Cambodia – Tourism feels shifting axis

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While Vietnamese visitors continued to top the list of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia in 2016, their numbers dipped as the number of Chinese tourists continued to surge and looks set to take the top notch this year, according to newly released Tourism Ministry annual figures.

The data showed total tourist arrivals from Vietnam fell 3 percent to 950,000 last year, while Chinese arrivals surged 19 percent to 830,000 over the same period.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), expressed confidence that China would soon overtake Vietnam as the main source of the Kingdom’s tourists.

“Following the strengthening of the relationship between Cambodia and China and the government’s strategy to promote more Chinese tourist arrivals, China will soon be the leader for tourism visits in Cambodia,” she said yesterday.

Sivlin noted that the Ministry of Tourism still needs to increase the number of direct flights to the Kingdom in order to reach the country’s target of welcoming 7 million tourists by 2020, including 2 million Chinese visitors.

“Compared to neighboring countries, the number of international arrivals is still small because the shortage of direct flights is limiting international arrivals,” she said. “The government needs to speed up the process of approving direct flights to reach its tourism goals.”

According to the Ministry of Tourism, total tourist arrivals topped 5 million in 2016, from 4.8 million a year earlier, while total revenue from tourism decreased to $3 billion in 2016, from $3.5 billion in 2015.

Sivlin said one reason for the decline in tourism revenue was a failure to recognise the changes in tourist demographics. She pointed to the high number of souvenir products sold in the country imported from China, Vietnam and Thailand, which were difficult to sell when many tourists came from those same countries.

“We sell souvenir products that are not produced locally, and this is not attractive to international visitors when they know it is from their country,” she said.

Ang Kim Eang, general manager of Great Angkor Tours, said the marginal decline in Vietnamese arrivals had no significant impact on the tourism sector as most Vietnamese visitors arrive by bus and do not spend large sums of money. On the other hand, the higher number of Chinese tourists was good news for Cambodia as they tend to be more prolific spenders.

“Chinese tourism offers great potential for the local tourism sector because they like to spend a lot on entertainment services,” he said.

And with China’s outbound tourists topping 122 million last year, far more than the entire population of Vietnam, government initiatives to attract a larger share to Cambodia are hardly surprising.

“Chinese tourists are one of the main targets for promoting the Cambodian economy,” Eang said.

Source: PhnomPenhPost

We take you to the Pearls of the Orient

CAMBODIA Siem Reap – Here you will find influences of French colonial and Chinese architecture. With the Tuk Tuk service to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, to visit Angkor Ta Prohm, one of the famous temples of Cambodia. In the afternoon with a Jeep to the Angkor Wat Temple. MYANMAR Mandalay – After arriving…

via Pearls of the Orient — NEWS & TRAVEL GURU MAGAZINE

Alila Seminyak (5 Star Resort), Bali Indonesia

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Located in Seminyak, this luxurious 5-star resort is set on the beachfront. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and a fitness centre. WiFi is provided for free and available in all areas. Guests also enjoy complimentary scheduled shuttle service to nearby area.

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The air-conditioned elegant rooms and suites offers a refined décor and electric kettle. Some rooms feature a balcony, a personal safe and a flat-screen TV.

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Vehicle rental, day trips and area shuttles can be arranged by staff at the tour desk, while luggage can be stored at the 24-hour front desk. Guests who wish to stay in can relax on the sun terrace by the pool or indulge in a pampering massages. Other facilities offered include laundry, dry cleaning and ironing services. Kids club and babysitting services are also available.

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A fine selection of Asian cuisine can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant, while the famous Ku De Ta is just a 4-minute drive away.

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Alila Seminyak is an 8-minute walk from Potato Head and a 30-minute drive from Ngurah Rai Airport.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Seminyak! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Grand Millennium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Situated opposite Fahrenheit, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur is located along Bintang Walk beside Pavilion Shopping Mall. Offering free WiFi access, it also has a health club with a spa, air-conditioned squash courts and 4 dining options.

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Grand Millennium’s stylish, modern rooms are equipped with a tea/coffee maker. Cable TV and in-house movie channels are provided. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer lovely views.

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Guests have the option of taking a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool or relaxing in the sauna. A well-equipped fitness centre is available for workout sessions. The Club Lounge features 3 separate levels with an internet hub overlooking the Petronas Twin Towers.

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Asian and Mediterranean cuisines are served at The Mill Café, while Lai Ching Yuen features Cantonese dishes, including dim sum. For traditional Japanese dishes, head to Hayana Japanese Restaurant. An alternative dining option is Bistro 160.

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Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur is situated 50 km away from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

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Bukit Bintang is a great choice for travellers interested in family friendly exploring, fashion bargains and entertainment.

