Nong Khai Skywalk offers a view of Thai-Laos borders of the Mekhong River

The Nong Khai Skywalk at Wat Pha Tak Suea has become a popular tourist destination, where visitors can see the Thai and Lao sides of the Mekong River and experience cool temperatures of early winter.

The destination has grown in popularity, as the province approaches its tourism high season. For public safety and crowd management purposes, Wat Pha Tak Suea has allowed only 20 people to be on the skywalk at any one time.

The skywalk is part of the province’s tourism development program of turning Nong Khai’s Pha Tak Suea area into a tourist destination, connecting Nong Khai with the provinces of Loei and Bueng Kan. The project cost 17 million baht to construct a U-shaped skywalk that extends out from the cliff. The project has been open to the public since April 6th this year.

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Reporter : Jettana Pantana Rewriter : Benjamin Rujopakarn National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Domestic tourism grows 12% in Q3

The tourism industry expanded by 12% in the 3rd quarter as Thailand remains a hotspot for Chinese tourists.

Minister for Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said today the country’s tourism revenue in the 3rd quarter of 2016 totaled 620 billion baht, representing a 12.22 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Out of total tourism income, 410.7 billion baht came from foreign visitors. The number accounted for an increase of 14.77% year on year.

During the period, 2.42 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand, generating 123.6 billion baht.

In the meantime, the number of domestic tourists grew 5.55% as they generated 216.2 billion baht in total.

The minister remains optimistic about the rest of 2016, saying tourism growth in the 4th quarter during which Thailand is expected to see nearly 610,000 tourists will drive this year’s tourism revenue to 2.4 trillion baht.

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Reporter : Thammarat Thadaphrom Rewriter : Rodney McNeil National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Govt preparing guidelines for tourists when paying respect to His Majesty the late King

The government is preparing for tourists a booklet on ceremonial guidelines when paying respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, while this year’s Loi Krathong festival will take place without celebratory activities.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn spoke after his meeting with the board on national tourism policy, saying that the board has agreed that all celebratory activities and concerts will be postponed for the time being, while businesses are allowed to continue operations in a toned down manner.

He also revealed that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports will prepare a booklet to inform tourists of ceremonial guidelines when paying respect to to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Authorities will be stationed along the Grand Palace to provide service to foreigners.

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Correspondent : Jettana Pantana
Rewriter : Benjamin Rujopakarn
National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://nwnt.prd.go.th
TAT offers the public opportunities to pay their respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej

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The Bureau of the Royal Household has announced that during the 100 days of the Royal Funeral Rites, members of the general public are allowed to pay their respects and write messages of condolence on the passing of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, at the Grand Palace as follows:

• Every day 08.30-16.00 Hrs.: Sala Sahathai Samakom Pavilion. People may pay their respects to His Majesty the late King’s royal remains at Dusit Maha Prasat Hall.

• 28th October 2016, 13.00-16.00 Hrs. & 29th October onwards, between 09.00-16.00 Hrs.

To assist members of the public who need to travel to pay their respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in collaboration with the public and private tourism sector is providing transportation and making special arrangements, which began on 17th October, 2016, as follows:

1. For members of the public wishing to travel to the Sala Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion at the Grand Palace, in the Sanam Luang area, the Thai Transportation Operators Association, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Royal Thai Police are providing free bus services from 17-24 October, 2016, at 08:30 – 15.00 Hrs. The hourly bus services cover four routes, starting from the National Stadium, Victory Monument, Wongwian Yai BTS Station, and the Bangkok Bus Terminal in Talingchan, and going to Sanam Luang.

2. Members of the public in the Ramkhamhaeng area and within the vicinity of the Sports Authority of Thailand who are unable to visit the Sanam Luang area, will be able to pay their respects and write messages of condolence in front of the late monarch’s portrait at the Sports Authority of Thailand’s Commemorating His Majesty’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary Building. In addition, the national broadcast of the 100-day prayers during the Royal Funeral Rites is being made available on two large LED screens in front of the Anniversary Building. These broadcasts began on Monday, 17th October, at 09.00 hrs. and will continue during the period of mourning.

3. For members of the public in the city center, including Siam Square, MBK Complex and within the vicinity of the National Stadium who are unable to visit Sanam Luang, the Department of Physical Education, Ministry of Tourism and Sports has prepared a book of condolence for the general public in which to pay their respects and write messages of condolence in front of the late monarch’s portrait at the National Stadium. In addition, the national broadcast of the 100-day prayers during the Royal Funeral Rites will be made available at the Nimibutr Building. Members of the public are advised to travel to the National Stadium by the BTS Skytrain, getting off at the National Stadium Station.

In addition, the number of trains coming to Bangkok has been increased to 150 from 132. The State Railway of Thailand has been adding extra carriages and extra trains for free travel to Bangkok since Friday, 14th October, 2016. An additional 64 carriages a day are now available on trains operating between Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. For more information, please contact the State Railway of Thailand Call Center at 1690.

