I’ve finally found the weekend coworking space I’ve been looking for – it’s 38 floors up and great value for money

Posted by - March 31, 2018

There are three stages to writing an article: the first is finding your story; the second is research, writing and editing; then the third is publishing and sharing with the world. Now, stages two and three are often require some graft, with articulation of your thoughts and finding a suitable layout and tone of voice, but sometimes the first part of the process is so wonderfully simple that the article almost writes itself.
I’m talking about the times when you stumble across a solution to the very problem you yourself had previously and just know that others would have had a similar problem – so you want to share your solution and help them out.
Rewind exactly one week, to the scene of me desperately searching for a decent weekend coworking space in Bangkok. I had assumed that it would be easy to find a smart little venue, ideally a few floors up with a decent view of the city, with great Wi-Fi, reliable air conditioning and that relaxed yet buzzy vibe that makes the concept of a coworking space so popular today.
The view from my coworking wonderland (Travel Daily is based out of a great coworking space in Chid Lom but in my experience, these places are weirdly quiet on weekends – if open at all – and not very motivating places to be. However, hotel venues are often lively throughout the week and therefore always my preference for weekend work.)
My search in and around Sukhumvit Sois 11 and 13 had been fruitless, so I retired, defeated, to the Starbucks – on the ground floor – and cursed my luck that I could have been in an any poorly lit cafe in the world, instead of up in the clouds looking down over one of the most exciting cities on the planet.
But now, seven days later, here I am, 38 floors above ground with my mind active and my motivation brimming. The attentive, friendly waitress Faii has just this minute put down a freshly brewed americano – none of that ‘pouring yourself a cup of six-hour-ago-brewed rubbish’ here – that comes with a biscuit and glass of water, and the music is upbeat enough to keep the mood high but not so overpowering as to ruin my focus.
“Where is this high-raise haven of productivity?!” I hear you cry. Well, to be honest I’m reluctant to tell you because you might come here and take up all the comfy chairs. At the moment, of the 25 seats here, only four are taken – including my own. There’s a similar amount of space available upstairs, also with a smoking balcony for those who need it, with no-one there so it seems that this place for now is one of Asok’s little secrets.
But I owe it to you to tell you about it – and to the hotel management to share with the world what a great product they have created. I’m sitting in Axis and Spin, the bar at the top of The Continent Hotel on Sukhumvit Road, which becomes a coworking space daily between 10am and 4pm (so that makes the upstairs venue the Bangkok Heightz Thai restaurant).
With floor-to-ceiling windows letting in plenty of natural light, which look out over the small but sophisticated rooftop pool on the 37th floor below, I feel like I’m a million miles away from the ever-reliable yet uninspiring Starbucks of last week when really I’m one BTS stop – walking distance – away.
Just as I’m wondering how the hotel management came up with concept, the lift pings and hotel general manager Jay Jhingran arrives and walks over to say hello, smiling kindly. The industry veteran, whose former roles include VP of operations at Lebua in State Tower and senior VP of sales at Oberoi, tells me about the transformation and how it’s helping business.
“We wanted to created something business-focussed with a smart use of this venue”
He mentions the hotel’s existing events: “We still host a monthly pool party and weekly ladies’ night,” – which attract Bangkok’s hiso social crowd – “But we wanted to created something business-focussed with a smart use of this venue”. The room is already decorated in a smart monochrome motif which feels conducive to ‘getting stuff done’.
And when we discuss the prices: THB300 for 4 hours, with complimentary tea, coffee and snacks – the same as two cups of coffee in an average cafe – I realise that I’ve struck gold. Coworking space gold.
The venue in its evening layout I can see myself using this place a lot in the future as I check the time and the article I’ve just written. What did I tell you about some stories writing themselves? I’ve just produced 700 words in 30 minutes. This may be the most productive I have ever been.

What is the “Markle Effect” and how is it causing a billion-dollar tourism boom in UK?

