Kanok Abhiradee, a veteran in the Thai tourism industry
for more than 20 years and President of Thai Airways International (THAI),
was the guest of honor and speaker at the 4th meeting of Skål International
Chiang Mai and North Thailand, held at the Four Seasons Resort in Chiang Mai
on June 23.
Subsaeng, President of Skål International Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand
thanked Kanok Abhiradee on behalf of the members.
In his speech in front of 45 enthusiastic Skål members
and visitors, Kanok focused on the 45 years of THAI history and singled out
the high level of competition between airlines in Thailand, because of the
present open sky policy.
Developing Thailand as the aviation hub of Southeast Asia
with the ambitious New Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport in the
pipeline is among the priorities of the Royal Thai Government. However Kanok
made it clear that there is also potential for the regional aviation hub of
Chiang Mai, which can service millions of tourists from Europe and some
emerging destinations in Laos, Vietnam, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar with
more aggressive promotion after some more ‘homework’. He promised the
Skål members that he will be among the leaders when it comes to bring back
the Lanna feel and touch, to make Chiang Mai more popular for tourists.
business amongst friends is one of the main goals of Skål members who
promote global tourism. (From left) Jason Friedman (Four Seasons Resorts),
Anne Schoch and Marc Dumur (‘The Legend Boutique River Resort and Spa’
Interesting to note is that there is a direct flight from
Chiang Mai to Phuket, but no direct flight back to Chiang Mai, which the
president of THAI promised to look into. Phuket is suffering in the wake of
the December 26 tsunami and an early recovery is in question. Asians fear
the spirits of the dead people there, while Europeans fear the hard facts of
science. Can there be a repetition of the tragedy?
left) Anchalee Kalmapijit (Maesa Elephant Camp), Jessica Brown (Marketing
Wind and Fire), Wanassanan Krainara (Operation Director Wind and Fire) with
Armin Schoch (Impulse Travel) in the background.
Finally, Kanok highlighted the recent developments at
THAI and mentioned that 22 new airplanes are coming and 26 old planes will
be refurbished. The newly introduced Bangkok-New York flight has the fastest
record of 16 hours and 50 minutes using the Airbus A340. Being an active
member of Star Alliance, THAI will look into direct flights to Australia and
New Zealand as well as sponsoring Vietnam Airlines and Jet Air in India.
The next meeting of Skål will be held at ‘The Legend Boutique River
Resort and Spa’ in Chiang Rai over the last weekend in July. Membership of
Skål is open to managers or executives directly involved in tourism
management, travel and tour operators and agencies, tourism organizations,
governments and non-government tourism councils, hotels, convention centers,
travel media and there is even a young Skål which helps junior executives
and tourism students entering the industry.
smiles when the guest of honor arrived at the Four Seasons Resort in Chiang
Mai. (From left) Michael Vogt, MD Chiangmai Mail; Kanok Abhiradee, President
of Thai Airways International (THAI); Andrew Harrison, General Manager of
the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and David Thomas from Wanna Tours.
Seasons sponsored a cocktail reception for guests and members.
left) Suchart Chancharoenkul (Dhara Dhevi Destinations), Sureethip Gantawong
(Chiangmai No. 1 Tours), Chompunut Israsena (Four Seasons director of
marketing), Wanna Thomas (Wanna Tours), and Wanassanan Krainara (Operation
Director Wind and Fire).
Northern Thailand is international on a high level. (From left) Tom Sexton,
Mohamad Jesr (Lotus Hotel Chiang Mai) and Reinhard Hohler (Travel Writer).
course dinner, ending with Grapes and Grappa following a recipe from Chef
Claudio’s Italian grandmother, was thoroughly enjoyed by the diners.
plans for a Chiang Mai promotion for the development of high yield
passengers, increasing the length of stay and the promotion of cultural