Travel show to bring in 75 billion baht to Chiang Mai
The Chiang Mai Tourism Promotion Board (CTPB) held the
Chiang Mai and North Travel Show 2004 from November 29 - December 2 in an
effort to stimulate the growth of the local tourism industry.
Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranuprakorn (third left) who is also chairman of the
CTPB, Junnapong Saranak (third right), director of Tourism Authority of
Thailand, Northern Region 1 and Phornsiri Manoharn (middle), deputy governor
for International Marketing TAT. (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)
Over 264 agents participated in the show. Of these, 194
were from overseas, especially from Scandinavian countries, and Australia,
New Zealand and Russia.
“As tourism has been the main source of income for
Chiang Mai in the last four years, the 2004 travel show will play a
significant role in further strengthening Chiang Mai as a tourist city and
promoting its tourism growth,” said Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert
Buranuprakorn, who is also chairman of the CTPB. The event helped in
providing a forum for Chiang Mai agents to meet with foreign and Thai
Chiang Mai Municipality and Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization (PAO) contributed 500,000 baht and 1.5 million
baht to the event respectively.
The health and spa industry, MICE and golf tours that
have been expanding in Chiang Mai were new alternatives for buyers at the
“The PAO plans to earmark five percent of its budget to
support tourism and cultural activities of Chiang Mai to sustain the
growth,” said Chatri Limchamroon, the PAO Council chairman.
“The PAO realizes the importance of the tourism
industry and has supported the tourism-related entrepreneurs by taxing them
only 0.8 percent while some tourist cities like Phuket collect three
percent,” he said.
It was expected that the event would bring in approximately 75 billion
baht, according to Vorapong Moochaotai, president of the Thai Hotel
Association, Northern Chapter.
Thailand trying to be
Indo-China’s logistics center by 2008
Government’s ambitious plan hinges on personnel development
The Thai Government wants to make Thailand the center of
Indo-China’s logistics by the year 2008, according to Suebsak Dangboonrueng,
deputy director of the One Stop Export Service in the Department of Export
Promotion of the Commerce Ministry.
Dangboonrueng (left), deputy director of the One Stop Export Service, and
Jiraporn Tulayanont (right), director of the Export Promotion Office, Northern
“Thailand’s logistics role would be boosted to equal and
even replace Hong Kong,” Suebsak said. Jiraporn Tulayanont, director of the
Export Promotion Office, Northern Region added, “Singapore is one of the main
rivals for Thailand’s logistics but Thailand has an advantage by virtue of its
location and geography.”
The government has assigned the One Stop Export Service to be
responsible in applying a five year plan for the country’s logistics
development to reach the 2008 goal. The plan covers measures to raise people’s
awareness of logistics, adding logistics study to the school curriculum
nationwide, and educating executives and the public about logistics.
The plan focuses on four main development directions -
information systems, information networks, infrastructure development and
At present, the Ministry of Transport has improved the whole
transportation system of Thailand trying to link all transportation methods to
ease the logistics growth, especially within the Quadrangle Economic Development
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
is now responsible for the information network and the National Statistics
Office, Ministry of Technology and Communication is responsible for the
information system development.
“Personnel is the weak point in Thailand’s growth, as manpower is
inadequate and most Thais’ foreign language skills are poor,” Suebsak said.
The Minister of Commerce is working on developing the quality of personnel in
the logistics field to support the government’s target. “However, the budget
of 157 million baht earmarked for the operation is inadequate and a larger
budget is needed before the plan is submitted to the cabinet,” he said.
Thai exporters primed
for launch of Free Trade Agreement
Thai exporters should keep the quality of their products in
line with the Australian government’s requirements after the Australia-Thai
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is activated on January 1, according to an Australian
business and law academic.
Bergani, from the Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University of
Roberto Bergani, a lecturer of the Faculty of Business and
Law at Victoria University of Technology, said this in a lecture on “Logistics
and Supply Chain for Thai Exporters” at Novotel, Chiang Mai on November 26.
“Fruit and vegetables are two categories that the
Australian government examine strictly, and quarantine is another important
matter that Thai exporters have to consider carefully,” Bergani said.
His lecture was aimed to inform Thai exporters about
Australian customs regulations in preparation for the FTA.
According to Bergani, under the Australia-Thai FTA, the
customs processes would be substantially the same in both countries.
