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Asian Trails apresenta suas novidades de 2019 na WTM em São Paulo

Como todos os anos, a Asian Trails estará presente na próxima edição da WTM em São Paulo.

Convidamos você a nos visitar para discutir, compartilhar qualquer assunto relacionado às nossas novidades em 2019 e nos abordar pessoalmente.

Entre os dias 2,3 e 4 de abril de 2019, você pode nos visitar no estande N69 do Escritório de Turismo da Tailândia, onde teremos nosso espaço para reuniões. Este ano teremos também a presença de nosso representante no Brasil, Rodrigo Ferreira e o responsável dos mercados latinos em Bangkok, Maurizio Sartori.

Sobre a Asian Trails
Desde 1999 a Asian Trails é reconhecida como o melhor receptivo no Sudeste da Ásia, com sede em Bangkok, estende seus serviços personalizados com guia em 9 destinos: Camboja, China, Hong Kong, Indonésia, Laos, Malásia, Mianmar, Singapura Tailândia e Vietnã

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Tales from our Trails: Flores – The charming island alternative to Bali

Bjorn Schimanski, Managing Director of Asian Trails Indonesia, invites you to travel beyond Bali to the rugged beautiful island of Flores with the pleasant fishing town of Labuan Bajo, long sandy beaches, fantastic dive spots and the nearby Komodo National Park with its famous inhabitants – the Komodo dragons.

The majority of tourists to Indonesia tend to stick to the same classic routes. We all know this, and it is our bread and butter. Although the number of tourists to the country has increased sharply yet we find that most of our guests and about 40% of total arrivals land on Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’ – a percentage that has not changed much over the years.

But this does not mean that things are not changing or developing. Bali is still a standalone destination for most visitors. However, as connectivity increases and ‘new’ islands develop we see Bali changing into a convenient hub from where you can fly in and out, stay a couple of days or longer and then continue to discover some of the other destinations Indonesia has to offer.

Welcome to Komodo!

Many of these places are still in — what I would call — a sweet spot, not yet a focus of mass tourism (or the new buzz word ‘over-tourism’) but already offering good flight connectivity, basic infrastructure and some standout accommodation.

One of the most charming of these places is Flores and the surrounding area. The island, around three times the size of Bali, was first put on the map by Portuguese traders and missionaries in the 16th century. They gave the island its name and left quite a mark on the island. It is not difficult to spot Portuguese ancestry in the local population and the biggest heritage the Portuguese left behind, which is a connecting link between the different ethnic groups of Flores, is Catholicism. Churches are full on Sundays and the Easter processions in the eastern city of Larantuka are legendary and fascinating to watch.

The blend of ancient local costumes and culture with Catholicism make up a curious mix, and is a big draw for a visit. This is topped off with superb landscapes, an incredible underwater world and the largest living lizards anywhere. These should convince you to hop on the next plane from Bali (or Jakarta) to see them for yourself.

The first time I visited Flores was in 1999 when I travelled overland from Maumere in the eastern part of the island all the way up to Medan in Sumatra. It was quite a trip of approximately 4,500 kilometres on dodgy buses, slow trains and huge boats overloaded with refugees who escaped the terrors of a religious war on the Maluku islands (further east), which broke out during the transition period to democracy in Indonesia.

On the top of Padar Island during the dry season

Back then my last stop on Flores was the sleepy town of Labuan Bajo, which consisted of no more than a few huts. I certainly did not think that I would open our fourth Asian Trails Indonesia office right there 19 years later. But things are changing fast in Asia once a certain stage of development kicks in.

Labuan Bajo with its adjoining harbour is the entrance to the Komodo National Park, which has quickly rose in popularity for good reasons. The beach area where I spent a couple of days in a bamboo hut for US$10 a day (that included full board) is now owned by one of the nicest boutique resorts in the area – the Plataran Komodo Beach Resort. A marina is currently being built and a Starbucks will open soon (who needs that as there is the fantastic local Arabica Flores coffee – one of the best anywhere).

There is talk of a daily ferry shuttle to the Komodo National Park for masses of mainly Asian tourists while, at the same time, other parties within the government are trying to increase the entrance fees or limit the arrival numbers. Let’s see how all this plays out, but we are clearly only at the beginning of massive investment and development in the coming years.

A game changer and a harbinger of things to come is the newly-opened AYANA Komodo Resort, Labuan Bajo, with over 200 rooms. It is the first of a couple of 5 star properties opening up in coming years in and around Labuan Bajo.

The main attraction and reason for most people visiting Flores are obviously the Komodo dragons, which are endemic to only three islands to the west of Labuan Bajo. It takes about four hours in a speed boat or up to eight hours in a slow boat to get there. A minimum of three days should be enough to visit the basics, and fly in and out. However, we recommend adding more days to get more out of the trip.

The wider Labuan Bajo area makes for a great beach extension, as there are some lovely boutique resorts on the small islands that have the feel of small Greek islands but with a Pacific setting — difficult to describe and you have to be there to experience the unique ambiance.

