AT PATA TRAVEL MART 2007 in Bali last month, Thamrin B. Bachri, director general, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Indonesia, outlined marketing plans for the coming year, which include road shows and fam trips.
Although the U.S. isn't included in the six top markets for Indonesia that will be targeted, Bachri invited Travel Agent to consult with the ministry to develop a U.S. travel agent fam trip.
Interested agents can contact Syamsul Lussa, director of marketing development, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Indonesia, via e-mail (email@example.com). Please put "Travel Agent Fam Trip" in the title of the e-mail.
Bachri added that there would be possible Indonesia road shows coordinated with the upcoming Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami, March 10-13, 2008; and with the DEMA Show 2007 in Orlando, October 31-November 3.
Bachri is bullish about the government's upcoming "Visit Indonesia Year 2008" campaign. Throughout the year, the country will stage 100 events and cultural festivals. They also hope that the campaign will stimulate improvements to the country's tourism infrastructure.
Re-Branded Hotels, New Flights, Next Hot Country
Korakij Yachiangkam, director of sales for Dusit Princess, walked us through the re-branding of the company's hotels, which will be officially launched October 16. Dusit International (www.dusit.com) will have five categories: Dusit Thani Hotels & Resorts, Dusit 2D Hotels & Resorts and Dusit Devarna Hotels & Resorts (all five star), as well as Dusit Princess Hotels & Resorts and Dusit Residence Serviced Apartments (both four star). "We presently have 19 properties, but that will grow to 50 across all of our categories," said Yachiangkam.
Pruet Boobphakam, director, Southeast Asia and Australasia Region, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (www.thaiairways.com), told Travel Agent that the airline would add a second daily flight out of New York. "But it won't be an additional flight to Bangkok," says Boobphakam. "Instead we'll be adding a New York/Beijing daily flight." Expect it to begin after the completion of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to be held next August.
I asked Staci Fialkoff, president of Source International Travel in Laguna Niguel, CA, which Asian country appeared to be the next hot destination. "Vietnam, definitely," she says. "I tell my clients they have to see the whole country." She cites the cities of Hoi An and Hue as being overlooked by tourists intent on Saigon and Hanoi. "I have clients who have money but not time—I discourage them from trying to see Vietnam in six days," says Fialkoff. "You really need 10 days on the ground." Fialkoff recommends booking a minimum of six months in advance to secure the desired rooms. "Business travelers—especially those out of China—are snapping up the available five-star rooms."
PATA Gold Awards
The Best of Show Grand Awards went to the government of India's Ministry of Tourism for marketing; Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Thailand, for its environmental programs; and the Macau Government Tourist Office, which won in the heritage category.
PATA Travel Mart 2008 will be held in Hyderabad, India, September 16-17.