“As Thai and Australian farms bear fruits in different
seasons, both countries could take turns to export their fruits, which will
benefit both countries,” said Bergani.
Main Thai exports to Australia are fruit, vegetables, wooden
products and ceramics, while Australian exports are pharmaceutical, technical
and dairy products.
Wine was another product which Australia had looked at, but
the Thai market was too small.
Recently, entrepreneurs from Sydney viewed Thai decorations
but commented these were more expensive than those from China, said Jiraporn
Tulayanont, director of the Export Promotion Office, Northern Region.
“Thai products have to be upgraded to have better quality and design than
Chinese products or suffer losing out to China,” he said.
Short cut highway linking
Mae Hong Son-Chiang Mai in pipeline
The Highways Department has employed four companies to do
economic, engineering and environmental impact studies on the proposed
construction of a new highway to Mae Hong Son through Samoeng district, Chiang
Mai, and tambon Huay Pu Ling, Mae Hong Son.
With this short cut, the distance between Mae Hong Son and
Chiang Mai would be reduced to 192 kilometers.
According to the survey, most local people in Samoeng
district, Chiang Mai and Huay Pu Ling village in Mae Hong Son want the highway
to be constructed.
It is predicted that the short cut will not only ease
traveling for Mae Hong Son people going to Chiang Mai, it will also bring more
investment to the area.
Gasidit Watanasup, director of Mae Hong Son Provincial
Highways District Office, said that the Samoeng-Huay Pu Ling route was not a
new one, as it has been used by local people for a long time. However, the road
is unpaved, less than four meters wide and is sloped due to the topographical
features. With the new plan, the width of the road will be expanded to 11
However, the construction still depends on the environmental
impact study being conducted by the Natural Resource and Environment
All studies will be in by February next year. If all
approve, the highway plan will be proposed to the cabinet for approval.
Mae Sai district
to get 20 million baht market building
The Local Administration Promotion Department, National
Economic and Social Development Assembly has earmarked 20 million baht for
the Mae Sai District Municipality to construct a new border market in front
of the district police station in Chiang Rai.
An engineering team from Chiang Mai University’s
Faculty of Architecture has been commissioned to study the structure of the
proposed border market, with the architecture being in Lanna style. Part of
the budget has been spent on landscaping in front of the Mae Sai district
“The new market will distribute Chiang Rai OTOP (One
Tambon One Product) goods, and house a tourist information center,” said
Mae Sai mayor, Dr Wichai Taweepworadech.
“According to the working group, a survey on October
29 showed that local people approved the project,” said Dr Wichai. The
working group is confident that the market would increase tourism activity
and trade in Mae Sai district.
The working committee has considered constructing an
underpass on the Paholyothin Road for pedestrians visiting the market.
Farmers exchange seeds
of wisdom at international gathering
The Faculty of Agriculture at Chiang Mai University
hosted an International Farmers’ Dialogue at Chiang Mai University to
provide several countries the opportunity to discuss and exchange knowledge.
from around the world discuss organic farming methods.
Participants came from England, the United States,
France, Canada, India, Cambodia, Poland, Australia, Laos, countries in
Africa, Japan and host nation Thailand for the five day November seminar
held in cooperation with the National Science and Technology Development
“This international conference will be very beneficial
for all in building networks to promote sustainable agricultural development
in this age of globalization,” Assoc Prof Dr Daoroong Kangwarnpong,
CMU’s deputy president of Research, said at the opening.
“Organic foods are in high demand around the world ...
All farming needs development in organic methods, and to be concerned with
quality,” said Dr Sumeth Tantiwechkul, secretary of the Chaipattana
In response to this increasing demand for organic foods,
the conference emphasis was on organic farming, and participants were given
a chance to increase their understanding and knowledge of organic crops.
They were taken on a field tour to observe Thai farming in many locations
to see new methods and exchange techniques and experiences.
Loy Krathong Festival
brings in 900 million baht to Chiang Mai
This year’s nine-day Loy Krathong festival will bring
in 900 million baht for Chiang Mai, according to Junnapong Saranark, Tourism
Authority of Thailand, Northern Region 1 director.
Previous festivals added about 500-800 million baht to
the city’s economy, said Junnapong.
The number of domestic tourists was equivalent to foreign
tourists and the statistics showed that the number of Loy Krathong visitors
has increased each year.
