VOL 42, ISSUE 34, 7 - 13 October 2019
NEWS FOR SOUTHEAST’S ASIA TRAVEL PLANNERS
Daily NEWS UPDATES at www.ttrweekly.com
MEKONG Startups finalists compete for top spot.
DESTINATION Palawan named on top holiday islands list.
YOUR STORIES Centara moves into Japan hotel market.
End of the whale shows TripAdvisor updates its animal welfare policy with a commitment to end whale and dolphin captivity. TRIPADVISOR will no longer sell tickets for attractions that continue to contribute to the captivity of future generations of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), according to a statement released on Wednesday. The company statement confirmed that commercial facilities that either breeds or imports cetaceans for public display will be banned from sale on TripAdvisor and Viator. TripAdvisor all vouched that it would not generate revenue from the attractions either. Products currently on sale and found to breach the new rules will be removed over the next few months, with the policy in full force by the end of 2019. However, the new policy will not apply to seaside sanctuaries that provide care to cetaceans already in captivity. The decision follows an extensive consultation process with experts, including marine biologists, zoologists and conservationists, and considered the scientific evidence and arguments presented from all sides. It continues TripAdvisor’s commitment to improving the welfare of animals globally, particularly animals in tourism. “The extensive evidence presented to us by the experts was compelling. Whales and dolphins do not thrive in limited captive environments, and we hope to see a future where they live as they should – free and in the wild,” commented TripAdvisor president experiences and rentals Dermot Halpin. “We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity
should be the last, and we look forward to seeing this position adopted more widely throughout the travel industry.” Conservation groups and animal welfare experts welcomed the move as
the latest extension of TripAdvisor’s industry-leading animal welfare policy, which first launched in 2016. The policy already commits TripAdvisor and its subsidiary brand
an important step forward. TripAdvisor’s policy extension also takes into account that while it is possible to prevent future generations of cetaceans from a life of captivity, for those already in captivity, the situation is different. For most of the current population of cetaceans, release into the wild is not a realistic option. Therefore, the policy includes several stipulations aimed at protecting the needs, safety and health of cetaceans currently in captivity, too. “Our aim is not only to prevent future generations of whales and dolphins from being raised in captivity but also to encourage the industry to move towards alternative models, like seaside sanctuaries, that will better provide for the needs of the current captive population,” added Halpin. Today’s announcement represents
Viator to no longer sell tickets to experiences where travellers come into physical contact with captive wild animals, such as elephant ride and tiger petting experiences. It was further enhanced in 2018, at which point TripAdvisor also banned demeaning animal shows and performances from the sale. A seaside sanctuary environment is defined as a natural body of coastal water, such as a bay or a cove, that houses cetaceans in as close to a natural environment as possible while providing protection and oversight from qualified husbandry and veterinary staff. Seaside sanctuaries must adhere to a strict nobreeding policy, must not train their animals to perform in any shows for public display, and must prohibit all forms of physical interaction between guests and the animals
EDITOR’S POST Who cares when ASEAN forests burn? Smog made the headlines last week as residents in Bangkok donned face masks to protect themselves against what newspapers called toxic haze, mostly self-inflicted by a city consumed by dust and vehicle emissions. Just weeks earlier, the F1 Grand Prix in Singapore faced the possibility of a last-minute cancellation of the iconic race and the hugely popular concerts. Smog seriously reduced visibility in the otherwise squeaky clean Singapore. Originating in Indonesia, the smog was caused by greedy palm oil plantation owners who deliberately torched forests and peatland. Smog annually curses North Thailand, Myanmar and Laos damaging health, the economy and tourism. Over the years, attempts to end forest fires has been a miserable failure on the part of governments. But if you take a closer look at air quality index figures around the region, there are few places in Asia that can guarantee clean air consistently year-round Even in Hong Kong where 400 rounds of rubber bullets and more than 1,000 canisters of tear gas were fired at demonstrators last week, one publication bemoaned the health crisis caused by air pollution. We have poisoned our planet, and the voice of reason and the call for change are coming from young people rather than government leaders Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old Swedish student, leads a global ‘Friday for Future’ campaign that started just a year ago with a solo strike at the gates of the Swedish Parliament. On 23 September this year, she berated
