The Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham)

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Member News provides news about AustCham member achievements and announcements
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  • Tuesday, August 13, 2019 15:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Best Western Rewards® Named Top Loyalty Program by U.S. News & World Report for Seventh Consecutive Year

    Best Western Hotels & Resorts (BWHR) celebrates the continued success of its industry-leading loyalty program, Best Western Rewards (BWR®), which has earned a top five ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotel Rewards Programs list. This marks the seventh consecutive year that BWR has received this coveted recognition, honoring the tremendous value it brings to the program’s members. 

    It is an honor to see BWR recognized by U.S. News & World Report for the seventh year,” said Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “We are committed to providing travelers with a rich rewards program that delivers real value. As part of this commitment we are constantly evolving the program, offering new redemption options and superior benefits to our members. We are proud to see that these enhancements are delivering the perks that today’s travelers are looking for.”

    This recognition is the latest example of BWHR’s revamped BWR program, which has earned its position as a leading innovator in the industry. BWR’s tagline – Go.Get.Rewarded.® – demonstrates BWHR’s commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience through a simplified, meaningful and rapid rewards program. As part of the program’s ongoing refresh, BWR members can enjoy more benefits than ever, including:

    Top-Ranked, Rich Rewards

    BWHR is committed to providing travelers with one of the richest rewards programs in the industry, with enhanced point earning opportunities and perks. BWHR is the only major hotel chain to offer a loyalty program whose rewards points do not expire due to account inactivity, and members can now earn gift cards redeemable with popular shopping, entertainment, gas, and airline partners. BWR members earn points with each stay that can be redeemed for free nights at any Best Western-branded hotel worldwide, with no blackout dates. Members also have access to special rates of up to 10 percent off every night.

    Instant Enrollment, Instant Rewards

    As part of the BWR refresh, members are given instant rewards and gratification on every stay. Additionally, the Status Match…No Catch® program allows members to instantly have their status matched with other hotel loyalty programs upon enrollment.

    Elite Members, Elite Rewards

    In addition to enjoying the perks and benefits of BWR, elite members also receive elite rewards. Upon arrival elite members are given a choice of a “Thank You” gift or bonus points. A digital membership card enables BWR members to easily access their membership number, point balance, current tier level and exclusive deals and offers. These new benefits let travelers maximize their stays across all Best Western brands. 

    BWR has emerged as an award-winning powerhouse in recent years, and this seventh consecutive recognition by U.S. News & World Report is a welcomed addition to the brand’s award winning track record.

    U.S. News & World Report identifies the top hotel rewards programs each year using a methodology that weighs five components: network size, property diversity, geographic coverage, added benefits and ease of earning a free night. In total, 15 of the most prominent hotel loyalty programs were evaluated for the 2019-20 rankings. This year’s full list can be found at

    For more information or to become a BWR member, please visit

    For more information on Best Western Hotels & Resorts, please visit

  • Tuesday, August 13, 2019 15:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Angsana Laguna Phuket’s Professionals Hold Two Global Events & Meetings Recognitions

    Angsana Laguna Phuket’s most leading MICE destination, is proud to introduce events and meeting key team members who have received International events & meetings specialized award and certification, Mr. Watcharaphong Saikaew and Ms. Thidarat Prapasrang.

    Mr. Watcharaphong Saikaew, Director of Events has been honored as the first Thai citizen to receive the industry standard Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Certification. With 15 years in the field of Events & Meetings, Watcharapong Saikaew holds professional expertise in MICE & Events in the Hotel Industry. “It is an honor to achieve the CMP Certification as it is a positive accreditation in quality event management. Those in the MICE & Events industry will respect that those who passed the CMP have cemented a solid understanding and mastery of the regulations, laws and best practices that must be adhered to in organising meetings. With this achievement, I am thankful for Angsana Laguna Phuket for giving me this opportunity to create a name in the industry and thank you everyone for their kind support” Watcharapong said.

    Also, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) awards the recognition of Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) to Ms. Thidarat Prapasrang, Director of Sales MICE for successfully having passed the examination on the CIS 12 hour education program contents.