“Chiang Mai Municipality spent approximately 60 million
baht for this year’s Loy Krathong festival to make it even more special,
to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 72nd birthday,” said Pornchai
Jitnawasatian, secretary to the Chiang Mai mayor. “This year’s festival
saw more tourists due to the low-cost airlines which facilitate tourists
traveling to Chiang Mai and the good public relations effort.”
Hotel advance bookings for the festival reached 80
percent and the number of foreign tourists also increased from previous
years, according to Vorapong Moochaotai, president of the Thai Hotel
Association, Northern Chapter.
New astronomy research center opened
Government support meager,
The Astronomical Education Center of the Northern Region
at the Sirindhorn Observatory, Chiang Mai University, which was officially
opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn on November 22, will help
promote the study of astronomy. This is the view of Assoc Prof Boonraksa
Soonthornthum, the university’s Dean of the Faculty of Science.
A reflecting telescope 0.45-0.5 meters in diameter at the
center would raise students’ interest and enhance teaching of astronomy
throughout the North as pictures of planets and space taken by the telescope
could be sent to schools using the Internet, he said. About 10,000 people
visit the Sirindhorn Observatory each year.
Training for astronomy teachers and lecturers is another
activity taking place at the center to stimulate the development of
astronomy teaching. However, Assoc Prof Boonraksa said that the Thai
government’s support for astronomy research was meager and research
equipment inadequate compared to other countries. The government hopes to
interest students in astronomy through the activities of the Ministry of
Education’s Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and
“Vague career direction for astronomy graduates partly
has caused astronomy studies to be unpopular among Thai students,” said
Assoc Prof Boonraksa.
Officials discuss border situation since Myanmar regime change
80 officials from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, including
district chief officers, superintendents, customs and immigration officials,
and narcotics suppression police met to discuss border problems.
Gen Manus Paorik, Pha Muang Task Force commander
The meeting, held at the Pha Muang Task Force on November
25, included discussion on drug trafficking, problems associated with the
issuing of alien laborer ID cards and the illegal entry of alien laborers.
Commander of Pha Muang Task Force, Maj Gen Manus Paorik,
said participants were informed of the Pha Muang Task Force’s border
mission. The task force urged relevant organizations to supply the names of
illegal alien laborers or migrants who had to be repatriated.
Although new armed troops to control minority tribes were
positioned along the border area to replace ousted Burmese prime minister,
General Khin Nyunt’s troops, there was still no sign of violence or
operational obstacles from the new troops, Maj Gen Manus said.
The task force prepared five more refugee camps for
Burmese refugees in case fighting between the Burmese regime and the
minority army took place, he said. Four of the camps are at Wiang Haeng, Ang
Khang, Arunothai and Sanchoon in Chiang Mai and the fifth at Mae Fa Luang
district in Chiang Rai.
Maj Gen Manus urged police to regularly set up
checkpoints to block drug smuggling, as he noticed that many drugs were
being confiscated daily. “Soldiers have been deployed to patrol border
areas but drugs are still entering the country,” he said. Roads and
highways are outside the jurisdiction of the task force and soldiers, so
police should strictly check all passing vehicles.
Maj Gen Paorik said he asked the new Burmese government representative to
keep a watch on the Red Wa group as he believes the tribe is unreliable. The
Burmese officials promised to do so. “But the new Burmese government is
concentrating on combating the minority army, while other matters are of
less importance to it,” he said.
Bridges – International Peace Foundation lectures
Chiang Mai welcomes the Nobel Laureates
The International Peace Foundation, which hosts the event
series “Bridges - Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace” that began in
November 2003 in Thailand, has announced the second series, which will run
from December 2004 to April 2005.
Ngun Pornpaiboonstid (second from right), THAI vice president, Corporate
Planning Department, presented an air ticket (21 seats) to HE Anand
Panyarachun (second from left), honorary chairman of the Thai Advisory Board
for the 2nd and final “Bridges” event series, and Privy Councilor
General Surayud Chulaont (first from left), chairman of the International
Peace Foundation’s Advisory Board. (Photo by TG PR dept.)
In this series of more than 200 lectures and dialogues,
seminars, workshops and artistic performances they hope to establish
creative conflict resolution programs for the growing threats of war and
international terrorism. They are involving 28 Nobel Laureates as well as
decision makers in international politics, economy, science, and culture,
and Thai leaders.