world leaders at the UN Climate Summit in New York saying her generation would not forgive them for their failure to act. Do we have young voices in the global travel industry in Southeast Asia fearlessly committed to saving the planet and ending the pollution caused by tourism? I thought I would find out, with emails sent to associations asking them if they would lead a public campaign to end the smog and forest fires in ASEAN. Most of them didn’t bother to answer. A couple of associations did reply. One famous association that relies on governments in ASEAN for a solid portion of its annual revenue said it was engaged in a dialogue with governments through private conversations. However, ASEANTA a travel association that in recent years lacked direction responded to my email pointing to a statement released 27 September that called on ASEAN governments to urgently tackle the region-wide smog crisis. ASEANTA had nailed its colours to the mast. The statement read: ” ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) has expressed its extreme concern over the effects of haze and its long-term implications to regional tourism if much stricter measures are not taken to ensure this does not recur.” Signed by ASEANTA President Mingkwan Metmowlee the statement continued: “We express our extreme concern over the continuous trans-boundary haze situation caused by open burning in Sumatera and Kalimantan. This problem has become a recurring event despite an ASEAN agreement to prevent trans-boundary haze signed in 2002. “We encourage the National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) of ASEAN member states to take joint proactive action to minimise the negative consequences, for the tourism image of Southeast Asia…We condemn such irresponsible parties’ (for their) acts of open burning and urge the authorities concerned to take bolder measures to fight such reckless and blatant disregard for the law.” Don Ross, editor
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TTR WEE KLY
7 - 13 OCTOBER 2019
TCEB cash for green event planners TCEB will give meeting organisers THB200,000 grant if they guarantee their event meets sustainable standards. THE Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau is sugar-coating a meeting offer with a THB200,000 cash grant. Named a “sustainable’ financial subsidy,” it will kick-in for meetings and incentive groups of at least 50 international delegates, who stay in the country for at least three nights. They also have to meet at least two of TCEB’s criteria for sustainable event practices to be eligible for the subsidy. TCEB places emphasis on seven ongoing sustainable practices at the heart of the ‘Meet Sustainable’ campaign. Organisers have to satisfy TCEB that they can adopt at least two practices. In the pre-event stage, planners or organisers must publicise the event through digital media or an online platform. It is not clear if it requires full digital communications throughout the event and an absence of printed conference brochures, manuals and conference newspapers. During the event, organisers must serve drinking water in a water flash and/ or jug or large glass bottles, provide a reusable tumbler to participants. Plastic straws are prohibited.
The organiser must donate leftover food to non-profit organisations. Venues must be certified for environmental and energy management. Materials for venue decorations and equipment must be reused or repurposed. There must be no use of fresh flowers or foam materials. Souvenirs must be produced by a local community or made from environmental-friendly materials. The event must use an electronic registration system and reusable badges. Post-event, organisers must promote best practices, success and benefits from organising sustainable events to
associated or related persons and public. The criteria fail to identify whether the use of printed-paper brochures, programmes or conference dailies are prohibited. It also fails to identify if non-recyclable plastic items other than plastic bottles are banned during the event, such as plastic bags, wrappers, containers, coffee and teacups. TCEB has in the past supported major travel trade shows that generate tons of paper waste and publish trade dailies that generates considerable waste with print runs in the thousands for potential audiences in the hundreds.
Sarawak wins PATA award THE video ‘Why Limit Yourself ’ by Sarawak Tourism Board won the PATA Gold Awards 2019 in marketing media travel video category. The Pacific Asia Travel Association Gold Awards were presented during the PATA Travel Mart held in Kazakhstan mid-September. The video focused on Sarawak’s flora and fauna, exotic cuisines as well as stories from various tribes in the East Malaysian state and their diverse cultures. This year’s PATA Awards attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations as well as individuals worldwide competing in four principal categories: Marketing, Education and Training, Environment as well as Heritage and Culture. The PATA Gold Awards dinner attended by 800 travel executives was
Angelina Bateman, Director of Events and Corporate Relations, Sarawak Tourism Board, receives the PATA award from Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, PATA Secretary/Treasurer (left) and Dr Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, PATA.
