Crowds enjoy 4th anniversary of Walking Street
Mai Walking Street is popular among Thai and foreign tourists.
Chiang Mai municipality organized the “Four Year
Anniversary of Chiang Mai Walking Street” on February 5, 2006, at the
Three Kings Monument courtyard. It was to promote Chiang Mai Walking Street,
which over the
last four years has become a thriving Sunday market for locally made
products displayed on the street.
Unashamedly borrowing the idea from other countries where
it has been successful, Walking Street has been promoted by the city council
to close off a particular city street to vehicular traffic every Sunday.
Over the years it has developed dynamically to become a center of art,
artists, performances, music and an increasingly popular tourism
Originally, the Thaksin Shinawatra government had
announced Walking Street as a means of conserving energy according to an
amazing resolution of the cabinet in September 2001. Pattaya has had its
Walking Street for many years, then came one at Silom, Bangkok and later
Chiang Mai decided to have one on Thapae Road.
The local version had the aim of presenting good Lanna
culture and adding some energy saving, pollution reduction and tourism
promotion issues. Later, in 2004, Walking Street was moved from Thapae Road
to it’s present location on Rachadamnern Road where it provides 1.5
kilometers of stalls selling a bewildering array of handicrafts, a
performance stage situated at the Three Kings Monument courtyard and is held
In the four years that Walking Street has been in operation, it has
increased in popularity and has become as widely known as Chiang Mai’s
famous night bazaar. The number of tourists has increased tenfold with an
estimated 150,000 visitors during the high season; and still 100,000 minimum
during the low season, bringing a minimum revenue of 100 million baht each
week. Because of its growing popularity, its continuation is assured. One
unusual trend has already been observed, that youngsters like to use local
bags and shoes in preference to designer fashion bags and shoes. Chalk up
another point for Chiang Mai and common sense!
THAI plans Royal Orchid offshoot
THAI Airways International (THAI) plans to launch a
wholly owned domestic airline called “Euarng Luang” or “Royal
Orchid” in the middle of this year to serve high-end domestic passengers.
THAI intends to place more emphasis on the international routes.
The new airline will be THAI’s second domestic carrier,
following Nok Air, which operates low cost domestic flights. Nok Air is
partly owned by THAI.
The new airline is expected to start operation from Don
Muang Airport, which is expected to remain operational exclusively for low
cost carriers, once Suvarnabhumi Airport opens in the middle of this year.
THAI chairman, Wanchai Sarathulthat, said the new airline
would serve domestic passengers who prefer premium services.
First Mekong Tourism Investment Summit
The first Mekong Tourism Investment Summit will take
place March 28-30, 2006 in the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, Lao
PDR. The objective of the summit is to encourage investment in tourism
the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Major features of the event will include: user-friendly
documents detailing tourism investment procedures presentations from
entrepreneurs profiling investment success stories case studies of
pioneering community-private sector partnerships breakout sessions on
improving the investment environment Mekong-region country booths
Up to 200 delegates, including investors and stakeholders
will discuss the profile of the Mekong region as an expanding tourism
destination. The emphasis will be on linking tourism investors with business
opportunities that benefit local communities. The summit, hosted by the Lao
National Tourism Administration, will recommend action to overcome obstacles
Bangkok Airways, Amadeus Asia Pacific, Best Western Asia,
DIETHELM Travel Asia and Incentive House Asia sponsor the event, which is
supported by Lao Airlines, SNV, a Netherlands development organisation,
the Asian Development Bank and the
Pacific Asia Travel Association.
Outcomes will be tabled at the Mekong-region tourism
ministers’ dialogue which will take place at the PATA Annual Conference in
Pattaya, Thailand, April 24. PATA vice president-development, Peter Semone
said, “Cooperation between the Mekong-region countries has come a long way
in the last 10 years. We now want to encourage the private sector to take up
the reins and drive responsible tourism growth in the Mekong region. The
investment summit in Luang Prabang is the first step in that direc-tion.”
PATA’s third quarter 2005 international visitor arrival
statistics show strong demand for Mekong-region destinations. Compared to
third quarter 2004, Cambodia recorded an increase of 35.3 percent, Lao PDR
23.8 percent, Thailand 6.7 percent, Vietnam of 11.3 percent, China’s
southern provinces of Yunnan 43.9 percent and Guangxi province 27.2 percent,
while Myanmar’s performance was down by 7 percent.
Investors and delegates seeking further information about
the summit should visit www.mekongtourisminvestmentsummit.com.