels’.

Embark on a South Sea Horizons Kokoda Expedition 2020.

Packages are on sale from now until February 28th 2020 or until sold out, for the following departures
  • 24th April 2020 – Kokoda – Owers Corner
  • 6th June 2020 – Kokoda to Owers Corner
  • 6th July 2020 – Kokoda – Owers Corner

To book, phone +61 432 744 490 or email tours@southseahorizons.com. To find out more, visit www.southseahorizons.com/.

9 Travel insurance industry trends to spot in 2020

1) Increased regulation on embedded cover
During the recent royal commission into the financial service industry, add-on and embedded insurance was (rightly) targeted and large institutions are already starting to make reparations. Travel insurers are waiting for the regulatory changes that are bound to follow. This will impact the way insurance is advertised and sold through third parties such as banks, airlines, travel agents and online aggregators.

2) Tapping into Affiliates
The retail market is saturated with competition; diluting reach and drowning traditional share of voice. As with all things in marketing today, influencers, interest-groups, and niche brands with fiercely loyal followings become fertile ground for ‘putting in a good word’ and gaining brand awareness. But in 2020, insurers are not merely advertising or seeking endorsement, they’re recruiting ambassadors to sell on their behalf. It’s a win-win, with great earning potential for the affiliate, and new routes to market for the insurer. The trick in all of this will be the ease with which insurers allow their affiliates to sign up, sell, and see money in the bank.

3) Outsource everything
Even travel insurers need help selling travel insurance. It’s hard to keep up in a digital world, especially for brands who started out analogue. In 2020, mainstream insurance companies will continue to outsource their tech, as is prevalent in all traditional industries. Policy administration, the administration of wholesale and retail pricing, fine grain pricing catalogues, yield optimisation, fine grain loss ratio control, modular purchase paths and live chat - these are just some of the areas in which insurance tech specialists have the lead. In 2020 the door is open for the big guns to capitalise on these gains. The insurance tech’s SaaS solutions, service level agreements, and APIs will be in demand.

4) Feeling Fine Grain
In 2020, no one likes to be pigeon-holed. A highly individuated consumer demands products that speak to her needs. A focus on fine grain pricing, combined with sophisticated product cataloguing, holds the key to bespoke travel insurance products and bundles. With gains to be made, customer-centric insurers will prioritise pricing permutations in their product design. Agile tech spells the difference between theorising and delivering.

5) Parametric insurance
Don’t be put off by the insurance jargon, in 2020, parametric insurance is here to stay and it’s good for the customer. It covers the probability of a predefined event happening instead of indemnifying actual loss incurred. In the case of travel insurance, this could be a specified cash payout in the event that your flight is cancelled. The good news for both the customer and the insurer is that the status of the flight is binary, it’s either cancelled or not cancelled. There’s no grey area when it comes to claiming the benefit and the cash payout is pre-defined so the customer is aware of what they’re entitled to receive. 

6) BYO cover
Build your own, or customised cover is something the industry has been flirting with for years. The concept has taken root in health insurance and now we see it crossing over in earnest to travel. Beyond the tech, enabling customers to seriously tailor their cover, and do so appropriately, relies on customers understanding what they need. Brands that succeed in offering just the right amount of options, plans and extras, while equipping customers to access digestible policy information, buy fast, and avoid under insurancing, will emerge victorious.

7) Smarter Aggregators
The large price and insurance aggregators in Australia are just getting started. As they grow, the brand awareness for aggregators and their market share will lead to good outcomes for the customer in the form of increased competition. Insurers on the other hand, wary of what occured in the UK market, are concerned about over-delivering value to customers and avoiding a cut-throat race to the bottom on price. Communicating and delivering this value to customers is key to the success of distribution through aggregators and the smart players are beginning to make changes in this direction.

8) Instant claims… or close to it
There are three key factors that have lead to the ability of insurers to process travel claims in just a few minutes.

Travellers now take their mobile devices wherever they go and this is good news when it comes time to claim. 

