|News & Events
05/Oct/10 Thailand after the red violence
Within living memory are the words “land of smiles” a significant term for Thailand. In May, the image of serene and peaceful tourist destination got seriously damaged. The “land of smiles” suddenly became the “land of sneers” when hell broke out in Bangkok. In one page advert from Central Group of Companies in Bangkok Post on 05 June we read: “During these difficult times we remain believing that compassion and forgiveness, which are deeply anchored in the heart of Thai culture, again will bring solidarity and peace to our country.” Without a doubt, Bangkok will be up against decreased attraction, but visiting the other Thailand and the islands remains an unrivalled and magnificent experience.
In Phuket we stayed in The Vijitt Resort (92 villas), a fine five star resort that is offered exclusively by Best Tours on the Belgium market. Mali Boonpetrakul (DOSM): “We do have requests of other Belgium tour operators, but due to the fact that Best Tours bring us average 600 customers per year, we are pretty content with that.”
In Phuket, the participants of the fam trip have been to the recently opened “Blue Elephant Governor Mansion”, the 13th cooking school & restaurant of the Belgium-Thai family Steppe. Kim Steppe (GM): “You are only the second cooking class in our latest school and we love it that you are Belgian and Luxembourgish. We will still expand the chain. On our list of gifts wanted we have Djakarta and Tunis, even if my largest dream is to open a Blue Elephant in Japan somewhere in the future.”
Pimalai Resort & Spa
One of the highlights of the journey was, without a doubt, the stay at the splendid Pimalai Resort & Spa (47 villas), by the way the only 5 star property on Koh Lanta, Krabi and member of SLH. Franck de Lestapis (GM): “During 10 years of operation we got lots of recognitions and awards. So we have lately been pronounced Best Spa in Asia Pacific region. We are specialised in honeymoons with over 50 couples a year.”
Herman Herteleer (Sales Rep. Travelworld): “I was deeply impressed by this hotel and I’m proud to say that Pimalai will be featured in the new winter brochure of Travelworld. Definitely an important addition for our clients who are seeking for a hotel that is unique in many ways. Also on Koh Samui we will most likely add a few more hotels.”
Aroonwan Bergers-Kosiyakul (TAT): “The 20 finalists of Miss Belgium contest will again go to Thailand this year and I would appreciate it very much if they could be guest at Pimalai Resort & Spa.”
Marion Lehr (Sales-Lentz Lux.) : “I was thrilled that we got complimentary spa treatments in the hotels we visited. I think that we all enjoyed that very much and above all, there are no better massages than in Thailand. ”
Rasananda Koh Phangan
The Rasananda Phangan Island resort (44 villas) is a fantastic 5 star beach hotel, masterly situated in a stunning bay north of Koh Samui. Peter Suwankumtur (S&M Manager): “Our hotel is a great honeymoon destination. It’s extraordinary that you can come here by elephant, after a trekking of 45 minutes on the back of a lovely giant. A few villas provide direct sea access. Just gorgeous!”
Kevin Van Ingelhem (sales Ex. Enjoy Paradise): “For me it was the first time being to Thailand and it was very fine. The class of the hotels we stayed was phenomenal. A very interesting journey. I have learned a lot and I’m already looking forward to another visit to this impressive country.”
The Tongsai Bay
The Tongsai Bay on Koh Samui is one of the first 5 star hotels on Koh Samui and celebrated already in 2007 its 20th anniversary. The 44 cottage suites are beautifully situated in an overwhelming tropical garden. Do not miss the weekly (on Mondays) beach barbecue. “We are expanding on Asia very much” says Tanja Pasch (Resa. Rainbow) “and in the meantime Thailand has also for us become a top destination. After my return I will report to Nadia Dewulf, our PM Asia, who will surely get some fresh ideas for our future program.”
Martine Frieseisen (office manager Sales-Lentz Mersch): “For me it was the first time being to Thailand and I’ve enjoyed very much the smile of the people, the way of life and the excellent service. I already sold Thailand easily but now it will even be much easier. I think that the Evergreen Class of EVA Air is a plus as I don’t know any other airline to Asia that offers a possibility between economy and business. Above all I was taken with the free access to the lounge for economy passengers of Bangkok Airways.”
Caroline Cardosi (Voyages Flammang Lux.): “I really fell in love with Thailand. In October I will organize a trip for 20 of my clients that I will accompany myself with the help of local guides. We go to Bangkok, River Kwai and Koh Samui. I’m already looking forward to it because it will surely be again a great experience.”
Aroonwan Bergers-Kosiyakul (TAT): ”Bangkok will have a struggle for at least another 6 months to 1 year as tourist destination, but people who know Thailand will remain coming because there are dozens of destinations that can be visited without any problem. In 2009, 80.000 Belgians travelled to Thailand, an increase of 7%, also due to the non-stop charter flight of XL Airways, mainly booked through clients of Best Tours and Thomas Cook. In January, February and March we had many groups and I was convinced that we should be well by the end of this year. Unfortunately the problems in Bangkok and the ask cloud made me adjusting my initial forecast. I will be happy if we can close 2010 with a status quo because finally the value for money is nowhere better than in Thailand.”
EVA Airways (BR) flies 3x/week from Amsterdam, 3x/week from Vienna and daily from London to Taipei, with stopover in Bangkok. Also there’s a daily non-stop flight from Paris to Taipei. Bangkok is the 2nd hub for EVA Airways from where dozens of connections depart to the rest of Asia. “We have a reversed hub system”, explains Philippe Leysen, S&M Manager of EVA Airways Belgium, “we bring our passengers from Europe to our hub Bangkok, from where they have direct, fast and numerous connections within our Asian network.”
The routes from Europe are flown with triple 7, all with 3 class configuration: economy, Evergreen Deluxe and business class. Currently there’s still a B747 combi flying on the Amsterdam-Taipei route but this plane will be removed soon. The USP of EVA Airways is their service; not only on board but especially before and after sales service. At Brucecargo there are working 3 full-time employees who are taking personal efforts for the best service towards the client to serve agents and brokers. There are no service or ticket fees charged. “This is much appreciated by our clients,” says Philippe Leysen, ”they know that they can count on us for a personal and efficient service and that we are in charge to solve eventual problems quickly.”
Bangkok Airways, Asia’s boutique airline
Bangkok Airways (PG) is represented in Benelux by Antje Voss, Sales Manager – Representation Office Benelux Aviareps PLC. Bangkok Airways is a boutique airline with sustainability as a great value and which is considering service as important. That’s why they made the unique decision to offer lounge facilities to all passengers. Indeed, also economy class passengers have free access to the Bangkok Airways lounges. Bangkok Airways counts 7 domestic (Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai etc.) and 7 international routes, among them Siem Reap, Yangon and Luang Prabang and daily flights from Samui to Hong Kong and Singapore. At the moment the fleet consists of 17 planes.
Recently, Bangkok Airways has introduced Business Class –Blue Ribbon Class- on their flights, on demand of their passengers, and they also made investments in luxurious equipped Business Class lounges in Bangkok and Samui. The airline is the only one in Asia who has won the Syktrax award for the 6th time in a row, for “Best regional airline Asia 2009”.
To travel around in Asia in a cheap way is possible with the “Discovery Airpass” from Bangkok Airways. “This pass has minimum 3 and maximum 6 coupons and is the most popular way of travelling through Thailand and Asia”, confirms Antje Voss, “this airpass is really worth it!”. The pass cannot be purchased online but only at travel agencies or Bangkok Airways representatives. Recently there have been ordered two A350s, delivered in 2015, which proves that the airline is clearly expanding.