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Shunned By West, Arabs Flock To Bangkok

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CHANGING FACE OF TOURISM:

Shunned by West, Arabs flock to Bangkok

BANGKOK: -- Middle Eastern visitors, drawn by bargains and friendly atmosphere, prove a boon to the local industry

Thailand has become an increasingly popular destination for Middle Eastern tourists, especially for those who like the country’s shopping centres, medical services, spas, golf courses and other leisure facilities.

The peak season for these visitors runs from July to October. According to Bangkok’s JW Marriott Hotel, arrivals usually increase by 60 to 70 per cent during these summer months.

“During this period we’ve an occupancy rate of almost 100 per cent,” says Anchalee Chamroontaneskul, the hotel’s director of marketing communications.

At JW Marriott, the majority of Middle Eastern guests are from the United Arab Emirates, accounting for 60 per cent of the total, followed by Qatar and other places in the Middle East.

“Most of these visitors holiday along with their extended families and usually have a long stay in the city to do shopping. With their high purchasing power, they have given a boost to city tourism businesses and shopping centres, especially brand-name retail stores on Sukhumvit Road,” she says.

Ibrahim, an entrepreneur from Qatar who asked not to disclose his surname, says he usually visits Thailand with his wife and his extended family during the annual summer vacation.

“It’s now my eighth visit. Usually we stay for two months in a five-star hotel on Sukhumvit Road. The 50-degree heat at home brings us here for a holiday. Goods are cheaper and more modern here,” he says, adding that his family prefers Thailand’s atmosphere.

Fajer, a visitor from Kuwait who also asked not to reveal her surname, says shopping for brand-name goods in Sukhumvit’s shopping malls usually tops her list of things to do while visiting Thailand.

“I shop for everything from clothes and bags to shoes and watches. Prices of brand-name goods here are close to those at home, but the experience is more entertaining here,” Fajer says.

Salama, a teacher from Dubai, says he usually comes here with five other family members, also on a shopping spree.

“Dubai is not very far from Thailand. With a direct flight from Dubai taking only seven hours, it is really convenient and easy to take the whole family with me,” Salama said.

Another female visitor in her 20s who asked not to be named says that she and her extended family, including grandparents, like to holiday in Thailand because of good shopping and medical care.

“Prices of goods here are reasonable. While we’re here, my grandfather also visits Bangkok’s Bamrungrad Hospital for medical treatment. Coming here is also convenient compared to other places such as Europe. If we wanted to go to Europe, it’d take months to get visas processed,” she says.

In the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil and the more recent terrorism in London, Middle Eastern tourists have found it more difficult to take holidays in the West. Apichart Sankary, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, says: “We all know that people from the Middle East haven’t been able to get into Western countries easily since 9/11. The situation has sort of encouraged the Arabs to go elsewhere, especially to Asian countries. “On average these people are spending more money and also staying longer in Thailand than tourists from other regions,” Apichart says.

In 2004 arrivals from the Middle East jumped by 42.03 per cent to a total of 289,571, with the UAE and Kuwait the biggest sources of visitors.

Since May this year there have been 84 weekly flights from the Middle East to Thailand, including 66 from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Bahrain.

Among the major carriers are Thai Airways International, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air and Cathay Pacific.

Shady Kamel, a front-office supervisor staying at the Bangkok Marriott hotel, says the recent terror attacks in an Egyptian resort town have led to increased safety concerns among Middle Eastern tourists so many have switched their choice of destinations.

“Visitors have become more aware of political disturbances in once popular destinations following the June bombing of the Egyptian resort town and political riots in Lebanon.

“Middle Eastern guests are also aware of changing attitudes towards them in the US and Europe. This is my first time here, and I feel that Thai people are kind and very helpful, while in European cities like Rome and Moscow you can find a different atmosphere: people do not treat you the same as their Thai counterparts,” Kamel says.

Banlue Srihamart of the First Hotel in Bangkok’s Nana district, a popular area for Arab visitors, says the hotel has year-round visitors from the Middle East, most of which are from Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE and during the summer time there are more Iranian guests.

The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports also plans to promote Nana as the so-called “Arabian Street” since Gulf countries have become an important market for the tourism industry.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Juthamas Siriwan has said TAT would focus on spas, shopping, healthcare, golfing and other wellness facilities in marketing campaigns to attract more Arab visitors.

Although Bangkok and the beaches of peninsular Thailand remain popular, efforts are also being made to entice visitors to other destinations like North and Northeast Thailand as well as the neighbouring countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion, she said.

Because Middle Eastern visitors are heavy shoppers, they will be particularly interested in the discount campaigns that will be under way this summer.