an integral part of the PATA Travel Mart, held from 18 to 20 September at Kome Exhibition Centre in Kazakhstan. This year’s award recognises the achievements of 27 separate
organisations and individuals. The award-winning video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=kXR3gcSPILc
7 - 13 OCTOBER 2019
Now the age of Asia in passport power Singapore and Japan continue as passport power leaders illustrating how Asia is now a dominant force in travel. ASIA’S dominance appears to be unfaltering in the passport power stakes as Singapore and Japan share the top spots. Entering into the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore continue to retain a firm hold on first place on the Henley Passport Index, each with a visafree/visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of a maximum 227. For most of the index’s 14-year history – which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association – the top spot has been held by a European country or by the US. However, this shifted dramatically in 2018, with Asian countries now firmly established as world leaders when it comes to both global economic activity and global mobility. With visa-free/visa-on-arrival scores of 188, Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in second place, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are in third place, with a score of 187. The UK and the US remain in joint sixth place with access to 184 destinations visa-free – the lowest position they have held since 2010 and a significant drop from their 1st-place ranking in 2014. Afghanistan sits at the bottom of the ranking, with access to just 25 countries without a prior visa. Using historic data from the Henley Passport Index and the Index of Economic Freedom, political science researchers Ugur Altundal and Omer Zarpli of Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively, found that “countries that have higher visa scores also rank higher in economic freedom, especially in investment, financial, and business freedom.” While Brexit is – in theory, at least – only weeks away, the focus is firmly on how it will affect migration policy to and from the UK. The Migration Observatory at Oxford University’s Madeleine Sumption notes, “Unlike trade policy, the future of immigration policy in the UK does not depend fundamentally on whether or not the UK leaves the EU with a deal.
“In either scenario, there will be a ‘transitional period’ until at least December 2020, in which free movement of EU citizens to the UK will continue more or less as it operates today.
“However, after that a long-term settlement is likely to be much more difficult for EU citizens. And UK citizens who want to move to EU countries after Brexit will also face more restrictive immigration regimes.”
NokScoot boosts triple 7 fleet NOKSCOOT, a joint venture between Thailand’s Nok Air and Singapore’s Scoot, took delivery of its sixth and seventh Boeing 777-200. The fleet expansion of the Bangkokbased long-to-medium-haul low-cost carrier will enable the airline to expand services in Asia. The airline plans to add more destinations in China, India and Japan three countries that generate strong leisure travel traffic to Thailand. Japan is also a popular destination for Thai visitors after visa-free travel concession was introduced. “This sixth and seventh B777-200 will help us further expand our network and elevate Thailand’s aviation industry and image. We are moving forward with our plan to embark on new services and add more flights to China, India, Japan as well as South Korea in the near future,” Scoot’s CEO Yodchai Sudhidhanakul.
The two new B777-200 each have seats for up to 415 passengers, with 24 seats in ScootPlus class and 391 in economy class. Currently, NokScoot operates regular flights to Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang and Tianjin in China, Narita and Osaka in Japan, New Delhi in India and Taipei with the newest destination, Sapporo, due to join the network on 27 October.
