Top 10 busiest airports by passenger traffic in H1

Beijing Capital International Airport

Beijing Capital International Airport remained the world’s second-busiest airport by passenger traffic, witnessing 49.38 million passengers in the first half of the year, said Civil Aviation Data Analysis, a civil aviation data platform based in Shanghai, on Aug 2.

The list, comprising 17 international airports around the world, ranks airports in terms of passenger traffic as of the end of June. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained the world’s busiest airport, with passenger traffic of 52.64 million in the first six months, while Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi saw the fastest growth of passengers with an increase of 13.41 percent during the same period.


Let’s take a look at the world’s top 10 busiest airports in the first half of the year.

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

No 10 Indira Gandhi International Airport – Total passengers: 35.04 million

No 9 Shanghai Pudong International Airport – Total passengers: 36.69 million

No 8 Hong Kong International Airport – Total passengers: 36.91 million

No 7 London Heathrow Airport – Total passengers: 38.07 million

No 6 O’Hare International Airport, Chicago – Total passengers: 39.45 million

No 5 Tokyo Haneda Airport – Total passengers: 41.06 million

No 4 Los Angeles International Airport – Total passengers: 42.68 million

No 3 Dubai International Airport – Total passengers: 43.74 million

No 2 Beijing Capital International Airport – Total passengers: 49.38 million

No 1 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Total passengers: 52.64 million



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Not bad: Thailand ranked 21st best country in world

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21th best

Thailand has been voted the 21st best country in the world in the “Best Countries” list unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday.

A survey of 16,000 people worldwide placed Thailand in the 21st place out of 60 selected countries in the rankings conducted by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting.

The respondents, 8,000 of which were classified as “elites” and 4,500 as “business decision-makers,” were asked to share their perceptions on a random selection of 65 country attributes.

The attributes were then grouped into nine sub-rankings: adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life.

Thailand received an impressive score in the “adventure” category, as well as “movers,” which predicts a country’s future growth in terms of gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity per capita.

However, Thailand’s score for “citizenship,” which explores the country’s interest in issues such as human rights, environment, gender equality, and as well as its trustworthy quality, was among the lowest in the world’s chart.


We lost to Singapore (15th) and China (17th), while our neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos were not included in the list – except Malaysia, which placed 28th.

Globally, Germany won first place as the world’s best country (congrats!) followed by Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, and Australia.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the list was Algeria, preceded by Ukraine, Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Source: Coconuts


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Asean set for tourism push

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As grouping turns 50 next year, campaign will promote 600 destinations in the region.

IN ORDER to build a real sense of community, Asean will for the first time launch a regional tourism campaign to promote 600 destinations to boost arrivals and income when the regional grouping turns 50 next year.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said officials of national tourism organisations from the 10 nations had agreed at a meeting in the Philippines to introduce “Asean at 50” as the new regional tourism campaign.

The campaign will be announced tomorrow at the Asean Tourism Forum in Manila and there will be a grand opening at the International Tourism Berse (ITB) in Germany in the first quarter of this year.

“Asean promotes itself as a single-market tourist destination as all members were integrated into an economic community at the end of last year. The campaign will be part of Asean’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” Pongpanu said.

Asean will be promoting 600 attractions located across the region, which will be divided into 12 different categories under the theme of “50 Best…”.

The dozen categories will be the 50 best of cities, hotels, restaurants, food, festivals and celebrations, beaches, shopping, historical sites, adventure tourism, small towns and villages, markets, as well as unforgettable experiences.

Pongpanu said each Asean member would propose their attractions and products to a central committee, which should complete the selection procedure before the grand opening in Germany.


Thailand is assigned to lead the selection of two categories: festivals and celebrations, as well as unforgettable experiences, he said.

“The new campaign should boost tourism income and total arrivals in the region by 15 per cent from 100 million to 115 million,” he added.

Officials from national tourism organisations also approved another 10-year Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) set for 2016-25, while Asean tourism ministers adopted the ATSP 2011-15 that focused on 19 measures.

Plan for tourism professIonals

The 10-year plan is also expected to boost tourism earnings for the entire region from 10 to 15 per cent in 2025, while employment in the sector should rise from 3 to 7 per cent, travellers’ length of stay will climb from 6.3 days to eight days and average spending per trip per visitor will rise from $900 to $1,500 or Bt 27,000 to Bt45,000.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the total number of international arrivals in Asean is expected to rise to 123 million by 2020, 152 million by 2025 and 187 million by 2030.

