Students as guides

The Tourism Department of the Tourism and Sports Ministry has introduced the "Little Hosts" project to train primary school students to be local guides.

The project is open to students in Prathom 3 to Prathom 5, and is available in six provinces -- Nan, Lampang, Trang, Buri Ram, Phetchabun and Trat. The provinces were selected by the ministry as part of the 12 "not-to-be-missed" provinces.

"We see the potential in youngsters living in the country's tourism areas as valuable assets that can be professional guides and show tourists around their towns," said the department deputy director-general and acting director-general Wanasiri Morakul.

She said the students would be given knowledge-boosting courses in local traditions and culture, language, Thai hospitality and a chance to work with professional local guides. Being trained as guides, the students will appreciate the importance of environmental conservation, local traditions and cultures, she added. Next year, the department will introduce the project in Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Chanthaburi, Chumphon, Loei and Nakhon Si Thammarat. "The continued implementation of this project will lead to sustainable development in tourism for the country in the long run," she noted.

Cutting edge tourism

Three foreigners have been chosen to get free cosmetic surgery as part of Thailand Extreme Makeover Season 2.

The contest launched in March is a project by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote health and wellness. Out of 2,095 international applicants, the three people were chosen by a committee comprising of TAT officials, doctors and specialists, according to TAT deputy governor Juthaporn Rerngronasa.

They are Chen Yuhan from China, Novi Meyliani from Indonesia and Darleen Cubas from the United States. They came to Thailand on Aug 15 to receive free cosmetic surgery. One of the three will be chosen as the campaign winner, receiving US$5,000 (180,000 baht)  and a two-night stay at The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa Taling Nga in Koh Samui, Surat Thani. The first runner-up will receive a two-night stay at Twin Lotus Resort & Spa in Koh Lanta, Krabi, with the second runner-up receiving a two-night accommodation package at Nishaville Resort & Spa in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Those who vote for winning contestant will have a chance to win one of the 12 prizes, including hotel packages and beauty packages, valued from 15,000-150,000 baht. The last day for the online vote is Sept 30 at www.tourismthailand.org/thailandextrememakeover.

Airlines update

AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia X and AirAsia Philippines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lotte World Adventure in Seoul to offer themed park tickets on board. Passengers will be able to purchase a day pass at a discounted price to Lotte World Adventure while flying to South Korea on all three airlines of AirAsia. The contract has expanded a service that was previously available only in Thai AirAsia X.

Passengers can buy merchandised products of Lotte World's main characters like Lotty and Lorry for children. Travellers who show a boarding pass of one of the three airlines at the Lotte World ticket office will get a 30% reduction on the ticket price of Lotte World Adventure, Lotte World Aquarium and Lotte Water Park.

Singapore Airlines has joined hands with its sister company SilkAir to fly to Maldives. "By synergising the networks of both carriers, we are able to provide customers more choice," said Singapore Airlines senior vice-president for marketing and planning Lee Wen Fen.

Singapore Airlines has offered a variable frequency of 10-14 flights a week to the capital of the Maldives. Now, together with SilkAir's new services, both airlines will offer a total of two round-trip services a day, subject to regulatory approval.

The new service will start on Oct 25.

Visit www.singaporeair.com.

Hotels update

Ramada Phuket Deevana has been opened in Patong.

The hotel offers 206 rooms with space usage ranging from 35m² for a Deluxe room to 56m² for a Junior Suite. Each room has a private balcony and free Wi-Fi. Also provided are a swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, kids' club, restaurant and meeting room which can accommodate up to 90 people.

The hotel is within 10 minutes walk to Patong Beach and about 45 minutes drive from Phuket International Airport.

Visit www.ramadaphuketdeevana.com.

Variety Hotels, a Thai-based hotel management company, has added the Sea Sun Sand Resort & Spa in Phuket to its portfolio. Located about 150m away from Patong Beach, the four-star hotel offers 240 rooms and each room has the same space usage at 37m².

Other facilities include two restaurants and bar, a swimming pool with a kid's pool, spa, fitness centre, kid's club, three meeting rooms, which can accommodate 30-150 guests, free Wi-Fi and shuttle bus services to Jungceylon shopping mall, Bangla Road and Patong beach.

Variety Hotels manages 10 hotels and resorts in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Phuket, Koh Samui and Khao Lak.

Visit seasunsandresort.com.


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