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Wednesday, 01 February, 2012, 19 : 00 PM [IST]

THAI Airways President asks PATA to make Europe visas for Thai nationals easier

While addressing the PATA Hub City Forum in Bangkok recently, Piyasvasti Amranand, President, THAI Airways asked the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) to help make it easier for Thai nationals to get tourism visas.? Addressing 120 public and private sector travel industry executives at the forum, Amranand, said that while e-visas were discussed at Davos, "There are many small things you can do today to help Thais travel to Europe."

Piyasvasti praised destinations that had no visa or streamlined tourism visa facilities. "I think it's why we see so many Thais now going to Korea....I think PATA should do more to get governments to ease the visa situation."

In his speech, 'Navigating the Headwinds,' Piyasvasti told the audience that THAI had a nine-point strategy for development and growth. Wide-ranging hedging of oil prices to ensure cost stability, the leasing of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, an extensive retro-fitting of older aircraft, a greater emphasis on Asian markets, reduced capacity to certain low yield European cities, and the launch of two low cost airlines were the central pillars THAI's strategy. The airline will take delivery of its first A380 in October 2012, according to a release.

Piyasvasti lamented the aviation industry's commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 as "ridiculous" given that aviation accounts for only two per cent of global CO2 emissions. He described the EU's Emission Trading Scheme as "unfair" as it was calculated from point of origin and would therefore badly impact long haul carriers flying to Europe.

The audience at the forum were updated on the latest strategic developments and trends shaping tourism in the greater Mekong region. Suraphon Svestareni, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor told the audience that the impact of ASEAN Economic Cooperation will be felt by 2015 when 32 types of tourism jobs will become border-less.

Martin J Craigs, CEO, PATA said that there will be six PATA Hub City Forums across the world in 2012. Each one will address strategic issues facing the host market. The emphasis at each forum will be on cross-sectoral and private-public sector participation. The PATA CEO told the audience that Piyasvasti's speech was one of the most "honest" he had heard. Craigs said PATA Hub City Forums were indicative of a new "PATA Next Gen" mindset where the emphasis will be on advocacy.

Craigs said: "PATA can say things that others cannot. It is cross-sectoral and includes the private and public sector. That is PATA's unique blessing."

Speakers also addressing the Bangkok event included senior executives from the Asian Development Bank, Myanmar Tourism Board, Khiri Travel, LANITH, LT Project Management, and Anantara Hotels.
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