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  • Smog In Southeast Asia Stifles Much-Needed Tourism
  • S. Korea Striving To Become Northeast Asia's Commerical and Travel Hub
  • UN Vote in Favor of Ending US Embargo Against Cuba
  • Coca Cola Sees Opportunities in Bangladesh
  • Italy's Wine Volume Down
  • Marks & Spencer to Launch in Asia
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    SOUTHEAST ASIA -- The quickly growing tourism industry is a US$26 billion a year business in Southeast Asia. And local businesses were counting on the influx of tourists this season to boost local economies. But due to forest fires in Indonesia, arrivals of tourists to the region has been drastically reduced, due to smog -- smog so dense that on bad days, people are staying home from work and wearing surgical masks to breathe. [People are coughing and wheezing and the long-term affects are potentially significant, triggering diseases such as leukemia and cancer.] In particular, tourism has declined in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and southern Thailand (e.g. Phuket) as a result of this condition.

    Given recent economic troubles in the region, currency exchange rates for foreigners have been much more favorable, by 20-30% versus US and European currencies. This was expected to attract much-needed tourism, making the region more attractive to foreigners.

    The dangerous smog, expected to last through December, continues to keep tourists away. In fact, major travel brokers were reportedly refunding fares to travelers booked to visit the area. And governments in the US and Europe are issuing travel advisories.

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    SEOUL, S. Korea -- In an effort to become the commercial center and travel hub in Northeast Asia, S. Korea has implemented several programs to make it more attractive and user-friendly to foreigners.

    By December 2000, S. Korea's new Inchon airport, situated 20 miles west of Seoul, will accommodate 27 million passengers and 170,000 flights/year. And when its construction is fully complete, it is expected to replace Seoul's present Kimpo airport and accommodate 100 million passengers and 530,000 flights/year.

    Also, look for a new high-speed train connection between Seoul with Pusan (360 miles away) in under 2 hours.

    Visitors to S. Korea can now flag down taxi cabs with drivers that also speak English and/or Japanese. And these specially designated taxis (priced the same as a regular taxi) will also be stocked with foreign language guidebooks, and a direct phone link-up to the KNTO (Korea National Tourism Organization) tourist information center. Currently there are 200 of these taxis. (To reserve one, call 3431-5100 in Seoul.)

    The KNTO also launched the Korea Travel Phone service in July; this toll free service (080-757-2000) is staffed with English- and Japanese-speaking operators. The Korean government is working hard to ensure that foreign business travelers can maneuver successfully throughout the country, with confidence.

    NEW YORK, USA -- Every year, since 1992, the UN General Assembly votes on ending the US-Cuba embargo. And for the sixth year in a row, the vote was in favor of ending the 30+ year embargo against Cuba imposed by Washington, DC. However, this year, the vote yielded the biggest majority in favor of ending it -- 143 to 3. 17 abstained. Those against included the USA, Israel and Uzbekistan.

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    DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Coca Cola announced plans to make an additional multimillion dollar investment in Bangladesh, because it sees opportunities in its growing economy and rapidly changing soft-drink market. Since per capita consumption of Coca Cola's carbonated beverages is lower in Bangladesh than in neighboring countries, this population of 112 million people presents opportunity for expansion. Coca Cola presently maintains a 56% market share in the country.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)
    MILAN, Italy -- Wine experts say that this year's wine from Italy is likely to be the best in decades. It is also likely to be priced higher than ever. Volume is down about 15% this year vs. 1996 (to about 1.3 billion gallons) due to harsh frosts that attacked the vines earlier in the year. Because of Italy's hot summer, however, the wine that is produced will be top quality.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

      [PANGAEA specializes in consumer marketing insights and integrates the full spectrum of business intelligence into thoughtful market launch strategies for its clients.]

    LONDON, U.K. -- Early this month, Marks & Spencer (M&S) announced an ambitious three-year global expansion plan with an aggressive push into Asia, as part of its global program costing 2.1 billion British pounds (3.53 billion US dollars). M&S has 10 shops in Hong Kong, with plans to open five more by the Year 2000 -- and plans to capture the mainland Chinese market of 1.2 billion. M&S is also exploring opportunities in Japan and Taiwan, while expanding its presence among franchises in Southeast Asia -- the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. They employ 2100 the in Asia-Pacific region and expect this to increase to 4000 by the Year 2000.

    In Europe, M&S is focusing its expansion in Spain, France and Germany, where they opened their first outlet.

    In 1996, Marks and Spencer had profits of over a billion pounds for the first time.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

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    LAST MINUTE TRAVEL BARGAINS -- Special Discounted Fares

    American Airlines' Net SAAver International offers last minute travel bargains for travelers departing from the USA. You can schedule a last minute meeting or a weekend getaway to selected destinations throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Central America or South America each week and benefit from these discounted rates.

    Through this program, you can fly at discounted rates, as long as you can plan to travel on short notice. These low round-trip fares are good for travel only on the dates specified. They expire on Fridays. Check back each Monday for the week's destinations!

    From Chicago O'Hare, IL (ORD) to:

  • US$299 -- Brussels, Belgium (BRU)

    From Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW) to:

  • US$335 -- Lima, Peru (LIM)

    From Miami (MIA) to:

  • US$230 -- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
  • US$147 -- San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
  • US$320 -- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
  • US$489 -- Santiago, Chile (SCL)
  • US$175 [First Class] -- San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)

    From New York Kennedy, NY (JFK) to:

  • US$432 -- Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)

    From San Antonio, TX (SAT) to:

  • US$160 -- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)

    From San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) to:

  • US$147 -- Miami, FL (MIA)
  • US$175 [First Class] -- Miami, FL (MIA)

    Discover Puerto Rico:
    From $63 per person double occupancy
    Vacation Package includes - 2 nights accommodations; does not include airfare.
    [Vacation prices valid through January 20, 1998.]

    Paris New Year's Eve Special
    New Year's Eve Gala for $150 per couple. Promotion requires a 6 night stay at the Hotel Lutetia ($569 per person) or Concord St. Lazare ($556 per person). For information, call 1-800-321-2121.

    [Restrictions apply. Check with American Airlines for details.]

    To take advantage of these fares, you must depart on Thursday or Friday, December 4 - 5, 1997. Thursday departures return anytime the following Monday and Friday departures return anytime the following Monday/Tuesday. Call 1-800-344-6702 and ask for Net SAAver International Fares to book your flight. Or subscribe to their mailing list for more information.

    You can also read the latest news about Travel & Tourism.

  • .....check back for more news this month!

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