Pongpanu said Asean will be also focusing on other developments such as improving infrastructure, enhancing competency, labour transfer, a single visa for all nations in the grouping as well as maintaining major tourism markets such as China, India and Russia.

Myan Mar

On January 19, all 10 Asean tourism ministers signed an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The secretariat will be based in Jakarta and will commence operations this year.

Signed by Asean Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals in the region.

Dr Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry, said the MRA-TP marked a significant milestone for tourism development in Asean.

“Moving forward, Malaysia, as chairman of the Asean Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the Asean MRA-TP,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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New tourism plan set to promote Asean as a whole

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THE Asean Tourism Association (ASEANTA) is drafting another strategic plan for 2016-2025, aiming to raise the region’s presence in the global market and to increase intra-regional travel.

Aileen Clemente, president of ASEANTA, said the region’s tourism sector was preparing for the completion of activities under the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP 2010-2015) as well as the formulation of another 10-year ATSP for 2016-2025.

“In this regard, we are looking forward to the promotion of Asean as one region to the rest of the world,” she said.

Some of the highlights of the new ATSP are the need to implement the Asean Open Skies Agreement and make it easier to cross the region’s borders, as well as conducting good marketing campaigns for the region as a whole. ASEANTA counts as its members various tourism-related groups from all 10 Asean countries, including national tourism organisations, national travel-agency associations, national hotel and restaurant associations, and airlines.

Clemente said ASEANTA had recently worked with the Asean Business Club as its research partner. The resulting document highlights the need for harmonised border-crossing procedures, enabling the private sector to optimise product development, marketing Asean as one region and not just its individual countries, and alignment of standards for the mutual recognition of certification for tourism products and human resources.

“We held a meeting here in Thailand on Sunday composed of the relevant national associations from the 10 Asean countries to show our support to our Thai colleagues that we are still encouraging tourism despite what has happened,” she said.

Early this year, the tourism ministers of Asean nations and China, Japan and South Korea declared cooperation under the Asean+3 umbrella that aimed to enhance the tourism sector throughout the region.

International arrivals to Asean+3 in 2014 amounted to 241 million, up by 6.9 per cent from 2013. The ministers also noted that intra-region travel remained the main source of tourism growth, accounting for 66 per cent of the total international arrivals in 2013.

The ministers said the region would exchange ideas and tourism statistics from Asean+3 countries and also seek new methods for compiling statistics in order to have a better understanding of the development of tourism in the region.

Source: The Nation

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Bt10 million in reward offered, #Bangkok

Flying 22


THE authorities believe bomb blasts at the Erawan shrine and Sathorn Bridge in Bangkok this week were aimed at discrediting the military government, national police chief General Somyot Poompanmuang has said.

Yesterday, several bomb hoaxes were reported at various locations in the capital.

The National Police Office is now offering up to Bt3million for a tip-off leading to the arrest of the man suspected of planting the bomb at the Erawan Shrine on Monday evening.

This is in addition to a Bt2-million reward that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has offered, according to a Facebook post by his son, Panthongtae. Moreover, Panthongtae said his father would provide another Bt5million to officials who contribute to the arrest, if made.

National Council for Peace and Order spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari, meanwhile, announced that several agencies believe the blasts were intended to seriously hurt the economy and tourism.

He said inquiries into the blasts were progressing. “But the authorities cannot release details at this point, as that may affect ongoing investigations,” he said.

A sketch of the suspected bomber at the Erawan Shrine was released on Wednesday but immigration officials have not spotted him at any checkpoint.

Monday’s blast killed 20 people and injured more than 100. The Sathorn Bridge blast did not cause any casualties as it exploded in water near the Chao Phraya River.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday urged the public to be eyes and ears for soldiers and police in a bid to ensure public safety and he called on people to quickly inform the authorities if they see anything suspicious.

However, he said people should not be fearful of the situation to the extent that they stay at home and do not spend money because that would hurt the economy. Several other countries had faced similar security situations or much worse but their people lived normal lives, he said.

“This is our home and country, so don’t allow outsiders to play an excessive role. We ought to chart our own future, but we also have to listen to outsiders’ voices,” he said.

The premier said foreign countries have offered to help the authorities such as the US, which has sophisticated technology that would help with the investigation, especially in terms of identifying a suspect captured on CCTV.