Given the rising number of Arab tourists, several Bangkok hotels have launched Arab food fairs. For instance, the Bangkok Marriott has imported a chef from Egypt for the summer months, while the First Hotel has opened a new restaurant called Halong to serve guests from the Middle East.

Many Middle Eastern guests prefer Bangkok shopping and visiting nearby cities to visiting the countryside.

They also like to visit Bangkok’s Safari world and Dream World, the Elephant farm in Pattaya and the crocodile farm in Nakhon Pathom.

--The Nation 2005-08-28

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[Thats wonderful, although they may find the attractions of BK offensive to their Muslim sensibilities, all that sex and alcohol can't be good. I suggest they they whizz down to the southern provinces, where they will feel more comfortable with their surroundings, and can buy as many mobile phones as they may need

Inshallah to you all.

quote=george,2005-08-28 04:56:23]

CHANGING FACE OF TOURISM:

Shunned by West, Arabs flock to Bangkok

BANGKOK: -- Middle Eastern visitors, drawn by bargains and friendly atmosphere, prove a boon to the local industry

Thailand has become an increasingly popular destination for Middle Eastern tourists, especially for those who like the country’s shopping centres, medical services, spas, golf courses and other leisure facilities.

The peak season for these visitors runs from July to October. According to Bangkok’s JW Marriott Hotel, arrivals usually increase by 60 to 70 per cent during these summer months.

“During this period we’ve an occupancy rate of almost 100 per cent,” says Anchalee Chamroontaneskul, the hotel’s director of marketing communications.

At JW Marriott, the majority of Middle Eastern guests are from the United Arab Emirates, accounting for 60 per cent of the total, followed by Qatar and other places in the Middle East.

“Most of these visitors holiday along with their extended families and usually have a long stay in the city to do shopping. With their high purchasing power, they have given a boost to city tourism businesses and shopping centres, especially brand-name retail stores on Sukhumvit Road,” she says.

Ibrahim, an entrepreneur from Qatar who asked not to disclose his surname, says he usually visits Thailand with his wife and his extended family during the annual summer vacation.

“It’s now my eighth visit. Usually we stay for two months in a five-star hotel on Sukhumvit Road. The 50-degree heat at home brings us here for a holiday. Goods are cheaper and more modern here,” he says, adding that his family prefers Thailand’s atmosphere.

Fajer, a visitor from Kuwait who also asked not to reveal her surname, says shopping for brand-name goods in Sukhumvit’s shopping malls usually tops her list of things to do while visiting Thailand.

“I shop for everything from clothes and bags to shoes and watches. Prices of brand-name goods here are close to those at home, but the experience is more entertaining here,” Fajer says.

Salama, a teacher from Dubai, says he usually comes here with five other family members, also on a shopping spree.

“Dubai is not very far from Thailand. With a direct flight from Dubai taking only seven hours, it is really convenient and easy to take the whole family with me,” Salama said.

Another female visitor in her 20s who asked not to be named says that she and her extended family, including grandparents, like to holiday in Thailand because of good shopping and medical care.

“Prices of goods here are reasonable. While we’re here, my grandfather also visits Bangkok’s Bamrungrad Hospital for medical treatment. Coming here is also convenient compared to other places such as Europe. If we wanted to go to Europe, it’d take months to get visas processed,” she says.

In the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil and the more recent terrorism in London, Middle Eastern tourists have found it more difficult to take holidays in the West. Apichart Sankary, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, says: “We all know that people from the Middle East haven’t been able to get into Western countries easily since 9/11. The situation has sort of encouraged the Arabs to go elsewhere, especially to Asian countries. “On average these people are spending more money and also staying longer in Thailand than tourists from other regions,” Apichart says.

In 2004 arrivals from the Middle East jumped by 42.03 per cent to a total of 289,571, with the UAE and Kuwait the biggest sources of visitors.

Since May this year there have been 84 weekly flights from the Middle East to Thailand, including 66 from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Bahrain.

Among the major carriers are Thai Airways International, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air and Cathay Pacific.

Shady Kamel, a front-office supervisor staying at the Bangkok Marriott hotel, says the recent terror attacks in an Egyptian resort town have led to increased safety concerns among Middle Eastern tourists so many have switched their choice of destinations.

“Visitors have become more aware of political disturbances in once popular destinations following the June bombing of the Egyptian resort town and political riots in Lebanon.

“Middle Eastern guests are also aware of changing attitudes towards them in the US and Europe. This is my first time here, and I feel that Thai people are kind and very helpful, while in European cities like Rome and Moscow you can find a different atmosphere: people do not treat you the same as their Thai counterparts,” Kamel says.

