Fine for feeding monkeys

Tourists will be fined 500 baht for feeding monkeys on Koh Chang in Trat.

Koh Chang is the largest island of Mu Koh Chang National Park's 40 islands and islets in the Gulf of Thailand. For several years, the national park has had signs asking tourists not to feed wild monkeys, including crab-eating macaques and pig-tailed macaques living in the forest on the island.

According to the park's Conservation Department head Nitchai Pandej, giving food to wild animals can alter their behaviour, leading them to aggressively seeking out food from people.

"Please do not feed monkeys" signs written in both Thai and English are displayed at many spots on Koh Chang, including along the road of Ban Bao-Khlong Kloy in the southern part of the island where crab-eating macaques always come out of the forest to find food.

The park expects that the 500 baht fine will discourage tourists from feeding the macaques.

Trial Pattaya-Hua Hin service extended

The Royal Passenger Liner has extended its free trial ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin to Jan 30.

According to the ferry operator, bad weather resulting in rough seas is the main reason for postponing the commercial service from Jan 12 to Feb 1, after which the weather is expected to improve.

Pattaya is about 350km from Hua Hin by road or about a five-hour drive while the ferry service can reduce the distance and the travel time by more than half, or about two hours.

The ferry service is between Pattaya's Bali Hai and Khao Takiab pier in Hua Hin, one round a day. It leaves the pier in Pattaya at 10.30am and reaches Khao Takiab in Hua Hin around 12.30pm. The return trip from Khao Takiab is 1.30pm and the arrival time at Pattaya is 3.30pm.

During the free trial period, the company offers the service to 200 passengers daily. To be able to get on board, passengers must queue up to register their names with ID cards at the piers at least two hours in advance. Online booking services are not available during the trial period.

If more passengers show up than the quota, they need to come back again another day.

The company plans to offer the service daily, however passengers are advised to check for service availability at its Facebook's Fan Page at www.facebook.com/RoyalPassengerLiner or call its call centre at 038-488-999.

Airlines update

Australia-based Qantas Airways has been named the world's safest airline for the fourth year running, according to an annual survey by AirlineRatings.com.

The website announced its top 20 safest airlines and top 10 safest low-cost airlines for 2017 from the 425 it monitors.

According to the website, Qantas has a fatality free record in the jet era. Other airlines on the list, ranked in alphabetical order, are Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System or SAS, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

The top 10 safest low-cost airlines, in alphabetical order according to the list, are Aer Lingus, Flybe, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia, Jetstar Asia, Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Vueling and Westjet.

Visit www.airlineratings.com.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Taiwan-based EVA Airways to boost numbers of visitors from the United States and Canada.

"EVA Air is a vital link between North America and Asia as there are currently no direct flights from the US and Canada to Thailand. By working with EVA Air on tourism initiatives, we can help get word out about Thailand's attractions and boost visitor numbers even more in 2017 and beyond," according to TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

EVA Air currently operates 80 flights per week between North America and Taiwan and 26 flights per week on the Taipei-Bangkok route. Of the total passengers travelling on EVA Air's Taipei-Bangkok routes, about 50% are from North America and Europe.

TAT also plans to open a new office in Canada in the future.

Hotels update

Akyra Thonglor Bangkok has opened on Sukhumvit 55.

Completely refurbished from Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Bangkok, the luxurious hotel now features 120 rooms with choices of studio (37m²) to three-bedroom suites with space usage ranging from 61m² to 154m². It also provides meeting rooms, a restaurant and bar, swimming pool, spa and a 24-hour fitness centre.

Visit www.theakyra.com/bangkok.

Three behavioural trends found among Asia Pacific consumers will present new opportunities for hotels in 2017, according to a study of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, the US-based provider of hotel reservations and distribution solutions.

The first trend is "betterment" and it refers to consumers who want to improve their lifestyle or do something better, like living more healthily or recycling more. It is an opportunity for hotels to combine self-improvement choices into its deals.

The second trend is "local love" in which hotels can improve their service by offering truly local or authentic experiences to their guests.

The third trend is "infolust" which hotels can use messaging apps including WeChat, WhatsApp and Line to exchange or share travel information with consumers and eventually offer personalised services.


Email karnjanak@bangkokpost.co.th if you have any comments to share.

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