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Mamaison Hotel, Buriram

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Mamaison Hotel is a 10-minute drive from I-Moblie Football Stadium. It offers modern air-conditioned rooms with a balcony and free Wi-Fi. The hotel features a 24-hour front desk, pool and massage service.

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The hotel is a 45-minute drive to Buriram Airport. It is a 50-minute drive to Prasat Muang Tum and Prasat Phanom Rung.

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Rooms are furnished with contemporary décor. They are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, minibar and electric kettle. Shower facilities are included in an en suite bathroom. Some rooms have a spa bath.

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For guests’ convenience, the hotel has meeting rooms, luggage storage and shuttle service. Free public parking is possible on site.

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Thai and fusion dishes are served at the restaurant. Room service can be arranged upon request.

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Pullman Phuket Arcadia, Naithon Beach

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Perched on the headland overlooking the Andaman Sea with direct access to Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach offers guests a tranquil and relaxing getaway. Featuring a spa centre, this luxurious resort boasts 2 outdoor pools, a children’s pool and a a gym. Guests can head to any of the 3 bars, bakery or 2 restaurants on-site.

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The property is a 10-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, a 12-minute drive from Splash Jungle and a 15-minute drive from Blue Canyon Golf Course and Laguna Golf Course. It is a 30-minute drive from Big Buddha and Royal Phuket Marina. Central Festival Department Store and Patong Beach are a 40-minute drive away, while Phuket Aquarium is a 45-minute drive away.

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Soundproof rooms at Pullman Phuket Arcadia are stylishly furnished with contemporary décor. Each one comes equipped with a balcony, a flat-screen cable/satellite TV and an iPod docking station. It has a seating area, a coffee machine and a minibar. Free toiletries are included in an en suite bathroom with a separate bathtub and rain shower.

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Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with currency exchange, luggage storage and laundry. The hotel also has meeting facilities, a library and a business centre. Other services include a shuttle service and a tour desk.

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Guests can enjoy a variety of international dishes at the restaurant. In-room dining option is available upon request.

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PARKROYAL Hotel, Yangon Myanmar

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Featuring 5-star luxury in the cultural heart of Myanmar, the PARKROYAL Yangon features an outdoor pool and full spa services. In addition to 5 dining options, it has a modern gym and tennis courts.

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The Hotel PARKROYAL Yangon is within a 10-minute drive of historic Shwedagon Pagoda and Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market). It is a 30-minute drive from Yangon International Airport.

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The air-conditioned rooms are fitted with classic furnishings and carpeted floors. They include a minibar, free tea/coffee-making amenities and a safe.

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Guests can arrange day trips at the tour desk, or rent cars to explore the city. The hotel also provides a souvenir shop and laundry services.

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Hearty international buffets are available at Spice Brasserie and Shiki-Tei features a sushi counter. Chinese specialties can be sampled at the Si Chuan Dou Hua before heading to The Music Club for a cocktail.

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Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel – Mactan, Philippines

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Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel 1

Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel has comfortable accommodations by the white sands of Mactan Island. The hotel features a private beach, 2 outdoor pools and massage treatments. Free private parking is also available.

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The modern rooms at Costabella feature a cable TV. The private bath has a hot/cold shower. A minibar, tea and coffee-making facilities and a safe are also provided.

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Guests can enjoy activities such as beach volleyball, biking and diving at the hotel’s exclusive beach. The hotel also provides trip planning services at the guest service desk. Currency exchange, airport shuttle and vehicle rental are also available.

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Casual dining is featured at the Costabella’s main restaurant, which serves modern Asian cuisines.

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Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel is in Buyong, Mactan Island, Cebu, and is approximately a 20-minute drive from Mactan International Airport.

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Bangkok – Holiday travel: more buses to be put on during New Year period

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Good news for Bangkok residents traveling to the provinces for the holidays: officials announced today they would put on more inter-province buses to accommodate the mass influx of travelers during the New Year period.

The Transport Company said this would serve up to 135,000 people daily during the holiday. It will also offer a 15 percent discount for tickets bought in advance.

Officials also announced cheaper boat fares today, following the drop in diesel price.

Starting today, the fare for the Saen Saeb canal route will be cut by THB1 from the usual price, Marine Department deputy director Nut Jabjai said.

The department had promised to cut the fare for that route once the diesel price dropped below THB21 per liter, which it did on Wednesday when it dropped by 70 datang to THB20.59, Thai PBS reported.

Officials will also consider cutting other boat fares for routes along the Chao Phraya river.

Source: Coconuts

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Bt10 million in reward offered, #Bangkok

Flying 22

TIP-OFFS SOUGHT ON KEY SUSPECT; BLAST AIMED TO HURT ECONOMY: SOMYOT

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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