Vol. II No. 26 Saturday 28 June - 4 July 2003
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

TAT studies long stay tourism in the north

Thailand’s 26 airports to be privatized within 5 years

Little known treasures of Phrae

TAT studies long stay tourism in the north

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Twenty TAT staff from Bangkok recently visited the north to study the viability of promoting long stay tourism in Chiang Mai and Lamphun.

Mati Tungpanich, TAT Longstay Standard Investigation sub-committee chairman and staff, shown here at the Northern Heritage Resort and Spa, visited the north to study the viability of promoting long stay tourism in Chiang Mai and Lamphun. The group received a warm welcome from Dr. Salai Sukphanphotharam (front row 3rd right), representing the Northern Heritage Resort and Spa executive committee.

Mati Tungpanich, TAT Longstay Standard Investigation sub-committee chairman led the group and told Chiang Mai Mail that they visited the north to investigate strong points and weaknesses, to search out possible problems and to rate resorts in the area to possibly award them with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) standard long stay certification.

“The basic long stay standard certification process is based on tourist safety in both hardware and software,” said Mati. He clarified that hardware means location, building and facility, and software focuses on all kinds of services. Resorts passing the TAT criteria will be awarded the TAT certification logo for display.

As part of the certification process, hotels and resorts will be awarded with TAT stars, from 1 to 5, to help tourists choose appropriate accommodation in relation to their needs and budgets.

Hotels and resorts’ management that want to be a part of the long stay program can fill out an application, after which an inspector will be dispatched to investigate and determine the appropriate star rating, and if the hotel or resort passes at least the basic standard test, award the relevant TAT logo.


Thailand’s 26 airports to be privatized within 5 years

The Ministry of Transport announced it is making plans to hand over all 26 of Thailand’s state-run airports to the private sector within the next five years in hopes that privatization will restore them to profitability.

Deputy Transport Minister Phichate Satirachaval said, “Several airlines, including Bangkok Airways and PB Air, have expressed an interest in running the airports, currently operating under the auspices of the Department of Aviation. Signals indicate that all six private-sector domestic airlines would enter into business partnerships with foreign allies to act as airport administrators.”

Phichate said that plans to gradually privatize airports within a five-year period had come in response to signs that private-sector airlines were unhappy with the strict privatization criteria laid down by the government, and the fact that they only wanted to administer airports that currently made a profit, such as Krabi, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Under the new scheme profitable airports would be privatized first. Phichate expressed confidence that agreements on revenue sharing and privatization criteria would be reached by the end of 2003. (TNA)


Little known treasures of Phrae

Waterfalls, ghost forests and lofty mountain peaks await the visitor who is looking for something special off the beaten tourist track. Phrae is located away from the main tourist route and is one of those ‘Unseen in Thailand’ treasures surrounded by national parks and mysterious caves and magnificent temples.

As you descend from the heights of Doi Khun Tan on the way to Phrae through Lampang, beautiful emerald rice fields grace the plateau where mountains flank the skyline.

Visitors will find a series of four dramatic waterfalls which lie 20 kilometers northwest of the city. Cherntong Fall lies down a road winding that yawns under the shadow of the mountain peaks. Hikers can trek up the 510 meter trail to Huay Moon. If you are really fit you can head off for the 2 and a half kilometer climb to Doi Pamong.

Heading north out of Phrae on the road to Nan, go about 12 kilometers and take the detour to Phrae Muang Phi - Ghost Forest. Folklore has it that the strange monoliths carved from eroded soil are the sight where many villagers lost their way and were never seen again. The shaped pillars are supposedly the ghosts of a lost tribe.



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