Insurers have also invested heavily in reducing the friction in the claims process to ensure customers get the best service. 

Global payments services such as Airwallex, Transferwise and the advent of NPP here in Australia enable rapid transfer of funds directly to the customers account.

The future of these claims is through advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence engines to help insurers weed out the small amount of fraudulent claims and instantly pay customers. In 2020, the foundations for instant claims are being laid.

9) Market consolidation
Travel insurance in Australia is highly competitive and the large insurers have significant advantages over smaller players. This has lead to some consolidation in the market over the recent years including:
  • NIB acquiring the World Nomads Group and then going on to acquire QBEs travel book
  • Zurich purchasing Cover-More

This trend will continue with some of the smaller players looking to exit.

About the author
Insured by us is an API-driven insurance platform with a record of well over $100 million in gross written premium to date. Designed to make the business of travel insurance easy, IBU offers a complete suite of digital insurance features in a single, integrated platform.

Featured Experience Mekong Collection Member - Haoma

Haoma
Haoma is Thailand’s first urban farm and zero-waste restaurant in the heart of Bangkok. Guided by our philosophy “Grow to Give Back,” everything we do is aimed at regenerating our ecosystem, food and community. Local, ethical and sustainable ingredients are our foundation. We only use ingredients when we know where they come from. Most of them are grown on our organic farm in Chiang Mai. Some of them are grown locally at our restaurant.

Deepanker Khosla, affectionately known as “DK”, is as passionate about reimagining authentic Classic Indian cuisine which he likes to call Neo Indian, as he is for achieving food sustainability. 

Deepanker Khosla
Haoma is a dream-come-true project that began with an online course in Aquaponics and just a year later had bloomed into a full-blown, functioning urban farm in the heart of Bangkok. But it was a year of toiling in the earth, coaxing fish to grow in new waters and of experimenting through many trials and errors to optimize flavors – all the while working to create a food system that can truly be called sustainable.

DK`s commitment to the environment is contagious and so is his drive and passion to deliver excellent cuisine at Haoma Bangkok.

Email: reservations@haoma.dk
Phone: +66 020385821
Location: We are located on Sukhumvit soi 31, Nearest BTS Station is Phrom Phong at Emquatier and Emporium. 5 minutes taxi ride or 15 mins walk.

IT&CM China 2020 Announces New Business Segments, Enhances Suite of Successful Programme Initiatives Launched in 2019

Following successful new initiatives launched at this year's IT&CM China and CTW China, organisers have announced new business segments at the upcoming 2020 show in March.

NEW BUSINESS SEGMENTS AT IT&CM CHINA
Buyer Procurement Showcase: A fresh industry concept that spotlights prominent MICE, Association and Corporate buyers as they present their procurement requirements to relevant and interested destination and supplier leads. This segment runs parallel to the event’s 2-day exhibition and business appointments.

Enhanced MICE Innovation Hub with Tech Brand Presentation Showcase: Riding on the popularity of last year’s MICE Innovation Hub launch, this year’s space is expected to be larger with more featured technology solution providers and start-ups. Further, a dedicated brand presentation showcase featuring technology ideas and solutions will be added to the 2-day exhibition and business programme, transforming the hub into a buzzing zone that integrates all-day talks on the latest travel teach trends with business meets and pre-scheduled appointments.

SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO AT IT&CM CHINA AND CTW CHINA 2020
Launched in 2019, these successful programme highlights, alongside the newly launched business segments, will continue to offer delegates business opportunities beyond one-on-one appointments, and increase lead generation.

Say Hi To Everyone on the first day of the show will once again provide a platform for attendees to identify potential delegate profiles they want to meet across IT&CM China and CTW China ahead of exhibition days. Its first edition saw a full house of delegates with active engagement between attending suppliers, buyers and media.

Brand Showcase Presentations are perfect for participating exhibitors and brands to share their latest updates with buyers and media in just 20 minutes, enhancing their brand outreach efforts at the show. In 2019, all sessions ran to a full house with much interest from attendees.