Banlue Srihamart of the First Hotel in Bangkok’s Nana district, a popular area for Arab visitors, says the hotel has year-round visitors from the Middle East, most of which are from Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE and during the summer time there are more Iranian guests.

The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports also plans to promote Nana as the so-called “Arabian Street” since Gulf countries have become an important market for the tourism industry.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Juthamas Siriwan has said TAT would focus on spas, shopping, healthcare, golfing and other wellness facilities in marketing campaigns to attract more Arab visitors.

Although Bangkok and the beaches of peninsular Thailand remain popular, efforts are also being made to entice visitors to other destinations like North and Northeast Thailand as well as the neighbouring countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion, she said.

Because Middle Eastern visitors are heavy shoppers, they will be particularly interested in the discount campaigns that will be under way this summer.

Given the rising number of Arab tourists, several Bangkok hotels have launched Arab food fairs. For instance, the Bangkok Marriott has imported a chef from Egypt for the summer months, while the First Hotel has opened a new restaurant called Halong to serve guests from the Middle East.

Many Middle Eastern guests prefer Bangkok shopping and visiting nearby cities to visiting the countryside.

They also like to visit Bangkok’s Safari world and Dream World, the Elephant farm in Pattaya and the crocodile farm in Nakhon Pathom.

--The Nation 2005-08-28

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Where they gonna go after someone does a suicide attack here?

You nong.....

Countries like the Lebanon, UAE and Oman are pretty laid back countries, not by just middle eastern standards, but by world standards. Even the Iranians are known to be a pretty hospitable bunch of people, though you'd never beleive it the way the US goes on about it.

Sure there is some conservatism there, but no more than you'd find in the bible belt in the US, or in Thailand. And, its not a strand of conservatism which is likely to lead any of them to strap a kilo of TNT to themselves and board a bus full of passangers.

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Well thats the Marriott off my List.

I was at the Grand Majestic in june.

Place was full of them both looking down on my GF in the lift and common areas and perving too.

They were on my floor and made a racket the whole time,leavng one room as some kind of common room with the security latch out so every time they went in and out which they did a LOT it banged.

Whole hallway stank the whole time and many guests noticeably waited for the next lift,which strangely enough so did they,esp the women,I was in a lift a couple times when one of those daleks were waitng but did not get in ..prob as they cldnt be alone with another human being of the male gender.

I hope the management are sensitive and keep them as segregated as they can.

Where they gonna go after someone does a suicide attack here?

You nong.....

Countries like the Lebanon, UAE and Oman are pretty laid back countries, not by just middle eastern standards, but by world standards. Even the Iranians are known to be a pretty hospitable bunch of people, though you'd never beleive it the way the US goes on about it.

Sure there is some conservatism there, but no more than you'd find in the bible belt in the US, or in Thailand. And, its not a strand of conservatism which is likely to lead any of them to strap a kilo of TNT to themselves and board a bus full of passangers.

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with the situation as it is in the south , its only a matter of time before they , or their supporters from another country or state have a go at bangkok , home of the government that they are fighting against.

with the easy granting of visas and the availability of false passports , it isnt all that difficult to forsee a situation where islamic terrorists can come and go as they please , undetected , they can change nationalities as they please .

i hope the authorities are watching carefully just who are coming and going.

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Met seek 'fake' passports accused

British police have one month to make a case for extradition .

British police will seek the extradition of an Algerian man arrested in Thailand on suspicion of forging European passports.

Atamnia Yacine, 33, was detained in the Thai capital Bangkok on Wednesday, after he was found with at least 180 French and Spanish passports.

Britain has a warrant for his extradition on charges of forging passports and money laundering.

Thailand is widely reputed to be a major source of fake travel documents.

Yacine was arrested during a raid on his house in Bangkok.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We understand the individual has been detained in Bangkok."

"We will be working with the Crown Prosecution Service, the Foreign Office and the Thai authorities to seek his extradition."

British police will have one month to present their case to authorities in Bangkok.

'Forgery hub'

Thai police said the seized passports had been sent to the French and Spanish embassies for examination.

Western governments view Thailand as a hub for fake passport production and proliferation, the BBC's Jonathan Head said from Bangkok.

Security analysts say that is a major concern, as they can be used to allow criminals and in some cases militants* to move freely between countries

(from todays bbc. news site.)

*militants ( the bbc's new politically correct word for terrorists)

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CHANGING FACE OF TOURISM:

Shunned by West, Arabs flock to Bangkok

BANGKOK: -- Middle Eastern visitors, drawn by bargains and friendly atmosphere, prove a boon to the local industry

:D:D:D

Shady Kamel, a front-office supervisor staying at the Bangkok Marriott hotel,

"Shady Kamel"......:D

Banlue Srihamart of the First Hotel in Bangkok’s Nana district, a popular area for Arab visitors, says the hotel has year-round visitors from the Middle East, most of which are from Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE and during the summer time there are more Iranian guests.

