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Thailand is predominantly tourism-driven economy. A whopping 32.59 million foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand in 2016 bears a testimony to the tourism-centric growth of the country. Now Thailand is all set to evolve into a major international air travel hub in the Asia-Pacific region, through better air connectivity with more and more countries across the globe.

Flights to Thailand

As part of comprehensive plan to promote tourism on international levels, Thailand is trying all possible means to unlock and leverage the potential of its airports other than Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. With international airlines launching direct flights to Bangkok Don Mueang, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai, foreign tourists will have more gateways to enter Thailand.

Some of the new flights to Thailand have been launched over the past few months. Some others are awaiting the launch. For instance, Qatar Airways’ direct flights to Krabi and Chiang Mai were announced last year. Flights from Thailand will be operated across Thai Airports (not only the capital city airport) facilitating access to different parts of the country for foreign visitors.

Below are some of the new flights to Thailand:

  • Thai Airways’ flights between Phuket and Beijing
  • Turkish Airlines’ new Phuket-Istanbul route
  • Qatar Airways’ additional services between Doha and Suvarnabhumi, Phuket and Krabi,
  • Thai Air Asia’s new flights from Don Mueang to the Maldives, Jaipur and Tiruchirappalli
  • Jetstar Asia’s new Singapore-Hat Yai return flights
  • Jetstar Pacific’s service linking Chiang Mai with Dong Hoi, Vietnam

Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), opines that Thailand has long been a key target of major airlines in Asia and other continents. A steady flow of inbound tourism traffic depends on better air connectivity through more new flights to Thailand, according to him. The recently launched and upcoming flights to Thailand will not only give access to new entry points but also enable tourists to make more choices with lots of flexibility and convenience when it comes to traveling in and around the country.

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With the gradual rollout of new flights to Thailand, travelers will have flexibility in choosing itineraries. Yuthasak also adds that Thailand will be a leading player in the global aviation industry.

In an effort to increase the inflow of travelers to the country by tapping into key markets across the world, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoU’s) with several airlines including the national carrier, Thai Airways:

  • EVA Air to focus on markets across North America
  • Etihad Airways to promote Thailand tourism in the Middle East and Europe
  • Qatar Airways to fetch traffic from Europe, Africa and Middle East
  • Singapore Airlines to target tourists from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

If the things go as planned, the new routes and flights to Thailand will not only boost the Thai economy but also transform the Thai air hub into a global one.

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Philippines’ Visa on Arrival for Citizens of China: Eligibility Criteria, Terms and Conditions


With developing countries introducing new initiatives to attract foreign tourists, tourism in the Asia-Pacific region has reached the next level. Recently, Thailand announced to simplify its TM6 form, which foreign visitors are required to furnish with their personal details upon arrival at any point of entry in the country, for the convenience of inbound tourists. Now the Philippines is up with its visa on arrival scheme for Chinese nationals.


The Philippines’ Visa on Arrival for certain groups of Chinese nationals is primarily intended to fetch potential investors and tourists from the People’s Republic of China, the world’s thriving economy, for the growth of tourism and trade in the Philippines. According to the Bureau of Immigration, tourism is a powerful business prospect for the country’s economic growth.

Previously, the Philippines’ Department of Justice issued a directive mandating it for the government to grant visa on arrival to the citizens of China. Hence, the latest measure to fetch more footfalls from China is in compliance with the circular, to the benefit of the Department of Tourism.

Also Read: New Philippine Passport Validity

However, the Philippines’ visa on arrival for Chinese citizens comes with a set of eligibility norms. Only those Chinese nationals who are among the following are eligible for visa on arrival at the points of entry in the Philippines:

  • Chinese delegates, on invitation to exhibitions and conventions in the Philippines, can avail the visa on arrival.
  • Chinese businessmen with an endorsement letter from a local or foreign chamber of commerce, or certain government agencies
  • Chinese members on tours organized by the tour operators who are certified by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism
  • Athletes on visit to or participating in local or national or international sports events in the Philippines

Wanda Tulfo-Teo, the Department of Tourism secretary, earlier said that the decision would permit the Philippines to develop into an equitable contender in the Asia-Pacific tourism Industry. She added that Philippines’ Visa on Arrival program would be an irresistible offer to potential investors among Chinese tourists.

