TRAVEL & TOURISM

Government promoting Chiang Mai as the regionís tourism hub

100 plane arrivals daily is the plan

Supatatt Dangkrueng and Autsadaporn Kamthai

Deputy Minister of Transport Pichet Sathirachawal on May 2 chaired a meeting to follow up the progress of promoting Chiang Mai as the regionís tourism hub. It was attended by representatives from Chiang Mai Provincial Authority, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, and Chiang Mai Provincial Transportation Office.

Deputy Minister of Transport Pichet Sathirachawal said he hopes that during the high season, 100 flights a day will be passing through Chiang Mai Airport.

Pichet assigned a sub-committee, led by Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook, to work on the problems and study the feasibility of the plan which is hoped can become a concrete project as soon as possible. The objective is to start this October, at the beginning of high tourism season. It is also hoped that more than 100 flights will be landing and taking off at the Chiang Mai Airport each day.

To support this project, the government has allowed Malaysia Airlines and Silk Air to bid for concessions and operate their new flight routes using Chiang Mai International Airport.

"Some airlines were prepared and getting ready to launch their flight operations, with Chiang Mai as the aviation hub, but are now waiting until the SARS crisis ends," said Deputy Minister Pichet.

He also indicated that charter flights from European countries and Australia will use Chiang Mai International Airport as one of their best destinations.

Future conferences are going to be held every month, following up the results from both private sectors and government organizations.