THAI plans expansion
for Chiang Mai-Chittagong route
Bigger planes and more freight carriers needed
Thai Airways International (THAI) operates air links from
Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Chittagong to support Thai government policy to promote
Chiang Mai as the hub for aviation, tourism, trade, investment and exports
in this northern region.
Prakaidao Howattanakul, THAI district sales manager for the upper North,
announced that from March 1, THAI will be using A300-600 Airbus ... to carry
more passengers and cargo. (Photo by Chin Ratitamkul)
Ms Prakaidao Howattanakul, THAI district sales manager
for the upper North announced that from March 1, THAI will be using A300-600
Airbus with 249 seats, replacing the current Boeing 737-400, with 149 seats,
to carry more passengers and cargo.
THAI also plans to rent space at Chittagong Airport for
up to 10 years as the base for THAI’s connecting flights to Middle East
These plans were revealed at a recent THAI seminar held
at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel in Chiang Mai.
Representatives from both public and private sectors
included Chiang Mai’s deputy governor, Prinya Parnthong; Niwat
Chantrachote of THAI’s Bangladesh based station; Sukin Wongsa, the
president of Northern Handicraft Manufacturers producers and exporters; and
Ms Jiaraporn Tulayanond, director of the Department of Exports Promotion,
Niwat said since the inaugural flight on December 11,
2002 between Chiang Mai and Bangladesh, passengers and freight has increased
from 50-80 percent. Some of the increases have been in medical and health
tourism, Niwat said, because, he believes, Chiang Mai is regarded as the
Jiraporn Tulayanond, director of the Department of
Exports Promotion, Northern Center, shares this optimism, and said that
Bangladesh is an opportunity for Thai producers and exporters.
Chumpol Chanjira, representing THAI, said three main
products are exported from Chiang Mai: vegetables and fruits (three tons a
month on average), electrical appliances, and OTOP products.
Despite these positive signs, some of the seminar
participants said that the import tax remained as high as 100-130 percent
for Thai products, which is still a stumbling block that could prevent
further increases in exports to Bangladesh.
Tourism to bring a strong
economy to Chiang Mai
As long as the bird flu over the cuckoo’s nest doesn’t kill it
Somsak Vanitkachorn, secretary of Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce, said the economic indicators for the northern region this year
would be bright for the tourism sector.
Vanitkachorn, secretary of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce.
He estimated that over 35 percent of Chiang Mai’s
revenue is expected to be generated by the tourism industry, however, SARS,
bird flu, and terrorism would affect the tourism and services sector.
Other economic factors include public spending,
stimulated by the government sector for investment and import and export
sector would be able to counteract any negative factors in tourism. The Free
Trade Areas agreement with China is expected to increase export volumes much
more than last year, although, farmers had to adjust for changes such as
This year we will see many tourism promotional campaigns
launched by the government and private sectors. The Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce anticipated that there would be over 40,000 million baht revenue
generated by the tourism industry this year. However, the Chamber injected a
note of caution saying that although Chiang Mai has prepared for expansion
such as the aviation hub and Chiang Mai the ICT City, the related problems,
such as overcrowding in the city, road congestion hindering transportation
and traffic would eventually destroy the Chiang Mai environment and culture.
There is also the problem with no public transport suitable for tourists.
Heinecke marching on the Mekong
William E. Heinecke will deliver the closing address at
the Ninth Mekong Tourism Forum in Chiang Mai on March 28. Heinecke is well
equipped to deliver the goods for the forum, being the successful
businessman who introduced pizzas to Thailand and is still delivering the
In 1967, he strode into a lawyer’s office in Bangkok,
handed over the equivalent of USD 1,000 and registered two companies,
Inter-Asian Enterprise and Inter-Asian Publicity. He had borrowed USD 1,200
from a moneylender and used the remainder on plastic buckets and floor mops
for his new cleaning business and a few minutes of airtime on a local radio
Thirty-seven years later, William Heinecke is the chief
executive and major shareholder of two publicly listed companies - Royal
Garden Resorts (RGR) and the Minor Corporation - which employ more than
12,000 people. RGR owns luxury hotels including The Four Seasons Bangkok,
The Four Seasons Chiang Mai, Bangkok Marriott Resort and Spa, Pattaya
Marriott Resort and Spa, Hua Hin Marriott Resort and Spa, JW Marriott
Phuket, Anantara Resort and Spa Hua Hin, Anantara Resort and Spa Golden
Triangle and Harbourview Hotel Haiphong, Vietnam. In 2003, Forbes magazine
named RGR one of the ‘best under a billion’ companies. Topic of his
address will be on how investors can realize the promise of the Mekong
region (but you’ll have to get in before Bill!).
Strategic Intelligence Centre World Watch
Thailand tops for Lonely
According to a survey of 7,500 independent travelers from
134 countries, Thailand is the world’s top destination, beating Italy by
four votes. Conducted by Lonely Planet, the survey marked the guidebook
publisher’s 30th anniversary. The next three destinations were Australia,
India and New Zealand.
airlines for China
China (PRC)’s General Administration of Civil Aviation
will allow small-scale budget airlines once regulatory issues are finalized
and safety and security standards are met.
China spending big on
In 2004, .by 20 percent and transport volume by 19
percent. About CNY15 billion (USD1.8 billion) will be invested in airports
and other fixed asset projects.
India and Pakistan stop
waiting for the trains
Rail services between India and Pakistan resumed January
15, two weeks after commercial air services between the two countries also
Government confirms Chiang Mai to be the new aviation hub in 6 months
Since Bangkok is already over capacity, there’s nowhere else?
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is confident
that Chiang Mai would be the airline hub in this region, after it has been
accelerating negotiations about the aviation rights among ASEAN countries.
Vichet Kasemthongsri, the Deputy minister of transport
and communications visited Chiang Mai air traffic control center to follow
up the development potential of Chiang Mai International Airport. Vichet
said that he has assigned 14 subcommittees to push the negotiations on the
aviation rights with each airline to fly to Chiang Mai to make it a real
hub. Vichet was confident that within two to three years they would finalize
negotiations on aviation rights with all ASEAN countries. China and India
have already signed the agreement.
Vichet affirmed that there would be more projects to
survey every part of the airport to see what needs improvement and
On-flight prawns to help raise prices
Passengers on Thai Airways flights are to be given
prawns, prawns and more prawns in an attempt by the Department of Internal
Trade to solve falling prawn prices, the department’s director-general
Siriporn Yotmuangcharoen announced recently.
Addressing concerns over the low price of prawns,
Siriporn said that prawns would be served on Thai Airways flights in order
to encourage greater consumption of prawns among the Thai public. (TNA)