“From the time of commencement of the Duterte administration in July 2016, providing our Chinese acquaintances with landed visas will increase the volume of traffic from China into the country”, Tulfo-Teo said in a recent statement.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), International airports of Clark, Mactan and Kalibu and seaports in unshiftiness, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Laong and Caticlan will put the program into practice.

As per the resolution, applications for the Philippines’ visa on arrival must be filed 10 days prior to actual arrival. With the new landed visa scheme in place, Chinese visitors can stay one month in the Philippines, and it can be extended up to 6 months.

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Hong Kong Airlines’ Nonstop Flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles Open New Route in US-China Travel


Hong Kong Airlines is expanding its operations in US with the launch of a new flight between Hong Kong International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. The proposed nonstop flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles are scheduled to begin in 18 December 2017.

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Hong Kong Airlines will first operate four weekly flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. From 16 January 2018, Hong Kong Airlines will operate daily between Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Hong Kong Airlines currently operates Vancouver in the North American region and Los Angeles will be the second addition in that region. The launch of Hong Kong Airlines’ nonstop flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles will enable Hong Kong to increase tourism and business traffic from Los Angeles by leaps and bounds.

Following the success of Vancouver route, Li Dianchun, chief commercial officer of Hong Kong Airlines said, “We are excited to set up the first destination in the continental United States to further expand our international network.” He further added, “The launch of the Hong Kong Airlines’ nonstop flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles will enhance the already existing Asia Pacific network and will provide more travel options to all types of travelers.”

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Hong Kong Airlines will also be the third international carrier to offer daily flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles after American Airlines and Cathay Pacific. The nonstop Hong Kong Airlines Flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles will be operated by a 334-seater A350 aircraft. The A350 aircraft is a fuel-efficient twin-aisle jets configured in two classes – 301 in economy and 33 in business class.

Schedule of Hong Kong Airlines Daily Nonstop Flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles: 

18 Dec 2017 – 15 Jan 2018 (Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday)

  • HX068  Hong Kong-Los Angeles 1210-0855
  • HX069  Los Angeles – Hong Kong 1045-1820+1

16 Jan 2018 – 10 Mar 2018 (Daily)

  • HX068  Hong Kong-Los Angeles 1210-0855
  • HX069  Los Angeles – Hong Kong 1045-1820+1

11 Mar 2018 – 24 Mar 2018 (Daily)

  • HX068  Hong Kong-Los Angeles 1210-0955
  • HX069  Los Angeles – Hong Kong 1145-1820+1

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80 Countries Including USA, UK, Japan, Australia, Thailand to Get Visa Free Entry to Qatar for 180 days


In November 2016, Qatar eased entry for foreign nationals by introducing 4-day free transit visa on condition of traveling on Qatar Airways flights with a transit layover at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. While the transit visa to Qatar was free only for Qatar Airways’ international passengers, the government of Qatar has taken a step further to ease entry for citizens of 80 countries, including United States, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and the UK.

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Now onwards, travelers from the selected 80 countries are not required to apply for a visa to enter Qatar, be it for a short trip or a long holiday tour. They will get the waiver for visa free entry to Qatar at any point of entry in the country, on presenting their passports valid for minimum 6 months and confirmed onward or return flight tickets.

The validity of visa free entry to Qatar will range from 30 days to 180 days depending on the nationality of visitors. The visa waiver can be valid either for 30 days or 180 days. The total 80 countries have been divided into two groups. The first group of 47 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Singapore and Japan is entitled to 30-day-long visa free entry to Qatar. They can apply for a possible extension of visa waiver for another 30 days.

The second group of 33 countries including major European countries is eligible for 180-day-long visa waiver for multiple entries to Qatar. It allows the citizens of these countries to stay in Qatar up to 90 days.

The visa free entry to Qatar will benefit those traveling on transit or connecting flights on major international routes via Doha, such as 3017198630, and USA to Singapore. Qatar is not only welcoming foreign nationals to explore its history and heritage, but also opening new routes to Asia Pacific countries like Australia and Thailand.

Qatar Airways’ strategic expansion plans in the Asia-Pacific region have fetched the tourism of Qatar an exposure to new destinations. With Qatar Airways’ new flights from Doha to Canberra, Doha to Chiang Mai, and 3479651067, Qatar is on a roll.

