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Vol. 09 | No: 01. Jan 2013

contents jan


Star Cruises enters Shanghai with SuperStar Gemini The ship is today scheduled to embark on a series of inaugural cruises from Penang around South-east Asia and Hong Kong. From April to October, the ship will homeport at Shanghai, where it will offer itineraries to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the last pending approval.

Wares for sale in Batu Ferringhi

12 Cambodia-Thailand joint visa gets off the ground


Panorama Malaysia eyes outbound business to the US, China

14 India-Japan connectivity enhanced

11 Park Hotel Group to manage

300 room hotel at Farrer Park

Tourism Asia | January 2013


contents jan


20 TripAdvisor is PATA’s new Strategic Partner

Chiang Mai heads for Year of MICE

Chiang Mai will campaign for business tourists under the banner of “Year of MICE 2013.”

22 Celebrity Cruises launches Asian season

Celebrity Cruises has recently launched her Asian season with Celebrity Millennium.

18 UNWTO endorses ecotourism

24 Ascott Waterplace Surabaya to open in 2014

26 Etihad launches Wi-Fly, Qantas axes Wi-Fi


Tourism Asia | January 2013





















From the editor’s desk Managing Editor


Sreekumara Menon

India is probably the ultimate destination of

Group Editor


Janeesh Jalaluddin

all kinds of pilgrims following any faith

Executive Editor


Kriebel George

around the world. The great religions like

Photo Editor


Madhu Menon

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Christi-

Art Editor



anity and Sikhism are the integral part of

Senior Correspondent :

Subhash Ghosh

Indian culture and heritage whose values

Senior Sub Editor


Anish Kumar


Editorial Team


Anu S

soil and the sky of India.








Viji V S



Suresh Kumar S

Legal Advisor

India is the land of gods and diverse religions where lies the


Adv. Preeja K S

Financial Controller

serenity of its heritage. India is dotted with pilgrimages. Great


Abhilash S P

religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism have originated on the Indian soil. Over 80% of India's population practices

Representatives North India


Vinod Chandana

East India


Gagan Sarangi

West India


S K Singh



Shine G Nair



Bhagvan Din Kumar



Gagan Sarangi







New Delhi


Annie Chacko



Cynthia Lim



S K Singh



Aneena Jacob



Ajith Menon







All communications to: Tourism Asia Ground Floor, ‘Tower House’, Convent Road Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India Phone: +91 471 2470660, Fax: +91 471 2470660

Hinduism, the ancient indigenous religion of India which has a wide variety of forms and expressions. Muslims constitute about 10% of the Indian population. Other significant religious groups in India include Jains, and Christians. Buddhism is almost extinct in the land of its birth, but many exiled Tibetan Buddhists now make their home in India, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. India's famed spirituality has made it a popular destination for spiritually-inclined travelers.. There are a number of Tour operators in the country that offer various pilgrimage tour packages to tourists. These operators also arrange for the stay, the food and other comforts for the pilgrimage. Any pilgrimage tour in India is sure to make you feel elated. These pilgrimage tours are sure to provide the tourists with peace and tranquility. Pilgrimage tourism as a business has also become big in India in the recent times. There is no denying to the fact that Indians are religious and religion is a part of their life. The boom in the

Email: website:

travel industry has helped tourists to visit these pilgrimage

Regd Office:

world are being attracted to India for its pilgrimage destina-

‘Sreeji Nivas’ , Peroorkada, Thiruvananthapuram

spots often. A lot of people from across different parts of the tions.

Edited and Published by: Sreekumara Menon For Advertisements: The news and Advertisements published herein have been collected from various source, which are considered to be reliable. Readers are however requested to verify the facts before making business decisions using the same. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. Copyright 2010

Tourism Asia | January 2013

V.Sreekumara Menon Editor & Publisher +91 9447798108


News & Events

Star Cruises enters Shanghai with SuperStar Gemini

The ship is today scheduled to embark on a series of inaugural cruises from Penang around South-east Asia and Hong Kong. From April to October, the ship will homeport at Shanghai, where it will offer itineraries to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the last pending approval. Shanghai marks the cruise operator ’s second Chinese destination, following Sanya last year. When asked how Star Cruises was dealing with increased competition within the Asian cruise market, David Chua, president of Genting Hong Kong, replied: “Rather than (targeting) a bigger slice of the pie, there is a need for cruise lines to come together and enlarge the pie.”

Chua also pinpointed the MICE market as one sector to focus on, as cruises were viable alternatives in the light of rising hotel rates. Star Cruises is also looking to target weddings. As for Resorts World Manila – also operated by Genting Hong Kong – he remarked that the integrated resort had its “hands full” managing the 2,000 rooms expected to come online with the opening

of Hilton Manila in December 2012, as well as the planned debuts of Westin Manila Bayshore in mid-2016 and Sheraton Manila Hotel in early 2017. Emphasising the untapped potential within the intra-ASEAN market, Chua said: “The Philippines has the second highest GDP growth after China within the region, and Filipinos are a common sight at Universal Studios Singapore.”

