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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Considering the impact of everyone in Chiang Mai

Having lived in various tourist destinations since my university days I am accustomed to the impact that tourists have on a local community. Normally, they are seasonal giving the destination a chance to recover from the onslaught and giving the community a breather and a chance to regroup. Chiang Mai is now in high season but are we ready? Certainly things slowed down and locals enjoyed a bit of respite but with Chiang Mai one of the top destinations for Thai residents as well, it wasn’t much of a break.
One of the problems with development is that it seems the high numbers of tourists visiting Chiang Mai are not taken into account when considering the impact on the city; its roads, water usage, electricity and just wear and tear. The high speed train that is under consideration will certainly help to connect Thailand to its neighbors but wouldn’t it actually help more to invest in the infrastructure we need now, infrastructure that makes the city more livable for everyone who visits and lives here?
Everyone agrees the city desperately needs a functional and usable public transportation system, one that does not damage the beauty of the city but also eases the traffic jams. We all agree that the roads need serious repair work; the sidewalks (pavements for the British) need to be replaced and rebuilt. We all agree that the drainage systems for the streets need upgrading so that the streets don’t flood in heavy rains. Water supply needs to be improved and the dangling dangerous electric wires need to be fixed. Even better, it would be great if these could be buried. Perhaps when they decide to fix the roads they could also bury the cables.
For Chiang Mai to be presented as a tourist destination these issues need to be addressed, not only to make the city more livable for the residents but to make it more attractive and safer for tourists.

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Considering the impact of everyone in Chiang Mai