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Filipinos who were one step closer to having passport validity for 10 years instead of the current term of five years is finally seeing the light of the day. President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the legislation that extends the Philippine passport validity from 5 years to 10 years.

Philippine Passport Validity for 10 years comes with extension

The law is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1365 and House Bill 4767 approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives on May 17 and May 16 respectively. The senators have voted 18-0 and passed the senate bill 1365 on the third and final reading on May 15.

Senator Cynthia Villar, sponsor of the bill and vice chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier said that it would make traveling abroad easier, especially for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

She added that the current Philippine passport validity is, in reality, less than 5 years because foreign travel is prohibited for individuals whose passports are about to expire within 6 months prior to travel.

“We owe a lot to our OFWs. They keep our economy afloat with their remittances of approximately $50 billion annually. Giving them a 10-year guarantee on their right to travel abroad will certainly be a great help to them,” Villar said in a statement during the passage of senate bill 1365.

The 10-year Philippine passport validity is applicable to Filipinos who are above 18 years of age. But, Filipinos under 18 years are eligible only for 5 years of Philippine passport validity. The law also states that the issuing authority may limit the period of validity to less than 10 years in special cases or circumstances.

Such restriction will be imposed in view of the national economic or political stability of the country. A new passport may also be issued to replace an invalid one.

For the passport processing system to be seamless, convenient and pro-people, the Department of Foreign Affairs is designated to issue implementing rules and regulations under the Republic Act(RA) 10928. The new law amends the Republic Act 8239 or Philippine Passport Act of 1996. This amendment comes as a huge relief to millions of Filipinos who had to stand in long queues while applying or renewing their passport.

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Qatar Airways is expanding its operations in Australia with the launch of a new flight between Hamad International Airport Qatar and Canberra International Airport. The proposed Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Canberra is expected to begin in February 2018.

Cheap Qatar Airways Daily Flights from Doha to Canberra

Canberra will be Qatar Airways’ fifth Australian destination after Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.The launch of Qatar Airways daily flights from Doha to Canberra will enable Qatar to increase tourism and business traffic from Australia by manifold.

Qatar Airways will also be the first international carrier to offer daily flights from Canberra to Doha via Sydney. The Qatar Airways Flight from Doha to Canberra will be the second daily service to Sydney en route and will be operated by a 358-seater Boeing 777-300 aircraft. The return flight will follow the Canberra-Sydney-Doha route.

Qatar Airways is in the ninth year of operations in Australia. The addition of Canberra to Qatar Airways’ global network will help strengthen the existing ties between Australia and Qatar. On this occasion, Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said that they were confident that the highly-acclaimed Qatar Airways flights from Doha to Canberra would appeal greatly to business and leisure travelers alike, and they were looking forward to welcoming passengers on board very soon.

In the business class of Boeing 777-300 aircraft, passengers can lie down on sophisticated flat beds with 78 inches of seat pitch. In addition, the on-demand à la carte menu service allows Business Class passengers to order anything from the menu at any time during the flight. The Qatar Airways flights from Doha to Canberra also features the state-of the-art Oryx One entertainment system, with up to 3,000 entertainment options on individual screens in all travel classes.

Qatar Airways Daily Flights from Doha to Canberra: Tentative Schedule

  • QR906  Doha-Sydney 0810-0615 (following day)
  • QR906  Sydney-Canberra 0725-0825
  • QR907  Canberra-Sydney  1345-1445
  • QR907 Sydney-Doha 1555-2230

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Details of Delta Airlines’ Upcoming Nonstop Flights from Atlanta to Shanghai in July 2018


Delta Airlines is expanding its operations in Asia with the launch of a new flight between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The proposed nonstop Delta Airlines Flights from Atlanta to Shanghai is expected to begin in July 2018.


Delta Airlines is currently operating flights to Shanghai from Seattle, Detroit and Los Angeles. Once the proposed nonstop flights from Atlanta to Shanghai take to skies, Atlanta will be Delta’s fourth US gateway to Shanghai. Delta Airlines’ upcoming service will also provide a smooth one-stop access to more than 150 destinations across US and Latin America from Shanghai. Furthermore, it will connect with more than 50 destinations via Shanghai in China in codeshare partnership with China Eastern Airlines.