While declining to reveal Star Cruises’ marketing strategy and training programmes for travel consultants for the coming year, he added that the company would leverage its experience as an Asian cruise operator to set itself apart.


Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Events

Panorama Malaysia eyes outbound business to the US, China KUALA Lumpur-based DMC Panorama Tours Malaysia has expanded its portfolio to include outbound leisure business






Panorama’s managing director, Richard Vuilleumier, said: “We see US outbound as a big potential market with the depreciation of the US currency. (The US) is a slightly more affordable destination compared to Europe but the advantage it has over Europe is that everybody




September 11, demand from Malaysians for a US holiday dropped but it started to pick up again (in 2012).” China is also another destination the DMC is hoping to push for, commenc-

“Our sister company Panorama Tours

and we plan to leverage on the com-

ing sales of series tours last September.

Beijing recently opened in November,

pany to build our network and to handle tours and ground arrangements to Beijing and other parts of China,”



In 2012, Panorama Tours Malaysia recorded a 50 per cent year-on-year growth in its overall business from the previous year, and Vuilleumier believes business will pick up further after the Malaysian general elections this year. The company, set up in 2009 as a subsidiary of Panorama Tours International, recently moved to its new fivestorey office and now boasts a a staff strength of 25


Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

Park Hotel Group to manage 300 room hotel at Farrer Park

RB Capital Hotels has appointed Park Hotel Group to manage its latest hotel at Farrer Park. The proposed full-service hotel, to be operated under the upscale ‘Park Hotel’ brand and will comprise 300 rooms and is slated to open in the first half of 2015. Situated above Farrer Park Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, the new-build Park Hotel Farrer Park is in the heart of Little India, a bustling lifestyle enclave that has traditionally been the focal point for Singapore’s local and expatriate Indian community.

District (CBD).” Allen Law, chief executive of Park Hotel Group, said, “It is an exciting period of growth for Park Hotel Group as we further widen our presence in Singapore. I thank Kishin for the confidence and trust he has in us, and I am confident that we are able to contribute positively to the mutually successful partnership by deliv

ering both hotel service excellence.”



“Being headquartered here, Singapore is definitely an important market to us and we hope to locate Park-branded hotels in the strategic areas and key hubs of the country. Singapore is also a launch pad for us to grow our hotel management services to foray into overseas markets such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia.”

Describing the choice of location for his latest hotel, Kishin R K, the head of RB Capital Group and RB Capital Hotels, said, “Park Hotel Farrer Park will serve the fast-growing population of business and leisure travellers seeking a high-quality hotel located in the vibrant shopping and entertainment district of Little India. With its location on top of the Farrer Park MRT station, the hotel will be well connected to the city and the Central Business


Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

Cambodia-Thailand joint visa gets off the ground A press release issued by Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the visa can be obtained at diplomatic and consular missions of either country and is valid for 90 days from date of issuance, three times the validity initially floated. Each visa will cost US$20. Nationals of the following countries are eligible to apply for the visa: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US. The joint visa is part of the AyeyawadyChao Phraya-Mekong Economic Coop

eration Strategy (ACMECS), a cooperation framework among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to utilise member countries’ diverse strengths and to promote development in the subregion. The launch of the ACMECS Single Visa


was held after the 8th Thai-Cambodia Joint Committee meeting, reported Xinhua News Agency. Last September, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam had also expressed the possibility of a single tourist visa, with Thailand as a fifth partner in the scheme

Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Events

India-Japan connectivity enhanced MUMBAI – Guests travelling on both Jet Airways and All Nippon Airways can now fly between Tokyo and Osaka to various points across India on connecting flights operated by both carriers, thanks to the codeshare agreement concluded on December 3, 2012 MUMBAI – Guests travelling on both Jet Airways and All Nippon Airways can now fly between Tokyo and Osaka to various points across India on connecting flights operated by both carriers, thanks to the codeshare agreement concluded on December 3, 2012. In addition to the existing codeshare on All Nippon Airways Mumbai-Tokyo direct flights, Jet Airways will place its marketing code on All Nippon Airways operated flights between Hong KongTokyo / Osaka and Bangkok-Tokyo. Similarly, All Nippon Airways will place its code on Jet Airways flights operated between Hong Kong and Mumbai / Delhi, Bangkok and Mumbai / Delhi /

opportunities to its guests and our

JetPrivilege members will earn JPMiles

codeshare agreement with All Nippon

for their entire journey when they fly

Airways is another distinctive travel

on Jet Airways codeshare flights from

solution. India and Japan share strong

India to Japan.

ties, ranging from leisure and business tourism to commercial trade. Thanks to

There has been a steady rise in the

the expanded codeshare agreement,

traffic from 335,000 in 2009 to 465,000

we will be able to offer our guests

passengers in 2011 representing a 39

wider access, unmatched connectivity

per cent growth. The reciprocal code-

and seamless travel to Japan’s key mar-

share is open for sale and travel with

kets, with Japan’s premium airline. ”

immediate effect.

