New post on my trip to the famed opium-producing triple border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. I visit all three in one wild day. Click here to read about it.
“Seeing all the images of fires on television and social media is not going to help, it puts a dent in Australia’s reputation as a safe tourist destination,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.
“It’s come at a time when the economy was already fragile,” he added, ranking tourism as Australia’s fourth biggest export whose strength officials had been counting on to help offset a domestic reluctance to spend.
Bushfires burning for weeks near the world heritage site of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in the southeastern state of New South Wales have driven away tourists.
As visitors take to social media to warn others to steer clear, the number of busloads of tourists each day has fallen to about four from 15 or 20, said Stacey Reynolds, a receptionist at the Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel in Katoomba.
“They told people not to come in and it’s affected everything, from restaurants to motels to backpackers to cafes,” she added. “The streets are empty.”
Although there is no published nationwide data on tourism since the fires took hold in late spring, Australia attracted 2.71 million holiday makers last summer, up 3.2% from the previous year, as many fled the northern hemisphere winter.
Hotels in the largest city of Sydney saw a fall of 10% in guest numbers in December, the Accommodation Association of Australia said.
Scenic World was open, but the hotels around the area are having more cancellations than bookings, she said.
Government agency Tourism Australia, which released a new advertisement last month to lure Britons to beautiful beaches and stunning scenery, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The scorching temperatures and bushfires, which have also burnt vineyards in South Australia and warmed the usually cool island state of Tasmania, will hit the sector hard, said Judith Mair, who studies tourism, environment and consumer behavior.
“It will be in stages – immediately with evacuations, dislocations and cancellations, but also in the longer term, because tourists buy holidays based on the image of a destination and Australia’s is being badly affected,” said Mair, a professor at the University of Queensland Business School.
Hundreds of national parks in the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria, thronged by 100 million visitors a year, have closed.
With fires burning nearby, Christopher Warren, co-proprietor of a bed and breakfast in Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales, said he had to evacuate his guests.
“The worst-case scenario is that we would be hit by a fire and our business would be destroyed,” said Warren, who saw the best case as a loss of income exceeding A$80,000 ($56,048), through the disruption of three of his busiest months.
Paul Mackie, who uses AirBnB to rent out an apartment on Sydney’s Bondi Beach to British and European tourists in the peak summer holiday period was hit by last-minute cancellations.
“I had bookings for the whole of this period going for the next couple of months, but a lot have cancelled because they said they saw the news of the fires,” Mackie added.
AirBnB declined to comment.
A Sydney airport spokesman said it did not have recent statistics on whether the fires were hitting arrival. A Qantas spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the wildfires had hurt bookings.
The fires have spotlighted Australia’s environment policies, criticized most recently at a U.N. summit in Madrid, said Susanne Becken, a professor of sustainable tourism at Griffith University in Queensland.
“The government’s response to the climate crisis does not bode well…and this is not good for tourism,”
I stayed at km 35 and always felt comfortable but as soon as I ventured beyond Pakxong, the temperate spiked and it was really hot.
At that time of the year, many people can’t sleep because of the hot weather. Residents of large towns such as Vientiane and Pakxe have to use air conditioning to help them sleep.
But in Pakxong there is no need to use an artificial cooling device and Mother Nature will ensure you remain comfortable. The fresh air that surrounds you throughout the night will keep you refreshed so you don’t wake up feeling exhausted.
Some Thai visitors have been known to say they don’t need to go to Europe to enjoy a cool climate but can come to Pakxong district instead.
I don’t know if things are still the same in Pakxong because I haven’t been there for 15 years. But some people who have spent time in this beautiful area recently tell me that it’s as pleasing as ever.
The Bolaven Plateau runs through Champassak province’s Pakxong district, Saravan province’s Lao-ngam, and Xekong province’s Thataeng district, and boasts a wealth of scenic beauty.
Some of the most dramatic waterfalls in Champassak are Nheuang, Fan, Phasuam, Nong Luang and Champee Nang Sida.
There are also three more waterfalls of note in Saravan province, namely Lo, Hang and Xeset, and then there is the Sinouk Resort in Xekong province, which are all very popular with both local and foreign visitors.
The Bolaven Plateau is set to be developed as the country’s top agri-business and agri-tourism destination thanks to its year round temperate climate and picturesque landscape.
When visiting Champassak province over the past few years, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has advised officials to seek more investment from domestic and overseas sources so that the coffee industry can be further developed and other crops can be cultivated on the Bolaven Plateau and nearby.
From Vientiane, tourists can reach Champassak by either road or air transport. And thanks to shared borders with Thailand and Cambodia, there are close tourist links with both those countries.
The local food is another attraction, with a wide variety of dishes on offer that will satisfy all palates. Set a date for a visit soon!
Source – Vientiane Times
The Chi Lang Temple is currently being built by the lake as a spiritual
and cultural complex to cherish the historical values of Chi Lang.
indefinitely to allow the tourist-magnet some much-needed time to
recover, it’s time to look for another natural wonder.
is the Ang Thong National Marine Park, located about 40 kilometers north
west of the coast of Koh Samui. Some would argue it’s even more
spectacular and worthy of at least a full day visit.
Marine Park is made up of 42 islands spread over 102 square kilometers. Travelers will find beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, caves, rock
formations and countless photo opportunities. Enjoy some views from the
Thani mainland or from Koh Samui by speedboat. There are slower
ferry-style boat trips as well but you’ll lose a lot of time travelling
there (usually for day trips) and the speedboats can get into much
Phaluai, the park’s biggest island, where there’s a popular stilted
restaurant in the island’s fishing village, serving a delicious seafood
famed for wildlife spotting and what might just be the most beautiful
viewpoint in the entire park.
the 2000 movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed in
Koh Phi Phi’s Maya Bay in the Andaman Sea, the book by Alex Garland upon
which the film was based was actually set in Ang Thong in the Gulf of
is publishing a series of feature articles and images promoting the
two countries’ collaboration in tourism and hoping to inspire more
people, especially from China, to experience the nature, culture,
history and hospitality of Laos, the jewel of the Mekong.
the wonderful scenery, a picnic, and the waterfall itself, but is also
a great place for trekking.
