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Rouble trouble — Russian tourism collapses in Thailand

February 1st, 2015 · No Comments

Hit by plummeting oil prices and economic sanctions imposed by the West, Russia’s currency turmoil is roiling the region’s tourism industry too


The sunshine days are over,” said Kubilay Atac, general manager of Pegas Touristik Thailand. “Business will never be the same again, especially in Thailand.


Russia’s political and economic crises, compounded by the recent collapse of the rouble, will rock the region’s tourism industry for the next two years, say travel business leaders.

The declining rouble, which in December 2014 fell below 74 against the US dollar from 44 the previous month, slashed the spending power of Russian travellers, playing a role in the collapse of more than 20 travel agencies in Russia and halving Russian arrivals to Thailand at the height of peak season.

“The sunshine days are over,” said Kubilay Atac, general manager of Pegas Touristik Thailand, one of the largest inbound operators in the market. “Business will never be the same again, especially in Thailand.

“I have been warning about the major Russian crisis for some time. I had expected the rouble to fall below 50 to the dollar in February. It was a big slap in the face when it happened in peak season, the one period we had to recover losses from last year (due to Thailand’s political crisis).”

Read more at TTG Asia

→ No CommentsTags: industry · publications · Thailand · tourism · travel · travel trade · TTG Asia

TTG Asia – VisitBritain cultivates Indonesian market

May 15th, 2013 · No Comments

Greg Lowe, reporting from Destination Britain and Ireland, Bangkok, May 15, 2013

VISITBRITAIN is focusing on Indonesia as a new growth market in South-east Asia, a move that will be catalysed by direct Jakarta-London flights scheduled to start later this year.

The NTO has categorised Indonesia as a “nurture market” or a territory with solid inbound growth potential where it does not yet have a local presence.

Initiatives will include consumer marketing activities, but there will be stronger emphasis on working with the local travel trade and forming commercial partnerships with key stakeholders such as Garuda Indonesia. The airline will launch direct flights to London Gatwick in Q4. Read more…

→ No CommentsTags: Asia-Pacific · Bangkok · travel trade · TTG Asia

MIX magazine – Thailand: Bangkok and beyond

February 21st, 2013 · No Comments

Few markets in Asia match the diversity Thailand offers as a combined business events destination. Delegates can fly into Bangkok for a convention or trade show, then head out of town to decompress and engage in team-building activities and incentive programmes incorporating anything from beachside dinners on private islands near Phuket to hair-raising zipline rides through the forest canopy near Chiang Mai.

Official figures published in January reflect Thailand’s continued appeal. Some 895,224 MICE visitors came to the country last year, according to the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), exceeding the agency’s annual target by 19.4 per cent. The business events industry accounted for just under one-tenth of all tourist arrivals to the kingdom, with about two-thirds of delegates coming from within Asia and total spending topping US$2.66 billion.

A total of 7,382 MICE events were held in the kingdom in 2012, up 6.84 per cent year-on-year. Conventions accounted for 35 per cent, meetings and incentives contributed 25 and 24 per cent respectively, with exhibitions making up the rest. Last year’s strong performance showed “a clear vote of confidence in Thailand as a cost-effective MICE destination,” says TCEB’s acting president Thongchai Sridama. Read more…

→ No CommentsTags: incentives · MICE · MIX · Thailand · travel trade

Family Fortunes – Thailand’s hotel clan

November 1st, 2012 · No Comments

fahthai sukosol_Page_1

Read my recent article on the Sukosol family in Fah Thai magazine here

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Obituary: Dan White – photographer and friend (26 April 1965 – 20 September 2012)

October 15th, 2012 · No Comments



A little after 3pm on Tuesday September 18, Dan White, the British photojournalist and writer, started complaining of a severe headache. Twenty minutes later the underlying cause, a massive cerebral haemorrhage, would render him unconscious. The internal bleeding was so severe that he slipped quietly into a coma from which he would never awake. Some 36 hours later he passed away in the presence of his twin brother Oliver and a few friends. He was 47. Read more…

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Robbie Fowler comes to Thailand as Buriram PEA kicks off football training academy

July 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Thai football bolstered by ‘God,’ Africa and a former politician in Isaan

Robbie Fowler isn’t the only football talent heading to Thailand. A new initiative plans to make Buriram a driving force in the development of The Beautiful Game

By Greg Lowe

Global football fans were rightly surprised earlier this month when legendary English player Robbie Fowler announced his signing with Muangthong United, a Thai Premier League team.

