Thailand Concerns

Bomb blasts in the Thai capital of Bangkok on the evening of Dec. 31 shocked crowds of visitors and locals ready to celebrate the new year in these public spaces. In a public announcement issued on Jan. 1, the U.S. Department of State confirmed that at approximately 6 p.m. the previous evening, bombs


Bomb blasts in the Thai capital of Bangkok on the evening of Dec. 31 shocked crowds of visitors and locals ready to celebrate the new year in these public spaces.

In a public announcement issued on Jan. 1, the U.S. Department of State confirmed that at approximately 6 p.m. the previous evening, bombs exploded at five different locations throughout Bangkok, including the Victory monument, various police traffic control booths and in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Thai authorities promptly cancelled the area’s largest New Year’s celebration, the “Bangkok Countdown,” which was to have been held in the main shopping district near the World Trade Center. The U.S. Embassy has confirmed that no Americans were injured or killed in the blasts, but three Thai citizens were killed and over two dozen were injured, including six foreign tourists.

Concerns that these acts of violence will deter tourism to Thailand seem to be unfounded. An Associated Press interview with the vice president for corporate communications for Thai Airways International revealed that the carrier has not seen a rise in cancellations. While the State Department encourages travelers to use caution in case of additional incidents, the bombings seem to have been exclusive to Bangkok, leaving popular beach resorts and other areas unaffected.

Americans traveling abroad can get up-to-date security information at the State Department’s Web site (http://travel.state.gov) or by phone (888-407-4747).

Laurie Baratti


Johnsen Returns to Pleasant

Pleasant Holidays welcomes the return of Elizabeth Johnsen to its sales team, as she takes over the position of staff vice president, national accounts. Johnsen rejoins the team at Pleasant Holidays’ headquarters in Westlake Village, Calif., after most recently having served as the managing director of travel industry partnerships for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

In her new position, Johnsen will oversee the building of partnerships with key national travel agencies to increase revenue and mutually enhance market share for each of Pleasant Holidays’ destinations, including Hawaii, Mexico, Tahiti, Asia and the South Pacific. Johnsen previously enjoyed a productive seven-year stint with the company in a similar capacity, complementing the efforts of Pleasant Holidays’ national accounts marketing team.

With her long and fruitful work experience in the travel industry, Pleasant Holidays considers her an asset to its team. She has honed her marketing and sales skills in various management positions with Alamo Rent-A-Car, Princess Cruises and the Walt Disney company, as well as acting as vice president of marketing for Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Minneapolis. L.B.

Air France Launches Medium-Haul Carrier

Air France and Transavia.com have announced plans to launch a new carrier in the international medium-haul market. The Air France KLM Group plans to meet the growing demands of leisure travel, using KLM’s successful subsidiary Transavia.com as a model. Air France French Commercial executive vice president Christian Boireau has been appointed the chairman of the new airline’s supervisory board.

“This initiative marks an important step in our group’s development,” said Boireau. “We will be taking position on a market segment from which we have long been absent. The assets offered by the new carrier stability, a clear reliable scheduled flight strategy, flexibility, competitiveness, high standards in the commercial and operating spheres are the guarantee of the project’s long-term success.”

The new airline will be under the umbrella of Transavia.com to take advantage of the excellent reputation of the existing brand. The airline will operate a fleet of four Boeing 737-800s, then upgrade to nine by the third year. By this summer, the airline hopes to operate 67 flights from Orly airport to as many as 10 Mediterranean destinations. Plans call for that number to increase to 15 by winter 2007-2008.
www.airfrance.com
www.transavia.com

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