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai can see the following people
during the next couple of months:
Thursday, December 9 at 10.30 a.m., keynote speech and
dialogue at Chiang Mai University. The Economics of Peace by Prof. Clive W.
Granger, Nobel Laureate for Economics. He is a Professor of Economics at the
University of California in St. Diego. He was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize
in Economic Sciences, shared with Prof. Robert F. Eagle for the development
of methods of analyzing economic time series with common trends.
Wednesday, December 15, 2 p.m. keynote speech and
dialogue at Chiang Mai University ‘Structures of the molecules of life –
Impact on modern biomedical research’ by Prof. Kurt Wthrich, Nobel
Laureate for Chemistry, Zurich. Kurt Wthrich received the 2002 Nobel
Prize for Chemistry.
Tuesday, January 4, 2005, 9:30 a.m. Public dialogue at
Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, and on Wednesday, January 5, 2005,
9:30 a.m. Public dialogue at Chiang Mai University. These are with Prof.
Jean-Marie Lehn, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1987.
Thursday, January 27, 2005, 2 p.m. keynote speech and
dialogue at Payap University Chiang Mai. ‘Education for peace’ by Bishop
Carlos F.X. Belo, Nobel Peace Laureate, who is a patron of the International
Peace Foundation, who received the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for his work
towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.
Wednesday, February 9, 2005, 2 p.m. keynote speech and
dialogue at Chiang Mai University. ‘Peace and disarmament – Prospect
after Iraq’ by Dr. Hans Blix, former head of the UN weapons of mass
destruction inspections in Iraq.
Thursday, February 24, 2005, 2 p.m. keynote speech and
dialogue at Chiang Mai University. ‘The challenge of reconciling
biological and cultural imperatives in the quest for peace and
sustainability’ by Prof. Peter C. Doherty, Nobel Laureate for Medicine.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005, 2 p.m. keynote speech and
dialogue at Chiang Mai University. ‘Beliefs, institutions and the control
of violence’ by Prof. Douglass C. North, awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for
Wednesday, March 16, 2005, 2 p.m. keynote speech and
dialogue at Chiang Mai University. ‘Science and the protection of human
rights’ by Prof. Peter Agre, who was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize for
Chiang Mai University, information and free tickets:
Phone 053-943-661-5, 224-076 and 941-007, fax 053-219-252, 943-666 and
942-666, email [email protected] and [email protected] chiang mai .ac.th
Payap University Chiang Mai: information & free
tickets: Phone/fax 053-217-271, E-mail [email protected]
Chiang Rai information & free tickets: Phone 053-916-000 and 917-034,
fax 053-916-034 and 917-049, email inter @mfu.ac.th
Senate committee hears arguments over Buddhist decorations
The Senate Committee for Buddhism, Art and Culture Study
has met to hear arguments about the use of Buddhist art and architecture at
the Dara Dhevi and Ratchamankla hotels.
“At the meeting, held at Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai on
November 29, the committee listened to both sides to decide whether the
decorations and building should be allowed or not,” said Dr Penchan
Jaksujinda, its deputy chairman.
Penchan Jaksujinda (woman in the middle), deputy chairman of the Committee
for Buddhism, Art and Culture Study, Chatchawarn Panusdith (4th left,
wearing spectacles), advisor to the Committee for Buddhism, Art and Culture
Study and other committee members at the meeting to study the information.
According to Dr Penchan, the committee will send the
result of the hearing to the House Commissioner for Buddhism, Art and
Culture Study for adjudication. If the decorations at these hotels are
deemed inappropriate, a resolution will be passed and sent to the associated
ministry for the hotels to remove them.
The opposition group, led by Phra Maha Dr Boonchuay
Sirindharo, an abbot of Wat Lai Hin Luang in Lampang, and academics from the
Social Research Institute called for a minor amendment to the law in the
Thai Constitution on Buddhism Protection to be passed to clarify the
situation. The group also wants the government to reorganize the status of
Buddhism and promote real knowledge and understanding of it among Thai
people to create greater awareness.
Copyright law for temples was the perfect way out for
this problem to prevent other hotels or entertainment outlets reproducing
any Buddhist architecture, suggested Dr Penchan.
