Vol. II No.23 Saturday 7 June - 13 June 2003
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts hosts annual “Travel Industry Appreciation Week”

First Tsutaya Shop opens in Phayao

Ethnic minorities under the media microscope

IT City opens in Chiang Mai

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts hosts annual “Travel Industry Appreciation Week”

On Friday, May 30, the Regent Chiang Mai held a special reception for their local contacts. This was part of the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts annual “Travel Industry Appreciation Week”- a world wide arrangement thanking the industry for its support.

The executive management of the Regent Four Seasons was delighted to mingle with their local supporters.

The event was held at the Lanna Terrace with dinner, a special buffet arrangement, cooked in the adjacent new Cooking School.

With the continuing drop in sales in the travel business, due to SARS and war, new alternatives have to be invented to get people to travel, with a special emphasize on domestic travel arrangements. The second-to-none Cooking School at the 4 Seasons Regent Resort in Chiang Mai-Mae Rim is something for the agents to get new ideas to sell even weekend holidays to families and couples.

The very private area of the Cooking School can be the perfect venue for incentives, corporate get-togethers, and even for family parties. All dishes are prepared a-la-minute, and you indeed feel as if you have entered a different world.

First Tsutaya Shop opens in Phayao

Marion Vogt

On Thursday, May 29, at exactly 9.59 a.m. the official opening of the first Tsutaya Video, CD, DVD Shop at Phayao took place. Tsutaya was first established in Japan in 1983 and has grown into the largest franchise chain in Japan with approximately 1,064 stores and 16 million members in 19 years since its foundation. Nowadays, Tsutaya is the largest video franchise chain in Japan and has made a name overseas for good quality, economically priced videos and DVDs for rent and sale.

Preparing to officially cut the ribbon - on the very right Hiroyuki Hamamoto, Tsutaya’s vice president of operations, Bunsorn Rattanajatuphon, senior vice president franchise development, Kom Meesri and is lovely wife (4th and 5th from right) next to the vice mayor of Phayao on their right, and many other distinguished guests.

The Tsutaya video rental business was established in Thailand in September 1994 with its first store “Tsutaya President Park” located on Sukhumvit 24. Tsutaya (Thailand) Co., Ltd was set up in October 1997 aiming at the creation of a Tsutaya franchise chain throughout Bangkok and other cities in Thailand. Tsutaya has gained its great popularity from members and by steadily expanding. They had reached 20 stores in 1998. Now in 2003, Tsutaya operates through franchises more than 120 stores nationwide with 770,000 members, including 3 shops in Chiang Mai and a very new one in Phayao, operated by Khun Kom Meesri and his lovely wife.

Kom Meesri is a hotelier-turned-entrepreneur who worked with Michael Vogt for over 6 years. Having returned to his home town Phayao, Kom obtained the franchise for Nai-In Book stores, and now for Tsutaya Video Rentals. In his address, Michael remembered Kom as a person who always had a vision, a fact which has apparently not changed over the years. With Tsutaya being an international brand, Kom has achieved bringing another international brand name to Phayao, a fact which will greatly benefit the city and the northern region. Knowing Kom, he probably already has another “As” up his sleeve.

Ethnic minorities under the media microscope

Nantanee Jedsadachaiyut

The Bangkok-based Indochina Media Memorial Foundation (IMMF) organized a month-long Television Journalism Training Course at Thai Worldview Foundation in Chiang Mai and other rural areas in the north of Thailand from May 3-31. Amongst other things, organizers of the program hope to build closer media ties between Thailand and its neighbor countries, and to support independent media initiatives through funds and expertise, with the latest training course “Ethnic Minorities: Facing a Fragile Future.”

Some of the training course participants at work in Chiang Mai.

Training participants hard at work on television program shooting.

A teacher explains the intricacies of the film broadcasting media.

Gaining practical experience through doing.

The IMMF is building media bridges for Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam, so as to improve the standards and practices of journalism in the region on a continuing basis, and to help those pursuing careers in journalism. This training course focused on the adjustment of minority groups to preserve their own traditional culture, while enjoying the benefits of mainstream culture.

Once isolated in remote mountain villages, ethnic minorities across the region are reeling under the impact of commerce, government development schemes, AIDS and prostitution. Their ancient traditions are rapidly being eroded, often with disastrous consequences.

Guest speakers were invited to talk about problems facing ethnic people throughout the region. The guests were government officials, NGO representatives, academics, and hill-tribe leaders.

A group of 16 journalists from 5 countries, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam, were given the chance to explore and create a greater depth of understanding of minority people, which can be adapted in the context of each country.

Peter Hiscocks, formerly of the BBC, and now a consultant in television training to the Thomson Foundation, UK, led the training. He was assisted by Pongtada Suriya, director of the Thai Worldview Foundation based in Chiang Mai.

The Indochina Media Memorial Foundation (IMMF) was established by Tim Page, a British photojournalist, in memory of journalists from all countries who died covering wars in Indochina from 1945.

IT City opens in Chiang Mai

Surachai Tungteerabunditkul

In response to the government policy of creating an IT hub in Chiang Mai, Kad.com, Kad Suan Kaew’s IT City was opened on May 30. The area encompasses around 3,000 square meters.

Pol Lt Suchai Kengkarnka, managing director of Kad Suan Kaew and other dignitaries cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the IT City in Chiang Mai.

Browsing through the many IT offerings at the IT City, Kad Suan Kaew.

Pol Lt Suchai Kengkarnka, managing director of Kad Suan Kaew said, “IT influences the current human lifestyle, not only just for work but almost everything. We are also replying to the government policy to push IT, and to develop human capabilities.”

Kad Suan Kaew in co-operation with Phanthip Plaza Bangkok, has invested around 200 million baht in building the IT City center. Pisan Suwantada, the manager of IT City Chiang Mai branch added, “This IT City is the 11th subsidiary in the country and is the first in the North. The company chose Chiang Mai because it is the best economic center. We have expanded the branch at Kad Suan Kaew because it’s the best location. The opened branch goes with the ‘One Stop Shopping’ concept, which collects many IT products with more than 8,000 brand names, to meet the customers’ demands, such as computers, printers, and digital cameras all under the same roof.”

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