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Vol. 09 | No: 08. Aug 2013

contents aug


Krabi airport goes 24-hour for the high season THAILAND'S Department of Civil Aviation will extend Krabi Airport's operating hours on October 1 to keep the facility running 24 hours a day.

Wares for sale in Batu Ferringhi

12 Panama seeks investors for cruise line


World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony set for Turkey

14 AirAsia cuts fares

11 Hawaiian Falls Waterpark & Adventure Park to open Spring 2014 in Pflugerville

Tourism Asia | August 2013


contents aug


Smartphone APP to the rescue

Thailand has introduced an App called “i lert u” that provides medical information and an emergency response to a visitor’s smartphone.

22 Adventure tourism sees robust growth

24 Tourism Malaysia Shutters Phuket Office

Tourism Malaysia will cease operations at its Phuket office on September 1 after 13 years in the Thai destination.

18 Hong Kong in pursuit of Indonesian MICE

26 Japan inbound weathers Fukushima leaks

20 Singapore seeks to INSPIRE Indian incentives


Tourism Asia | August 2013

From the editor’s desk Managing Editor


Sreekumara Menon

India has been known for mainly inbound

Group Editor


Janeesh Jalaluddin

movement for years but slowly it is also turn-

Executive Editor


Kriebel George

ing out to be a fabulous outbound source

Photo Editor


Madhu Menon

market. The growing demand and increasing

Art Editor



no. of people wanting to travel outside India

Senior Correspondent :

Subhash Ghosh

has shot up tremendously in the last few

Senior Sub Editor


Anish Kumar


Editorial Team


Anu S


Viji V S



Suresh Kumar S

Legal Advisor


Adv. Preeja K S

Financial Controller


Abhilash S P


Indians have been known as globe trotters mainly seeking jobs or exploring avenues to do business for ages, ever since the air connectivity across the continents became a reality. But this trend has changed and has now added momentum with the Indians traveling out of their home country for pilgrimage, leisure and pleasure.

North India


Vinod Chandana

East India


Gagan Sarangi

Today there is a great demand for destinations like Malaysia,

West India


S K Singh

Singapore, Thailand Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and many



Shine G Nair

European countries, thanks to the low cost carriers like Air Asia,



Bhagvan Din Kumar

Tiger Airways, Cebu Pacific Airways. There are no official figures



Gagan Sarangi

available as yet to gauge the volume but going by the big sharks




in the trade and the visible advertising spends it is something




that cannot be ignored.

New Delhi


Annie Chacko



Cynthia Lim


NTO‘s or National Tourist Organizations of many countries have


S K Singh


realized India’s potential and slowly making a beeline to impress


Aneena Jacob


the country men. Tour operators in other countries have also


Ajith Menon


realized the potential business that can be generated from India




and are now constantly seen making marketing calls in India.



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

Email: website:

Improved connectivity and increasing no. of middle class people with upscale incomes have lead to this sudden blast in nos. Indians habit to splurge in shopping wherever they go makes our tourists a very big source market. The trend is really encouraging and this is bound to scale up more in the years to come.

Regd Office: ‘Sreeji Nivas’ , Peroorkada, Thiruvananthapuram

Edited and Published by: Sreekumara Menon

Are we seeing a momentous shift in the Indian’s taste and travel patterns - the answer is a definite yes.

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

V.Sreekumara Menon Editor & Publisher +91 9447798108

Tourism Asia | August 2013


News & Events

Krabi airport goes 24-hour for the high season

THAILAND'S Department of Civil Aviation will extend Krabi Airport's operating hours on October 1 to keep the facility running 24 hours a day.

Despite having built to handle 6.5 million passengers annually, traffic volume at Phuket International Airport is expected to hit 10.5 million in 2013.

Airports of Thailand, which operates the facility, last week endorsed the construction of a temporary terminal as a coping measure before Phuket airport’s main expansion wraps up in 2015

The airport presently operates from 06.00 to 21.00, but cost considerations have limited the measure to the upcoming peak tourism season only, which lasts until March 2014, according to The Bangkok Post. The change in opening hours is meant to deal with the spike in passenger traffic through Krabi during the high season, with most arrivals having been diverted to Krabi to ease the overcongestion at Phuket airport. Passenger arrivals at Krabi Airport are expected to double during this period for a total of 1.7 million travellers, compared to 800,000 the year before, said the report.


Tourism Asia | August 2013





















News & Events

World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony set for Turkey The World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony will be hosted by the Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa in Antalya, Turkey on August 31st 2013, with the show returning from the second time in three years. Hailed as ‘the Oscars of the travel industry’,





acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate




Since opening, the resort has rapidly

WTA president Graham Cooke said:

celebrates those brands that are push-

established itself as the ultimate place

“During times of economic uncertainty

ing the boundaries of industry excel-

for golf and luxury, amidst an idyllic

world-class brands come into their


Mediterranean setting.

own, continuing to grow market share whilst competitors flounder.

Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa

More than 500 organisations from

provides the perfect setting for the

across Europe, spanning dozens of

“Turkey in particular has showed its

event, exemplifying the spirit of World

categories, have been nominated for

credentials as a world-class tourism

Travel Awards to push the boundaries

the competition for the most influen-

brand, demonstrated in the number of

of excellence in travel and tourism.

tial accolade in travel.

top honours won by the nation’s top hotels and travel organisations. “Antalya in particular represents brand Turkey at its finest. “Its winning mix of heritage, sun-kissed beaches, stateof-the-art facilities and superb value has propelled it into the league of one of the world’s great destination cities.” Over 57 countries will compete for the accolades across 76 categories which include




‘Europe’s Leading Car Hire’, ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel’, ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel Brand’ and ‘Europe’s Leading Resort’.


Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

Hawaiian Falls Waterpark & Adventure Park to open Spring 2014 in Pflugerville Falls' expansion into Central Texas, Busch said it puts the park within a 25-minute drive of more than 2 million people regionally. It will be the only waterpark of this size within an hour drive.

The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC) and City of Pflugerville announced a $21.5 million Hawaiian Falls waterpark and adventure park will open spring 2014 in Pflugerville. The Pflugerville City Council approved an economic development agreement with Hawaiian Falls for the development and operation of the 25-acre park near the southwest corner of SH 130 and FM 685. The year-round entertainment complex is projected to have a significant economic impact on Pflugerville as more than 300,000 guests are expected annually. In an economic impact study commissioned by the PCDC and conducted by Impact DataSource, $6.2 million in annual sales are expected at Hawaiian Falls Pflugerville in its first year of operations, resulting in a significant increase in city sales tax revenue totaling approximately $62,000 the first year alone. "This is a significant economic development win for Pflugerville for multiple reasons," PCDC Executive Director Floyd Akers said. "Pflugerville will become a regional destination for Central Texas residents. In addition to bringing addi


tional tax revenue to the city, this project will also provide additional funding to the PCDC for economic development, provide jobs to local teenagers and adults, and spur additional development such as hotels in the area." Hawaiian Falls is expected to employ 250 to 300 part-time seasonal workers, 100 part-time workers year round, and 15 to 20 full-time jobs with health insurance benefits. The Pflugerville location will be the largest Hawaiian Falls waterpark in Texas, and the first in Texas with an adventure park. Hawaiian Falls also has waterparks in Garland, The Colony, Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco, Texas. David Busch, president of Horizon Family Holdings, which has developed and operated 24 waterparks across the U.S. including Hawaiian Falls, said the Pflugerville park will span approximately 10 acres, the adventure park will span 5 acres, and the remaining acreage will be used for parking and future expansion. By selecting Pflugerville for Hawaiian

"We selected Pflugerville because of the business friendly atmosphere and perfect demographics," Busch said. "We wanted a high concentration of children and families, good highway access, regional employers, great weather and people who enjoy the outdoors. Pflugerville provided all that and more." Busch said his team has been in search of the right location and partnership in the Austin area since 2003. Horizon met with six or seven other cities in the region before choosing Pflugerville. "Pflugerville was the absolute best choice," Busch said. "They were interested and responsive in working with us to bring Hawaiian Falls to fruition. We need to move quickly to make this project a reality for summer 2014, and Pflugerville is a 'can do' community that will make this happen." Several economic development agreements are in place for this project between the PCDC and Hawaiian Falls, including lease, development and performance agreements. The PCDC will acquire and own the 25 acre tract of land for the project. Hawaiian Falls will develop and operate the parks under a 30-year lease agreement with two 10-year options to renew. In the first year of the agreement, the economic impact to the City of Pflugerville will exceed $30 million.

Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

Panama seeks investors for cruise line

According to the General Manager of the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), Solomon Shamah, the cruise industry is very important for Panama, as it has facilities in both oceans, but the most important thing is the fact that the country is located in a privileged position in Central America and has an air hub which provides the opportunity of being a "home port".

"If private investors take the first step I would go to the highest level in the government to help them so that they could generate their own product and we

will assume part of the risk. This would be the only way to achieve this goal, since a 500-room cruise ship costs tens of millions of dollars," he added

Now the challenge for the country is that it is "still not recognized as a Caribbean destination, so authorities are working on positioning this brand image by creating their own cruise line, with the participation of Panamanian companies and companies in the region", reported


Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

AirAsia cuts fares AirAsia lops off 20% from its AirAsia and AirAsia X fares for passengers who book before 25 August. The 20% discount is applicable on all AirAsia flights with the flight code AK (Malaysia AirAsia), FD (Thai AirAsia), QZ (AirAsia Indonesia), PQ (Philippines’ AirAsia), and D7 (AirAsia X) that cover 85 destinations across 20 countries. The discount is also applicable when passengers book the Fly-Thru service. The promotion applies to base fare only and is not applicable for Z2 & JW flights and during embargo period.