Posted by - March 31, 2018

“Suits” actress Meghan Markle, 36, will tie the knot with Prince Harry, 33, on 19 May, but she has already established herself as a culture icon. From being a Hollywood actress, Markle’s status catapulted when she started dating the British prince.
Since late 2017, people have been feeling the waves of the “Markle Effect,” also referred to as the Meghan Effect, which is the cultural and industrial impact dictated by the actions of the duchess-to-be. The term was first used regularly by the fashion industry after Markle cemented herself as a fashion icon following her engagement.
The prime example of the influence of Markle, the first actress to join the Royal family since Grace Kelly in 1956, was when Line the Label’s server crashed due to excessive online orders of the coat she wore in publicity photos announcing her engagement to Prince Harry.
Meanwhile, the British tourism industry is also enjoying the Markle Effect and is optimistic that the union will attract thousands of tourists worldwide. Financial consulting firm Brand Finance predicted that the wedding festivities that will take place at Windsor Castle will rake in £1 billion ($1.42 billion).
The Markle Effect – the new Kate Effect? All eyes are on Meghan Markle right now. Since her engagement, people began following Markle’s every move. There is no denying her influence as every item of clothing she wore sold out instantly – from her engagement outfit to the bag she carried during her first royal outing.
Last year, Markle ranked fourth in Lyst’s most influential style stars of 2017. Her future sister-in-law Kate Middleton ranked fifth. Without a doubt, the Meghan Effect will skyrocket in 2018 as her wedding approaches and as she takes on more royal duties as Prince Harry’s wife.
Just as Markle makes clothes and accessories fly off the shelves, this is not the first time that a royal has a large influence on the public. In 2011, a similar phenomenon deemed as the ‘Duchess Effect’ or the ‘Kate Effect’ rippled across the world. Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton became a trendsetter overnight. Anything worn by Middleton, and now her children, are instant bestsellers.
Until now, the reverberations of the Kate Effect can still be felt. In 2015, Middleton brought more than $205 million to the British economy. Her children, George and Charlotte, also brought $239 million to the UK.
Bringing billions to UK economy St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle As preparations get underway for the wedding of the year at Windsor Castle, experts are already crunching the numbers that Markle Effect will bring to the British economy. The royal wedding is expected to bring a boost to the tourism industry and increase sales in pubs and restaurants as the country celebrates the union. Currently,.
The pair will assume the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex after marriage. Businesses are making preparations on their own like hiring extra help and extending hours, as well as stocking up on Harry and Meghan-themed souvenirs ahead of the arrival of royal watchers.
According to Brand Finance, £300 million ($426 million) will come from tourism, travel, restaurants, and hotels; another £300 million will be derived from media coverage, picture and television rights; and £250 million ($355 million) will be spent in partying and celebrations. Even souvenir merchants sound optimistic.
Hotels in Windsor booked up shortly after the wedding date was announced in December, probably because of the large number of reporters worldwide covering the royal wedding. Local hotel room prices have already doubled since the announcement, according to News.com.au.
Since late last year, the royal engagement boosts tourism in the country. UK newspaper The Daily Express cited travel website kiwi.com which claims that there is an increase of Americans visiting London this year. Moreover, new data reveals huge spikes in flight searches from US to London as the royal wedding nears. The Express added that Washington DC, San Francisco, Miami, and Los Angeles are the cities with highest searches for flights to the British capital.
The boom of 2011-2012 The 2012 diamond jubilee celebrations Prior to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, tourist authority VisitBritain predicted that the event would trigger a tourism boom and would generate £2 billion ($2.84 billion) for the economy. The government even allotted a £100 million ($142 million) marketing fund to use for the event, as well as the Queen’s diamond jubilee and 2012 London Olympics, to sell Britain as a prime tourist destination.
According to the Office of National Statistics, there was an increase of about 354,000 visitors to Britain in April 2011 for William and Kate nuptials. However, it is still unconfirmed whether the government will do the same for Harry and Meghan.

Travel partners defiant as Hilton follows Marriott in reducing group booking commissions