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7 - 13 OCTOBER 2019
2019 Mekong MIST finalists vie for prizes Mekong travel and tourism innovators took centre stage, 9 October, to showcase sustainable tourism technologies. THE Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office announced the names of the 10 startup firms that were selected to compete in the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) competition 9 October. The short-listed finalists stood to gain an opportunity to present their project to experts and gain access to potential funds for expansion. This year, MIST was held in Bangkok alongside a new event the Travel Startups Asia Forum. MIST finalists represent two categories: Travel tech ventures and social impact enterprises. Now in its third year with hundreds of alumni, MIST is jointly managed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and Mekong Business Initiative (MBI). MBI and MIST are supported by the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank. This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Pacific Asia Travel Association are also supporting the programme. MIST was set up to help travel startups the Greater Mekong Subregion to gain a foothold and thrive in the globally competitive tourism industry. MBI and ADB Ventures head, Dominic Mellor said: “As one of the first travel startup programmes created by a regional tourism board, MIST has attracted nearly 500 applications and generated millions of social shares in the
first three years. It has elevated the status and prestige of tourism entrepreneurship across the region.” The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office executive director Jens Thraenhart added: “Recognising both travel tech ventures and social impact enterprises, MIST is well-positioned to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, encourage inclusive and responsible tourism development, and promote gender equity in the Mekong Region.” On 8 October, MIST finalists visited the Pacific Asia Travel Association headquarters to network with tourism industry leaders, potential investors, and mentors. On 9 October, the MIST 2019 final pitch competition were held at the creative space Quaint Brasserie Bangkok as part of the Travel Startups Asia Forum. After the morning MIST pitches, the
Travel Startups Asia Forum featured more than 25 speakers. The opening keynote was presented by Senator Weerasak Kowsurat who was Thailand’s previous minster of tourism and sports. The closing keynote was presented by Nok Airlines founder and a former CEO Patee Sarasin who heads his own startup travel firm. After the announcement of the 2019 MIST Winner, all delegates were invited to celebrate and network at a Thai Barbecue Party hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. For delegates arriving in Bangkok 8 October, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Travel Massive hosted an informal industry networking happy hour at Riedel Wine Bar, Gayson Village, 2nd Floor, 1730 to 2030. Visit: www.mist.asia
MAI makes Seoul its 10th destination MYANMAR Airways International has confirmed it will introduce a new nonstop service from its Yangon base to Seoul in South Korea this December. The airline, which has strong links with travel agents across Asia is confident that the new service will gain support from South Korea’s outbound travel firms. Timetable information from Airlineroute indicates the new service will launch 3 December using a 144-seat Airbus A319. The four-weekly flights will depart Yangon at 1645 on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Flights will arrive in Seoul Incheon
at 0050 on the following morning. The return flight will depart Seoul 0150 and arrive in 0500 The airline currently flies to Bangkok, Singapore, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Hefei, Fuzhou and Kolkata with a fleet of three A319 aircraft. The flight to Seoul Incheon will be its 10th destination. MAI’s commercial partner, Air KBZ, provides a domestic route network that connects with MAI flights. It allows foreign tour operators to bundle fares on MAI through the Yangon gateway to all popular tourist destinations in the country.
According to a report in Myanmar Times, MAI is part of a group that provides just 7% of all international airline seats to Myanmar, but it intends to increase that market mix share by the end of the year. Myanmar confirmed 16 August that it would extend its visa-free policy for Japanese and Korean visitors allowing them to visa-free travel Myanmar for another year starting 1 October. Myanmar welcomed 1.84 million visitors in the first five months of 2019 based on data released by the tourism ministry. It should close the year with around 3.55 million visitors based on growth in Asia.
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7 - 13 OCTOBER 2019
Palawan in CNN’s top 10 island list CNN names the most beautiful islands with Palawan and Komodo joining the top 10 list. CNN has recognised Palawan as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world a designation that prompted a big thank you from the Philippines Department of Tourism. Palawan gained the ninth slot, and with sixth-placed Komodo Island in Indonesia they were the only two islands in Asia to earn a mention
According to a Philippines New Agency, DOT welcomed the recognition of Palawan for its pristine beaches and clear water.
“Our rehabilitation efforts to preserve the beauty of Palawan have not gone unnoticed, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said late last week. In the CNN citation, Palawan is described as “protected within the UNESCO-listed Palawan Biosphere Reserve, the island is a gorgeous haven of pale sand and clear water. “Rugged cliffs and mangroves are scenic foils for Palawan’s many secret beaches, from the coves of El Nido to this exclusive paradise getaway.
THAI wins excellence awards THAI Airways International won three Suvarnabhumi Service Excellence Awards from the Airports of Thailand. The SSE Awards 2019 were presented to the airline’s ground customer services department managing director Manusnunt Sitthijirasin. She received the awards from the Airports of Thailand General Manager Suvarnabhumi Airport, Suthirawat Suwanawat. In addition, THAI’s ground service staff under the Customer Airlines Passenger Services Delivery Department was awarded the Staff Service Excellence Award Silver Medal 2019. THAI’s Special Services Department staff also received the Staff Service Model Awards Bronze Medal 2019.