Meanwhile, police yesterday found a suspect package at Benjakiti Park on Ratchadaphisek Road next to Queen Sirikit Convention Centre. When the package was unwrapped, a brand-new rattan ball and sand were found inside, creating the impression it might have been a bomb and causing panic.

A suspicious bag was also found near the Metropolitan Police Bureau. Police said they would summon the taxi driver who left it there for questioning. The owner of the bag told police he accidentally left it in the cab.

Education Ministry permanent secretary Dr Kamjorn Tatiyakavee revealed that an unknown man phoned the ministry and claimed that something bad would happen there.

“Now, we have stepped up security at the ministry compound,” he said. “Someone might have wanted to spread a climate of fear.”

In related news, examination of CCTV footage has revealed a possible suspect in the Sathorn Bridge attack. Long-distance footage shows the potential suspect walking towards the pier under the bridge on Monday evening – the night before the attack – carrying a plastic bag that could have contained an explosive.

The man kicked the bag into the river around 7.30pm, about half an hour after the Erawan Shrine explosion. He wore a blue shirt and trousers and may not have intended to cause casualties as the bomb exploded in the water.

Police said the suspect could be Thai.

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Tourism an immediate casualty, #Thailand

Tourism an immediate casualty, Thailand

Business leaders believe Monday night’s explosion at the Ratchaprasong intersection will hurt tourism but expect the overall negative effect on the economy will be more psychological and short term.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said tourism would be the sector hit hardest by the horrific blast at the Erawan Shrine, whose victims included Thais and foreign tourists alike.

“In the long term, we’ll have to wait and see what exactly the real impact on foreign investors will be,” he said.

However, the Thai-European Business Association (TEBA) thinks differently, saying the bomb has had only a minimal effect on foreign investors, with most of them still expressing confidence in Thailand’s fundamentals and investment atmosphere.

Check-in 19-8

The impact of Monday’s bombing at Ratchaprasong Intersection in Bangkok will be only short-term and the government will be able to control the situation, business leaders said yesterday.

They also reiterated their confidence that gross domestic product would grow by 2.5-3 per cent this year as the authorities have targeted.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the deadly explosion would affect the confidence of investors and travellers. However, the seriousness of the impact on investors would depend on how the government managed this situation and prevented similar attacks in the near future.

He said the attack should not have an immediate effect on the economy but it would certainly affect short-term investment. He called for the government to communicate to the public clearly about the situation, as well as to both local and foreign media.

Prasarn Trairatvorakul, governor of the Bank of Thailand, said the bomb blast is unlikely to affect Thailand’s economic stability and financial sector as the numbers of financial institution branches near the Ratchaprasong Area that have closed down temporary are very limited.

“If the situation does not spread widely than it is unlikely to impact the economic stability,” he said.

“Most of the financial institutions are open for operation as normal while some of the ones that have branches near the affected have asked for permission to closed down temporary and they were allowed but their number is very small,” he added.

He explained that there will be some impact on the tourism industry but the full effect will have to be monitor later as the impact is not wide spread throughout the whole sector.

Kalin Sarasin, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said private enterprises were confident the government could control this situation and the blow to tourist confidence would be temporary.

He said the TCC had been in touch with the chairman of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT), who said he “understood the situation and was confident that the government can handle the situation and end the problem very soon”.

Kalin also said that although this was a serious problem, Thais had shown good spirit in helping one another, which should create a good image for the country.

Saowanee Thairungroj, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the impact should not be prolonged and the economy should still be able to meet the university’s previous growth projection this year.

She added that the Cabinet reshuffle should help create confidence among businesspeople.

Tongurai Limpiti, deputy governor for financial institution stability at the Bank of Thailand, said tourism would be most affected by the incident, with some impact on the volatility of the stock market and the currency. However, these would be short-term impacts, so confidence is expected to resume quickly.

Commercial banks with branches near the Ratchaprasong bombing and in nearby shopping malls were in business as usual yesterday except TMB Bank, which closed its branch. Tongurai said the banks had business continuity plans they were able to execute in emergency situations.

Chartsiri Sophonpanich, president of Bangkok Bank, said the government would handle the situation well, so the bank was not seriously concerned as the incident would have limited impact.

Paiboon Ponsuwanna, adviser to the Thai National Shippers Council, agreed that the bombing should have only a short-term impact to the economy and investment.

