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Trio of Troubled Asian Tourist Destinations Slash Prices to Lure Visitors

December 23, 2008 By: Mark Rogers


Three destinations experienced significant setbacks this year through man-made violence– Tibet, Thailand and India. All three are regrouping and, in the midst of negative publicity, are sweetening the pot for potential visitors by offering attractive promotions and deals.

Tibet's tourism market has cut travel and hotel costs in hopes of luring back domestic and international sightseers, reports www.chinaview.cn. Tibet's tourism market reopened to overseas visitors last June after weeks of violent protest. To date, Tibet has received 2.2 million tourists in 2008— a substantial drop from 2007, which was a record year with 4 million visitors. Tourist destinations in Nyingchi Prefecture, which borders India and Myanmar, have cut prices by half, while those in the regional capital Lhasa and in Xigaze Prefecture began to lower prices by 20 to 50 percent last October. Many hotels in Lhasa have cut room rates by 20 to 70 percent, while air tickets from Beijing to Lhasa are now available at 70 percent or 80 percent of the original fare.

In the wake of November’s protests which shut down Bangkok’s airport and stranded thousands of travelers, the Tourism Aurthority of Thaiiland has launched a Thailand Super Deal promotion. The campaign can be seen on www.thailandsuperdeal.com, where potential visitors can find links to accommodation deals, airline offers, package tours, shopping bargains and other incentives. Twenty-four hotels and 11 tour operators have launched a  “One Price All Destinations’” campaign that showcases room rates discounted to 2,000 baht (about $57) per person per night. This discounted rate also includes breakfast, dinner and airport transfers. Hotels participating in the campaign are located throughout the country in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chumpon, Hua Hin, Koh Phangan, Krabi, Phuket, Pran Buri, Sukhothai and Samui. The special deals are being offered through February 28, for travel through June 30. Visit www.tourismthailand.org.

Asia Times is reporting that, in the aftermath of last month’s Mumbai terror attacks, hotel prices are dropping an average of 30 percent throughout the country. The country is expected to post zero tourism growth in 2008, as compared to 2007’s record five million visitors, an increase of 12 percent from 2006.

It’s reported that almost 50 percent of group bookings were canceled in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. India’s Ministry of Tourism is working with tour operators to create discounted packages that bundle hotel and air with attractive incentives. Tour operators are also planning to host free trips for 1,000 tourism players to scope out the situation for themselves. As proactive and quick as these responses are, they won’t be able to turn around India’s Christmas/New Year season, which accounts for much of the country’s tourism business.


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