Shops or through other authorised booking channels prior to 25 August, for travel from 27 August to 11 December this year.

Passengers can book online via, through the call centre, airport sales counter, AirAsia Travel

AirAsiaGo also offers fare savings up to 50% when guests book hotels together with flights. This deal can be booked


online at Apart from the 20% savings on seats throughout this promotion period, passengers can pre-book their check-in baggage online to save up to 66% when compared to check-in bags fees at airport counters.

Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

Smartphone APP to the rescue Thailand has introduced an App called “i lert u” that provides medical information and an emergency response to a visitor ’s smartphone. Ministry of Information and Communication Technology launched the App, earlier this week. “i lert u” was developed by Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), for four organisations namely the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM), Thai Airways International, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Bangkok Hospital and its network. SIPA president, Trairat Chatkaew, said the software was invented by Thais and last

year won two awards including the Thailand ICT Award (TICTA) and the Asia Pacific ICT Award (APICTA). “i lert u” is a software that helps people in need of medical assistance by providing

details of emergency units and identifies the closest unit that can assist. For emergency cases, people can press the alert button on their smartphone to gain assistance from NIEM and Bangkok Hospital to deliver vehicles and medical assistance. Meanwhile, THAI Airways will adapt the application with emergency contacts and add the function “Where’re U” for the benefit of its passengers who are exploring Thailand’s destinations. The software can be downloaded free to all smart phones systems.


Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

Hong Kong in pursuit of Indonesian MICE HONG KONG'S NTO and travel trade are putting together new incentives and programmes as they intensify promotional efforts to bag more MICE from Indonesia.

market. Ngong Ping 360’s manager for sales and distribution, Angela Sue, said the attraction




Simon Wong, regional director-South-

Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines

consultants to further raise its profile

east Asia, Hong Kong Tourism Board

and Thailand to reward MICE consul-

for Indonesian visitors, and secured a



tants who promote Hong Kong. Run-

tenant to provide halal food.

South-east Asia have been growing at

ning from June 2013 to January 2014,

a 10.1 per cent compound annual

the scheme will distribute HK$400,000

Meanwhile, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong


(US$51,577) in prizes to the top

Kong is hoping for a double-digit

Between January to March 2013, arriv-


increase in Indonesian guests this year.

als increased by 8.1 per cent year-on-

country according to three different


year to 54,961 overnight visitors.

categories – Top Number of Passen-

Chan, said business from Indonesia’s

gers, Top Number of Groups, Most

MICE sector was “picking up” and that

“Among South-east Asian markets,

Creative Itinerary – at the end of the

the hotel would participate in industry

Indonesia is a key growth driver,


tradeshows, host fam trips and work













recording double-digit year-on-year








growth in 2011 and 2012.”

Winners will also receive coop funding

Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta for promotion

He shared that HKTB would participate

for marketing Hong Kong and a full-


in more tradeshows within the region,

board trip to Hong Kong for the Global


introduce more attractions and prod-

Awards Dinner in 2014.

requirements, we have a Malaysian






chef prepare halal food with advanced

ucts, and incentivise travel consultants to bring in more MICE groups.

Likewise, Hong Kong’s attractions and

notification, and we also get food

The NTO recently rolled out the Top

hotels are also swooping in on the

directly from qualified suppliers,” Chan

Agent Award Programme in Indonesia,






Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

Singapore seeks to INSPIRE Indian incentives SINGAPORE Tourism Board (STB) yesterday in Mumbai launched the In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE), a rewards programme for Indian outbound MICE groups. Produced in partnership with Singapore’s major tourism players such as Changi Airport Group, Gardens by the Bay and Sentosa Leisure Group, among others, INSPIRE categorises and rewards incentive groups according to three tiers – basic, value and premium. To qualify for INSPIRE’s basic tier, groups must travel to Singapore before December 31, 2014 and book a minimum of 1,000 room nights. Value and premium tier require 1,500 and 1,800 room nights respectively.

Middle East and Africa, Chee Pey Chang, explained that Indians were increasingly seeking unique experiences while on business travel.

Said Chee: “Given the recent rupee devaluation, Indians will find cruise vacations a great, cost-effective, all-inclusive vacation.”

“INSPIRE was created to appeal to this growing segment by developing a selection of personalised programmes and exclusive offerings,” he said.