If the budget permits then go on a cruise. The holiday can hardly get any better – sleep on board and explore the many different savannah-style islands with amazing underwater world full of turtles, manta rays and intact corals.

And for those who truly want to discover places on Flores that are not yet “exposed” by Instagram, “invaded” by hotel chains or Airbnb, or featured in tourism packages I recommend an overland island tour of between five days to a week. Thanks to good air connectivity you can easily start the journey in the east of the island and finish in the west (or vice versa). While the infrastructure around Labuan Bajo is the most developed on the whole island and caters for a wide range of budgets, we work mostly with selected guesthouses in the rest of Flores that make up part of the charm. This tour certainly has the potential of becoming another classic route!

Sunrise over Komodo

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Our Asian Trails Ways to Explore Asia at the upcoming 2019 ITB

With colleagues from various Asian Trails destinations making their way this March to Germany for the annual ITB, we’ve set the pace once again for delivering products and travel news that suits your specific needs.

Together with Laurent, CEO of Asian Trails, senior executives from all our Asian Trails destinations are available to talk, share, recommend and explain the latest in exquisite travel design. From the culinary to the ordinary, the adventurous to the luxurious, all this will be available from 6 until 8 March 2019 in Hall 26b, stand 207 at the Messe Berlin.

Just a few more weeks before one of the world’s leading Business-to-Business travel shows welcomes distinguished travel professionals around the world, seeking the latest in travel ideas, explorational itineraries and be mesmerized by what our Asia can offer. We still have a few slots available during these three days and experience the zeal we have for blazing new paths in travel.

For appointments, contact us via marketing@asiantrails.org or try to catch one of us at our booth.

Kindest regards and see you next month!

The whole team at Asian Trails

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Siem Reap’s Amansara temporarily closes its doors in 2019

In a bid to maintain its position as one of the leading hideaways in Cambodia’s Siem Reap, the owners and management of the Amansara have officially announced that they will temporarily close their doors for a full-scale rejuvenation project from 15 June until 31 July 2019 inclusive. According to the official statement from the Amansara, reservations and sales department remain available during office hours.

Housed around elegant central lawns on the former guesthouse estate of King Norodom Sihanouk, Amansara’s 24 suites feature subtle Khmer touches such as sandstone reliefs that duplicate the ruins of nearby Angkor. Expansive glass doors open onto a private garden courtyard with sun loungers and a reflection pond. The signature Aman Spa and an award-winning restaurant greet guests as they check-into Cambodia’s cultural capital.

Forming an essential part of our Exquisite Experiences across our Asia, Asian Trails Cambodia regrets not being able to offer its local food exploration in combination with the Amansara during the aforementioned period. Alternative accommodation during these 2 months can be offered to match with the wishes of an authentic exploration of the culinary kind.

For more information, please contact our office via res@asiantrails.com.kh during office hours. Affected bookings during the said period will be taken up with partners on an individual basis.

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Asian Trails well represented at upcoming ITB 2019

Asian Trails will once again be attending the ITB Berlin on 6 –8 March 2019 at the Messe Berlin.

This is an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss the very latest in product innovation, getting an update on all our online projects and giving new and existing customers about our service developments taking place in Asia. In addition, you have the chance to get first-hand information from our country experts exactly how they can benefit your business in their respective country

You can book an appointment by contacting us personally to fit in your preferred timing

On the Asian Trails stand this year (Hall 26b/207) will be:

  • Laurent Kuenzle – CEO, Asian Trails
  • Veronique Ducassy – Managing Director, Asian Trails Cambodia
  • Xiaolin Zhang – Managing Director, Asian Trails China
  • Bjorn Schimanski – Managing Director, Asian Trails Indonesia
  • Virginie Kury – General Manager, Asian Trails Laos
  • Emir Cherif – Managing Director, Asian Trails Malaysia and Singapore
  • Thomas Carnevale – Managing Director, Asian Trails Myanmar
  • Yves van Kerrebroeck – Managing Director, Asian Trails Thailand
  • Bui Viet Thuy Tien – Managing Director, Asian Trails Vietnam

About Asian Trails
We take guests to the Real Asia so they taste, touch and experience the beating heart of every destination they visit. Our portfolio includes wholesale and tailor-made leisure arrangements and a broad range of theme-based tour packages. We continue to innovate and provide an ever-changing range of travel products.

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Large Asian Trails delegation heading to 2019 SATTE in India

As one of the leading trade shows for passionate travel professionals from the Indian Subcontinent, Asian Trails’ presence at the SATTE is guaranteed. From 16 – 18 January 2019, colleagues from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia / Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will welcome friends and business partners at stand B182 at the India Expo Centre – Greater Noida in India.

Over the past period of time, new travel initiatives, new deals, and product development specifically for our customers will be presented and showcased during this show. With our appointment schedule filling, it will be a sincere pleasure meeting you during this platform to share the latest novelties across East and South East Asia.

For any appointment with one of our colleagues, please feel free to contact Sajith Krishnan – Regional Manager India, Middle East & Asia via sajith@asiantrails.org to confirm a slot with one or more of our local professionals.

