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Mice Asia Net : January 2009
upfront DespIte the global economIc slowDown, Dusit International reaffirms its strategy to maintain its priority of long-haul markets especially from the UK and European region in 2009. Senior vice president of Dusit International, Octavio Gamarra (pictured) said while the global economic slowdown and political turmoil have affected long-haul travel and Thailand tourism the group is continuing to put the UK and European markets as priority business for 2009. “To ensure that we maintain the momentum of these markets, we are pursuing our differentiation by strengthening Dusit International’s five brands – Dusit Thani, Dusit Princess, dusitD2, Dusit Devarana, and Dusit Residence, and enriching our unique selling points which include the renowned Thai hospitality, exceptional service levels, as well as value for money,” he said. “We have also developed some tactical offers to provide extra stimulus into the markets – with a number of partner campaigns soon to be launched. We strongly believe that the UK and European visitor’s arrivals to Thailand still contribute significant numbers, and we are stepping up our marketing, advertising and public relations effort for this region.” These markets contribute up to 40 per cent of Dusit’s business. The economic contribution to Kuala Lumpur generated by events held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre since its opening has been estimated to be RM 1.7 billion (USD 0.5 billion). Centre general manager, Peter Brokenshire said it is imperative that Malaysia maintains its competitiveness in the business tourism arena, especially in light of the current economic slowdown, as tourism is the country’s second largest foreign exchange earner, after manufacturing. To date, the three-year old centre has been the venue of choice for more than 1700 events, which in turn have welcomed 6.1 million delegates who contributed 6.5 million delegate days. “Events of this calibre attract what the meetings industry call ‘super tourists’ as delegates of conventions and meetings are generally known to boast the longest average stay and the highest average spending power by almost five times compared with typical leisure travellers,” Mr Brokenshire said. He attributed the centre’s success in winning international and regional business tourism events to the close working relationship enjoyed by the centre and its Team Malaysia partners including Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). For 2009 the centre has secured international and regional conventions including the 14th Conference on Thinking (2000 delegates), 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (1200 delegates), 6th World Chambers Congress (1000 delegates) and the 20th Video Urology World Congress 2009 (800 delegates). According to Danang’s Culture-Sports- Tourism Department, tourists visiting Danang by air have been on the rise. Figures show that Silk Air and Thailand’s PB Air carried 14,395 passengers to Danang in 2008, an increase of 12 per cent on 2007 numbers. In 2008 two airlines from South Korea including Asiana and Korean opened their first charter flights from Seoul to Danang resulting in 2898 South Korean tourists visiting Danang and its neighbouring cities. The international direct flights have helped Danang-based resorts and hotels which have average occupancy rates of about 65 per cent. “Direct flights have helped us lure more guests from Singapore and Thailand. In particular, some MICE groups have flown direct for international meetings and conferences in Danang,” said executive assistant manager of the five-star Furama Resort Danang, Nguyen Duc Quynh. “If there are more international flights to Danang we believe that tourism in Danang and central Vietnam will continue to develop.” miceAsia.net 11