Faraway Places Mumbai managing director, Arvind Tandon, said: “Cruise tourism has gained huge popularity over the last two to three years and although Singapore remains the prime hub for Indian outbound cruise enthusiasts, cruises in Europe and Alaska are also becoming popular. We have seen 20 per cent (year-on-year) growth in the segment.”

Meanwhile, the NTO, in collaboration with the Asia Cruise Association, has also been conducting training sessions for travel consultants in Mumbai and New Delhi on how to market cruises effectively or become Cruise Lines International Association-certified cruise counsellors.

Groups accepted into the INSPIRE programme will receive a S$20 (US$16) Singapore Changi Airport shopping voucher per visitor. Other rewards include a guided tour to the Singapore Turf Club Parade Ring and a trackside marquee dinner, a New York Street Party dinner at Universal Studios Singapore, a specially chartered zoo tram expedition at the Night Safari, reserved seating at Jurong Bird Park’s new High Flyer show, and premium seating for Sentosa’s Songs of the Sea show. STB welcomes applications from now until July 31, 2014. STB executive director for South Asia,


Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Events

Adventure tourism sees robust growth The global adventure travel market has grown at 65 per cent annually since 2009 and is estimated to have been worth US$263 billion last year, excluding airfare, reported a new study. The consumer report 2013 Adventure Tourism Market Study, produced by The George Washington University conducted in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), studied the three key outbound regions of Europe, North America and South America, which account for almost 70 per cent of overall international departures. According to the study, the exponential growth in adventure tourism over the years reflects the surge in international tourism and can also be attributed to the increase in the percentage of European and South American travellers classified as adventure travellers. An increase in average spend by adventure travellers globally – from US$593 per 22

trip in 2009 to US$947 in 2012 – and the emergence of new source markets also boosted the adventure tourism market. The report also highlighted the following trends:

trip, compared to 31 per cent of nonadventure travellers Almost 54 per cent of travellers plan to take up an adventure activity on their next trip; a rise from the present 42 per cent

45 per cent of adventure travellers intend to use a tour operator on their next The average length of a soft adventure trip was 10 days in 2012, up from eight in 2009 73 per cent of adventure travellers plan to do a new adventure activity on their next trip, while 22 per cent will participate in the same activity ATTA is calling for more travel consultants who deal with adventure travel products to sign up as association members. Thailand is also seeking to tap the growing segment, having promoted itself as an adventure travel destination at this year ’s Thailand Travel Mart Plus

Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views


Tourism Malaysia will cease operations at its Phuket office on September 1 after 13 years in the Thai destination. Tourism Malaysia deputy director general, Chong Yoke Har, said promotional activities for the whole of Thailand would be consolidated at the NTO’s Bangkok office instead.

“A series of programmes and strategies will be implemented in stages to draw more Thais to Malaysia next year, in line with Visit Malaysia Year 2014.” Tourism Malaysia has set its arrivals targets for Thailand at 1.6 million in 2013 and 1.7 million in 2014, up from the 1.3 million Thais welcomed last year.

She elaborated: “Besides traditional marketing efforts through print and broadcast media, we will also use more social media tools and online technologies to touch base with the trade and consumers, just like what other NTOs are doing.


Tourism Asia | August 2013

News & Views

Japan inbound weathers Fukushima leaks Despite recent reports of further radioactive leakages at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima nuclear plant, Malaysian travel consultants spoken to have recorded no cancellations or postponements in year-end travel bookings to Japan.

Cooper Huang, CEO, Malaysian Harmony Tours & Travel, said: “The (affected area) is far from popular tourist spots such as Hokkaido and Osaka.” Instead he noted: “We’re getting new bookings for tour packages to these destinations, and also more enquiries from the Muslim segment for our autumn and winter tour packages to Japan.” Huang also expected that AirAsia X’s conversion of its four-times-weekly Kuala Lumpur-Osaka flights to a daily service (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 23, 2013) would further stimulate the FIT segment, as the company would “benefit from selling ground packages to them”. At the same time, Apple Vacations & Conventions’ group managing director, Desmond Lee, reported that the company had not received any enquiries from customers regarding safety issues. Japan continues to be a hot-selling destination for high-income groups looking for a leisure destination as well as for the incentives market due to the visa waiver in that came into effect in July, he said. To capitalise on growing demand for Japan tours, the company has organised six charters to Hokkaido between December 4 and 29 to coincide with the year-end school holiday period. Kenji Goto, representative director of Hotel Okura, said: “Our group is on target to see at least a 10 per cent year-to-date increase in revenue versus the same time last year. Higher occupancies (rather than higher room rates) are definitely a factor as we have seen more overseas visitors (this year).” The group, whose stable of brands comprise the four- to five-star Okura Hotels & Resorts and Nikko Hotels International and the three- to four-star Hotel JAL City, has posted strong occupancies of between 75 and 97 per cent at its Tokyo properties.


Tourism Asia | August 2013

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