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Vol. XIII No.17 - Sunday August 24, 2014 - Saturday September 6, 2014


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Business - Travel - Tourism
 

Thailand Ethnic Festival held in Chiang Rai

56 different ethnic groups from all over Thailand took part in the Thailand Ethnic Festival 2014 in Chiang Rai on August 9 – 10, 2014. Privy Councilor Palakorn Suwanrath presided over the opening ceremony.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Thailand Ethnic Festival 2014 opened at the Chiang Rai Provincial Administration Organization on August 9 and 10 by the Department of Social Development and Welfare and the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT).
Privy Councilor Palakorn Suwanrath presided over the opening ceremony of the event which saw many tourists join to watch the grand parade of colorfully dressed indigenous peoples.
Wichian Chavalit, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Social Development and Human Security said that Thailand is comprised of many different ethnic groups and that all live together happily in cultural diversity. At present, Thailand has more than 56 ethnic groups totaling 6 million people. Some ethnic groups have obtained citizenship but others lack the opportunity to access the basic rights allowing them to obtain Thai citizenship.
Over the past years Their Majesties the King and Queen have worked to gain equal rights for all ethnic groups in all regions and formed many Royal Initiatives Projects which work to help ethnic groups develop through governmental and private sector advocates.
This festival brought together the 56 ethnic groups from across the country to express their identity and their lifestyle, to exchange their knowledge with each other and to publicize their cultures on the national and international level. There were many activities in the festival such as performances from each ethnic groups, demonstrations and distribute each local food and craft products, exhibition and forums.
The participants took part to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol on the occasion of his 87th birthday, and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the occasion of her 82nd birthday in 2014.


New evisas for tourists to Myanmar

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Ministry of Hotels & Tourism in Myanmar is launching a new online portal for tourists to apply for an e-visa in time for the high tourist season.
The new e-visa site is expected to help boost tourism to the country which saw revenues nearly double last year. The new e-visa is only available to some nationalities and can only be used to enter at Yangon International Airport. The government hopes to see 3.1 million tourist visa arrivals this year.
The new e-visa will be open for application online on September 1, 2014 and will take about a week to process. Visitors can then print out the new visa and show it together with their passport on arrival. The visa will be valid for 3 months from the approval date and will allow tourists a single entry for 28 days. The cost of the visa is set at $50.
Tourists need to apply to the website address of Ministry of Immigration and Population from their own countries. The Ministry will send their approval within one week of applying. By printing this, they can show together with their passports at the Yangon International Airport.
The Visa is of three months valid starting from the approved date. It allows 28 days in Myanmar for one arrival. The cost of the visa is temporarily termed as of US $ 50. The e-visa is being launched with Myanmar Ease Net Company Limited. http://www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm/


The One Clinic opens new branch at Central Festival

Well-known Bangkok based aesthetic clinic “The One Clinic” opened their newest branch in Chiang Mai at Central Festival Chiang Mai on August 16, 2014. Famed actor and executive of The One Clinic Rattapoom “Film” Tokongsup (6th left) is joined by the Assistant General Manager of Central Festival as well as celebrities such as Time Thai, Grace Kanklao, Grand The Star, opened the newest Beauty Clinic“The One Clinic” with the slogan “Your Beauty Starts Now”. The new clinic is located on the 4th floor of Central Festival Chiang Mai.


“Super Board” appointed to oversee state enterprises

Benefits to board members slashed

Thai Airways Board members will join those of other state enterprises in seeing beneifts slashed. A new interim board Chair has also just been announced as Energy Ministry permanent secretary Ariphong Phucha-um. (Photo of new livery by Mattes via Wikimedia Commons)

The NCPO-appointed ‘super board’ overseeing the affairs of state enterprises resolved on Thursday to slash benefits and privileges offered to board members of all 56 state enterprises.
According to Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Rangsan Siworasat, the committee for state enterprises policies and oversight, so-called ‘super board’, approved the termination of special benefits offered to state enterprise board members. Board members will now be entitled only to meetings allowance and monthly compensation. Benefits such as per diem pay and free travel tickets will no longer be offered.
The committee also acknowledged the progress in turning around four state enterprises, namely TOT, CAT Telecom, the SME Bank and the Islamic Bank of Thailand. According to Mr. Rangsan each of the 56 state enterprises are required by September to clearly mark its role in contributing to the Thai economy, based on the 5-year plan that each organization is currently drafting.
The board of Thai Airways disclosed on Thursday that Air Force commander-in-chief Prajin Juntong has resigned from his positions as chairman of the board and as a director of Thai Airways, effective August 20. Energy Ministry permanent secretary Ariphong Phucha-um has been appointed the interim board chairman. (NNT)