At the upcoming 2020 event, these presentations will be programmed into 2 parallel tracks at different presentation areas within the hall – one featuring destinations and corporate brands, with the other focused on technology and innovation at the enhanced MICE Innovation Hub.

Exhibition Walk-About comprising of 4 x 1-hour guided sessions, targets Association buyers and media where quick introductions and connections can be made efficiently during visits to featured destination pavilions and booths. In 2019, over 200 delegates benefitted from this segment.

Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media said, “The success of our business initiatives in 2019 prompted its continuity and the addition of new initiatives to cater to the ever-changing needs of our delegates. This demonstrates the show’s constant evolution to provide delegates with an unparalleled platform to establish valuable connections and at the same time, add variety to the programme. More importantly, this hones IT&CM China’s differentiation of fostering lead generation between suppliers and buyers beyond one-on-one appointments.”

For more information on IT&CM China,
visit www.itcmchina.com | WeChat ID: ITCMC

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Viet Nam-Laos-China ‘con’ throwing festival to take place in Lai Chau

A ‘con’ throwing festival of border districts in Viet Nam, Laos
and China is scheduled to take place in Lai Chau later this month
A ‘con’ (colourful fabric ball) throwing festival of border districts in Viet Nam, Laos and China is scheduled to take place in the northern province of Lai Chau on December 29-31, 2019, under the theme “Friendship Colours”.

The Department of Information and Communications of Viet Nam’s Lai Chau Province held a press briefing on December 11 to introduce the festival, the sixth of kind.

This is the second time that Muong Te, a border district in Lai Chau Province, has hosted the festival.

This year’s festival will see the participation of 1,000 delegates from border districts of Vietnam, Laos and China.

Various activities will be held within the festival including, a ‘con’ throwing competition, a mass art festival, a street festival, performances displaying ethnic costumes, exhibitions of cultural and tourism products and folk games.

In addition, a trade fair showcasing over 100 stalls from the three countries will be held at the festival.

Tran Duc Hien, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Muong Te District, said that this is an annual event held between the three countries with the aim of strengthening exchange and cooperation between border districts, contributing to promoting socio-economic development, ensuring defence and security, and building solidarity between the border areas.

This is also an occasion for Lai Chau Province to promote its traditional culture and tourism to international friends, Hien added.
Source: Nhan dan online

NEW INBOUND FLIGHTS RAISE PROSPECTS FOR MYANMAR TOURISM

A string of new flights will help boost inbound tourism to Myanmar.
Tourism players are hopeful that a string of new flights will boost inbound tourism to Myanmar.

In recent months, a number of airlines have started operating new routes connecting China with Myanmar, with other international airlines announcing imminent flights. Chinese destinations include new routes to Hangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan.

Last month, Indian LCC IndiGo Airlines started daily direct flights from Kolkata to Yangon. Last year, Indian passport holders were granted visa-on-arrivals (VoAs) in a bid to bolster interest in Myanmar.

From December 10, 2019, Dubai-based LCC flydubai will also launch daily flights from Dubai to Yangon and the Thai island of Krabi, which is operated via a stop in Yangon in Myanmar.

The new direct flights to Yangon International Airport will give passengers easier access to Myanmar.

Khiri Travel Myanmar’s managing director Edwin Briels said: “International flights will always help to boost tourism greatly.”

He predicted the flight between Yangon and Krabi will be particularly appealing to travellers wanting to combine the two destinations. “Clients visiting the Thai beaches can easily combine their trip with a culture experience in Myanmar,” he said.

Sammy Samuels, managing director of Myanmar Shalom Travels, added that the opening of new routes by LCCs flydubai and Indigo Airlines offers affordable access to Myanmar.

“This move will be good for travellers looking to explore Myanmar on an affordable airfare. There are also more people from Myanmar travelling aboard. I am sure airlines are interested in those as well,” he said.

With 10 airlines now flying between Myanmar and about 15 different Chinese destinations, hopes are high that the industry can tap into the high-end segment.