“Strong demand for Delta service across the Pacific and to China nonstop from the US as well as our China Eastern partnership make this route compelling for both business and leisure travelers,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to connecting Delta’s hometown and China Eastern’s home with this route, while offering our customers innovative products, thoughtful in flight service and leading operational reliability,” he added.

With the addition of new nonstop (406) 251-2757 from Atlanta to Shanghai, Delta will now have a nonstop service from Atlanta to the three largest markets in Asia – Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai. Delta Airlines has also partnered with China Eastern and Korean Air to provide a convenient one-stop access to more than 75 destinations in Asia.

“Global connectivity and a strong relationship with China is the need of the day,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “Delta Airlines’ new Atlanta to Shanghai nonstop flights will not only serve our tourism industry by shortening the international travel time, but will bolster our business community as well. Delta Air Lines has to be appreciated for all of its hard work in making sure that Georgia remains a leader in the global marketplace.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said, “We are happy to hear that Delta is now offering non-stop service to Shanghai Pudong International Airport which will strengthen Atlanta International Airport’s standing as the world’s most-efficient and busiest passenger airport. This new nonstop Delta Airlines Flights from Atlanta to Shanghai will open new business and cultural opportunities between Shanghai and Atlanta, and will support our thriving tourism industry.”

Subject to Government approval, Delta Airlines’ proposed flight DL 185 will depart from Atlanta at 3 pm and arrive in Shanghai at 6:50 pm (next day). It will start from Shanghai at 11:40 am and reach Atlanta at 2:55 pm (next day).

Highlights of Delta Airlines’ upcoming nonstop flights from Atlanta to Shanghai:

  • 291-seat Boeing 777-200LR aircraft
  • 37 lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Delta One
  • 36 seats in Delta Comfort+
  • 218 seats in the Main Cabin
  • An industry-leading nine-abreast seating layout, among the widest in international economy seating
  • Every seat has Wi-Fi, a personal, in-flight seatback entertainment screen as well as power ports
  • Complimentary meals, including locally sourced Chinese meals and beverages will also be provided in all cabins
  • Additionally, in the Delta One cabin, customers will enjoy Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding, noise-canceling LSTN headphones, TUMI amenity kits featuring Kiehl’s since 1851 premium skincare and in-flight loungewear

The Delta One suite and the Delta Premium Select will progressively roll out on Delta’s Boeing 777 fleet for the Atlanta-Shanghai route, beginning in late 2018.

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The US State Department is taking all steps that are required to protect the country from any potential terrorist threat. As per the new regulations for travel to USA, the Department of Homeland Security is asking US-bound travelers for more personal details. The US government has directed countries to provide in-depth information of all applicants in order to scrutinize them thoroughly if they seem to pose a terrorist threat.

US Immigration Policy: New Regulations for Travel to USA

The US Department of Homeland Security has sent a clear message to all the countries that if they fail to comply with the new regulations for travel to USA within 50 days, they will face sanctions on travel. The new regulations for travelers to USA are integral to the latest US immigration policy in the current political regime of America.

Foreign countries have been intimated to provide additional identity details of their US visa applicants, including bio metric and biographic details as and when required. As per the new regulations for travel to USA, the Homeland Security department may ask foreign countries to furnish criminal records of those nationals who are suspected to be criminals.

For the first time, the US government has raised standards with regard to scrutiny of foreign travelers’ identity and background in compliance with the need of the hour for national security. The new regulations for travelers to USA are the latest in the series of steps that the Trump administration has been taking to safeguard the nation and protect the interests. The former officials however term this as a routine exercise to share information between countries.

John Sandweg, a former senior Homeland Security Department official who is now with the firm Frontier Solutions, said that some US-friendly countries may worry about their national privacy if the White House asks for more information than what is already shared. It may be difficult for those countries to prove against some of the risk factors which the US government considers while evaluating a country. The countries may be required to accept their citizens if they are deported from US for certain reasons as per the latest US immigration policy.

Leon Rodriguez, the former director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that actual worries for countries would arise only when the new regulations for travelers to USA would be implemented. There could be a backfire if the processing of US visa applications from US-friendly nations is delayed.

Pikachu Themed Pokemon with You Train is Back on Tracks for Rides in Tsunami-hit Areas of Japan


The 2011 Tohoku earthquake was one of the worst nightmares for the people of Japan. It claimed more than 15,000 lives, and a couple of thousand people went missing. Needless to say; this was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the history of Japan. As part of the recovery efforts for the tsunami victims, The Pokemon Company started a charity project “Pokemon with You” and unveiled a train with the same name, Pokemon with You in 2012.