“Architects should have a real understanding of
Buddhism as well, in order to prevent the use of Buddhist art in
inappropriate contexts,” suggested Chatchawarn Panusdith, advisor to the
Committee for Buddhism, Art and Culture Study. The ethics of architects
should be promoted and they should take part in drafting the minor law to
protect Buddhism and monks.
Concern about international relations with Laos and
Myanmar was brought up at the meeting by one of the participants, who
claimed religious places in Luang Prabang and Mandalay Palace were also
reproduced at the Mandarin Dara Dhevi Hotel.
“The Ancient City in Samutprakarn was a good example of reproducing
Buddhist art and architecture in appropriate ways acceptable to
Buddhists,” Dr Penchan said. She added, “Buddhist reproduction and
decorations at hotels and entertainment venues are considered contrary to
the real teaching of Buddhism and not in keep with their environment,
although the owners claim they intended to conserve and promote the
culture.” However, the hotel personnel insisted their intention was to
conserve Lanna architecture and promote tourism without meaning to insult or
denigrate Buddhist art and culture.
Drug dealer dies in gun battle with drug suppression officers
Another ‘extra’ statistic?
The Pha Muang Task Force operating along the
Myanmar border arrested two drug dealers and killed another at Mae
Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai’s Chiang Dao
Under the command of Maj Gen Manus Paorik of the
Pha Muang Task Force, five teams of the 3rd Cavalry Special Task
Force soldiers, 138th Cavalry Battalion were on patrol along the Mae
Joke-Terd Thai route in Mae Fa Laung district, about 500 meters from
the border on November 25. They came across two Burmese and
apprehended one of them. He was in possession of drug-taking
equipment and a firearm.
The next day, the team patrolled at Ban Pang Ma
Hun in Mae Fa Luang district, about 2.5 km from the border, and
searched a hut in which two suspects were staying. The two fired at
the oncoming soldiers, who returned fire. At the end of the
gunfight, the soldiers found one of them had been killed while the
other had managed to escape. They confiscated 1,600 ya ba tablets, 6
rolls of heroin, 1 kg of crude opium, a 9mm pistol, 24 rounds of
ammunition and drug-taking equipment.
Medical staff from Mae Fa Laung Hospital
ascertained that the suspect, whose nationality could not be
established, was deceased.
On November 27, soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry
Department of the 127th Cavalry Battalion searched Ban Nasiri in
Maung Na of Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai and arrested a Lahu man,
Jaba Jalae. They seized an AK-47 and 30 rounds of ammunition, a
shotgun and a grenade. Jaba was taken to Na Wai district police
station in Chiang Dao for questioning.
Yi Peng Festival 2004 in Chiang Mai
float with the trophy for the most beautiful large-sized krathong in the
procession on November 26.
hot-air balloon competition was held at the Chiang Mai Municipality on
November 26. According to Lanna belief, by releasing the hot-air balloon, or
‘Khom Loy’, people’s misfortune will fly away. If the balloon rises
high and travels far, it indicates good fortune and prosperity. It is
claimed that the hot-air balloon could rise to a height of 1,250 meters and
travel as far as Hat Yai district in Songkla province in the south of
Thailand. (The south of Thailand needs some good fortune!)
of the large krathongs in the competition held on November 26 in Chiang Mai
as part of the 9 day Yi Peng Festival.
US Consulate throws memorable Loy Krathong party
The US Consulate’s Loy Krathong festivities were one of
the highlights of the year. Despite traffic jams and the unusual rain, there
was nothing which could keep the community away on Friday, November 26. The
attractions, Lanna delicacies, Lanna sports competitions, Lanna-style
entertainment and do-it-yourself krathong making were all part of the
Isaan dance show, featuring consulate staff and spouses. Bea Camp and David
Summers, and Maggie Flynn and Scott Hansen (the couple on the left).
The US consulate invited members of the local guard
force, the police special action department, local police and the Air Force
Detachment (415) to take part in the sports competition, and despite the
huge effort put forth by the US citizens, the mini-soccer, takraw and even
the ping-pong competition was won by the Thai guests.
Ambassador Darryl and Mrs. Johnson doing a Loy Krathong dance at the party.
But the best part of the evening was the ‘rice
container dance’ from Thailand’s Isaan region, performed by 20 dancers
coached by ‘Ajarn’ Supranee. The well balanced performance enchanted all
The night ended with floating krathongs on the river, more food, more
dance and the promise to be back next year for another full moon night on
the banks of the River Ping.