    The initiative is part of Angsana Laguna Phuket’s strategy to provide its team with tools and development skills to improve the way incentives experiences and incentives programs are designed. 

     “We are proud that both of them have been recognized with these value certifications.” says Mr. Michal Zitek, Area General Manger  “It has become exceptionally important to create engaging experience to connect with our clients, and knowing every single aspect of the incentive and experience design is essential. Education and training, such as SITE’s CIS and CMP program, provide important tools for success.”

    Apart from international certified meetings & events professionals, Angsana Laguna Phuket has long maintained an excellent standard for its meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions areas. Its Angsana Ballroom 1 and 2 had first been given Thailand MICE Venue Standard (TMVS) accreditation in 2015, and Three additional meeting rooms – Anchan, Orchid and Tabak were also certified by the same organization in 2017. Currently, this beachfront resort has the most number of meeting room that are TMVS-certified in Phuket.

    Angsana Laguna Phuket is the ideal venue for international and regional meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions, seminars, social events, concerts and weddings. With a totally integrated support system providing world’s standard facilities serviced by international certified and dedicated team will assist its clients’ functions perfectly succeeded.

    More information about Angsana Laguna Phuket and reservations are available at  or +66 76 358 500.

  • Friday, August 02, 2019 12:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two Leading DMC’s Merge to Produce One Powerhouse Global Experience Company

    Buffalo Tours Asia and Olympus Tours Americas, announced today the merging of their collective destination management companies (DMCs) to create one all-encompassing, global experience company now known as Discova.

    Buffalo Tours, a leading provider of tailor-made tours in Asia, and Olympus Tours, a celebrated ground operator for Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, will now operate under the Discova brand. Continuing to deliver turnkey solutions to their business partners around the world, Discova provides seamless, engaging, rewarding and authentic local travel experiences built on fun, creativity and a passion for exploration.  

    “Our knowledge base, our people and our love of travel is at the heart of our business,” said Greg Kitchen, Managing Director of Discova.  “This merger is not about changing who we are – it’s about underscoring our core values and strengthening the alignment between our businesses.  This will allow us to expand our global reach so that we can remain at the forefront of in-destination travel services and connect our partners and customers to a world of possibilities through discovery and adventure.

     “The repositioning of Buffalo and Olympus businesses into Discova reaffirms our commitment to being a business to business (B2B) DMC.  Discova delivers a range of services to our partners that includes day touring, transportation, extended touring, educational travel and MICE.

    “Discova is also able to create tailor-made in-destination solutions.  The strong position Buffalo Tours has had in responsible tourism will be carried into the new brand and strengthened through further initiatives and implementations across Discova’s expanding number of destinations.

    “The new brand positioning will be completed in the back end of the current year showcasing at World Travel Mart in London in November 2019.”

    Discova currently operates in 14 countries in Asia, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. To learn more about Discova’s locations and the types of products and itineraries on offer, visit  

  • Friday, August 02, 2019 11:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    KIS International School Welcomes New Head of School

    KIS International School in Bangkok welcomes their new Head of School, Paul Johnson, for the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.

    Paul’s appointment results from a rigorous international search, headed by the Council of International Schools Leadership Searches, who carefully evaluated the qualities of the candidates against the needs of the school. School stakeholders, from board members to staff, parents and students, were also involved in his recruitment process.

    Paul’s passion for nurturing a safe and vibrant learning environment, combined with his experience and his personality makes him well suited to the international culture at KIS, which combines a strong sense of community with high academic standards.

    Paul will be coming in from the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. He has also previously worked at international schools in Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Morocco and the USA and has over 20 years of experience in education leadership.

