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Where do we go from here?

Sustainable tourism seminar from the TAT


Where do we go from here?

Choices for Your Retirement Paradise

By J.P. Boyd

As a visitor to Chiang Mai and an ex-patriot from Southern California, now living in Sicily, Italy, I am delighted by the interest people have in a comparison of Chiang Mai, Thailand to Sicily. Interestingly, given the recent civil unrest in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, many ex-pats who have chosen Thailand as their retirement home are now asking, if the civil unrest continues, “Where do we go from here?” Alternatively, the more time I spend here, the more I want to include Chiang Mai as part of my life for part of every year. Is Sicily in your future? As Wayne Dyer says, “Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”

The author takes a songthaews in Chiang Mai

The large pool of ex-pats I have spoken to have no intention of returning to America, or their given homeland. The reasons cited: expenses, a dislike for the politics of their region and taxes. Those reasons and a visit with friends in Sicily resulted in my decision to stay.

Abraham Maslow developed a pyramid of chronological needs that every person has to satisfy to reach “self-actualization”. There are five levels on the pyramid, and when an international move is scrutinized within the boundaries of those five levels, self actualization really can occur. This three part series of articles addresses those levels whether you want to live in Sicily, Thailand, or both.

The first levels of needs are physiological needs; basic survival elements: shelter, food, water and air. Shelter is affordable in both countries. Three weeks after arriving in Sicily, I signed a one year lease for a part of a villa (now 700 E/ $854.00) with a view of the sea and a garden. It now costs me an equivalent of $1500.00 or 1230 E for monthly lease payments, utilities (water, trash, and electricity) and cable television (SKY). Cable T.V. provides stations in English that include news, movies, arts, fashion as well as Italian news, etc. (See to convert to baht).

As a visitor to Chiang Mai, I am renting a studio 1/3rd the size of my villa at the Riverside Condo for less than $375.00 monthly (around 12000 baht). It includes a microwave, refrigerator, air conditioning and a T.V. Most ex-pats don’t cook at home. Instead, “Meals on Wheels” will deliver food from any restaurant for 70 baht (www. and street vendors do most of the cooking for the locals. In Italy, cooking is a household art and equipped kitchens are the rule.

With the strength of the dollar, contemplate renting a second home in another country. Sicily is prone to African deluge rain from November to March when the weather in Chaing Mai is at its best. March through May is balmy in Sicily, as is August through November, bad weather months in Thailand. The cost of shelter is comparable in both countries.

Next week I will talk about food, security and psychological safety.


Sustainable tourism seminar from the TAT

Suparak Jirakiyada

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and Kenan Institute Asia (KIAsia) held a seminar at the DusitD2 Hotel on sustainable tourism development for local area businesses.

Mr. Akkapol Prueksawan of the Tourism Authority of Thailand discusses sustainable tourism development and the importance of improving Thailand’s image overseas.

The seminar was aimed at providing information to executives and owners of hotel and accommodation businesses about the concept of “Envirotel” as a tool to help develop sustainable tourism development, which was introduced by the UNEP, as a main guideline in solving the problems of energy management, water, waste, and work plans for construction project in tourism.

Mr. Akkapol Prueksawan of the TAT on opening the seminar said that the seminar was being held to help local accommodation providers benefit from better energy management and other green methods of operating their hotels with an aim of preserving the environment and yet still earning a profit. He added that while tourism was beginning to improve across the country after the recent political turmoil, there are still sensitive areas which concern authorities and require the extension of the Emergency Decree.

He noted that many foreign tourists are returning to more Southern areas which had not seen political turmoil faster than they are in the North.

“As many foreign visitors understand more about the Thai political situation, particularly those from Asian countries, we expect they will return to Thailand in increasing numbers, “he added.

He also noted that during the high tourist season for later this year, more reservations are predicted from European visitors, “But one of most important things is that the Thais create a good understanding and image among visitors worldwide. It’s key that they get the facts and understand that Thailand is back to normal.”

“In fact, Thailand is now ready to welcome them back for international seminars and events. Travel agencies, media in the travel industry and VIPs should be invited to explore Thailand. “To create a good reputation and image for Thailand is now the most important thing, as well as looking for the new tourist markets,” he concluded.