Dr Sonthi Limthongkul, a leading local media figure, says
Chiang Mai is highly regarded throughout Thailand for its cool weather and
beautiful women. He was a special guest speaker at Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce on March 20.
Chiang Mai is an important tourism province with a high
potential to link with other regions in new progressive development
projects. He said Chiang Mai has not changed so far, but has become a
“victim” of the country’s development plans.
However, he said he was not sure that the 200 billion
baht budget allocated for developing Chiang Mai and neighboring provinces
would be distributed to local Chiang Mai entrepreneurs or businesspeople. He
asserted that the people of Chiang Mai should unite to negotiate equal
distribution of the government budget among local enterprises.
In his opinion, Chiang Mai should be developed as the
city of life and prosperity. Attractions include its multi-cultural identity
and unpolluted development. After that, the city should focus on enhancing
education standards and facilities.
He believes that actually Chiang Mai should not be viewed
as the second capital city of Thailand. He cited many reasons, such as its
area, which is less than Nakhon Ratchasima, the annual income which is less
than that of Lamphun.
Furthermore, Sonthi added that Lampang has an advantage
over Chiang Mai in its location with easier connections to other regions.
But since most Thai people view Chiang Mai as a provincial town with a
temperate climate and the home of beautiful women, for these reasons, Chiang
Mai became more prominent and significant than Lampang.
In terms of development potential, he thought that Rayong
and Chonburi were as significant as Chiang Mai. Nevertheless, Rayong and
Chonburi’s main businesses are industrial factories and tourism businesses
that are totally contradictory to each other. On the other hand, Chiang Mai
has a more integrated system and can link with all other regions. These give
Chiang Mai an advantage in development. Most importantly, Chiang Mai has a
prominent culture as its unique strongpoint in attracting visitors.