Posted by - March 31, 2018

Hilton Chicago Agents’ worst fears are being realised. Another hotel chain giant, Hilton Worldwide, has followed Marriott International’s lead and slashed standard hotel group booking commissions from 10% to 7%. The new rate will come into full effect on 1 October in U.S. and Canada, but business booked by planners and agents before said date will still receive the standard 10% commission.
Senior vice president and commercial director of the Americas at Hilton Worldwide Danny Hughes released a statement saying: “At Hilton, we recognize the important and integral role group intermediaries play in our meetings and events business, and we are proud to partner with a wide network of travel professionals to create meaningful experiences for our guests.”
“At the same time, we also have to balance the needs of all parties, and we therefore continually review our sales and distribution strategies to ensure we are offering the best value for our customers, hotels, and owners. This change, whilst easing operations costs associated with group revenue, will allow our owners, over time, to make further investment in products and offerings that enhance the guest experience,” he continued.
Hilton St. Petersburg Florida Hilton is the second-largest U.S. hotel company by revenue after Marriott. Hilton currently owns, manages, or franchises 4,552 hotels in North America; Marriott has around 4,800. As many predicted, it is only a matter of time that hotels will follow the example of Marriott in reducing the commissions for meeting professionals and travel agents. Smaller hotels and hotel chains are denying that they will reduce group commissions. Some companies even claimed that there will be an increase in commissions up to 12%. However, nothing is set in stone.
Where Marriott leads, others follow In January, Marriott International announced that it will reduce commissions on group bookings to 7% from the standard rate of 10% starting 31 March – today – for its hotels in U.S. and Canada. Contracts already signed will still receive the 10% commission.
The move came after Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016. Following the merger, many predicted that the two giants will make use of its market power. Last year, Marriott started lowered commissions paid to online travel agencies. According to a letter sent to partners, “Marriott’s group distribution costs are growing faster than our group revenue; these costs are limiting our ability to invest in meeting products, experiences, and innovation.
Hilton Boston Hotel Dedham Changing economics in this segment, plus these growing costs, required us to re-evaluate our intermediary compensation model. We are introducing a new strategy that will result in a more sustainable way of partnering with intermediaries.”
Both Marriott and Hilton blamed rising group distribution costs, while profits are dwindling. Moreover, the hotel giants claimed that the costs are preventing them to invest in other areas that enhance the guests’s experience. Therefore, the only solution is to cut the commission of partners.
Anger and defiance Travel agents are upset with the news as group hotel bookings have become an important source of revenue for them after airline commissions were abolished and cruise lines made an effort to make parts of cruise fare non-commissionable. Travel agents feared that the decision of the two biggest hotels will cause a ripple effect onto other hotels.
Following Marriott’s announcement, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents Zane Kerby made
a statement saying: “While we are in the process of assessing the impact of Marriott’s announcement on our members’ businesses, we are disappointed in the signal that a cut of this magnitude sends to the broader agency community.
“In our view, a 30% cut in intermediary compensation diminishes the value of the role agents play in this complex and ever-changing industry. We plan to discuss this change with Marriott, our agency, and consortia members and other stakeholders with an eye toward ensuring positive business outcomes for all involved.”
Hilton Boston Logan Airport Small travel agent companies and meetings professionals are the ones most affected by the news. Cutting commissions is Marriott and Hilton’s easy way to increase profit, but some experts are saying that this could have pitfalls.
According to Kalibri Labs, group bookings bring about $30 billion in business revenue in U.S. Companies that sell large amounts of travel usually get better deals on commissions from airlines and hotel chains. Smaller commissions from Marriott and Hilton leave companies no choice but to seek other hotels or hotel chains.

TAAI unveils partnership with TPConnects to roll out its IATA NDC-compliant Digital Empowerment Initiative for agencies

