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– FUTSAL WORLD CUP: The Senate committee on sports has urged the Thai government to look after the organizing of next month’s trouble-plagued Futsal World Cup.
Speaking at yesterday’s Senate session, Committee Chairwoman Naruemol Siriwat said the country’s reputation had been tainted by the fact that the Bangkok Futsal Arena in Nong Chok district will not be complete in time for the opening stages of the November 1-18 tournament.
– THAI 3G: Thailand’s three major mobile-phone operators qualified Tuesday to bid in next Tuesday’s third generation (3G) spectrum auction.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday announced the three qualified applicants who will bid in the 3G auction: Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), a subsidiary of the country’s largest mobile operator; Advanced Info Service (AIS); DTAC Network, a subsidiary of DTAC; and Real Future, a subsidiary of True Corporation.
The NBTC will auction off 9 5-MHz blocks, totaling 45 MHz of bandwidth, on the 2.1-GHz spectrum. The auction will be an ascending-bid type, with each participant allowed to purchase up to 15 MHz, or 3 blocks. The winners are due to be announced on October 22.
– GANGNAM STYLE: A whopping record 418 million hits on YouTube for this new horse riding dance phenomena by South Korean rapper Psy, is impacting entertainment at all levels and continues to take the world by storm.
– SKAL SDIT AWARD: Congratulations Bangkok Skalleague Soren Wettendorf and his company Asian Oasis winning the Skal “Diversey Special Recognition” Award at the 2012 SKAL World Congress.
The awards were announced by the Vice President of Skal International, Karine Coulanges, and President of Skal Thailand, Andrew J. Wood, during the 73rd Skal World Congress in Korea.
The Diversey Special Recognition Award shares its aim with the “Sustainable Development in Tourism Awards” (SDIT), presented by Skal International. They are designed to acknowledge projects which are innovative and designed to transform the conventional understanding of sustainability to one in which business and the environment, along with safety, risk management, and corporate responsibility are efficiently and cooperatively managed to the benefit of all.
The award, presented during the Opening Ceremony of the 73rd Skal World Congress in Incheon, Korea, on October 3, was given to Lisu Lodge in Chiang Mai and Lanjia Lodge in Chiang Rai for their efforts to promote sustainable tourism in Thailand. Both properties have taken great strides in efforts to protect and nurture local cultures while also preserving the environment.
Lisu Lodge is situated in a small Lisu tribal village 50 kilometers from Chiang Mai City, Thailand. Built in traditional Lisu style with an eye for western comforts, the lodge serves as a base-camp for a magical blend of adventure, relaxation, and insight. Lisu Lodge was created to provide meaningful experiences for visitors while staying firmly focused on community development and the protection of the environment.
– REGENT OPENS: Regent Hotels & Resorts has announced that its new Phuket resort will open on December 1. Located at Cape Panwa, next to its own private beach, Regent Phuket Cape Panwa will feature 105 rooms: 35 Pool Villas, 48 Suites, and 22 Pavilions. The Pool Villas come with their own private outdoor pool and sundeck area overlooking the ocean, plus 24-hour butler service
– WORLDWIDE HOTEL PRICES UP: Based upon average hotel rates aggregated from dozens of top travel websites throughout June, July, and August, the majority of US, MENA, and Southeast Asia destinations experienced a significant spike in price when compared with the 2011 season.
Where Southeast Asia was concerned, major Thailand tourism centers Phuket and Chiang Mai saw the highest increases in the region, up 37% and 33%, respectively. Pattaya followed at 27% along with Koh Samui at 25%. In fact, the only major Thai destination to experience any price decrease was Koh Phangan at a meager 3%. The country’s hotel spikes are likely attributed to a large increase in hotel development over the past year. Also posting noteworthy gains were Singapore (+32%); Malaysia destinations Pangkor Island (+33%), and Langkawi (+26%); Philippine hot spots Boracay (+25%) and Tagaytay; (+20%) and Hong Kong (+20%).
Middle East and North African (MENA) destinations rivaled Asia for rate growth with Dubai experiencing one of the highest increases in the world at an impressive 57% from an average nightly fee of AED 601.17 in 2011 to AED 941.10 in 2012. This was followed by Islamic pilgrimage hot spot Medina with an increase of 44% and Sousse with an increase of 43%. Dubai’s fellow Gulf city of Abu Dhabi experienced a more humble rate increase of 12%.
The US was a success story as well with an average hotel rate surge of 17%. Anaheim – home to Disneyland – snagged the highest price increase in America with a 42% rise in the average nightly hotel rate of US$109 in 2011 to US$155.25 in 2012.
Lastly, 4 Eastern European cities topped the list of the highest rate increases in the world: Gdansk (+58%), Kiev (+56%), Bansko +36%, and Warsaw +26%. With the exception of Montenegro, Eastern Europe appears to be blooming and enjoyed the prosperity that several key Western European cities severely lacked. The German cities of Dusseldorf (-19%), Leipzig (-16%), and Binz (-16%) all experienced declines while Athens hotel rates went down a significant – 18% during the 2012 summer likely as an after-effect of the tensions the city faced due to the current European financial crisis.
– MOBBED IN PHUKET: Staff of the Movenpick Hotel and Spa Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand, surprised guests with a flash mob dance sequence to the popular song ”Gangnam Style.” Almost all of the dancers were members of the hotel staff, although the crowd did include a few professional dancers who were disguised as tourists and hotel employees.