Kbank debuts “Meet the Expert” for its 2nd year of K-Expert Service

Banthoon Lamsam, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of KBank showed its short film Meet the Expert featuring well-known Thai celebrities at Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport on August 16, 2014.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Kasikorn Bank Public Company Limited, KBank, celebrated the 2nd year anniversary of their K-Expert Service by cooperating with Workpoint Entertainment Public Company Limited to debut their new “Meet the Expert”, short film for the first time in Thailand. The short film will be shown around the country during a tour from August to October.
Banthoon Lamsam, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of KBank said that the K-Expert service, which offers financial advice in investment, savings and tax administration and various loans has helped millions of users. KBank wants to be a leader in the field advising clients in various fields and is offering tutoring to a selection of staff to work as a financial advisor. By the end of this year the bank will have more than 4,000 expert staff at K-Expert, cover 1,100 branches across the country, in Chiang Mi there should be at least 3-4 advisors per branch.
To celebrate the 2nd year anniversary of K-Expert Service the bank worked with Workpoint Entertainment Public Company Limited to show the “Meet the Expert”, short film which features such well-known actors and celebrities as Tukky, Goh Tee, Pim Pimmada and Boy Pissanu Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport on August 16, 2014.


4.3 million Chinese tourists expected in Thailand this year

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country this year will reach 4.3 million as Thailand has waived visa fees for Chinese and Taiwanese tourists for the first three months.
TAT Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said that visa fees were exempted for Chinese and Taiwanese visitors from August 9 to November 8 this year as the National Council for Peace and Order wants to stimulate Thai tourism in the last quarter of the year.
Mr Thawatchai hopes the measure will increase the number of Chinese and Taiwanese arrivals to 400,000-500,000 per month, up from 200,000-300,000 per month during the previous months of political turmoil.
The TAT governor said long holidays to celebrate Chinese National Day in October would help boost the number of Chinese visitors to Thailand. He expects 4.3 million Chinese to visit Thailand this year, more than his previous forecast of 3.98 million.
Meanwhile, immigration police have opened Chinese lanes at six Airports of Thailand (AOT) and has also assigned Chinese-speaking staffs to facilitate Chinese arrivals. (MCOT online news)


Lanna Expo 2014 from September 19 -23

Northern wisdom and products to be featured

The Lanna Expo will feature 180 booths of crafts, healthcare products and tourism based industries. The event will be held at the International Convention Center from September 19 -23, 2014.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Lanna Expo 2014 is a huge exposition of Lanna products and services featuring handicrafts, herbal and healthcare products and tourism services. Over 180 booths will be at the fair according to Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya who announced the upcoming expo at a press conference recently.
The Expo will feature Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son or the Northern Provincial Cluster 1. Governor Suriya was joined for the press conference held at the Sibsan Luxury Hotel, Chiang Mai by Matee Buaphueng, Head of Office of Commercial Affairs Lamphun; Patchanee Limsukon, Head of Office of Commercial Affairs Lampang; and Piroj Kullawanich, the head of the Office of Commercial Affairs Chiang Mai representing Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son.
The Expo will be held from September 19 – 23, 2014 at the International Convention and Exhibition Center from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be open to the public.
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya said that the strategic development of the Northern Provincial Cluster 1 includes the promotion of creating goods and outstanding service; focusing on health products, craft, arts and culture and tourism. The Expo is held to help elevate the development of products and services to become widely known and draw international investment.
The theme of the expo, “Tourism hub, International Investment, Outstanding Lanna culture, Livable society” is expected to draw more than 30,000 visitors and earn more than 50 million baht. The event is expected to have more 30,000 visitors and gain more 50 million baht.


Lucky license plate auction to raise funds for road safety

The 13th “lucky license” plate auction will be held at The Empress Hotel Convention Center on August 30 and 31 where drivers from around Chiang Mai will come to bid on lucky license plates beginning with the letter Khor Tor. All revenues raised from the auction, which is expected to reach as much as 25 million baht, will be used for the road safety fund. The Road Safety Fund purchases CCTV cameras and speed detectors as well as other road safety projects. The colorful license plates have been blessed in a Buddhist ritual and the letters Khor Tor mean “Safe driving on all routes throughout Thailand”.


