Posted: 04/01/2009 6:17 pm Post subject: ข่าวล่าสุด E & O - ปี 2552 นี้ไปเวียงจันทน์แน่
Chugging into the New Year
The Star - Saturday January 3, 2009
THE global economic slowdown is unlikely to cause any adverse reduction in passengers travelling on the opulent Eastern & Oriental Express (E&O) train.
Its passenger services director Ulf Buchert said the company was optimistic that the demand for the trains services would remain as competitive as that of last year.
There was no drastic drop in passengers on our Southeast Asian journey between Bangkok and Singapore, following recent demonstrations in Bangkok.
However, we have yet to see the annual increase in advanced bookings that we normally register at the beginning of the year, he said when the train made a stop-over at the Butterworth railway station in Penang on New Years Day.
But, the company was expecting last-minute bookings, which made up 15% of its regular bookings, he said.
Buchert said the E&O train continued to receive strong support from European and Japanese travellers, even though its American passengers had plunged to 10% from 40% before the September 11 attacks on United States.
We receive many British and German-speaking passengers these days. And, on this trip, we had a few from Poland and Russia among our total 111 passengers, he said, noting the train had a maximum capacity of 128 passengers.
Buchert added that the company had increased its fares for 2009 by between USD$50 (RM170) and USD$150 (RM510).
I do not think our fare review will affect our sales, he said.
He said the E&O would try out a promotional trip into Laos from Bangkok between Feb 24 and Feb 27 following the recent completion of train tracks over a bridge in Vientiane, Laos.
Previously, he said, the E&O train would stop at the border checkpoint in Laos before transporting passengers via coach to Vientiane.
We are also looking forward to the completion of the Ipoh-Butterworth stretch under KTM Berhads double-tracking project, slated for the second half of this year.
The concrete sleepers used in this project will help our train glide more smoothly, besides improving the travel time, he said.
Earlier, Penang Development Corporations Tourism division manager Che Puteh Daud-Halim welcomed E&Os passengers with bunga telur, T-shirts and brochures on Penang in conjunction with its New Years Day celebrations.
Thundering sounds from a Chinese lion dance troupe as well as rhythmic beats from a Malay kompang group added splendour to the welcoming ceremony.
Che Puteh said the passengers were on a three-hour break in Penang, where they took a scenic ferry ride to the island before having refreshments at the E&O Hotel Penang.
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