Briels noted that in light of an increase in “highly-educated and culturally-interested travellers” from across Asia, including China. To cater to this growing demand, Khiri Travel Myanmar employs Chinese-speaking staff.

Read the full article at TTG Asia: https://www.ttgasia.com/2019/11/13/new-inbound-flights-raise-prospects-for-myanmar-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
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

Cao Vit Gibbon in the Non nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO global geopark

Cao Vit Gibbon in the conservation area - Hoàng Đức Thọ
Non nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO global geopark, is a territory embedded with distinguishing values on cultures, history, natural landscapes and geological heritages, and bio-diversity. There is a system of well-preserved natural preserved areas, that the Cao Vit gibbon live in. This landscape conservation area in Trung Khanh district was established under the Decision 2536/ QĐ-UBND dated December 15th 2006 by the People’s committee of Cao Bang province with a total area of 1.656,80 hectare locating on the territory of Ngoc Khe, Ngoc Con and Phong Nam communes of Trung Khanh district for the protection of Cao Vit gibbon.

Cao Vit Gibbon is one of the 25 most endanged species and one of the 5 most endangered species in Viet Nam. Nowadays, Cao Vit Gibbons can only be found in the Cao Vit gibbon-landscape conservation area in Trung Khanh district and parts of the Bang Luong conservation area, Qingxi, China. This species was recorded in Viet Nam since 1884 till 1965 with three different varieties found in Trung Khanh district, Viet Nam. Since then until 2000, this gibbon species was thought to be extinct because of no records of its existence. Not until 2002, through the research and statistics of FFI, scientists rediscovered a flock of this gibbon species of 26 individuals living in the forest of Phong Nam and Ngoc Khe commune, Trung Khanh district, Cao Bang province.

With the objective to preserve one of the rarest gibbons of the world, the Project on Cao Vit gibbon preservation in Trung Khanh was supported by FFI and commenced from the beginning of 2004. FFI organization has supported to establish a preservation area of more than 1.657 hectare in 3 communes namedly Phong Nam, Ngoc Khe, and Ngoc Con in Trung Khanh district. In addition, the project also supported to establish 2 Inspection task forces to carry out inspection on forest protection and bio-diversity monitoring; conducted training and awareness raising on protection of this rare gibbon for local communities, which then would result in enhanced the preservation of Cao Vit Gibbon.

The Project supported to establish 3 farming groups in 3 communes in the Conservation Area, at the same time deployed the construction of agricultural, forestry and husbandry production model in the communes surrounding the Conservation Area, such as chinaberry planting for timber, delavaya toxocarpa french planting for fuelwood, napier planting for livestock grazing, construction of biogas stove and tank, supplement for corn variety, technical guidance for rice, maize sowing and caring...
Thanks to the attention from the local authorties of China and Viet Nam, the Cao Cao Vit gibbon-landscape area has been well preserved. Till now, the local authorities of Viet Nam and China organized joint inspection, study tours to exchange experience in the preservation of Cao Vit gibbon in the border area. The two Sides alos regularly organize cross-border meeting on the preservation of Cao Vit gibbon. Particularly from 2011 Cao Bang province signed an MoU with the Government of Guangxi province (China) to promote the conservation of Cao Vit gibbon that is living the cross border conseration area of Viet Nam and China.

In addition, thanks to the supports of related parties such as the Management board of Cao Vit gibbon conservation area, departments of Agricultural and Rural development, and Department of Forestry Managemetn, People’s committee of Trung Khanh district, as well as the authorities of Ngoc Con, Ngoc Khe, and Phong Nam communes, the Project on preservation of Cao Vit gibbon has been carried out effectively, which has been contributing to enhance the agricultural production and raise awareness of local communities in forestry management, protection and engagement in the Cao Vit gibbon conservation.