Pikachu Themed Pokemon with You Train is Back on Tracks for Rides in Tsunami-hit Areas of Japan

The Pokemon with You train has got a special Pikachu themed makeover in Japan. The new makeover is complete, and the train will be back on tracks on July 15. The new Pikachu themed Pokemon with You train has brown back stripes with red cheeks and a yellow tail. It is well equipped with a special Pikachu play area for kids and other travelers who can burn a few calories during their trip to the coast.

A ride on the Pokemon with You train is one of the best experiences a traveler could cherish in his lifetime. The new Pikachu makeover Pokemon train will run on Ofunato Line departing from Ichinoseki and arriving at Kesennuma in less than 2 hours. The train is scheduled to run on select days in the month of July, August and September.

  • July 15th–17th, 22nd–23rd, 29th–31st
  • August 1st–20th, 26th–27th
  • September 2nd–3rd, 9th–10th, 16th–18th, 23rd–24th, 30th

The Pikachu themed Pokemon with You train will depart daily from Ichinoseki at 11:01 am and will reach Kesennuma at 12:51 pm. The return trip will start at 3:08 pm and will end at Ichinoseki at 4:49 pm.

Advance booking of tickets can be availed a month prior to the actual date of journey and travelers can plan their trip accordingly.


Filipino Americans Get First Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas to Preserve Their Cultural Heritage in USA


A creative night market is up at the historical Mint Building, a landmark in SOMA Pilipinas for Filipino Americans in San Francisco, California. The Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas is intended to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Filipino Americans and protect their innumerable cultural assets across the Bay Area.

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SOMA (South of Market Area) Pilipinas came into existence as a dedicated socio-cultural district for the Filipino American community in 321-412-1344 in April 2016 when the Board of Supervisors had unanimously passed a legislation to allocate a large chunk of land in San Francisco’s south of market area. SOMA Pilipinas was a long-cherished dream for Filipino Americans who fought racism in the early 1900’s, and had been subjected to displacement since 1970’s.

The Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas is expected to help Filipino Americans achieve the goals of SOMA: developing initiatives for welfare of Filipinos, protecting the Filipino cultural heritage and improving the Filipino community life in USA.

A progress report with a concrete plan of developing this cultural district was submitted to the board of supervisors in December 2016. The new creative Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas is the first stepping stone towards the cultural development of Filipino Americans in the Bay Area. This monthly night market is the brain child of a non-profit organization called UNDISCOVERED SF that is designed to enhance economic activity and create public awareness of SOMA Pilipinas. This first Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas for Filipino Americans will commence from August 18, 2017 and will be held on third Friday of every month.

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UNDISCOVERD SF is conceived and produced by Kultivate Labs, a nonprofit business catalyst. Desi Danganan, a Filipino American entrepreneur and executive director of Kultivate Labs, is one of the vital players working towards the economic development of SOMA Pilipinas. He says, “It’s our way of getting Filipinos to learn and feel comfortable with reinvesting back into the community.”

SOMA Pilipinas was given a grant of $150000 by the city mayor, of which an estimated amount of $130000 would be used to fund the Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas. It is also working towards procuring more $65000 through funds to meet the expenses and salary of the staff for the creative Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas.

Ellen Canale, the chief deputy director of communications for the mayor’s office told Hoodline that UNDISCOVERED SF’s Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas would be a one-stop place for vendors and artistes of the Filipino American community to represent the Filipino American culture and heritage. Filipinos in San Francisco from different walks of life, including music, technology, food, visual arts, social activism and health, are likely to benefit from the Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas.

The historic SF Mint building will house the Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas for Filipino Americans. The Filipino night market at the Mint Building will sprawl across an area of 92,000 square feet. The Mint building is famous for being one of the few buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.

This is indeed a very proud moment for every Filipino American who has finally been realizing their dreams of preserving their cultural identity in the land of opportunities. This Filipino Night Market in SOMA Pilipinas is approximately 13.9 miles from the San Francisco International Airport and is well connected by all means of transport.

FlyHigh is a cultural wing of iEagle Travel, a leading international travel organization booking cheap flights from USA to Manila and Cebu. iEagle Travel is known for the lowest airfare and the best service.