Khiri Travel Insider Tips – Fly-In Routes
Give your clients insider information so that they can avoid the crowds, make discoveries and have a rewarding travel experience. This month we set our eyes on new fly-in routes to the region and alternative travel routes into Laos, find out how to keep selling the Greater Mekong Region (Indochina) even with the unrest in Thailand – with Ruben Derksen, Business Manager, Khiri Travel Laos
Over the past month there have been protests in Bangkok. We have noticed that due to travel warnings, fewer people are visiting Thailand. As Bangkok is a central aviation hub, and many passengers to Southeast Asia see Bangkok as the main airport to fly into, this also affects arrivals in the rest of the region.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok has been unaffected by the political protests in the city center. The protestors have said that they don’t want to disturb the tourism industry. There is a feeling that Thailand has ‘learnt its lesson’ following the occupation of the airport in 2008. There seems to be a commitment on both sides of the political divide that the airport is too important. However, the media has been covering the political protests extensively, so it is understandable that there are some concerns about unhindered access in and out of Suvarnabhumi, especially since the 2008 occupation. This time there has been no reason to be concerned.
The political turmoil, however, makes it harder to persuade travelers that Southeast Asia is still a good destination for their upcoming holiday. What they don’t realize is that it’s possible to fly via other destinations for the same price, and be able to avoid Bangkok – if that’s what they want to do. If clients don’t want to fly to Thailand, I would recommend talking to them about alternative flight routes into Southeast Asia.
For example, Vietnam Airlines has great promotions from Europe into either Hanoi, or Ho Chi Minh City. From either of those cities it’s very easy to hop over to Cambodia and Laos. An example of a 15-day route that some of our clients have enjoyed is flying from Amsterdam to Hanoi, travelling overland down to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), flying up to Siem Reap, then on to Luang Prabang, and travelling overland back to Hanoi for the return flight. Of course this could also be done in the opposite direction, starting in Ho Chi Minh City, and ending the adventurous trip with a relaxing stay at Mui Ne beach in Vietnam.
Kuala Lumpur is also a great airport hub. From there, AirAsia, a low cost airline in the region, has revolutionized the flight paths and offers direct flights to Vientiane and Phnom Penh and many secondary cities around the Mekong region.
In summary, Southeast Asia, and the Greater Mekong Region in particular, are still very sellable options. The erratic unrest in Bangkok shouldn’t be preventing travelers from enjoying a very beautiful region.