Progress report on High Speed Train Project

Phase 2 Phitsanulok – Chiang Mai

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya chaired the subcommittee meeting discussing the progress of environmental impact reports and design for the proposed high speed train project.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya presided over the subcommittee meeting on the Management of Land Traffic Chiang Mai 2/2014 on August 6, 2014 where committee members heard a report on the progress of the proposed High Speed Rail Project Phase 2 Phitsanulok – Chiang Mai section.
Representatives from the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning explained that the office been conducting the study since September 2013, the project duration is 14 months and is expected to be completed in November 2014. The office conducted a feasibility study on the economics, finance and investment, this report has already been approved by the supervisory board for study and design of the high speed rail project (Bangkok- Chiang Mai Section), Phase 2 Phitsanulok- Chiang Mai. The second is an environmental impact analysis (EIA) and participation of people; the EIA Report has been approved by the Supervisory Board. The office has scheduled two hearings for the public to express their opinion on the plan, the first two have already been held and the final public meetings will be held in late September or early October 2014 in Sukhothai, Lampang and Chiang Mai. The third phase involves the design of the project which is currently being carried out and will be discussed in a future meeting.
The subcommittee noted that the high speed train will not stop in between Chiang Mai and Lamphun as the distance is not far, standard trains can still stop there.


NESDB revises economic growth for 2014

The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) revised its forecast of Thai economic growth this year to 1.5-2 percent due to the economic recession in the first half of this year, recognizing that export growth is lower than expected.
NESDB Secretary-General Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the forecast economic growth was revised downward from 1.5-2.5 per cent as the national economy shrank by 0.1 per cent in the first half of this year. In the first quarter of this year the economy declined by 0.5 per cent and in the second quarter it expanded by 0.4 per cent.
He attributed the recession to political problems in the first five months of this year.
The Office of the NESDB also revised its forecast of Thai export growth from 3.7 per cent to 2 per cent this year because of delayed global economic recovery.
The office stated that national economic growth in the second half of this year would be limited by the slow global economic recovery, the delay in tourism recovery, delayed investment and a decline in automotive production and sales.
The NESDB predicts that the Thai economy will grow by 3.5-4.5 per cent next year or even 5-6 if both the government and the private sector enhance their efficiency. (MCOT online news)


Travel bits; new visa fees for Cambodia, elephant polo, the Zoo Aquarium

New direct flight to Yangon, Thai Air holding lucky draws

The King’s Cup Elephant Polo will be held at VR Sports Club in Samut Prakan this year and feature painted Elephant Parade elephants at the grounds to raise funds for charity.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia announced on August 14, 2014 that they will be increasing visa fees to the country effective October 1, 2014. Tourist visas (type T) will be $US30 and business visas (type E) will be $US35.
In other travel news Golden Myanmar Airline will begin direct Yangon – Chiang Mai flights on September 23, 2014. The airline will offer the US$59 flights every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on an ATR 72 plane that carries 72 passengers. GMA is a private airline that started in January 2013 and offers daily flights from Yangon to Singapore as well as domestic flights.
Thai Airways has launched a new Lucky Draw for passengers who purchase return tickets on THAI or Thai Smile and will allow both domestic and international passengers the chance to win two THAI Royal Silk Class tickets. The “Luck Is in the Air” lucky draw will run through October 24 and winners of the first draw may also be eligible for the grand prize valued at 1 million bhat allowing the winner to fly to any destination served by THAI or Thai Smile within one year.
The Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium will be refurbishing the site and with a ten million baht budget expects it to take about a year to complete renovations. About 10,000 freshwater fish will be moved to temporary floating baskets and the freshwater fish zone will be renovated to accommodate marine fish. The famed fish tunnel, which has been in constant use for 6 years will be cleaned up and restored.
The Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium will remain open during renovations but will offer visitors a discounted fee of 200 baht from 290 baht to make up for the inconvenience.
The popular King’s Cup Elephant Polo has moved to Bangkok and begins August 27 at VR Sports Club, Samut Prakan, ending August 31, 2014. The King’s Cup has sixteen teams with 50 players including local television stars, supermodels and professional polo players. The elephant festival will offer parades, Ladies Day and feature Chiang Mai’s own Elephant Parade elephants painted by Thai artists and celebrities.. Visit www.AnantaraElephantPolo.com.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Thailand Ethnic Festival held in Chiang Rai

New evisas for tourists to Myanmar

The One Clinic opens new branch at Central Festival

“Super Board” appointed to oversee state enterprises

Kbank debuts “Meet the Expert” for its 2nd year of K-Expert Service

4.3 million Chinese tourists expected in Thailand this year

Lanna Expo 2014 from September 19 -23

Lucky license plate auction to raise funds for road safety

Progress report on High Speed Train Project

NESDB revises economic growth for 2014

Travel bits; new visa fees for Cambodia, elephant polo, the Zoo Aquarium

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