During the period of national mourning, TAT would like to advise that some festivals and activities in the kingdom may be cancelled or postponed. Other events will go ahead as planned, but may be more subdued than usual as a mark of respect. We would like to recommend that any visitors with travel or tourism plans reconfirm with agents and check local media regularly as well as follow the advice of the local authorities in announcements and updates. Also, please check directly with the respective organizers on the status of individual events.

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Reporter : Tarin Angskul Rewriter : Rodney McNeil National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Bangkok Airways announces B890 flights for people to pay their last respects to the late king

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Bangkok Airways is the first airline to announce action to help people who want to pay their last respects to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The airline currently offers special B890 return flights between Bangkok and dozens of destinations around Thailand and the region.
Destinations in Thailand include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Trad, Samui, Phuket and Krabi. International flights include Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Myanmar’s Mandalay, Naypyidaw and Yangon, Lao’s Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Bangladesh’s Dhaka, India’s Mumbai, Vietnam’s Danang and the Maldives.
Ticket prices affect inbound flights only, and do not include taxes. You can book until Nov 26 for travel dates through till Dec 2.
source: http://bk.asia-city.com/travel/news/bangkok-airways-announces-b890-flights-pay-respect-king?platform=hootsuite
Various free transport routes being offered for mourners

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Transport Company Ltd has organized free shuttle buses for citizens traveling to pay their respects to the late His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Routes to the ceremony include from Victory Monument to Sanam Luang from 6AM to 4PM daily, from Phya Thai intersection and from Rajavithi Road. Citizens are encouraged to find details on the service by calling the 24 hour hotline 1197.

Similarly, the Royal Thai Army Command Headquarters has organized shuttles from Don Muang to Sanam Luang from 8AM to 4PM daily. One of the shuttles will run along Vipavadee Road towards Victory Monument while the other will run along Prachachuen Road to Rama 5. Information on these shuttles can be found by calling 025750839 and 025721379.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in collaboration with private agencies is operating free shuttles on 4 routes; Supachalasai Football Stadium, Victory Monument, Wong Wiang Yai BTS Station and the Taling Chan Bus Terminal, all to Sanam Luang from today to October 24 from 8AM to 3PM.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports announces free bus services to assist general public’s travels during HM’s funeral

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports, in collaboration with the private and public sectors, has announced four shuttle bus service routes to service the general public’s travels, to pay their respects to His Majesty the King during 17-24 October.

Minister of Tourism and Sports Mrs. Korbkarn Wattanawarankul has announced free bus services to aid the public’s travels during 17-24 October.

The Thai Transportation Operators Association, The Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Royal Thai Police will be overseeing the free bus services.

All four routes, starting from the National Stadium, Victory Monument (Rajavithi Hospital), Wongwian Yai BTS Station, and the Bangkok Bus Terminal in Talingchan, will allow passengers to disembark at Sanam Luang.

Bus services during 17-24 October will be operating during 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with new buses servicing the public every hour.

Authorities have prepared the area in front of the National Stadium to broadcast His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s funeral procession for the general public residing in the central parts of Bangkok or those who cannot travel to pay their respects at the Grand Palace.

For convenience, the general can use the BTS train services and disembark at the Nation Stadium BTS station.

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Reporter : Nattakorn Ploddee Rewriter : Nattakorn Ploddee National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Recommendations regarding Mourning Period for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thailand is now in an official period of mourning following the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In this regard, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like all visitors to Thailand to continue with their travel plans as normal. Furthermore, kindly be advised of the following:

• Many Thai people will be wearing black or white clothing as a sign of mourning. This is not required of visitors but if possible, they should wear sombre and respectful clothing when in public.


• Visitors should refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour.


• Tourist attractions will be open as usual with the exception of Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace, as they will be the venue of the Royal Funeral Rites.


• The Government has asked for the cooperation from the entertainment venues; such as, bars and nightclubs to consider the opening of their business operations during this time. The decision will be made by the individual owners.


• Most of the traditional and cultural events will be taking place as usual, although the celebrations may be changed for appropriateness as a mark of respect, or the events may be dedicated to the memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.


• All transport, banks, hospitals and other public services will be operating as usual.


• The related authorities have stepped up safety and security measures for all Thais and visitors to facilitate their travelling around the country.


• For any enquiries, please contact our TAT domestic offices or Tel.: 1672.


TAT would like to thank all visitors for their understanding and supporting Thailand during this period of time.

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Tourism Authority of Thailand
14 October 2016 at 16.00 hrs.

TravPax 5 fuels new business model

TravPax customers were given a peep preview of the company’s newest product, TravPax Project 5, that is due to launch across the region in mid-2017.

