News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Nondhanada Intarakomalyasut, Bangkok Post, Thailand
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 28, 2004 - The Thai Hotels Association (THA) has suggested that its 400 members pull all chicken and other egg-based dishes from their menus to avoid the risk of bird-flu transmission, THA secretary Prakit Chinamornpong said yesterday.
He said the advice had been taken up by most of the hotels until the disease is contained.
"Currently, most of our hotel members have stopped offering chicken- or egg-based menu items such as mayonnaise salad dressing in their buffet services but cooked chicken dishes are still available on a la carte menus," he said.
Chicken normally represented the largest proportion of meat offered in hotels but sales revenue from member hotels' restaurants had not been affected so far by the absence of such dishes, he added.
On the other hand, sales of shrimp and seafood menu items have shown a significant increase in hotel restaurants since the outbreak of the bird flu.
Chatchawal Supachavanont, president of the THA's eastern chapter, said the bird flu was unlikely to have the same impact on the tourism industry as the Sars outbreak did last year.
However, THA members expressed concern that the disease could significantly affect the industry if it started to be transmitted among humans.
They suggested that the government be more transparent about the situation and that a credible person should be responsible for communicating with the international media.
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific Airlines has stopped serving chicken dishes on all flights out of Thailand, said Yongyut Lujintanon, the airline's sales and marketing manager for Thailand and Burma.
However, flights from non-affected countries still offer chicken but all the dishes are cooked at a higher temperature or at least 65 degrees Celsius.
All poultry dishes have been replaced by pork or fish for flights to and from Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
At the same time, all of the airline's staff are being encouraged to obtain flu vaccine and to avoid wet markets and farms with chicken.
Juthamas Siriwan, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the bird flu had not had a significant impact on the tourism industry.
However, she has asked the crisis management centre to communicate closely with involved agencies such as World Health Organisation and the Public Health ministry for updated information to be sent to TAT offices overseas.
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(c) 2004, Bangkok Post, Thailand. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.