“But the island’s most remarkable hiding place might be in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where an underground river slips through a maze of limestone caverns.” Palawan, which was also featured in the popular Spanish series Money Heist for its postcard-ready landscape, is home to impressive limestone cave systems. The coastal province of Palawan is home to a variety of tourist attractions in Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Coron, and the emerging San Vicente, a tourism enterprise zone. CNN’s list of top island destinations worldwide: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
The Suvarnabhumi Service Excellence Awards (SSE) are presented by Suvarnabhumi Airport to recognise the efforts of employees and units that provide exceptional passenger services at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Milos, Greece; Bartolomé, Ecuador; Fregate, Seychelles; St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles; Jura, Scotland; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Senja Island, Norway; Mo’orea French Polynesia; Palawan, the Philippines; Kaua’i, USA.
Last July, Palawan, Cebu and Boracay were included in the 2019 Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. At the T+L list, Palawan ranked second on the 15 Best Islands in the World list.
10 TRADE TALK
7 - 13 OCTOBER 2019
Thomas Cook Thailand stands at crossroads No Thomas Cook travellers in Thailand need a rescue, as the Thai joint venture travel firm keeps the shop open. WHILE the shutters lowered on high street travel shops in the UK and Germany, one tiny joint venture Thomas Cook in Thailand motors on at least for now. Thomas Cook in Destination (Thailand) Ltd, a joint venture between Thomas Cook Group and Bangkok-based Asian Trails, reported 937 Thomas Cook clients were travelling in the country last week and their Thailand travels were not uninterrupted. Over the weekend the number of Thomas Cook clients travelling in Thailand dropped to just 432 as clients returned home on completing their holiday stays. TTR Weekly understands from Thomas Cook comments that there was “no repatriation from Thailand. No customers needed rescue as there were no Thomas Cook flights to Thailand; all customers were booked on scheduled flights.” Based on Thomas Cook communications, TTR Weekly understands “customers are able to spend their holiday as planned in Thailand and will leave as scheduled on their departure flights. Thomas Cook Thailand will provide transfers to airports as the Thailand joint venture is still operating. All costs for hotels/suppliers are covered by Zurich Insurance even if the stay extends beyond the previous 8 October cut-off date stated in a Zurich Insurance document.” More than 600,000 travellers required repatriation from overseas destinations when parent company Thomas Cook, headquartered in Peterborough in the UK, declared insolvency 23 September. Asian Trails Chairman, Luzi Matzig in a telephone interview with TTR Weekly reiterated: “Thomas Cook clients from the UK and Europe are being looked after and continue their trips according to their bookings. All of them are due to return home within two weeks.” But for the 36 staff employed by Thomas Cook in Destination (Thailand) Ltd the future is less assuring. Matzig confirmed their jobs are safe
for now, but the long-term future of the sole Thomas Cook company in Southeast Asia remains in the balance. “The situation will be clarified by mid-October, but as it stands now jobs are safe, and salaries have been paid,” he reported. The joint venture firm founded in April 2018 to handle all Thomas Cook
Bucher Reisen. Condor a charter airline serving Thomas Cook brands in Germany survives following the injection of a EUR380 million loan from the federal government. Thomas Cook Germany represented around 40% of the business in Thailand with another 45% coming from Thomas
business in Thailand became fully operational last October with offices in Bangkok and Phuket. Thomas Cook Group and Asian Trails, a destination management company registered in Thailand with an Asia-wide network, each own a 49% share in the Thailand company with an unnamed Thai individual holding the remaining 2%. It handled around 100,000 travellers booked by Thomas Cook companies in the UK and Europe on holidays in Thailand since it became fully operational in November 2018. “Funds are available to run the company (TCiDM Thailand),” explained Matzig. But despite the assurances, the future of the Thailand-registered Thomas Cook joint venture will depend largely on talks to reboot Thomas Cook Germany, which declared insolvency last Wednesday. It hopes to secure a loan from the Hessen government in Germany to rescue popular travel brands Neckermann Reisen, Oeger Tours and
Cook Nordic, which has so far remained fully operational although it is looking for a new owner. “The Thomas Cook UK share of package holiday travel to Thailand is only 4%,” according to Matzig who confirmed continental Europe (except Nordic and Germany) supplied another 11% of the business. “We have to wait to see what happens in Germany. My prediction is Neckermann will survive and be back in business by November or December this year. “Thomas Cook Nordic (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) will continue to operate as normal. “For Thailand, the operators of Thomas Cook Germany plus Thomas Cook Nordic represent around 85% of our total Thomas Cook production so definitely manageable.” The future of smaller Thomas Cook operations in Europe remains unclear. Thomas Cook Austria filed for insolvency late last week as did Thomas Cook Poland both hoping to reopen if they can
12 YOUR STORIES
7 - 13 OCTOBER 2019
Thomas Cook in Thailand stands at crossroads secure new funding. Thomas Cook Holland has been granted protection from creditors. Thomas Cook’s Belgium tour operator declared insolvency last Thursday. Thomas Cook France also declared insolvency last Thursday but has applied for judicial recovery procedures with an aim to finding a buyer. It believes it can resolve the issue by 31 October to resume bookings.
