Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: August 29,2005

A POST-TSUNAMI UPDATE, published jointly by Visa International Asia Pacific and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), shows that areas affected by the tsunami still are struggling hard to recover their tourism business. Phuket, Thailand, particularly hard hit, has experienced a 40% reduction in arrivals and a 30% reduction in spending. PATA President and CEO Peter de Jong urged airlines to beef up capacity to the region, saying that weekly seating capacity had dropped almost 18%, and at least four carriers stopped flying there altogether. According to the study, total air arrivals into Phuket were down 42% in the first half of 2005, and international direct arrivals were down 67.2%. The Maldives, also affected by the tsunami, has seen its international arrivals drop 46% from the previous year, with spending down 10%. Sri Lanka, a third tsunami-afflicted destination is seeing a 10% growth rate over 2004. For more information, see

THAI AIRWAYS' PARENT, Thai Airways International Public Company Ltd., is offering a program aimed at boosting tourism in Phuket, Thailand. The company is using a marketing strategy that aims at promoting sales directly to corporate groups. The first of the corporate groups will be that of the Thai Honda Manufacturing Co. Ltd., which will send 1,500 employees to Phuket in September. Through Oct. 31, Thai Airways is offering special airfares, tour packages and accommodations to help attract corporate groups. For more information, see

MOVING TO CAPITALIZE on an Anholt-GMI Nations Brand Index ( poll that ranked Australia as the worlds most popular nation, Swain Tours is offering an eight-night Introduction to Australia tour priced at $1,400 per person, double occupancy. The program gives a sampling of many varieties of the continent with four nights in Sydney and four nights in Cairns. The Sydney stay includes sightseeing of the citys highlights, such as the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, as well as a trip to the beach at the Rocks area. In Cairns, travelers will see the Great Barrier Reef. For more information, visit or call (800) 227-9246.


LE MERIDIEN HOTELS & RESORTS will open its second Malaysia property on Sept. 1. The five-star Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu will open in Malaysian Borneo with 306 luxury bedrooms and views of the South China Sea on one side and Mount Kiniabalu on the other. Rooms will be equipped with workstations with broadband Internet access, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, and luxury bathrooms with separate showers and baths. For more information, call (800) 543-4300 or visit

MALAYSIA AIRLINES is offering fares from Los Angeles to Taipei, Taiwan, beginning at $499 roundtrip. Tickets must be purchased by Sept. 15 for travel to Nov. 30, or Jan. 16 to March 31. The maximum stay is 30 days. Travel must originate from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Fares dont include taxes and surcharges, which are approximately $100. For information call (800) 552-9264.


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