We are all looking forward seeing you this coming January at India’s leading platform for travel and tourism-savvy colleagues.

Kind regards

Aravind, Ardy, Ravi, Sajith, Stanley and Yogesh

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Asian Trails’ delegation at the 2019 Asian Tourism Forum in Ha Long

For many years, the Asian Tourism Forum (ATF) has established itself as one of the leading regional trade shows for the travel industry from around the globe. This year again, Asian Trails is able to meet passionate professionals from 14 until 18 January 2019 at the Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Centre (QNEPEC) in Ha Long, Vietnam

A delegation from Asian Trails Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will showcase the latest in exceptional travel operations with an innovative approach at booth J22. Opportunities aplenty to discuss the very latest in product innovation, getting an update on leisure destinations around the region and giving new and existing partners about our leisure service developments taking place in Asia. In addition, you have the chance to get first-hand information from our experts exactly how your business can benefit with our extensive network through East and South East Asia.

You can book an appointment by contacting us via marketing@asiantrails.org to fit in your preferred timing

Our colleagues attending the ATF 2019 will be

  • Ms Virginie Kury – General Manager, Asian Trails Laos
  • Mr Alexander Leven – General Manager, Asian Trails Vietnam
  • Mr Laurent Loustau – Business Development Manager, Asian Trails Cambodia
  • Mr Do Nguyen Phuong – Inbound Manager, Asian Trails Vietnam

We are looking forward meeting you in Northern Vietnam!

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The CEO Story: Doing Good — Part of Asian Trails’ DNA

A long time ago when I lived in Myanmar I often spent Christmas Eve with the elderly and Catholic sisters at Yangon’s Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged Poor. Since my accident earlier this year my travelling activities have been very (and still are) limited, but I decided to travel to Yangon with family and friends to continue with this tradition.

Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged Poor is a retirement home in Yangon for the poorest of the poor – people who have absolutely nothing. It is very well looked after and managed by the Catholic sisters who devote their life taking care of people who are in the final years of their lives. The Home is open to people of every faith, and today houses over 150 male and female residents.

The residents are very happy to receive visitors and talk to them, particularly about their life experiences and their families. Many have amazing stories to tell and share them joyously with visitors. I cherish these moments with the sisters and residents very much.

The visit always makes me realise how lucky I am, to be born where I was, the privilege of receiving a good education, to have had my own chance at life, to be surrounded by caring family and friends, and to have a job that I love. Most residents at the Home for the Aged Poor never had such chances.

Asian Trails Myanmar organises small events for the residents from time to time. Father Christmas paid them a visit late last month. Sometimes we invite a magician to entertain them, and our managers and staff join them singing songs accompanied by a guitarist. We also set up a play and read from books, and we organise for the young chef association of the hearing impaired to bake cake and cookies for the residents.

Everyone is welcome to visit and share stories with the sisters and residents. Visits can be organised in advance, or guides can spontaneously arrange for one during visiting hours upon request. Today, we think we need to categorise such visits as CSR activities. They can be such, but they can also be just a simple spontaneous visit.

However, I feel that such activities are sometimes politicised. Of course, we don’t want to showcase an Old People’s Home as an entertainment venue. We want to take visitors who have a genuine interest to learn about other people and their cultures, and who want to share their stories with the underprivileged.

This is not voyeurism. It is not about spicing up a city tour. It’s about adding meaning to one’s life and the lives of others. It works both ways.

I am totally against masses of tourists visiting orphanages or similar institutions anywhere in the world, and having a competition to judge who takes the best child photo. But just walking past a village school and having a chat with the kids during their break time is a lot of fun for everyone. We need to keep things in perspective and maintain our common sense. There is nothing wrong with a school visit as long as the principals and teachers approve, and it doesn’t interrupt classes.

Not everything has to be categorised as a CSR activity. Just being out there in the countryside on a bike and learn how the local people live is already a CSR activity. Voluntourism is a different ball game and needs different considerations.

CSR activities are also not about marketing. They are about doing good. It drives me mad when some companies think they need to parade their managers and staff in front of underprivileged communities, the 10-minute give, take picture and leave event. Anyone thinking of doing CSR activities needs to show respect, needs to care about the feelings of those visited, needs to bring meaningful purpose, and to understand the consequences of their actions.

We love to work with local communities in all our countries. It’s part of our lives and part of what we do. We are happy to share our experiences with tourism professionals on what we can organise and what we cannot (or do not want to organise). We will always engage in activities that are beneficial to communities and will always treat them with respect.

The term ‘over tourism’ will ring a bell for all of us. There can be also be over tourism in CSR activities, which we should avoid at all costs. If tourism becomes a burden to communities it is our job to stop it and instead engage in other more suitable activities, or in those with communities in remote locations. Whatever you choose to involve us in, you can always be assured that our activities will be to the benefit of every community.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you a healthy and happy 2019. I look forward to seeing many of you at one of the trade shows in the new year. I am, unfortunately, still not in a physical condition to pursue my active travelling patterns but there will be many interesting stories coming your way from my Asian Trails colleagues.