Tourism expected to grow in 2011
Chiang Mai remains destination of choice for Thais
A recent report presented by Piyamarn Tejapaibul,
President of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) reported that 2010 saw
tourism growth despite the political turmoil and environmental disasters,
with international tourist arrivals increasing by 1.59 million to 11.5.75
million, up 11.2 percent from last year’s 14.16 million. International
visitors were projected to add 560 billion baht to the Thai economy for
2010. Domestic tourism expanded 5 percent from 86.4 million to 90.7 million
bringing in 390 billion baht to the economy.
South Asian tourists represented the highest volume of
international visitors with Malaysians at the top followed by China, Japan
and South Korea. European tourists were the second highest volume with the
United Kingdom once again accounting for the largest percentage of visitors.
Russia, some middle European countries, China, Cambodia,
South Korea, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Argentina, Brazil, South
Africa, and United Arab Emirates saw significant increases in the volume of
visitors to Thailand, a result of direct flights recently available from
Bangkok has remained the primary destination among
international tourists as is the hub for traveling to other regions. The
second most popular destination was Phuket, Surat Thani and Hat Yai with
Pattaya also a top draw. On the other hand, Thai tourists chose the northern
region, especially Chiang Mai, as their primary choice, followed Hat Yai,
Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, and Pattaya.
About 80 percent of international tourists traveled on
non-package trips and a large number were return visitors.
For 2011, the Tourism Council of Thailand expects the
expansion of international tourists by 8 – 10 percent (on the assumptions of
no political turmoil or unexpected natural disaster), approximately between
17.01 – 17.32 million, but the marginal increase will be lower than those
between 2009 and 2010. Rising oil prices, global economic issues, the
fluctuation of the baht constitute some of the external factors for slowing
growth while internal factors affecting tourism are seen as the inadequate
development of tourism attractions and activities to attract new groups of
tourists, quality assurance on products and services concerned with the
tourism industry not being seriously implemented to the whole industry, high
market concentration and the inability of businesses to cope with the
changes of market conditions.
However, a tourism confidence survey conducted by the
Faculty of Economics at Chulalongkorn University with the TCT and the TAT
showed that Thai tourism operators expressed more confidence in the coming
first quarter than they did in the last quarter of 2010 due to increasing
political and economic stability and the consistency of tourism promotion
Stimulation measures recommended include; promoting
Thailand as a health and wellness destination, creating better investment
opportunities for new tourism businesses, developing data from the Ministry
of Tourism and Sport, the TAT and the TCT and promoting the “Thai Tiew Thai”
program to encourage domestic tourism.
New Year’s around the North
Travelers flocked to Wat Phrathart Lampang Luang in Lampang to make merit
for the New Year.
Chiang Mai Mail
reporters, Thaweerat Pensalaphan, Khajohn Boonpath
More than a million visitors came to Chiang Mai during
the past year, Governor ML Panadda Diskul announced recently, noting that
large numbers of visitors came to Chiang Mai during the New Year period to
enjoy the cool weather and the spectacular fireworks show put on for HM the
“They visited Waroros market, viewed the beautiful
flowers blooming in the cool weather, shopped for unique Lanna products and
enjoyed the international fireworks display and contest. But it still
worries me that if the winter and tourist season ends soon then the number
of visitors will drop, so there should be other promotional plans and events
to help attract them back again,” the Governor noted.
Lampang’s Wat Prathat Luang saw large numbers of Buddhist
faithful flock to the temple to pay their respects and make merit at the
grand pagoda and to seek good fortune in the coming year, according to
Prayuth Tonkaew, Kaman of Tambon Lampang Luang.
“This year, there were not enough parking spaces for cars
and vehicles to cope with the influx of the visitors,” he said. So, the
temple management had to arrange the multi –purposed grounds as well as
cultural performance ground and football field to be used as the car parks,
Further North in Mae Hong Son, Governor Kamthorn
Thavornsathit opened a traffic safety operational center to reduce road
accidents during the New Year period and to offer help to drivers in the
Chiang Mai Airport sees expansion
The Airports of Thailand (AoT) continues improvement of
facilities at Chiang Mai International Airport in a bid to develop the
airport into a world class airport catering to less than 5 million
passengers, according to Rawiwan Netrakhawesna, Director of AoT, Chiang Mai.
More shops and services have been installed in the newly developed sections
with nearly 90 percent occupancy.
“Next year, improvement work will be focused on the
outside of the building as part of the expansion plan to cope with more
international airlines using the Chiang Mai International Airport as an
aviation hub,” she said.
Thai Air Asia launches direct flights between Chiang Mai
and Hat Yai, and Chiang Mai and Singapore this month. Kan Air, the operator
of the small aircraft service with 12 seater aircraft, between Chiang Mai
and Pai district, Mae Hong Son begin services this month as well.
Two new airline
companies emerge in Cambodia next year
By Reinhard Hohler
According to media sources in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian
Government will provide flight licenses to two local airline companies for
domestic service between Phnom Penh-Siem Reap and Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville.
Mao Havanal, Secretary of State of the Civil Aviation Department, indicated
during a meeting held yesterday that the government will grant licenses to
the “Tonle Sap” and “Indochina” airline companies at the beginning of 2011.
Mao Havanal indicated that these companies will fly medium size airplanes,
including ATR 320 and Boeing 737. SRP MP Yim Sovann said that he welcomes
the authorization for additional airlines, because the more there are the
more competition there will be in the airline sector.