While not a big player in Thailand, the French company supplied “round Thailand tour” bookings that focused mainly on North Thailand in contrast with the almost exclusively beach bookings for South Thailand generated by Thomas Cook Nordic. Take Thomas Cook Nordic and Thomas Cook Germany out of the Thai joint venture’s business mix and the remainder of the business from Europe
and the UK is not more than 15%. Thomas Cook Nordic’s popular travel brands are Ving, Spies, Tjareborg and Globetrotter, while Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia continues to fly. As Thailand heads for the high season that starts in earnest this November, bookings from Nordic lands will keep ‘Thomas Cook in Destination Thailand’ ticking over, but for long-term success, eyes are on rescue attempts in Germany.
Centara Grand Hotel Osaka, a fivestar property with 515 keys, will open in mid-2023 in a new 34-storey tower.
city’s proximity to Kyoto, Kobe and Nara, Osaka is expected to see a further boost in tourism when the city hosts the World Expo in 2025. “Extending the Centara footprint to Japan has been a longterm strategic objective for the company, and this is a major milestone for the Centara brand as we have successfully added the 14th country to our portfolio,” said Centara’s CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat. “This an exciting opportunity to partner with Taisei and Kanden Realty & Development, whose outstanding track records have earned leading positions in construction and property development. We are looking forward to making Centara’s debut and ongoing development in other Japanese cities a great success.” The newly built hotel will occupy a stunning new 34-storey tower overlooking Namba Parks, with 360-degree views of the city. The top floors will include a lounge along with customisable space for meetings and events, plus a rooftop restaurant sky bar providing panoramic views in every direction. Facilities will include award-winning Spa Cenvaree, a fully-equipped fitness centre, a diverse selection of restaurants and banquet facilities. And the hotel’s spacious lobby will welcome guests with touches of Thai and Japanese style and ambience. “This project is in Namba, an important and bustling district of Osaka and a place of international exchange.
It is directly connected to Kansai International airport, making it one of Japan’s major gateway cities to the world” said Senior Managing Executive Officer, Taisei Corporation, Katsuyuki Kanai. “It is really a significant milestone both to Japan and to Taisei that Centara, representing Thailand in tourism and hospitality, has embarked on this venture in Namba, the perfect location in Japan for the development of an upper-upscale hotel.” The addition of its first property in Japan is further proof of Centara’s expansion strategy, which calls for doubling the number of properties under its management by 2022. “As a major Property Development Company based in Osaka, we are honoured to play an important role in this joint investment project to develop Centara Grand Hotel Osaka with such a significant and established Thai partner, Centara Hotels & Resorts, and with Taisei Corporation, who has a long and proven record of success,” stated Managing Executive Officer, Kanden Realty & Development, Munetaka Isoda.
Centara signs first Japanese property CENTARA Hotels & Resorts, together with Taisei Corporation and Kanden Realty & Development, announced a landmark agreement to bring the Centara brand to Japan. The three companies signed an Investor Agreement for Centara Grand Hotel Osaka, an upper upscale property with 515 keys that will occupy a 34-storey tower on a prime site in Osaka’s Namba district, the centre of leisure tourism for the city and the wider Kansai region. Centara’s first property in Japan is scheduled to open in mid-2023.
The investment partnership between Centara Hotels & Resorts, Taisei Corporation and Kanden Realty & Development marks Centara’s entry into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Osaka is Japan’s third-largest city, with a population of 2.7 million. Additionally, it is one of the leading Japanese destinations for international visitors, second only to Tokyo, and is considered the cultural heart of the nation. Along with popular attractions such as Universal Studios Japan and the