Posted by - March 30, 2018

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Nodal association of India has unveiled a partnership with TPConnects to roll out its ‘Digital Travel India ‘ empowerment Initiative, TAAI-Connect, to travel agencies in India – which also facilitates IATA NDC platform. The announcement included the claim that over 10,000 Indian IATA and Non-IATA travel agencies can benefit from the “TAAI-Connect”
Through the TAAI initiative, India’s travel agencies will be provided with their own websites, mobile applications, corporate booking tool and B2B platform. This will all be powered by TPConnects’ robust and scalable NDC standard full backend and internet booking engine with payment gateway. TPConnects will also provide technical support and there will be no upfront charges, just a per passenger transaction fee.
The IATA NDC standard B2B and B2C platform will help travel agencies and online travel agencies to service their customers better. The platform enables travel agencies to have access to rich content as well as ancillary options. Travellers will be able to have their preferences recognised when shopping via a travel agency’s or online travel site in the same way that they are available on an airline’s website – a service that may not be directly available to agents today owing to technology limitations.
“Many travel agencies currently lack a proper website and mobile application”
Sunil Kumar R, president TAAI, said: “Glad to announce “TAAI-Connect” an exclusive tie-up with TPConnects, an IATA NDC Dual Level 3 Certified IT Provider and Travel Aggregator. TPConnects is committed to supporting TAAI’s “Digital Travel India” initiative. It will ensure that all travel services are made available to customers electronically and accessible through individual travel agency websites and mobile applications, along with IATA NDC standard booking engine.
“Many travel agencies currently lack a proper website and mobile application. This partnership will enable them to be online and visible within the next two years, with tailor-made travel offers providing more choices to end-customers.
Goverment building of Rashtrapati Bhavan, official home of the president of India “The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) share the vision of the Government of India to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. We believe that this initiative will empower travel agencies and help drive creativity and choice, resulting in a smooth transaction for the customer. It will create global opportunities for travel agencies and more inbound, outbound travellers. India’s travel agents will be fully equipped to compete on a global scale.”
Rajendran Vellapalath, CEO of TPConnects, added: “This partnership will create a wealth of new opportunities for India’s travel agents. To compete in today’s market travel agencies need to have access to the advantages that a digital operation provides. This initiative will create those opportunities for travel agencies, not just locally but on a global scale. We will see big changes in India’s travel industry over the next two years.”
Travel Agencies who wish to have their own website and mobile application with booking engine are required to register through the TAAI Website or email [email protected]

For travellers by travellers: Aerotel open their first Euro location

Posted by - March 30, 2018

Plaza Premium Group has announced they will be unveiling the first European location of their international airport transit hotel brand Aerotel, at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 this week.
All prepped to go live at the beginning of April 2018, the Hong Kong-based brand, which specialises in providing premium airport services, first announced their intention to bring the concept to London in a press conference, detailing their global expansion plans, at ITB Asia 2015 in Singapore. This follows the installation of a new Plaza Premium Group lounge at T3 last summer.
Amin Amin, general manager, UK commented: “Aerotel London Heathrow is the Group’s sixth hotel at an airport to meet the demand of transit passengers. It promises a comfortable airport accommodation and flexible booking hours, bringing guests a brand new home-away-from-home experience in London Heathrow with added convenience.”
Current Aerotel sites are Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Rio De Janeiro, Singapore, Muscat with Aerotel Guangzhou, opening soon in China.
Designed ‘for travellers by travellers’, the airport hotel offers 82 ‘premium yet affordable’ rooms. The four types of accommodation at Aerotel London are: Solo Plus, for solo travellers who require a space to rest and relax; Double Plus, which comes with two single beds or one double bed; Double Squared, designed for a group of four and Family, with two queen size beds and extra space, also for four guests.
Aerotel London also features a 24-hour library-lounge, offering a variety of drinks and hot and cold food. Guests can stay connected with the complimentary Wi-Fi and catch up on the latest news with newspapers, magazines and TVs with multiple channels.
As the only airport landside hotel at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3, Aerotel will be open 24/7 to guests and the hotel lobby is conveniently located in the east wing of Terminal 3 arrivals. The airport hotel is also easily accessible by foot from Terminal 2, the central bus station and Heathrow Express.
Aimed at travellers who have a long layover before a connecting flight or perhaps are arriving or departing late at night or early in the morning, Aerotel London Heathrow offers flexible bookings available from six hourly slots.
Room packages at Aerotel London start from £50 for six hours (or from £35 including the 30% off special opening rate on stays between 1 May and 1 July 2018). But to celebrate the launch, customers will receive 30% off their booking on stays between 1 May 2018 and 1 July 2018. Stays can be booked at www.myaerotel.com

Rotana brings culture and luxury to Saadiyat

Posted by - March 30, 2018

The Rotana brand was launched with the opening of their first property, the Rotana Beach Abu Dhabi in 1993. This beach property has served as both a brand and a home market icon. 25 years later Rotana returns to its home market with a follow-up Abu Dhabi beach property. Fans of the Rotana brand will no doubt be delighted to see the a new five star product in the city after focusing most of their new development over the past 24 months across the middle east and Africa.

The Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas is a five star resort located in the center of Saadiyat Island. If your aren’t familiar with the island, it’s a new development and targeted to be the Abu Dhabi’s cultural centre. It will include three museums: Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
Given the island’s cultural focus Rotana, a local company, itself steeped in the local history is uniquely suited to deliver the island’s premier property. The new luxury beachfront resort is designed in line with the local Arabic and Emirati focus down to the smallest detail.
“[The hotel is ]… set to become the go-to destination in the capital for a luxurious resort experience.”
Emirati-inspired artwork is featured throughout the property, including a core collaboration with Ashwaq Abdulla. The Emirati artist has created pieces based on local nature which feature as a highlight in each of the resort’s rooms, suites and villas.
“We are very excited to be launching the first phase of Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas which is set to become the go-to destination in the Capital for a luxurious resort experience,” said GM Marc de Beer.
The property includes a broad selection of fine and casual dining, fitness facilities, a luxury spa and family focused activities and facilities.
MICE facilities are impressive and must be on the Hot and New list for any MICE organizer looking at Abu Dhabi luxury venues.
The property includes a 450-seat ballroom and spectacular 510 sqm outdoor event venue that will contend to be the top wedding and casual corporate function venue in Abu Dhabi.
The property joins two other five star resorts on Saadiyat Island: the Park Hyatt and the St. Regis.

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort – “a sanctuary for travellers that have seen it all and expect nothing but the best”

Posted by - March 30, 2018

Koh Samui’s SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, which sits proudly on Chaweng Beach, is one of the idyllic island’s latest luxury locations, having opened just a couple of months ago, in January 2018. Despite being open a short while, the pool villa resort has already garnered a reputation for its striking looks, as well as excellent service.
Located less than five minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of Samui’s food and entertainment hub, Chaweng town, and only a ten minute drive from the island’s airport, the resort is a perfect blend of high-end pulchritude and easy convenience.
Intelligently appointed in a traditional Asian aesthetic and is inspired by the full moon; reflected in the circular shapes and arches found across the resort. The hotel creates a timeless and peaceful atmosphere, which seeps into every corner of the resort from the lobby to the beachfront restaurants. This serene personality is, of course, reflected in all 52 of SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort’s living quarters, which range from the ocean-facing Garden Pool Suite to the magnificent Pool Villas.
Oceanfront SALA Pool Villa Discussing the visual appeal of the resort with me prior to the official launch, in December 2017, GM Erwin van der Veen said: “The design of the resort is incomparable to any other, aimed at providing this high end luxury product at competitive prices. The product is modern and trendy beyond anything available in the destination, reflecting key attractions of Thailand and Koh Samui throughout its décor and finishes.
“Non-conventional, spacious rooms provide opportunities for romantic relaxation for couples, and as a sanctuary for travellers that have seen it all and expect nothing but the best.”
Oceanfront Pool Suite The Tent Beachfront Restaurant is the resort’s attractive open-air restaurant, featuring an extensive range of fresh seafood, international dishes and traditional Thai favourites.
Guests can elect to enjoy meals in The Tent’s cosy, intimate dining rooms or go al fresco and dine on outdoor dining decks, romantic private gazebos or directly on the beach. Homebodies can have food without leaving their rooms with the resort’s In-Villa Dining service.
The Tent beachfront restaurant and bar The resort’s stunning swimming pool, the “Moon Pool”, is located beachfront, and features a large deck filled with double size daybeds, plus a kids’ pool. But, if you fancy ocean waters and the feel of sand between your toes, hit the beach; SALA Chaweng boasts a 120m white sand beachfront, where guests can kick back on loungers, sun chairs and bean bags.
There is also a variety of water sports equipment available for the more adventurous beach bunny, as well as excursions galore with myriad sea, town, mountain, and jungle activities on offer. Tours can be arranged to cater to all guests’ needs from snorkelling and diving, to mountain biking and elephant trekking and, of course, shopping.
This really is a wonderful location already but there is a whole lot more to come with phase two opening in 2019, which will see a further 83 rooms, another pool and additional facilities.
Click here for more information and reservations.