In training for a Vangvieng Trail hike at the end
of this year, my friends and I would normally walk along the Mekong
riverbank to prepare for such an event but one recent weekend we
decided to try somewhere different.
Out of the many places we considered, we settled
upon the Tad Xai waterfall at Ban Hatkhai in Borikhamxay province,
which lies within the Phou Khaokhouay National Protected Area.
Reached by travelling on Road 13 South, it’s near
the border between Vientiane and Borikhamxay province, and is about
three hours drive from Vientiane.
We chose this place because we heard that trekking
guides are available, which we thought was a good idea because we were
by no means experienced trekkers.
I have been to Tad Xai a few times before, but
mostly just to have a picnic and enjoy the waterfall, which is one of
the most beautiful of the many that are to be found in the national
protected area. This was the first time I would be able to explore the
area more fully.
We arrived at Ban Hatkhai around 10 am where a
local tourist officer was waiting to guide us on the walk. The fee for
each of us was 45,000 kip. It was several kilometres from the village
to the park itself and some sections of the road were quite rough.
Drivers would need a vehicle with good clearance or four-wheel drive.
large trees and bordered by a stream which burbled through various
shaped rocks. It would make a good picnic spot and you could also have a
dip as the water was not at all deep. A sign pointed the way to Tad Xai
waterfall, which could be found at the end of a 400 metre path.
But we were intent on having a long walk so we went
in another direction along a small trail which passed through woods,
so the tree canopy protected us from the hot sun.
the unfamiliar plants and flowers that we encountered in profusion.
slowly and took loads of photos, forgetting that the purpose of the
expedition was to get in training for the strenuous Vangvieng Trail.
Never mind, the whole experience was all part of the goal, we told
waterfall, which soon came into view. The water cascaded down from a
high cliff, so it is aptly named Pha Xay waterfall, or cliff waterfall.
It was one of those hidden gems that you would only encounter by
walking deep into this scenic area.
taking more photos, we continued on our way through more oddly-shaped
trees and plants and then came to an open field of green grass
interspersed with rocks.
through small and large trees, listening to the sounds of insects and
birds against the backdrop of faraway waterfalls, and observing the
strange plant life around us. We became engrossed in our surroundings
and never had time to feel tired. Now and again we saw groups of
colourful butterflies, and stopped to relax near a small stream.
sometimes had to walk across wooden bridges and near the end of the
trail we came upon a mass of different sized boulders piled up on top of
each other alongside a large stream overhung with dense foliage.
created a calming atmosphere so we took a long break and breathed in
the smells. We felt we had earned a rest as this was the first trek we
had made in this kind of environment.
us to the main Tad Xai cascade where most people come to enjoy a
torrent of foaming white water on its way through Phou Khaokhouay,
creating a spectacular sight.
here for some time before making our way back to the parking area,
deeply satisfied with our achievement and our decision to visit this
THE closure of the glittering Thai bay made famous by the movie The Beach has been extended for another two years to allow a full recovery of its corals and wildlife, an official said on Thursday, drawing a sharp rebuke from the tourism industry.
Maya Bay, ringed by cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Ley island and surrounded by azure waters, was made famous when it featured in the 2000 film starring Leonardo Dicaprio.
It was shut last June by Thai authorities due to worries the white-sand paradise was suffering from the pressure of thousands of day-trippers arriving by boat.
Authorities had initially said the beach – a massive draw for Thailand’s more than 38 million tourists – was going to be closed for four months, but the re-opening was repeatedly postponed.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, adviser to the Department of National Parks, on Thursday said the ban on visitors will be extended until mid-2021.
“The resolution of the Department of Parks yesterday [May 8] is to extend the closure of Maya Bay for another two years to allow its ecology to fully recover,” he said.
After it is reopened, measures such as limiting the number of daily visitors and banning boats from parking within the bay’s waters will be enacted, Thon said.
Before Maya Bay’s closure, up to 5,000 tourists visited daily, causing trees and smaller vegetation to be uprooted, creeping soil erosion, and severe damage to the corals in the bay.
A majority of the visitors were ferried there from tourist hotspot Krabi province by local longtail boatmen or tour operators who touted the movie-famous bay as a key attraction for day trips.
“Maya Bay is the heart of our tourism,” said Wattana Rerngsamut, chairman of Krabi Provincial Tourism Association which represents some 200 tourism and hotel operators.
Calling the two-year extension “unfair”, Wattana said the Department of National Parks should conduct public hearings so they can find “common ground . . . so that local people can earn a living”.
Chinese visitors, making up a quarter of Thailand’s tourists, have “plunged 50 per cent [in Krabi]”, he added.
Thailand experienced a three-month slowdown in tourism last year, most noticeably since July when a ferry sank and killed 47 Chinese visitors off nearby Phuket.
Since the tragedy, the government has rolled out inducements aimed at regaining trust and making travel easier – including exempting Chinese visitors from paying a visa-on-arrival fee.
Less than a year after its closure, blacktip reef sharks have been sighted swimming in Maya Bay, with conservationists saying their return signals signs of a recovery to the ecology.
Source – ThePhnomPenhPost
The Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh Province is among the most incredible places in the world recently found, The Telegraph says.