Vol. IX No. 35 - Friday
October 1 - October 15, 2010

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Rosy economic outlook for Chiang Mai needs work

What floods?


Rosy economic outlook for Chiang Mai needs work

Your September 1st article regarding the Chiang Mai Governor’s optimism about the local economy is interesting. His unworried view, however, is difficult to harmonize with some common developmental indicators. The trade and investment that the Governor foresees is simply not going to materialize unless the infrastructure develops. The traders and investors will go elsewhere. Just a few years ago, it appeared that Chiang Mai was, indeed, going to become a trading hub, but many of the promising details simply stalled out.

Look at the transportation system. It is far behind what one would expect in a city of this size. The Super Highway and ring roads move traffic fairly well on the East side, but it just dumps those from the Northwest into Nimmanhaemin/CMU, one of the most congested areas of town. Just getting to and from the airport from Central and Northwest Chiang Mai continues to be an ordeal. Meanwhile, the public transportation venture crashed and burned. Some in the hospitality industry (not many, I suspect) may think that song taew travel is quaintly attractive, but most investors are going to see it as an indication of an inability to modernize. On a more macro transportation note, examination of regional maps seems to indicate that Northern Thailand would be the logical route for a modern rail link to China. Recent reports, however, indicate that the Central Government and the Chinese are gong to engineer a very daunting route through massive mountain ranges, maybe crossing the Mekong three times, in order to bring the rail line through Vientiane, Laos and Nong Khai. Even a modern rail link from Chiang Mai to Bangkok will not be addressed until after Phuket and China are connected.

I hope that the Governor’s rosy outlook proves well founded, but I expect that he will have to show some substantial developmental leadership to make his expectations occur. Trade fairs may well bring potential businesses here to take a look, but those businesses won’t bring their offices, factories, and warehouses unless they see a city that is on the move.
Larry Fraser


What floods?


Sometimes it’s good not to have a care in the world. While the river outside my Condo was overflowing and others were frantically filling sand-bags, this man just kept on sleeping.
Ron Lister

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