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Thailand Elite Card being pushed in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s future looks bright

Thailand Elite Card being pushed in Chiang Mai

A Thaksin promotion with a cost of thousands

The Thailand Elite Card is the first national membership card for foreigners who want to make the Kingdom their home. The program started in 2003 as the brainchild of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to promote Thailand as the world’s best travel destination. Revenue derived from the Elite Card will be spent on Thailand’s ongoing program of improving tourism and travel infrastructure.

The incentives are varied, but the costs are also proportionately high. Elite cardholders are allowed to buy 10 rai of land for residency, but there are queries as to whether this land parcel can be on-sold or passed down to heirs. There is a five-year renewable multiple re-entry visa, free business class upgrade through Thai Airways International, free green fees, spas and massages at selected outlets, and many service discounts all over Thailand. However, when reviewed against the cost, there has been much less interest in the card than the vendors had hoped.

Trade and Business Support Center is a special offer from Chiangmai Trade Point Thailand to Elite Card holders offering advice in legal issues, government regulations, and investment.

Chiangmai Trade Point (CMTP) is a non-profit organization founded in 1999. Its management policy runs under the umbrella and support of UNCTAD and World Trade Point Federation, to assist local SME’s to trade in global markets. The organization is also an Elite Card authorized agent. You can contact CMTP for more information at 10th floor, Kad Suan Kaew, Huay Kaew Road, Suthep, Chiangmai 50200, Tel. 0 5389 4505, 0 5322 4479, Fax 0 5389 4505, extension 14, e-mail: [email protected] tra, http://www.tradepointthailand .com

Chiang Mai’s future looks bright

Not just cool weather and warm women

Jiraphat Warasin

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.