Though Thailand welcomed “God” with cheers, Australian football aficionados likely spat the dummy when last week he took a swipe at the A-League and his former team, Perth Glory, telling reporters, “Thai players have more technical skills than the Australian [players].” Read more…

→ No CommentsTags: Asia-Pacific · Bangkok · · football · politics · Thailand

Three CNNGO stories: Eat, art, party

June 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Apathy and a generally lackadaisical approach to life has, yet again, prevented me from uploading stuff to the blog here for quite some time. Fortunately today, to avoid to more pressing work, I’ve decided to take a break from laziness to post three recent pieces I wrote for the lovely Karla at

Most recently, I did a roundup of four excellent home delivery food services in Bangkok that are well suited for idol souls like myself: Meals on gourmet wheels: Expat entrepreneurs spark Bangkok’s delivery-only dining scene

Wai Art recently reappeared on the scene after a two-decade hiatus, setting itself the task of giving young Thai artists more access to public exhibition space: Wai Art: Finally, a lifeline for Thailand’s emerging artists

Finally, for those “real people” out there who don’t live near Thong Lor or Ekkamai and thumb your nose at the yipsters and their oppressive clique, venture over the Chaophraya River to Thoburi where a number of attitude-free bars and clubs have started to spring up: Where to party on Bangkok’s west side

→ No CommentsTags: art · Bangkok · · culture · food · food · Lifestyle · nightlife · Thailand

Updates: Burma earthquake, AIDS and social stigmas in Thailand, getting even with cold-calling financial advisors

April 14th, 2011 · No Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded the site. Recently I secured an eyewitness account of the March earthquake which devastated parts of Burma for The Guardian.

Having lived in Thailand for almost a decade, I’ve had numerous irritating experiences involving financial advisors cold calling me at work. Recently, I discovered that cold calling is against SEC regulations and there’s a very easy way to report the tossers who refuse to take no for an answer. Read more about this in the piece I wrote for here.

In March I had the privilege to moderate the first screening of Living with the Tiger, a documentary about children living with HIV/Aids in Thailand. It’s one of the most empowering and uplifting films I have seen on the matter. But it also packs a mighty punch and drives home the message of how social attitudes toward people infected with the virus need to change. Read the piece at here.

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How to deal with Bangkok’s illegal financial advisors

April 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Most of Thailand’s English speakers have had run-ins with these telephone stalkers. Here’s how to put a stop to the cold calls for good
By Greg Lowe

It would plain wrong to accuse all so-called “independent financial advisors” operating in Thailand of being low-life, scum-sucking, rip-off merchants; heels who divide their time between skanking people out of their hard-earned cash and selling grannies.

So let’s be fair and accurate: I’m only talking about 90 percent of the IFAs that I’ve had dealings with in Bangkok.

I’m sure there’s at least a handful of decent professional firms out there that offer sound investment advice, operate according to strict ethical standards and, as a result, have a growing list of happy clients who willingly recommend their advisors to friends. But then, they’re not the tossers who keep cold-calling you at work and refuse to take no for an answer, are they?

Read more

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Review: ‘Living with the Tiger’

April 4th, 2011 · No Comments

A bitter-sweet documentary about HIV-infected orphans in Lopburi chips away at the social stigma associated with the virus in Thailand
By Greg Lowe

One of the things that struck me most about “Living with the Tiger” was the realization I have never laughed so much while watching a documentary about children living with HIV/AIDS.

That’s not meant to sound callous. It’s just that the film features many genuinely funny moments. And by showing the HIV-infected orphans from the Baan Gerda community in Lopburi as normal children, “Living with the Tiger” starts to chip away at the enemy in its sights — the social stigma associated with the virus in Thailand.

Over the course of three years, the children are shown going about their daily lives: generally horsing around and acting like monkeys. After all, that’s what kids do best.

Read more…

→ No CommentsTags: · features · health · HIV/Aids · social exclusion · social issues · Thailand