According to recent statistics on Cao Vit gibbon, the number of this gibbon is stable; there are about 22 flocks with about 134 individuals. Results from the statistics showing that the number of young Cao Vit gibbon account from 8-15% (from 9-13 individuals). The conservation area of Cao Vit gibbon has been protected well, this is one of good indication and there has any threat to the existence of Cao Vit Gibbon recorded till now.
Source: www.caobanggeopark.com

A Fun Time at the Elvis Dragon Boat Paddle

Join the Parkes Dragon Boat Club for a special Elvis Paddle with bags of trivia prizes to be won!

Thursday, 9 January at Lake Endeavour (34km out of town).

Meet at Lions Park at 5pm for a lift to Lake Endeavour or at the lake at 5:30pm.

Equipment, refreshments and insurance all included for only $15.

Want to know more, talk to Bill or Beth on 0418 253 045

Parkes Elvis Festival

Hoshino Resorts Opening 5 New Properties in 2020

Hoshino Resorts opened a number of new properties this year including HOSHINOYA Guguan in June, Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel in October, and Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Nasu in November 2019. Five new properties are planned for 2020, and Hoshino Resorts expects to manage 45 properties by the end of 2020. 

A snapshot of upcoming openings is below:
- Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club (Hawaii, USA) on January 1st
- Hoshino Resorts KAI Nagato (Yamaguchi, Japan) on March 12th
- Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura (Ibaraki, Japan) on March 19th
- Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Kohamajima (Okinawa, Japan) on April 20th
- HOSHINOYA Okinawa & Banta Cafe (Okinawa, Japan) soft opening on April 15th

In order to meet guests' various travel needs and budgets, in 2020, Hoshino Resorts will continue to expand its diverse portfolio of properties, ranging from luxury flagship HOSHINOYA to hot spring ryokan-focused KAI, to RISONARE resorts, urban city hotels OMO, and free-spirited hotels BEB. Both within Japan and overseas, Hoshino Resorts will continue expanding these brands during 2020, with a goal of becoming a world-class hotel management company that has evolved traditional Japanese hospitality to suit modern travellers.

Hoshino Resorts

Brunei's etiquette, customs, dress code

ARE YOU READY FOR ATF 2020?

As you are getting ready for your trip to ATF 2020, here are some quick tips to get you acquainted with Brunei's etiquette, customs, dress code and more.

See you in Brunei!

ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF)

http://www.atfbrunei2020.com/

#etiquette #customs #dress code #tourism #Cambodia #Indonesia #Laos #Malaysia #Myanmar #Philippines #Singapore #Thailand #China #Japan #SouthKorea #Vietnam #visitseaasia.travel #TRAVEX #BandarSeriBegawan #travel @brunei.tourism #tourism #Brunei #SouthEastAsia #BRIDEX #ATF #ASEAN #TravelByASEAN #ASEANTourismForum #ATFBrunei2020 #visitSEAsia #TheHolidayandTravelMagazine

MICHELLE OBAMA AND JULIE ROBERTS VISIT VIETNAM TO SUPPORT GIRLS EDUCATION

On December 9th Vietnam welcomed the former first lady Michelle Obama to Hanoi.

Michelle and famous actress Julia Roberts met with Vietnamese students of a school in Can Giuoc district, Long An province. The purpose of her visit was to promote the need for girls education to help them reach their full potential and guarantee their future prospects.

Michelle gave a passionate speech to the pupils at the school, and joined with Heads of some of the major NGO’s in Vietnam to discuss ways in which they can work together with the Obama Foundation's Girls Opportunity Alliance program; An international charitable effort designed to engage adolescent girls in education opportunities. A clip of the meeting can be found here.

INDOCHINA TRAVEL SERVICES
website: http://www.itsvietnam.com
Address : Suite 1705 - Artex building - 172 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Tel : + 84 24 62514052
Fax : + 84 24 62514051
Email : info@itsvietnam.com

Saturday, 28 December 2019

THAI TOURISM FIGURES ARE UP BUT THE FOCUS HAS SHIFTED AWAY

Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn 
2019 was a year of warnings from hoteliers in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai about low occupancy rates. Many hotel insiders remain sceptical about not only 2019 but also 2020. However, the detailed figures from Thailand’s tourism authority compiled from immigration bureau data send a clear message. Numbers are up but western visitors are a permanently shrinking proportion as the Thai tourism behemoth continues to forge markets in Asia.