    Paul will be replacing Sally Holloway, KIS’s founding Head of School, who has served in her position for 21 years. Sally will be taking on a position as Deputy Director General of the International Baccalaureate.
    KIS interviewed Paul during his recent visit to the school.
    1.    What were your first impressions of KIS?
    Positive energy, friendliness, warmth - these are the immediate impressions I had of KIS. I spent time in all areas of the school and met a number of students, parents, and school staff. That first day sent me away with a good feeling about KIS in which I thought, “Oh wow! This school has really got their act together!”. I can’t say I was completely surprised after having had some sense of that already but it was comforting confirmation that the community was strong and that students and faculty were happy. When I met with the student council members, one elementary student exclaimed, “I love being here as much as my own home!” Parents I met with clearly loved the school. Teachers were engaging and students were learning. I felt like everyone is really working towards a common goal and that the school is student-centered. It is pretty easy to tell when schools are not focused on students and their experiences and, in my view, KIS delivered.
    2.    How do you feel the school matches your personality?
    My sense is that my calm and reflective approach and style is a match for KIS. Additionally, my sense of humor and my ability to empathize should fit well in the close-knit, family-friendly community here. The personal traits I mention have worked well for me in various schools in Morocco, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, and India. Working in all of these schools has emboldened me to keep a strong commitment to internationalism alongside strong respect for the host culture. Diversity brings out the best in everyone. Additionally, there is a part of my personality that drives me to achieve and this desire for continuous improvement is aligned with schools that have chosen a rigorous and holistic curriculum. This matches with what I see in KIS.
    3.    What do you look forward to about joining KIS?
    Being the Head of School allows me to take KIS to a future where it is not only well respected within Thailand but also within the top international schools in the region. My experience in a variety of respected international schools and with the organizations that support schools like ours is extensive and wide-reaching and my commitment is to lead KIS in its journey of self-reflection and continuous improvement. I’m impressed with what KIS has to offer and all schools have the responsibility to continue their growth. This is an exciting process and I look forward to my leadership and partnership in it. It was evident to me that KIS is a school on the move and I am excited to be part of that and to lead efforts to make the experience for students, teachers, and families a great one. All of my previous schools have had a strong relationship with the IBO and so there is a comfort between the aims of KIS and the curriculum the school has chosen. I’m drawn to being part of a full IB continuum school.

  • Friday, August 02, 2019 09:01 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Green Globe Certifies ANANA Ecological Resort

    Green Globe has awarded ANANA Ecological Resort its inaugural certification with the property achieving a commendable compliance score of 84%.

    SoLOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, May 26, 2019 / -- Escape the frenetic pace and chaos of everyday life at the luxurious ANANA Ecological Resort, Krabi in Thailand. The resort - in harmony with nature and the environment - is located amidst panoramic green surroundings at the foot of one of the famous Aonang Cliffs.

    Green Globe has awarded ANANA Ecological Resort its inaugural certification with the property achieving a commendable compliance score of 84%. ANANA is the province’s second certified Green Globe resort, following Pimalai Resort on Koh Lanta.

    Hotelier Wolfgang Grimm first opened the resort in December 2018. The property adheres to best practice principles in sustainable management, social and economic involvement, supporting cultural heritage and environmental protection. 

    Environmental Initiatives

    Dubbed the Eco Angels, ANANA staff closely monitor energy and water consumption, carbon emissions and purchasing practices to ensure continuous improvements are made and sustainability leadership is integrated in daily operations. To minimize environmental impacts, all rooms have biodegradable straws and toothbrushes, recycled paper products and complimentary glass bottled water. In addition, in-room guest amenities are all natural and presented in refillable bottles. ANANA has achieved an almost perfect single use plastic-free score whilst also setting standards in integrated waste management and recycling practices such as composting and BioGas production. Furthermore, in line with the property’s environmental policy, all cleaning products used by the housekeeping department are biodegradable.

    Permaculture Garden

    The resort’s carbon footprint is offset by 400 of the 10,000 square meter property with the majority of the area dedicated to preserving biodiversity, gardens and edible landscapes including an onsite permaculture farm. The farm-to-table concept provides organic produce for select dishes in each of the three onsite restaurants, one of which is completely vegan. Guests are invited to join the chefs for the daily harvest of cooking ingredients and then create their own salad, or take the pickings to the resort’s cooking school where secrets are shared on how to create delicious Thai dishes.

