Study: Tsunami still affecting Asia-Pacific region

Thai Airways targets corporate clients

Thai Airways parent company, 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 www.thaiairways.com.

BANGKOK -- 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. (See sidebar for an initiative to get tourists back to Phuket.)

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 www.pata.org/news.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to David Cogswell at [email protected].

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