Sun, sea, sand, surgery: Top medical tourism destinations in Asia

Posted by - March 30, 2018

MEDICAL TOURISM, where patients travel overseas for operations, has been growing rapidly in Asia.
So much so that a handful of Asian countries are competing to tap into the market.
#DESTINATIONS
Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan on international tourists’ radars Tourists are willing to travel to another city, region or state to receive healthcare due to various reasons, the most important being affordability and better access to quality of care.
As more medical facilities around the world are offering its services to foreigners, international healthcare accreditation organizations are in the process of certifying a level of quality for healthcare providers and programs across multiple countries.
In Asia, especially, healthcare is becoming a burgeoning industry, with medical tourists converging on the region from their homes across Europe and America.
Why? Simply because the cost of healthcare in developed countries can be a little cutthroat. And most of Asia has excellent recovery amenities and facilities such as islands, beaches, bustling cities, food, shopping, entertainment, and more.
Tourists are packing up and traveling to Asia to get their health screenings instead. Source: Shutterstock.
According to global insurance company Clements Worldwide, the most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry (general, restorative, cosmetic), and heart surgery, as well as orthopedics (joint and spine; sports medicine); cancer (often high-acuity or last resort); reproductive (fertility, IVF, women’s health); and weight loss (LAP-BAND, gastric bypass).
Medical tourists would also often make the trip overseas for scans, tests, health screenings and second opinions.
Where does Asia stand in this medical tourism boom and what affordable healthcare services do Asian countries provide, you ask?
Here are the top medical tourism destinations in the region:
Malaysia A decade ago, Singapore was said to be leading Southeast Asia’s medical tourism market.
However, the island-city state has become the most expensive city in the world, according to The Economist, a place where the cost of living is 30 percent higher than Manhattan. And it’s now considered a “high-end destination” for medical tourists.
Prince Court Medical Centre is a 270-bed private healthcare facility located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Source: Shutterstock.
This has opened up a world of opportunities for its neighbor, Malaysia.
Malaysia’s quality of care is rising but costs are falling, which appeals to medical tourists. In fact, the number of medical tourists in Malaysia has more than doubled since 2010, bringing in a revenue of RM777 million (US$102 million) in 2014 and RM900 million (US$233 million) in 2015.
The tropical country also provides alternative clinics designed for international visitors, with qualified healthcare professionals trained in acupuncture, herbology, and other forms of traditional Chinese and Southeast Asian medicine.
Malaysia has no shortage of acupuncture specialists, a form of alternative medicine for health, healing, and prevention. Source: Shutterstock.
Healthcare professionals are also knowledgeable in Muslim customs, making Malaysia the go-to country for medical tourists who are concerned about the halal-ness of their healthcare experience.
Thailand Thailand is also one of the most popular medical tourism destinations by most estimates.
In 2006, medical tourism raked in 1.2 million arrivals, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported, citing data from the kingdom’s Commerce Ministry.
A team of surgeons performing an operation on a patient at a cardiac surgery clinic in Bangkok, Thailand. Source: Shutterstock.
It helps in leaps and bounds to assure potential medical tourists that the Thai government is working hard at getting accreditation for the country’s hospitals.
The country also has a strong price point, as the cost of a hip replacement surgery in Bangkok is about half that in the US.
Those who are concerned about safety and professionalism can choose from 33 clinics and hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International, a global group that approves health care centers by ensuring that they meet quality benchmarks and patient satisfaction.
Khao San road in Bangkok, Thailand is always buzzing with people and activities. Source: Shutterstock.
Thailand’s success in promoting medical tourism has contributed hundreds of billions of baht to the country every year because medical tourists not only spend on their medical needs but also on traditional tourist activities such as accommodation, food, drinks, and shopping.
India India is among the fastest growing medical tourism destinations in Asia, as Thailand and India account for 90 percent of the region’s medical tourism industry.
As it stands, the country is home to renowned medical universities and research centers that produce world-class physicians and surgeons.
An Indian nurse and doctor tend to a young female patient. Source: Shutterstock.
It’s also the top choice for foreign students to pursue their medical studies.
The positive effect of that is India now has a huge database of internal homegrown talent that they can use, which keeps cost low. So low that surgery in India can be up to US$2,000 cheaper than it is in Thailand. This has catapulted India to becoming a leader in medical tourism around the globe.
Majority of medical tourists head to cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi for popular treatments such as fertility, orthopedic, cardiac and oncology problems, and organ transplants.
There are also medical tourism agencies that assist patients in every step of their journey: arrange itineraries, visas, local transportation and sightseeing options for the traveler’s accompanying family members.
The neonatal unit of a local hospital in Raxaul, Bihar, India. Source: Shutterstock.
According to The Economic Times, medical tourism in India is expected to become a US$9 billion industry by 2020.
South Korea It goes without saying that South Korea is synonymous with plastic surgery and the country is proud of it, as it actively promotes itself as the destination for aesthetic procedures.
However, that is just at a glance.
Cosmetic surgery advertisements at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Source: Shutterstock.
The East Asian country is also home to hospitals and clinics that provide high-acuity specialties and procedures, such as for spinal conditions and cancer. Its medical institutions are also big on preventive care, promoting comprehensive screenings that include dental, audio, vision, MRIs, and blood and heart work.
South Korea also prides itself on being a leader in technological advancements, and this is evident in its hospitals, where everything is fully digitalized and health records computerized.
Unlike the other medical tourism destinations in Asia, which are mostly hot and humid, South Korea’s cooling climate offers comfort to recovering medical tourists, who can step out for a stroll with comfort and ease.
Yonsei University Cancer Center in Seoul, South Korea. Source: Shutterstock.
According to PR Newswire, South Korea medical tourism industry is likely to reach nearly US$2 billion by end-2022.
Indonesia A new player in the industry, Indonesia is set to develop international medical tourism in the coming years.
Currently famous for its beautiful islands, pristine beaches, and spa treatments, the country has relaxed the laws on medical tourism by removing it from the Negative Investment List.
Rolling waves crashing into a Uluwatu cliff at Indonesia’s beautiful Bali island. Source: Shutterstock.
Indonesia wants a share of the medical tourism pie that its neighbors Malaysia and Thailand are getting.
According to RETalk Asia, the latest calculation of Indonesians undergoing medical treatment overseas is estimated at 600,000, spending US$1.4 billion dollars. Indonesia has realized that this lucrative market could put money back into its own economy.
It has a big potential considering the location, the current tourism numbers, and the likelihood of the affordability.
“The development of medical tourism in Indonesia has a big potential considering the location and Indonesia’s advantages for medical tourism,” Tourism Ministry Secretary Ukus Kuswara said.
Indonesia is ready for a share of the medical tourism pie. Source: Shutterstock.
In September 2017, Indonesia’s tourism and health ministries signed a MoU, teaming up to fulfill a promising role in medical tourism. The next step for both ministries is to form a joined taskforce with hospital, spa and other health association representatives.
Watch this space.
The post Sun, sea, sand, surgery: Top medical tourism destinations in Asia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Nikki Beach Worldwide signs Dhara Devi Chiang Mai as part of “aggressive, yet well thought out, expansion plan”