More than 80 of the company’s customers and suppliers attended the TravPax Academy 6 event, in Pattaya over the weekend when TravPax CEO Laurent Maytal officially announced the roll out the new system.

 

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TravPax offers travel companies a complete booking and dynamic travel packaging platform that links them to the inventory of more than 60 global travel suppliers.

Established six years ago the company has grown to become the largest travel IT company in Southeast Asia based on IT staff on its payroll.

Its operational base is in Bangkok where a team of developers have just competed the Beta edition of TravPax 5.

“We have 73 IT staff who have been working on TravPax 5, which will transform our business model from that of a travel IT company to that of a land content GDS,” he told guests attending the event.

Built from scratch  and including data collection and feedback from agents, TravPax 5 has a development bill in the region of USD2 million.

“90% of all our profits has gone into R&D, Maytal said, TravPax 5 a new concept with an all-new mobile platform, fast, stable, state-of-the-art tech that supports DMCs and outbound travel firms and just about everyone in travel.”

The company claims a customer base of close to 80 companies that pay a monthly fee to run the in-cloud  booking system and travel packaging platform.

The list includes companies in the US, Europe, the Middle East, but the bulk of travel firms using TravPax are in Asia, where the company sees the biggest potential for growth.

They can tap an inventory of online packages and travel services offered by 60 wholesalers and suppliers as well as three major global distribution systems (Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport).

Speed and stability were the two topics the CEO hammered home in his 30-minute presentation that relied heavily on a real-time demo of TravPax 5.

It was impressively fast to watch. In less than a second the system displayed 1,200 hotel rates and availability in Paris, “faster than Agoda,” the CEO claimed. “We can process 20,000 requests in 0.8 seconds flat.”

“We have invested heavily in new cache technology that allows our customers to access the cheapest possible options for their clients in less than a second.”

Another key feature for customers is the ability to set up a network of sub-agents who then have immediate access to create their own website that taps the inventory of their principal. It extends the sales footprint of the TravPax customer allowing them to appoint and supply their sub-agents with an inventory of travel products globally.

TravPax currently offers airline, hotel, attractions, land travel packages, transfers and transport services on a single platform.

But the all-new TravPax 5 fills the product gaps delivering a full range of travel products including insurance, visas, attraction, sports and show bookings car rental, train and fleet management through GPS.

A travel company can identify when a guest has been picked up by limousine and the PNR is updated when the transfer has been completed in real-time.

As TravPax 5 rolls out in 2017, the company’s business model will evolve adding a new revenue stream based on segment booking fees.

Currently it relies entirely on monthly fees from 80 member companies, but as the company migrates from the role of an IT company to that of a land GDS, revenue from segment booking fees will increase.

The migration to distribution fees begins in the Philippines where the company has opened an office with six staff and a country manager recruited from Amadeus.

The priority is to recruit 400 small agents who will use TravPax 5 and pay USD1 per booking segment.

“Collectively small agents have huge buying power, but it is difficult to secure supplier-by-supplier agreements… with our system they have access to the inventory of 60 suppliers and three airline GDS and leading low-cost airlines.”

The Philippines is the test-bed. If the experiment works then it will be replicated in Hong Kong and other markets in Asia with a recruiting target of 3,000 travel agents by 2018.

If that sounds on the low side, TravPax’s CEO points out there are systems that say they have up to 60,000 agents, but he argues that booking data shows 60% are “sleeping agents.”

“Having a network of 3,000 active agents in Asia is huge, the potential is enormous based on segments fees.”

He noted that a single PNR could have 10 segment bookings.

TravPax taps the inventory of 60 suppliers, but day-to-day the system’s biggest clients are using a maximum of 22 suppliers.

“We are covering the world twice offer, in fact 10 suppliers would cover the travel market’s global inventory adequately.”

Commenting on challenges he identifies language.

“In China where we have an office, the system is in Chinese but the content sourced from suppliers worldwide is in English. It has to change… the content has to be translated into many different languages in Asia to tap the full potential online bookings.”

Malaysian tourists attend vegetarian festival in Hat Yai

A large number of Malaysian tourists have attended a vegetarian festival in Hat Yai district of Songkhla province.

The atmosphere on the seventh day of the vegetarian festival in Hat Yai district was lively, with a large number of Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean tourists. Chinese temples and shrines in Hat Yai are offering free vegetarian food throughout the festival.

The tourists also donated rice to the poor. The Hatyai Taobokeng Foundation will be distributing 2,000 bags of rice to those in need on Friday.

Malaysian and Singaporean tour agencies offer annual tour packages to visit Hat Yai during the vegetarian festival. This year, over 100 buses with Malaysian tourists have arrived in the commercial capital of Songkhla, and a cash flow of a hundred million baht is expected during the vegetarian festival in the province.

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Reporter : supawadee wangsri Rewriter : Benjamin Rujopakarn National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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