The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports also plans to promote Nana as the so-called “Arabian Street” since Gulf countries have become an important market for the tourism industry.

Oh Well......There goes the neighborhood..... :o:D

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I have a mixed class of Iranians and Thais at the moment.

It gets a bit testy in the room sometimes.

We were talking abt food and the Thais upset the Iranians by saying they don't like Indian food. The Iranians replied we don't like Thai food.

The Iranians lack a bit of respect always laughing when the Thais say something wrong.

It's not all bad. But it is certainly an interesting experience for me.

C

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I found it kind of funny when I was in Egypt last month. Lots of Arab tourists, but according to the locals, the Arabs were in Egypt primarily for shopping and the nightclubs.

They were not overly interested in visiting the local attractions, or places where there are a lot of western tourists. I saw a few (mostly women with children) visiting the pyramids, and in the Islamic museum at the Phaoronic village.

Makes me wonder what the Egyptians will do if the "militants" start doing more bombings. Same for the Indonesians. Think they'll start cracking down if there are anymore Bali-style bombings ? Not likely, seeing as they just reduced the prison sentence for the cleric convicted of being the mastermind behind the whole affair.

"In the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil and the more recent terrorism in London, Middle Eastern tourists have found it more difficult to take holidays in the West."

So what are they going to do if there are more terrorist attacks in Thailand, and they start finding it harder to visit places like this ?

As most of us know, not everybody from England is a soccer hooligan (notice I said England, not Scotland :o ), and not every english-speaking white person is from the USA. As well, not all people from the Middle East are terrorists.

Surprising how few of them ever condemn the actions of the terrorists though.

Made me smile when the residents of Sharm el Shiek (the tourist city in Egypt that was bombed in July), protested in the streets against terrorism. I think that was the first time I had seen anyone from the Middle East protest against it.

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It must be a middle east thing. You rarely see Arabs condeming (in their own language) the terrorists to any great extent, nor do you see many Jews criticise Israel's occasional excesses. Yet most western politicians get stomped on for much lesser things from their constituants.

I think muslims are starting to lose patience with the terrorists. (It's about time)

cv

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It must be a middle east thing. You rarely see Arabs condeming (in their own language) the terrorists to any great extent, nor do you see many Jews criticise Israel's occasional excesses. Yet most western politicians get stomped on for much lesser things from their constituants.

I think muslims are starting to lose patience with the terrorists. (It's about time)

cv

Are you in Canada now ? Remember that story out of Toronto a couple of weeks ago, about the city councilor that suggest the police should start questioning more black youths at random ? It seems that a very large portion of the violence that was/is happening, is amongst the young (13-18) black population.

It sounded like that councilor got stomped by almost every group out there, political, ethnic, religious, special interest, minority.

Want to get out of a traffic ticket ? Claim you are the victim of "racial profiling" (only works if you are not an english-speaking white male). We are getting to the point that the police aren't allowed to try and prevent crimes, and in some cases, are not allowed to try and catch criminals (like the areas that don't allow police chases if the "alleged criminal" exceeds a certain speed, or not being allowed to question certain people just because they fit the "profile").

I don't think any group really wants to be looked upon by the rest of the world as "pariah's". Knowing that large portions of the rest of the world look down upon you as a result of the actions of a few, is probably starting to sink in to some parts of the Middle Eastern culture.

As they gain more access to news and information, and slowly become more educated and affluent, perhaps more of them will protest those actions comitted by the few. It's happening (at least once) in Egypt.

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It must be a middle east thing. You rarely see Arabs condeming (in their own language) the terrorists to any great extent, nor do you see many Jews criticise Israel's occasional excesses. Yet most western politicians get stomped on for much lesser things from their constituants.

I think muslims are starting to lose patience with the terrorists. (It's about time)

cv

You don't see them or does the media stoping you from seeing them? Media in Israel usually goes hand in hand with the rulling government. Personally I have participated in several Peace demonstrations in Israel which were not covered at all, while right-winged demonstrations of the same size received full coverage. It is however true that nationalistic extremists might shout louder and be more interesting and colorful material for any media rather than peace supporters. If you are looking for non-compromising criticism of Israel activities or policy, you will find it with this Israeli.

Regarding Muslims tourists in Thailand, well, they are great shoppers. They either like the product or not, no games played. They are fast decision makers - Unlike many others, they don't ask 1,000 questions, bargain for half an hour out of boredom and leave.

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BANGKOK 26 June 2018 00:53
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