Thailand’s tourism authority published data this week which showed that the number of tourists for the first 9 months was up by 3.5%. The figures came as a surprise to many expats and hoteliers in Thailand who see 2019 as the watershed year when Thailand’s tourism industry dipped.

This week, the Thai tourism authority published its latest data showing that tourist numbers for the kingdom for the period ending September 30th are up by 3.5% on last year with a 3.45% increase in expenditure.

Figures perhaps make sense
However, the figures, compiled meticulously by immigration authorities perhaps do make sense despite the scepticism of many western expats in Thailand and hotel operators. They reveal that western holidaymakers to Thailand staying at hotels and resorts have become very much, a smaller segment of the market as Thailand’s tourist industry strengthens its focus on Asia.

Year after year, there was applause – 2019 is different
While normally greeted with media applause and an opportunity to highlight Thailand’s prized tourism sector, this year things are different.

Business on the ground for Thai hoteliers throughout the year speak of a different story at odds with the data and figures released by the Tourism ministry. These figures are based on detailed immigration data at the points of entry for foreign visitors including airports and checkpoints throughout the country.

Laos emerges as a key Thai tourism market

For instance, the figures released this week by the tourism authority show a large rise in visitors from Thailand’s poorer neighbour Laos to the kingdom of over 12%. The figures show that nearly 1.4 million people from Laos, a communist country, visited Thailand in the first nine months of 2019. That would be over 20% of the population but of course, the numbers may include multiple visits.

Best Western boss sees ‘dip’ in Chinse tourists
Olivier Berrivin is the Asian Managing Director of Best Western Hotels and Resorts. He says that his group has seen a drop in Chinese tourists this year to Thailand although he maintains the numbers are still quite substantial. ‘The dip is not as bad as some people seem to think,’ he recently told an industry source. He says he expects this situation to continue unchanged through the high season to the end of the year.

64% of all tourism visitors came from the top 5 Asian countries alone in the 9 month period

The figures, released this week, show a rise of 1.71% in Chinese visitors bringing the total for the nine months to just over 8.5 million out of a total for the period of 29.465 million. That’s nearly 29% of the market.

The figures from the tourism body show that the Thai tourism sector is now dominated by Asian visitors with 64% of tourists alone coming from the top 5 markets, all in Asia. These were China, Malaysia, India, South Korea and Laos.

Thai hoteliers report lower occupancy rates
The figures, therefore, might indicate a rapidly changing tourism market which might help explain the industry feedback from hotel bodies in key tourist areas such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya this year who have all reported lower occupancy rates. These reports also mention the continued development of new hotels and rooms exacerbating an already competitive and oversupplied situation.

Hotel boss sceptical about tourism prospects
Shreyash Shah is the director of business development with the Chada Hotel Group which operates hotels in key locations in Thailand including Bangkok and Krabi. He is sceptical about the future of the tourism market going into 2020 chief among his concerns being competition and lower room rates despite the official figures showing more visitors.

There is also anecdotal evidence from expats and foreigners staying and who holiday regularly in Thailand. They have reported that obtaining bookings for the high season is easier this year with attractive rates and a better spread of choice.

Drop in German arrivals but Europeans including Russians now only accounts for 16% of the market

The figures released by the tourism authority do point to a drop in European visitors with a 3.6% fall off in Geman tourists. Notably, the European tourism market including Russia, now only accounts for 16% of what the Tourism Authority of Thailand sees as its overall expanding tourism market as it pursues and develops new opportunities.

Within those figures, numbers from the United Kingdom were up marginally by 0.84% to just shy of 720,000 visitors but that represents just 2.4% of all arrivals.

Similarly, American visitors were up by 2.3% showing a total to the end of September of 1,159,116 or just shy of a 4% share of the market.

