Vol. V No. 33 - Saturday August 12, - August 18, 2006
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TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Photography business meeting discusses rise in digital camera sales

Embattled Night Safari to pay tour operators commission

Photography business meeting discusses rise in digital camera sales

Saksit Meesubkwang
The 7th National Photography Business Meeting was held in Chiang Mai on July 26th and 27th at the Denchai Trading Company. Among the issues discussed was the rapid increase in the use of digital cameras and its impact on photo processing businesses.

Chalermchat Nakarangkul

The meeting, hosted by Chiang Mai Photo Club, brainstormed ideas as to how photo labs can cope with declining demand for processed pictures. With traditional film photography decreasing rapidly and increasing numbers of people switching to digital cameras, many photo lab businesses are finding it difficult to keep pace with technology. Many customers using digital cameras opt not to process their photos, instead keeping them on their computers or burning them onto a CD-ROM. In Chiang Mai alone the number of film processing labs has dropped from around 1500 to around 1000 labs. Many well-known film manufacturers, including Kodak, have stopped producing film cameras.
President of the Chiang Mai Photo Club, Chalermchat Nakarangkul, said that this problem was not exclusive to Thailand, but was faced by film processing businesses worldwide.


Embattled Night Safari to pay tour operators commission

Nopniwat Krailerg
In an effort to boost visitor numbers, Chiang Mai Night Safari is offering a commission to travel agents that encourage visitors to go to see the safari. Red mini-bus operators, Lanna Transport Cooperative, have also agreed to help boost Night Safari visitor numbers. For up to 9 visitors, travel agents will receive a commission of 10% of the ticket charge; for over 10 visitors they will receive 20% of the ticket charge. This offer is part of a marketing plan to encourage more visitors, especially Thais, to go and see the safari, Phisarn Wasuwanit, director of Chiang Mai Night Safari Administration Office, disclosed.
Almost 3,000 red mini-buses drivers have recently agreed to associate with the safari; a partnership which has helped to raise visitor numbers to between 1000 and 2000 tourists a day, or a 5-10 % increase. Ticket prices for Thai adults are 250 baht and 125 baht for children whilst foreign adults are charged 500 baht and 250 baht for children.
Surasak Wiriya, committee chairman of the Northern Vehicle Rental Club, revealed that club members also cooperated with the Night Safari, providing up to 500 vehicles to pick up and deliver visitors to the attraction. Additionally, the club recently promoted a tour program to the safari which has attracted considerable interest.
Ton Wongkaew, president of Lanna Transport Cooperatives, revealed that 40 members of the cooperative were providing a service to pick up visitors from Thapae Gate and take them directly to the safari; inducements offered by the safari were also proving effective in persuading the red mini-bus drivers to take more tourists to visit there. He accepted, however, that the number of visitors picked up by red mini buses was quite small, but he hoped it would increase soon.



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