Vol. IX No. 26 - Tuesday
June 29 - July 5, 2010



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai gets into an island groove as Phuket Road show arrives

Saraburi’s unique flower offerings

Eco-tourism seminar teaches the 7 Green rules

 

Chiang Mai gets into an island groove as Phuket Road show arrives

Jedsadapong Wongkiew

A little taste of the Southern islands came to Chiang Mai on June 18 as the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket office, Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization, the Phuket Tourism Business Association and Air Asia held a road show to promote Phuket and the Andaman area at the Rati Lanna Hotel.

Somrit Haikham, President of the Chiang Mai Guide Association visited a booth by one of the members of the Phuket road show. More than 20 booths from the South were on display.

Worakarn Yokying, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai gave the welcoming remarks and declared the road show open, saying that these kinds of activities can help cross promote the provinces and stimulate the domestic tourist market.

Phuket and Chiang Mai tourist related operators met, exchanging ideas, and ways to increase the number of tourists and visitors by not less than 10 percent. Phuket province wants to link tourism between Phuket and Chiang Mai providing visitors with a greater variety of travel destinations.

Mrs. Bang-ornrat Chinaprayoon, Director of TAT’s Phuket Office said Phuket is regarded as a world class international destination.

“It’s a center of tourism in the South, with about 1,500,000 Thai tourists visiting annually due to the convenience of travelling. Domestic airlines services operate more than 300 flights per week, linking air routes among Chiang Mai, Samui, Udon Thani, U-Tapao and Bangkok. Phuket has more than 160 international flights a week, and offers more than 40,000 hotel rooms,” she said.

“This road show will link trade, investment, and travelers of between the two cities,” she noted.

Mrs. Bang-ornrat concluded by adding that while Phuket offers lovely beaches, islands, and sea food, Chiang Mai compliments that by offering cultural tourism, forests and mountains and the cool season in winter with it unique fruits, flowers and scenery.

 

Saraburi’s unique flower offerings

Tak Bat Dok Mai

Saraburi Province celebrates the beginning of Buddhist Lent along with the rest of Thailand but adds a unique twist, the offering of the Dok Khao Phansa, a member of the Globba family, the flower blooms only at the beginning of Buddhist Lent. Similar in appearance to turmeric or ginger plants, the flower itself is yellow with violet petals and as it can be difficult to find, jasmine or rose is considered an acceptable alternative.

Original to Amphur Phra Phutthabat, whose inhabitants have practiced these offerings for centuries, the event is now province wide. The “Tak Bat Dok Mai” merit-making ceremony is performed at the Wat Phra Buddhabat Woramahaviharn, which contains a Buddha’s footprint in stone, a Royal temple of the first class rank and considered a national landmark, located in Phra Phutthabat. The Buddha’s Footprint is a natural impression in limestone rock that resembles a very large footprint. It is 50 cms. wide, 150 cms. long and 30 cms. deep.

The Tak Bat Dok Mai ceremony takes place in the afternoon of the first day of Buddhist Lent, as a prelude to the event, drum, candle and dance contests are held. In the ceremony, monks from Wat Phra Buddhabat Woramahaviharnpass through a long line of people with offerings, these are then presented as tribute by the monks at the shrine. Merit makers then pour water over the feet of the monks in the belief that it will wash away their sins. (TAT)


Eco-tourism seminar teaches the 7 Green rules

Somchai Maichandaeng, Director of Chiang Mai Tourism and Sports Office, left, Patmas Wongpattasiri, Director of TAT’s Tourism Products Promotion, center, Dr. Kwanruedee Chotichanathaweewong, Assistant Chairperson of the Thai Environment Institute with the panel discussing 7 Greens Tourism at the Mercure Hotel.

Jedsadapong Wongkiew

Northern tourism businesses were urged to cooperate on following the 7 Greens guidelines for eco and green tourism set out by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai Environment Institute at their regional seminar on June 22.

Mrs. Patmas Wongpattanasiri, Director of Tourism Products Promotion, TAT, presided over the opening ceremony held at Mercure Hotel, Chiang Mai.

She said that not only has the travel industry been hard hit by global warming but that tourism also contributes to global warming in a cycle of damage. She said the seminar was held with the aim of stimulating ideas in eco and green tourist activities so that they could apply them to their own businesses, in turn helping to affect the current climate change.

The TAT along with 22 organizations from government and private sectors signed a cooperation agreement in Bangkok on June 5 marking the World Environment Day, to help protect, preserve and conserve the country‘s natural beauties by launching more green businesses in Thailand.

She added that many European tourists prefer environmentally friendly destinations and that the TAT will expand the 7 Greens concept throughout the Kingdom. Pilot projects have been designated for Nan in the North and Koh Samui in the South. Nan still contains virgin forest and untouched natural beauty that can be opened to tourists in an environmentally friendly way. Samui, she remarked, has become more sensitive to environmental concerns, where people in the local community have become more proactive in dealing with environmental problems.

“It’s really important to promote green tourism that is environmentally friendly,” Mrs. Patmas said.

She explained the 7 Greens concept as: Green Heart; to urge tourists to be socially responsible and environmentally aware as well as to be part of global efforts to help protect and preserve the environment at all tourist attractions. Green Logistics; to encourage more environmentally-friendly tourism-related modes of transport to minimize direct and indirect environmental impact. Green Destinations: to promote responsibly managed tourist sites that respect the environment. Green communities: to support community-based tourism in both urban and rural areas that place greater importance on responsible tourism management, and that also promote conservation of the environment, local traditions and ways of life. Green Activities; to promote tourism activities that are well-suited to local communities and provide visitors with engaging and culturally-enriching experiences without compromising the integrity of the environment. Green Service; to urge all tourism-related service providers to create positive first impressions for visitors, and to win hearts and minds by attaining higher quality assurance standards whilst demonstrating respect, care and concern for the environment. Finally, Green Plus; to encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among operators by encouraging them to give back to the communities in which they operate.

Seminars will be held in Bangkok, Pattaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Phuket.



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