Posted by - March 30, 2018

Back at the beginning of March, Jack Penrod, founder and owner of Nikki Beach Worldwide, promised to take the luxury and lifestyle brand to a new level, “as part of an aggressive, yet well thought out, expansion plan”.
True to his word, the company has announced the signing of an agreement with Siam Three Heng International Co. Ltd. through its Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts Asia division.The company will now manage the iconic Dhara Dhevi Hotel in Chiang Mai, now rebranded as Nikki Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai.
Kevin Wallace, Nikki Beach Worldwide “The newly formed Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts Asia division looks forward to a successful new property in Chiang Mai in conjunction with the brand’s 20th anniversary,” said Kevin Wallace, president of Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts in Asia.
“With the experience that our brand has in managing Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts successfully around the world, Dhara Dhevi will become a go-to destination in Thailand.”
This move should seize the attention of holidaymakers coming to he region, and that’s not just for the eye-catching design of the Dhara Devi, which is modelled after a Mandalay palace with teak construction and bucolic location, overlooking paddy fields in Thailand’s second city.
While Nikki Beach’s roots are in luxury beach clubs with 13 locations worldwide, it expanded its operations into luxury lifestyle hotels and resorts in 2007, and now also boasts properties in four global destinations spanning Koh Samui in Thailand; Porto Heli in Greece, Bodrum in Turkey and Dubai in the UAE.
All of the properties feature cutting-edge architecture, gourmet dining, extensive spa services, daytime watersports and signature beach and nightclub entertainment.
Family comes first It is also worth noting that, with family-friendly destinations becoming increasingly popular, the Kids Club Arts & Craft Village and Culinary Academy that are already in place will let Nikki Beach hit the ground running, and capitalise on the property’s family facilities ahead of the rebranding process slated for completion in June.
The traditional style of the architecture make it a dramatic location for weddings, meetings and events. That’s not to mention there dedicated event planner, flexible business services and a range of cultural activities devised to add an extra dimension to MICE activities. This includes performances by local dance troops and musicians – even a traditional Thai greeting from an elephant.
“Siam Three Heng International chose Nikki Beach to manage the hotel based on the outstanding track record of Nikki Beach in managing public venues and food and beverage outlets with exceptional returns. We see Dhara Dhevi becoming a center for culinary experiences, live performances, music and fashion for all of Thailand,” says a spokesman for Siam Three Heng International.