    The permaculture farm also demonstrates how protecting nature can yield immediate benefits. At the moment, guests are invited to tour the farm discovering the unique tastes of leafy greens and locally grown fruit and vegetables. In future, school children along with the elderly and local community members will be invited to participate in quarterly seminars to learn about the importance of hands-on ecology. 

    Eco-friendly Transportation

    ANANA has further reduced its footprint with the creation and launch of the area’s first electric longtail boat. The e-boat will contribute to the preservation of the Krabi River ecosystem and potentially assist in saving this iconic Thai mode of transport from becoming outmoded when the currently used converted truck engine powered boats are banned. The resort also offers a complimentary Eco -TukTuk Shuttle service.


  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 15:46 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Best Western® Hotels & Resorts Appoints Venushe Wickramarathne as New Regional Director of Commercial – Asia

    Best Western Hotels & Resorts is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Venushe Wickramarathne as Regional Director of Commercial – Asia, effective immediately.

    A highly skilled and experienced hospitality professional, Wickramarathne graduated from the Business Hotel Management School in Lucerne, Switzerland, with a BA Honors Degree in Hotel & Hospitality Management. Since he embarked on his career, Wickramarathne has worked in a series of roles in Europe and Asia, rising from Night Manager at an AccorHotels property in Zurich to Deputy Head of Sales – Events & Banqueting for the popular Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

    In 2017 he joined Centara Hotels & Resorts, initially as Area Director of Sales & Marketing for Colombo, before he moved to Thailand in January 2018 to become the company’s Area Director of Sales & Marketing for Krabi.

    Wickramarathne now brings his impressive industry expertise to Best Western Hotels & Resorts, where he will oversee the sales and marketing activities for the group’s entire collection of hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia and Japan, encompassing all 16 of the company’s diverse and distinct brands.

    “Venushe is exciting true talent with a proven ability to deliver results. His creative vision and detail-oriented approach will allow us to devise strategic sales and marketing campaigns, while his charisma, leadership and communication skills will help to implement them effectively. I am confident that Venushe will become an integral member of our executive team in Asia,” said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western's Managing Director of International Operations - Asia.

    “I am personally very honored to join the Best Western Hotels & Resorts Asia team at a moment when the company is set for unprecedent growth in the Southeast Asia region. With a clear focus on expansion, Best Western Asia currently has a pipeline of properties under development in the region, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan to name a few. I am extremely excited to contribute towards this growth and add value to our hotel members and clients alike in the months and years ahead,” Wickramarathne commented.

    Venushe Wickramarathne is now based at Best Western’s Regional Head Office in Bangkok.

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 11:34 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CBRE Appointed as Sole Leasing Agent for Sunny

    CBRE Thailand has been appointed by BHIRAJ BURI GROUP as the sole leasing agent for SUNNY at Summer Lasalle, a new 2-storey shopping centre located on Sukhumvit 105 (Lasalle), which is only 5 minutes away from Bearing BTS Station. The project has a total lettable area of approximately 3,600 sq.m. and is expected to be completed in Q4, 2019. Pictured are Mr. Pitiphatr Buri (2nd from right), Managing Director of BHIRAJ Management Co., Ltd., Ms. Sarocha Buri (Right), Deputy Chief Financial Officer of BHIRAJ BURI HOLDING Co., Ltd., Ms. Aliwassa Pathnadabutr (2nd from left), Managing Director of CBRE Thailand, and Ms. Jariya Thumtrongkitkul (Left), Associate Director and Head of Advisory and Transaction Services - Retail, CBRE Thailand.

  • Friday, July 19, 2019 11:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Baker McKenzie Named Number One Legal Brand in Asia Pacific For Third Straight Year

    Baker McKenzie has been named number one legal brand in the Asia Pacific region for the third consecutive year, according to the Acritas Asia Pacific Brand Index 2019.

    The Firm has also grown their lead at the top of the table significantly. Awareness and favorability growth in Hong Kong/China has helped to drive this increased lead, although Baker McKenzie has generated favorability amongst buyers in all of the key Asian Pacific markets where the survey was run.