Read the full article at Thai Examiner.com: https://www.thaiexaminer.com/thai-news-foreigners/2019/10/26/tourism-visitors-thailand-figures-western-asian-market-thai-hotels/

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
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

Krong No volcanic caves seek recognition as global geological park

A Krong No volcanic cave (Photo: chinhphu.vn)
The Krong No volcanic cave system, in the Central Highland province of Dak Nong, has been nominated by the Global Geoparks Network for UNESCO recognition as a global geological park.

The decision will be announced in April, 2020.

Dak Nong Geological Park, which houses Krong No caves, stretches over an area of 2,000 square kilometres containing six districts and towns. It has 55 geosites, seven of which are of international significance. The park typifies the geology, geomorphology, culture, and bio-diversity of the region.

The Krong No volcanic cave system, which was discovered in 2007, is the highlight of the park. The absolutely untouched complex comprises a dozen caves of different sizes, stretching 25 kilometers from the Buon Choah crater along the Serepok river to Dray Sap waterfall. Japanese and Vietnamese scientists believe Krong No is the most beautiful and longest volcanic cave system in South East Asia. Many secrets concerning its formation are hidden among its lava banks, lava flows, sinkholes, frozen basalt lava, and fossils of plants formed millions of years ago.

La The Phuc, former Director of the Vietnam National Museum of Nature, said “The complex has several geological heritages of great diversity and interest. For instance, the craters at Pass 52 are second-to-none in the Central Highlands. Each volcano was formed in different geological conditions and has a unique heritage value.”

In the Krong No volcanic cave system scientists have discovered traces of prehistoric humans who lived in the late Stone Age to early Metal Age (6,000-3,000 BC), opening up new studies of prehistoric people and archeology in Viet Nam and Southeast Asia.

Dak Nong Geological Park is in a region rich in tangible and intangible cultural heritages: the cultural space of the gong, the Ot N’drong epics of the M’nong ethnic people, the Nam Nung nature reserve, Yok Don national park, and others. A tour of Dak Nong Geological Park takes visitors to the majestic waterfall and volcanoes.

Ton Thi Ngoc Hanh, Vice Chairwoman of the Dak Nong provincial People’s Committee, told us about other routes through the park “A second tourist route provides an insight into the culture of the M’nong and Ede ethnic people living in the region. Visitors are introduced to epics, gongs, brocade weaving, knitting, and historical relics. Another route takes them to Ta Dung lake, a granite waterfall, a fossil wood, and a house displaying traditional musical instrument of the Ma ethnic group.”

The managers of Dak Nong Geological Park have worked with local officials to promote the park’s geological heritages, enhance conservation efforts, and promote the park to a wider audience inside and outside Viet Nam.
Source: VOV

Pandora Exhibition Now On

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the artefacts from one the most significant shipwrecks in the Southern Hemisphere in Pandora, the flagship exhibition of Museum of Tropical Queensland.

HMS Pandora was the British Royal Navy warship dispatched to the South Pacific in pursuit of the infamous Bounty mutineers. Today, the mutiny on the Bounty remains one of the best-known stories in the history of seafaring.

Few, however, are aware of the epic story of the Pandora and the extraordinary efforts of the Royal Navy to recover the “pirated” Bounty, and bring the mutineers to justice.

Cost: Free with museum admission
Museum of Tropical Queensland
70 -102 Flinders Street, Townsville, Queensland 4810
Open 9:30am to 5pm daily, Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day
General Admission Adult $15, Child (3-15; must be accompanied by an adult 18+) $8.80, Under 3 FREE, Concession (pensioner and full time student) $11, Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) $38
Local Admission* Adult $7.50, Child (3-15; must be accompanied by an adult 18+) $4.40, Under 3 FREE, Concession (pensioner and full time student) $5.50, Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) $19
*Local admission prices apply to residents of the Townsville with proof of address.
Free admission applies to residents of the Burdekin, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook local government areas with proof of address.
Discounts for pre-booked general admission groups over 10 people.