PHOTOS: Airbus Industrie
Japanese airline All Nippon Airways has just taken delivery of the first of three ‘sea turtle’ editions of the superjumbo A380 aircraft.
In May, the airline will add the “Flying Honu” to its fleet. The first of the new super jumbo double-decker jets is painted bright sky-blue and displaying a sea turtle design as a ‘honu’. Honu is the term used for sea turtles in Hawaii, this airplane’s destination.
The smart new A380 will serve the route from Tokyo to Honolulu. Later in the year it’ll be joined by an emerald green and orange turtle version of the planes.
The introduction of this aircraft is the first time that first class will be available on ANA’s Honolulu route, along with Business, Premium Economy and Economy.
The ANA versions of the A380 will carry 520 passengers.
With the arrival of ‘Honu’, ANA becomes the 15th airline to operate the A380, loved for not only being big, but also quiet and extra smooth.
Thai Cabinet extends waiver of Visa On Arrival fees
Thailand’s Cabinet has extended the waiver of the fees for ‘visa on arrival’ for some foreign tourists to Thailand. The waiver of the 2,000 baht VOA fee will be extended to at least October 31.
The fee had previously been waived until January 14 this year in a bid to boost tourism. It was then extended until April 30 and has now been extended again. According to the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, waiving the VOA fee had helped support the increase of foreign visitor numbers.
Between November 15, 2018 to March 31, 2019, 3.58 million foreigners visited Thailand, an increase of 83% compared to the 1.6 million visitors during the same period in the previous year.
Meanwhile, waiving the VOA fee resulted in the government losing 2.95 billion baht in revenue but the extra tourists generated an estimated 105 billion baht in tourism revenue.
The Visa On Arrival waiver is available to tourists from 21 countries and regions, including China and India.
Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists
by Thanchanok Phobut | Senior Coordinator, Thailand
CBRE, international property consultants, believe that the Thai tourism market is still as resilient as ever.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced they are expecting more than 40 million tourists to visit Thailand this year, up from the record-breaking 38.3 million last year. According to the latest figures, the first two months of 2019 showed a 2.5% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals at 7.3 million, compared to 7.1 million the previous year.
In the first two months of 2019, the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals decreased slightly by 2.2% – 2.17 million in 2018 to 2.12 million this year. Chinese tourist arrivals in February, the month in which the Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, decreased by 12.3% year-on-year.
Other key feeder markets like Malaysia, India, Korea, and Japan showed double-digit growth in the first two months of 2019, with India having the highest growth at 20.1% year-on-year. Even though the combined number of tourists from these four feeder markets was smaller than that of the Chinese market alone, this positive trend could replace any loss of Chinese tourists. The challenge remains for Thailand to win back this biggest feeder market now that the most significant holiday for Chinese people has passed.
Bangkok still attracts tourists from around the world. The number of international tourist arrivals to Bangkok in the first two months of 2019 was 4.68 million, a 3% year-on-year growth. The development of a third runway in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, approved by the government on April 17, will strengthen Bangkok’s capacity to handle larger numbers of tourists in the future.
“In the first quarter of 2019, Rosewood Bangkok, a 159 key luxury hotel next to Phloen Chit BTS station, opened its doors to the public. This was one of Bangkok’s most highly-anticipated luxury hotel openings together with Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, both of which will open later this year, underpinning renewed interest in the riverside area and capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” comments Mr. Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Markets – CBRE Hotels in Thailand.
CBRE believes that Bangkok will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world with new luxury hotel openings, improving infrastructure, and attractions that appeal to a wide range of tourists.
Finance Ministry wants to give 1,500 baht to each domestic traveller
The Finance Ministry says they are launching a new stimulus package to boost the country’s domestic tourism by giving Thais 1,500 baht each to spend when they travel to 55 provinces under the promotion campaign.
Under the campaign, Thais aged 18 and over can register for the program. The government will then deposit 1,500 baht into their accounts though the e-payment system. They can use the funds to make e-payments the shops that have joined the project.
“We are collaborating with the Tourism and Sport Ministry and Krung Thai Bank for the campaign and have set a budget of up to 15 billion baht. We will now propose the program to the deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak and the cabinet to consider as soon as possible. We aim to launch the campaign before July this year,” a source from the Finance Ministry said.
The ministry expects up to 10 million Thais to register for the program, he added.
SOURCE: The Nation
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