How many of the world’s rarest passport stamps have you got?

Posted by - March 30, 2018

HAVE you dreamed of filling your passport with every stamp from across the world, to flick through and reminisce about your adventures and journeys?
Well, you can. But we suggest you don’t leave getting these ones until last as they’re notorious to come by.
#ASIA
The most remote places in Asia you’d want to get to So notorious to come by, we struggled to get pictures to show to you what all the stamps looked like.
Easter Island A post shared by @bohobluebird on Mar 30, 2017 at 9:42am PDT
Although Easter Island is well known, it is relatively difficult to reach. The island is famous for its mysterious giant heads that line the coastline.
The island can be found at the southernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle and reachable via a stop off in Chile first.
The passport stamp does not come through immigration on this island, but at a tiny remote post office instead. Find it, and they will be happy to stamp your passport.
Machu Picchu A post shared by Tarun Gulati (@tarungulati) on Dec 10, 2017 at 1:12am PST
The incredible ancient Inca site in Peru is notoriously difficult to reach due to the high altitude, but there are plenty of tours going up there.
Once you reach the top, find the kiosk at the site entrance and get this neat design stamped in your passport.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Visiting Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales. #travel #longestname pic.twitter.com/GST2PzRYZm
— Elizabeth Raflowitz (@ElieRaflowitz) December 28, 2016
Nope, someone didn’t just lean on the keyboard – this is an actual place in North Wales.
Although you don’t need your passport to travel from England to Wales, it is worth taking it if you are visiting this town as they will happily stamp your passport to commemorate the day you visited a place with a name you can’t pronounce.
Pitcairn Source: Pinterest
Found way off the coast of Tahiti and even further away from Panama, which is both its closest neighbors, is the island nation of Pitcairn.
As the small group of islands is populated by the descendants of Bounty Mutineers, it makes sense that the passport stamp has an image of a pirate ship.
North Korea Passport stamp from the train station at the DMZ on the border with North Korea pic.twitter.com/kN9m5OAmTN
— Neal Hendrix (@nealhendrix) April 8, 2013
The world’s most secretive country welcomed just 100,000 visitors in 2016. If you are lucky enough to see inside this peculiar nation, then you’ll certainly get a passport stamp to remember your trip.
And that might be all you get as photography is hugely restricted and souvenirs aren’t abundant.
Kiribati Source: Pinterest
Deep in the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati can be found in all its unspoiled beauty. Getting there consists of starting at either Manila, Taipei, Honolulu, Brisbane or Fiji and progressively jumping on a series of smaller planes and hopping across the island.
If you’re fortunate enough to be from one of the 60 countries that can purchase a visa on arrival then great, but if you’re not then you’ll have to apply for a visa through one of the few consulates for the island.
Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador Source: Pinterest
Are you fed up with your friends not believing you’ve stood bang on the equator? Well, head to the museum at Ciudad Mitad del Mundo north of Quito.
The museum marks the spot of the equator and anyone on duty will happily put this novelty stamp in your passport.
Tristan da Cunha Source: Pinterest
Informally known as Tristan, the group of small islands makes up the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world.
Part of the British overseas territory, the islands have a small population of 293 people and can only be reached via five to six days of traveling from South Africa.
Checkpoint Charlie A post shared by Frau Ines (@inestish) on Jan 3, 2018 at 11:16am PST
Although this place doesn’t officially exist anymore, the guard’s gateway that used to oversee who was going from West to East Berlin during the Cold War remains.
For a few euros, the official at Checkpoint Charlie will pop this novelty stamp in your passport for you.
How many have you got?
The post How many of the world’s rarest passport stamps have you got? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.