Kolkata, Singapore and Mumbai / Delhi / Chennai and on domestic India routes between Mumbai and Delhi / Chennai / Kolkata. Nikos Kardassis, CEO of Jet Airways, said,





endeavored to offer enhanced travel


Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

Chiang Mai heads for Year of MICE Chiang Mai will campaign for business tourists under the banner of “Year of MICE 2013.”

TCEB board member and acting presi-

national MICE visitors Bt3,273.7

dent, Thongchai Sridama, said a joint

million from 427 MICE events in 2011.




convened by the Office of the National






Economic and Social Development

estimates to gauge the value of the

promote the province’s MICE industry

Board gained approval from the Cabi-

industry. There are no exact reference

in the lead-up to the official opening of

net for the year-long campaign.

points other than surveys that often

the Chiang Mai International Conven-

use a low interview base.

tion and Exhibition Centre possibly in

The main emphasis will be supporting

April 2013. TCEB outlined its strategy

the city’s brand new convention centre,

Apart from declaring 2013 year of

for Chiang Mai during a “Meetings

due to soft open next month for a trial

MICE, the city has done little to firm up

Industry Day” late last week.

period to bring facilities and services

events or promote the convention

up to scratch.

centre overseas, possibly because of

With just 13 weeks remaining of 2012,

numerous construction delays that

TCEB is leaving the drafting of a Chiang

beset the project from the beginning.

Mai MICE Development Master Plan

“The province has potential to tap the MICE industry. A 2011 survey valued

(2012 to 2016) to almost to the last


But an effort to kick-start the campaign

Bt3,355.9 million generated by events

is now on the way as TCEB and the

in both the domestic and international

Tourism Authority of Thailand join

“The city also has potential to grow as

markets,” Mr Thongchai explained.

hands with tourism and business asso-

an event destination for the Greater

ciations to organise a brainstorming


“MICE summit” this November.






Of that income, 19,261 domestic MICE travellers are estimated to have generated Bt82.19 million and 40,718 inter



Sub-region, India,




Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal) The summit will look at ways to

nations, and ASEAN countries,” he said.

Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

UNWTO endorses ecotourism A landmark resolution recognising ecotourism as key in the fight against poverty, the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. In a significant acknowledgment of tourism as a tool for promoting sustainable development, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution stressing ecotourism’s role in the fight against poverty and protection of the environment. The resolution, entitled, “Promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection”, calls on UN member states to adopt policies that promote ecotourism highlighting its “positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger ”. It further recognises that ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage. “UNWTO welcomes the adoption of this resolution on the importance of ecotourism,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai. “The remarkable support that the resolution has received, from all regions and across the development spectrum, is a clear testimony that sustainable tourism has a * * in a fairer vital role* to* play and sustainable future for all.” 18

Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

TripAdvisor is PATA’s new Strategic Partner

visor invaluable insight and access as it expands its engagement across the Asia Pacific travel world. PATA will work with TripAdvisor to add real value and insights for the benefit of both partners. The world is going digital, mobile and more consumer direct. TripAdvisor will help PATA Next Gen stay at the cutting edge of travel industry engagement.”

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) are pleased to announce TripAdvisor™ as a new PATA Strategic Partner. TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, offers trusted advice from real travellers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor has the largest travel community in the world with over 60 million unique monthly visitors and sites in 30 countries worldwide.

PATA CEO Martin J Craigs, said: “Our strategic partnership with TripAdvisor will benefit all our members and give TripAd

Cindy Tan, vice-president of Display Advertising Sales, Asia Pacific at TripAdvisor said: “We are excited to be partnering with PATA, a leading tourism and travel authority in the region. With more than 75 million reviews and opinions on more than 1.8 million hospitality businesses, TripAdvisor is more than equipped to share valuable insights for travellers as well as hospitality businesses that are part of PATA.”

The partnership will enable PATA and TripAdvisor to collaborate on joint initiatives such as surveys, reports and data sharing. TripAdvisor data and insights will appear on PATAmPOWER, the association’s mobile travel intelligence service for members. There will be opportunities for engagement between PATA and TripAdvisor in publishing, research, surveys, events and advocacy.


Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

Celebrity Cruises launches Asian season

Singapore and Hong Kong as homeports

Celebrity Cruises has recently launched her Asian season with Celebrity Millennium. The 91,000-gross registered tonne ship has arrived in Singapore for the first time for two overnights while ending her 17-night cruise from Sydney and starting her first cruise in Singapore tomorrow. From this December to April 2013, Celebrity Millennium will visit nine countries, which include Vietnam, Thailand, and China. There will also be a series of 14-night one-way cruises between Singapore and Hong Kong, including overnight stays in ports like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Halong Bay. From Singapore to Bali, the season brings two 14-night round-trip sailings in January 2013. There were also exchanges between Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board,

Melvin Vu, CEO of SATS-Creuers Cruise Services and captain Zisis S Taramas of Celebrity Millennium, at the official ceremony. Jennifer Yap, managing director, Singapore of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, “Celebrity Cruises has long been an established brand amongst Asian cruisers and with this first Asian season on

Celebrity Millennium, we are able to bring its award-winning, luxurious cruises to more of its fans here. Celebrity’s entry today also marks the expansion of our company’s presence in Asia together with our two other brands Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, allowing us to cater to a wider spectrum of customers.” The 2,158 guest Celebrity Millennium underwent a major renovation this year, with renowned Solstice Class features which includes the AquaClass staterooms, Blu the ‘spa’ restaurant, ‘uniquely unordinary’ Qsine restaurant, and stylish creperie Bistro on Five and Cellar Masters with a bold collection of wines from around the world. With a wide selection of cuisines, guests can indulge in Celebrity’s exquisite cuisine, unparalleled service of a guest-to-staff ratio of nearly two to one, stylish accommodation, the luxurious spa, unique entertainment, destination-rich regional itineraries and more.


Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Events

Ascott Waterplace Surabaya to open in 2014

Ascott’s 10th property in Indonesia, first Ascott-branded serviced residence in Surabaya SINGAPORE – CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has clinched a management contract for its first Ascottbranded serviced residence in Surabaya. The premier Ascott Waterplace Surabaya will offer 181 apartments when it opens in 2014. It will be Ascott’s third property in Surabaya, after Citadines Marvell Surabaya and Somerset Surabaya Hotel & Serviced Residence. This also reinforces Ascott’s position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in Indonesia, with over 2,200 apartment units across 10 properties. Alfred Ong, Ascott’s managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia, said: “Ascott sees tremendous growth potential in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, which attracted a record foreign direct investment of S$7.2 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Besides having a strong foothold in Indonesia’s 24

capital of Jakarta, we are expanding our presence in Surabaya with our flagship Ascott brand. Surabaya is Indonesia’s second largest city and home to the main seaport for the eastern part of the country. Its growing commercial, manufacturing and meetings and conventions sectors are attracting both international and

domestic business travellers. The exclusive Ascott Waterplace Surabaya which offers luxurious accommodation, business support and personalised services, will complement our existing properties and cater to the rising demand for international-class accommodation in this city.” The 32-storey Ascott Waterplace Surabaya will provide business travellers a choice of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Each spacious and luxuriously furnished apartment offers a fullyequipped kitchen, separate work and living areas and modern amenities such as home entertainment system and wireless Internet connectivity. Most apartments also come with their own private lift access. In addition, residents can enjoy facilities such as two outdoor swimming pools, a gymnasium and residents’ lounge in the property.

Tourism Asia | January 2013

News & Views

Etihad launches Wi-Fly, Qantas axes Wi-Fi Availability of the internet on board – particularly when you’re on a long haul, is a comforting option to have, whether you are a business traveller or on a vacation. For airlines, it’s about cost and customer service. Find out why one airline introduces the inflight internet while another, axes plans on carrying it on board. We received news on the launch of Etihad Wi-Fly today – an inflight internet and mobile connectivity service on board United Arab Emirates' national carrier, particularly on the A330-200. This will be the aircraft that will be used for long haul destinations such as Brisbane, Brussels, Dublin, Manchester, Munich, Frankfurt and Milan. The airbus took flight today for Brussels, offering high-speed broadband Internet connectivity as well as data and mobile phone services.

ames Hogan, Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer, said: “’Etihad Wi-Fly’ is a result of the 10-year, US$1 billion agreement we signed with Panasonic Avionics in November 2011. We continue to invest in our product and consider ways to offer our guests the most engaging and dynamic inflight entertainment options. The broadband Internet is high-speed, in line with what our guests would experience at home or at work, so we believe this will be hugely popular. “By the end of Q1 2013, we will have 10 ‘Etihad Wi-Fly’-equipped aircraft, and I am pleased to announce that by the end of 2014, every single Etihad Airways aircraft will be equipped for inflight connectivity.” A spokesperson from Qantas has attributed it to the flight timing – most are red-eyed flights which explains why passengers prefer to get their forty winks than work on their laptops or surf the web. Cost may also be a factor. Various data packages are priced at AU$12.90 (US$13.45) to AU$39.90. That said, the airline is working on improving its connectivity on ground – providing better access at the airports and lounges.


Tourism Asia | January 2013

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