However, he said some foreign buyers, especially from the United States, the European Union and Japan, had started to ask questions and express concern about the situation. Some may cancel their business trips planned for the third quarter for meetings or to order goods from Thailand for the upcoming festive season.

PTT president and chief executive officer Pailin Chuchottaworn said the actual impacts on the economy would depend on how the government came up with effective measures to revive confidence.

“Taking the case of Korea, which witnessed a 90-per-cent drop in tourist arrivals because of a disease outbreak, the tourism industry can recover fast,” he said.

Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya has instructed Thai trade representatives overseas to cooperate with Thai diplomats to explain the situation to foreign traders. He also insisted that international trade fairs planned for the remaining months of the year would go ahead.

Sinthu Peatrarut, managing director for media-client relations at Nielsen (Thailand), said the work of restoring foreign visitors’ confidence must be done as soon as possible. Domestic consumption would drop for a short period, hence retail business would be affected.

Foreign investors confident

Stanley Kang, chairman of the JFCCT, said the tragedy that had transpired was “deeply saddening” and his organisation, which covers 30 foreign chambers and business associations representing almost 9,000 companies, wanted to know the real reason behind the hideous attack.

“There is expected to be some short-term effect on the tourism sector but the chambers still have full confidence in Thailand’s potential and its future. We will continue to invest here, but we still want to know what really happened from the findings via official investigations before we can provide any further comment on its impact,” he said.

Thai European Business Association president Uli Kaiser said the initial impact, if any, from the “despicable act” on foreign investors would be minimal as the increased interest in the Kingdom and the Asean region since the beginning of the year was expected to continue.

“It is hard to comment on such a terrible act but overall, the impact on foreign investors is very little, and the surge of interest from European and American investors that I have talked to recently, especially in the automobile industry, is expected to continue,” he said.

Kaiser said international media had been blowing the Bangkok incident out of proportion. “If we are to compare the incident to other catastrophic events around the world, such as what happened in Tianjin, then the impact from what happened on investors’ confidence should be minimal.”

Leigh Scott-Kemmis, president of the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the obvious short-term impact from the bomb blast was reflected in the reaction of the country’s stock market as equity investors had taken a step back to see what actually happened. Meanwhile the impact on foreign investors’ interest in Thailand remained to be seen.

“Business activities here have been quite robust from the beginning of the year until now as Australian investors’ confidence has been rising from the increased political stability. But with no confirmation of the [motive for the attack], it is hard to see the real reaction from investors at this time,” he said.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) extends its condolences to the victims of the bomb attack that took place in the centre of Bangkok on Monday night.

David Scowsill, president & CEO, WTTC, said: “I am extremely saddened by the news of the bomb attack in the centre of Bangkok yesterday. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of all the victims of this incident.”

“It is highly regrettable that Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, has been the target of this violence. Fortunately Thailand has shown its resilience in the past from natural disasters and other disruptions, and we hope that the situation will stabilise and return to normal very quickly”.

According to WTTC reports Travel & Tourism generated over Bt2,345 billion ($US 72.2 billion) or 19.3 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2014. The sector supported over 5 million jobs, representing 14 per cent of total employment.

Thailand’s annual visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign travellers in the country, have more than doubled in the last decade, increasing from Bt629 billion (US$19.4 billion) in 2005 to Bt1,309 billion (US$40.3 billion) in 2014.

RSTA statement

The Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) yesterday released a statement expressing “deep regret to the families of those innocent people who were injured or lost their lives in Monday’s bomb attack close to the Erawan shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection”.

The association is cooperating with police officers in its full attempt to provide useful information regarding the incident, so that the government can identify the bomber, or bombers, it said.

All shopping malls in the area – Gaysorn Shopping Centre, CentralWorld, Amarin Plaza and Arawan Bangkok – were open for business as usual yesterday.

Despite the powerful blast, the Erawan shrine itself was not damaged and will be open for the general public to pay homage to the victims from today.

In cooperation with all shopping-mall members, the RSTA said it was intensifying security measures in the area.

These include security checks of all vehicles at all building entrances/exits, no overnight parking allowed, and security searches of visitors at all building entrances/exits.

Twenty-four-hour walking patrols have also been deployed both on the Skywalk and all sidewalks, in addition to an increase of 25 per cent in the number of security personnel in the area.

The RSTA said it remained “highly confident that the authorities would be able to restore normal sentiment to the Ratchaprasong district very soon”.

Source: The Nation / BangkokPost

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