Vol. V No. 25 - Saturday June 17, - June 23, 2006
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai looks to develop hill tribe tourist attractions

Suvarnabhumi Airport set to open on Sept 28 says THAI

Railway opens Tibet as a tourist attraction

Chiang Mai looks to develop hill tribe tourist attractions

Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Somchai Maichandaeng, director of Chiang Mai Tourism, Sports, and Recreation Center is planning the area to be set aside for the proposed hill tribal tourist attractions project. Somchai said that the Office of Tourism Development had received a policy statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports stating that the prime minister proposed to develop hill tribe tourist attractions in Chiang Mai to make it the center of tribal culture.
There will be examples of the individual lifestyles of each tribe showing such things as accommodation, food, handicraft, sports, and traditional Thai games. There will be an area in the form of a resort, offering home stay and many other facilities; such as Spa, OTOP (One Tambon One Product) Center, a tribal cultural center, and Teak Park.
The purpose of this project is to create cultural tourist attractions which focus on the cultural heritage of each tribe, which will attract tourists.
In readiness for this project, there has been a meeting with involved organizations to study the potential, readiness, appropriate locations and to request for budget in 2006 from the government to make this project a reality.


Suvarnabhumi Airport set to open on Sept 28 says THAI

Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport is now set to open for commercial purposes on September 28, announced the Transport Ministry.
The opening date of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport was set recently by the government committee on management and development of the new airport, Deputies Transport Minister Gen. Chainant Charoensiri and Phumtham Wechayachai told a press conference after a meeting here Wednesday with the board of directors of Thai Airways International (THAI), the national flag carrier.
A new committee comprising of representatives of all parties concerned, including Airports of Thailand (AOT), the Customs Department, the Immigration Bureau, THAI and other international airlines, would also be set up to oversee the relocation of Bangkok’s international airport from the Don Muang Airport to the Suvarnabhumi Airport, the two ministers said.
The committee set-up will be complete by June 17 when caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will chair a meeting of all the parties concerned to review all projects and plans involving the Suvarnabhumi Airport, including the remaining construction and decoration works, to ensure that the new airport will be opened as scheduled, according to the ministers.
“Construction and decoration works at the Suvarnabhumi Airport have been nearly complete at the moment. Only some minor works are to be settled over the next four months; so, I can say we’re now ready for the opening of the new airport,” said Gen. Chainant.
THAI will begin moving its offices from the Don Muang Airport in early September and will completely move to the new airport the night before its opening on September 28, according to the company’s top management. (TNA)


Railway opens Tibet as a tourist attraction

Reinhard Hohler
The highlands of Tibet were closed for hundreds of years by order of the Tibetans themselves and have ever since remained closed under Chinese domination. A strict ban on travel to certain parts of Tibet has been maintained since 1982, when the Chinese Communists allowed in the first tourists.
All this will be the past, when the Chinese Railways Company, operator of the new Qinghai-Tibet railway, starts to make its test run on July 1, 2006 from the Chinese capital of Beijing via Golmud to the “Roof of the World” to reach Tibet’s capital Lhasa 48 hours later.
The new railway line, which winds at a stable speed of 100km/hour through rugged mountain meadows and along snow-capped mountains, is expected to turn the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau into a new golden tourist attraction for Chinese tourism. The trains will offer suites and comfort services with oxygen bars to help travelers adjust to the higher altitude.
But in the same time, there will be some fundamental changes of Tibet’s tourism according to China’s Academy of Social Sciences. Tourism is Tibet’s main industry, bringing an income of $1.8 million in the first quarter of this year. The number of tourists increased by 1.8 percent compared to the same period in 2005. With the train, these numbers will rise.
In the course of the 19th century many explorers tried to enter forbidden Tibet, some of them in search of the sources of Asia’s great rivers. The discovery of the sources of the Ganges by the British colonists in 1817 at the foot of Mount Gangotri near the Tibetan border in India and the exploration of the sacred Manasarowar Lake at the foot of Mount Kailash in Western Tibet triggered a long series of expeditions. There was in fact something of a rush to find the sources of the Indus, Brahmaputra, the Yellow River, the Yangzi, the Salween and the Mekong.
For a long time, Lhasa could be reached overland only from Kathmandu in Nepal and from Chengdu in China’s Sichuan Province. Soon, Lhasa can be reached from Beijing. The 1,956 km long Qinghai-Tibet line will zigzag across 5,000 m high mountain ranges and a peculiar 550 km long frozen belt. It is also expected to carry 75 percent of all inbound cargo into Tibet, further boosting the Tibetan economy. There are further plans to connect the Qinghai-Tibet railway with the railways in Sichuan and Yunnan to reach the metro-poles of Guangzhou and Shanghai at China’s East Coast. Finally, it will be possible to connect Lhasa in Tibet with Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.



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