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Thailand braces for Songkran surge Greg Lowe, Bangkok, April 4, 2013
VISITOR numbers and tourism expenditure are expected to swell by up to 20 per cent during the Songkran festival, which will be celebrated from April 12-16.

India's travel trade shoots down reports on declining arrivals Rohit Kaul, New Delhi, April 4, 2013
VARIOUS industry members have come out to flay reports citing a fall in tourist arrivals to India, mostly based on a survey recently released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Meritus to manage hotel, condotel and villas on Riau Islands Lee Pei Qi, Singapore, April 4, 2013
MERITUS Hotels & Resorts yesterday signed an agreement with Funtasy Island Development (FID) to manage the latter's upcoming accommodation facilities on Riau Islands, Indonesia, located 20 minutes from Singapore.

South Korea reassures travellers of safety Singapore, April 4, 2013
KOREA Tourism Organization (KTO) has sought to reassure travellers that the entire country remains stable and all tourism facilities are operating as normal in the face of escalating tensions with North Korea.

Trafalgar bookings from Asia spike 25 per cent Bangkok, April 4, 2013
TRAFALGAR has seen bookings by Asian travellers leap 25 per cent from 2011 to 2012, with Singapore contributing the biggest share.

Global tour guide association debuts training classes in Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, April 4, 2013
THE World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) will launch its inaugural training programmes in Malaysia from June 17 to 29 in Sabah.

Rakuten rides on strong Japan travel to Singapore Lee Pei Qi, Singapore, April 3, 2013
MAJOR Japanese OTA Rakuten Travel has seen revenue for its Singapore affiliate shoot up by 55 per cent since it was set up in March last year as its sales and marketing hub for South-east Asia.

Juneyao Airlines taps Chinese demand with Chiang Mai service Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, Bangkok, April 3, 2013
SHANGHAI-based Juneyao Airlines has included a third Thai destination - Chiang Mai - to its international flight network as Thailand continues to climb in popularity among Chinese tourists.

February year-to-date hotel bookings trump pre-downturn levels Dallas, April 3, 2013
DESPITE the shorter month of February, global hotel bookings and rates surpassed those of the same month last year, with year-to-date bookings for both leisure and corporate exceeding levels recorded in previous years through 2007, pre-downturn.

IHG rolls out Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22 Bangkok, April 3, 2013
INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) has opened Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22, marking its third Holiday Inn hotel in the city and 10th in Thailand.

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An independent streak

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App, app and away

by Prudence Lui, Caroline Boey, Paige Lee Pei Qi, Rohit Kaul, S Puvaneswary, Kathy Neo