    According to Acritas, expertise is still setting firms apart from their rivals, with clients favoring quality of advice and specialist knowledge. Speed, responsiveness and partner accessibility are also becoming increasingly important in the region for legal buyers.

    Say Sujintaya, Partner, commented "As Thailand's largest law firm, we are dedicated to providing the very best legal services for our clients. We are constantly investing in new technologies to ensure we can adapt to rapidly changing markets and industries. As the world becomes globalised and legal matters more complex and cross border, we are able to offer our clients the finest solutions to ensure their businesses are protected and can flourish."

    Legal departments are spending more of their budget on international work in the Asia Pacific region overall, much of focused on work between various Asia Pacific jurisdictions, for example between Japan and Australia. The demand for cross border support is regularly a driver of favorability, and breadth of support remains key to clients in the region, with spending also set to increase in comparison to clients in other global legal markets.

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019 09:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lebua wins Travel + Leisure “World’s Best 2019” award for

    No. 1 Hotel in Bangkok

    lebua Travel and Leisure

    In what is a great feat for lebua Hotels & Resorts, lebua scooped top honors in the Travel + Leisure (USA edition) “World’s Best 2019” awards, earning the No. 1 spot in the category Top 5 Hotels in Bangkok. In addition to being selected as the best hotel in Bangkok in the latest T+L readers’ survey, lebua also won two more prestigious “World’s Best 2019” awards: The 10 Best City Hotels in Asia (fifth place) and  The Top 100 Hotels in the World (90th place).

    Travel + Leisure readers explore far and wide, and the hotels that impress them reflect not only their high standards but also their ever-expanding sense of curiosity and adventure,” the announcement from T+L reads. “Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe – to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value.”

    According to lebua Hotels & Resorts’ CEO, Mr. Deepak Ohri, the group is overjoyed with these prestigious awards. “At lebua, absolute guest satisfaction is our priority, first and foremost. To receive this great acknowledgement from Travel + Leisure is an immense honor for us, and I would like to thank all the readers for their vote of confidence. There is no greater reward for us than knowing we have exceeded expectations, which makes this recognition – voted for by actual guests – all the more special.”

    He adds, “We are creating the world’s first vertical destination at lebua with an impressive collection of iconic restaurants and bars that have elevated the food and beverage scene in Bangkok and beyond. This, combined with our world-class hotels and superlative service, has earned a place for lebua in the hearts and minds of our guests.”

    The latest accolades for lebua were described by Travel + Leisure as follows: “This year’s winner stands out for its location in one of Bangkok’s tallest high-rises, which makes it a perfect spot for sunset cocktails. From here, the entire city stretches out in all directions. The guestrooms, meanwhile, attract readers who value space – standard rooms clock in at a huge 710 square feet, which would make them suites almost anywhere else. As you’d expect from one of the highest hotels in Asia, the views are a big selling point. And while lebua doesn’t have the secluded garden setting of other Bangkok hotels, amenities here include an expansive swimming pool and a spa, where travelers can enjoy traditional Thai massages.”

  • Friday, July 12, 2019 10:10 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    UOB Heartbeat Run/Walk

    Tractus Thailand Gives Time and Energy to More Responsible Living ‘Keep the Good Going’ 7 th July 2019 

    Members of the Tractus Thailand team participated in the annual United Overseas Bank (UOB) Heartbeat run/walk on Sunday morning. This event which supports children, education, philanthropy and participation to help strengthen community bonds through the money it raises has been a priority of for UOB since 2007. This is the second year that the Tractus Thailand team participated in the event and took a bigger stance through its generous donation. The motto from last year “Keep the Good Going” continued to resonate with the public and the Tractus team this year. This year, UOB received donations of over $2.4 million Thai baht to give to Phra Dabos School under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the Child and Youth Development Project in Remote Areas. The Thailand run happened at the same time as other UOB runs in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam which contributed S$1.58 million for local beneficiaries. 


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Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce

20 Floor, Unit 203, Thai CC Tower
43 South Sathorn Road   ·   Bangkok Thailand 10120

Tel: +66 2 210 0216   ·   Fax: +66 2 675 6696   ·

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