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Update January, 2014

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern

New Year holidays brings 400,000 tourists to Chiang Mai

TAT reports 1.4 billion baht in income for the province

Assistant Director of the TAT Chiang Mai office Pitsinee Tatniyom reports on the tourism situation over the New Year holidays.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Pitsinee Tatyniyom, Assistant Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai Office reported that the New Year holiday of 2014 -2015 saw around 400,000 tourists come to Chiang Mai over the five day period from December 31 to January 2 or around 80,000 per day.

Most hotels reported 100% occupancy rates for New Year’s Eve, around 40,000 rooms, while after New Year’s Eve rates stood at 96%. Revenues for Chiang Mai reached around 1.4 billion baht, 300 million more than last year. President of the Thai Hotels Association for Chiang Mai and General Manager of Rati Lanna Resort La-iad Bungsrithong told the Chiang Mai Mail that this year was the best in years and could have broken records for numbers of tourists.

The TAT said that 70% of tourists were Thai nationals while 30% were foreign. The cold weather and ease of access with increased flights into Chiang Mai from seven domestic and twenty one international airlines boosted the numbers of visitors to Chiang Mai over the New Year period. The extended holiday adding an extra day also allowed more Thai tourists to visit.

Top attractions included Doi Inthanon Doi Ang Kahng and Doi Suthep –Pui where many Thai and foreign visitors came to attend Buddhist ceremonies of the New Year.

Chiang Mai recently received the Best Destination for Festivals award from Lonely Planet and the upcoming Bor Sang Umbrella Festival, Chiang Mai Jazz Festival and Flower Festival in the next month are evidence of the popularity of these festivals. Revenue from tourism is expected to rise about 5 percent in 2015 to 58 billion baht. That TAT continues to promote Chiang Mai as a popular local and international destination.

2.75 million visitors to National Parks in 10 days

47,876 people on January 1

Kamolchai Kotcha, Director of the Protected Area Regional Office 16 for the National Park Division reported on tourism to the National Parks in Thailand and the North.

The numbers of tourists, both Thai and foreign, visiting National Parks in the country were more than last year, with 2.75 million people visiting parks in Protected Areas Regional Office 16 in ten days.

Kamolchai Kotcha, Director of the Protected Area Regional Office 16 for the National Park Division, said that most of the tourists came to view frost and experience the cold weather, especially Doi Inthanon National Park, Huai Nam Dang National Park, Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park and Doi Suthep- Pui National Park during the New Year Festival 2015.

On December 31 2014, Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation organized the project “Tours of nature for free” which saw numbers jump to 45,235 visitors on December 31 and 47,876 visitors on January 1 for a two-day total of 93,111 people 23,644 vehicles. The Department waived over 3.58 million baht in entrance fees for this period.

In the 14 national parks in the area there were 265, 260 Thai visitors and 9,976 foreign visitors from December 26, 2014 to January 4, 2015. The total number of visitors to Northern parks was 275,236 people, a significantly higher number than last year.

In addition, the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation also held a campaign for tourists to realize the effect of residual waste in the park area and to promote recycling and re-use. The volume of waste during December 30 2014- January 4 2015 in national parks across the country was approximately 65,241.3kg but the National Parks said only 3,129kg had been dealt with, the remainder required that personnel sort and remove rubbish from the parks. Officials have determined that it was key to focus on on public relations and build understanding with park visitors.

For the next year, the Protected Areas Regional Office 16 will develop tourist attractions in all 14 national parks to accommodate more tourists, as well as develop various facilities to cope with increased tourism, especially the traffic on Doi Suthep – Pui and offer an improved route from Khun Chang Kian to Huay Tung Tao to reduce traffic congestion. Moreover, they will restrict the numbers of tourists in the future.

Flower Festival parade to be held in the morning

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival and Parade is one of the top drawing festivals for Chiang Mai as the Rose of the North blooms in February.

Shana Kongmun
The Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai reported that the Flower Festival Parade, which was held in the afternoon in 2014, has been moved back to starting in the morning. Criticism at the decision to hold the event in the afternoon was leveled after thousands of people waiting at Tha Pae Gate to watch the parade saw only half of it arrive in daylight.

Many photographers pointed out that morning light was better and the flowers were fresher while many visitors complained that the afternoon was too hot to wait in the streets for the parade to pass.

The Flower Festival Parade will start from in front of the Governor’s Residence on February 7 around 9 a.m. The Festival begins on February 6 and runs through February 8, 2015. Suan Buak Hat Park will be the main site with many exhibitions, flower displays and plant contests including the popular bonsai exhibit of contest winners.

TAT Chiang Mai concludes tourism situation of Chiang Mai during the New Year Festival, money spread to 1,400 million baht

Pichsini Tasniyom, Assistant Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai Office revealed that the situation of the 5 days during the New Year Festival from 31 De to 2 Jan was enjoyed. It could earn money to Chiang Mai lot. A number of tourist who came in Chiang Mai is 80,000 per day, total 5 days is 400,000 tourists, divided to Thai for 70% and foreign 30%. More than 40,000 rooms of hotels had occupancy ratefor 100% in the countdown day and after that is 96%. These resulted Chiang Mai earned approx. 1,400 million baht, more than last year to 300 million baht. Popular attractions were DoiInthanon, DoiAngKhangDoiSuthep – Pui, including various temples that the province held a prayer over the year.

Important factors that make tourist influx into Chiang Mai are the cold weather, more comfortable transportation by 7 domestic airlines and 21 international airlines, including other festivals coming up from mid- January such as Bo Sang Umbrella Festival, Chiang Mai Jazz Festival, Flower Festival and etc. Revenue from tourism of Chiang Mai in 2014 is 58,000 million baht and is expected to rise by about 5% in 2015.

Latest Chiang Mai got Best Destination for Festival Award from Lonely Planet. However TAT will fully support tourism.

Kan Air announces new route direct to Hua Hin

Begins January 15 for discounted fare of 990 baht

Kan Air is a low cost carrier serving smaller destinations in the North and North East. Their newest route will depart for Hua Hin on January 15, 2015. (Photo by Alec Wilson@Wikimedia Commons)

Shana Kongmun
Domestic low cost carrier Kan Air, which services many of the smaller airports around the North and North East announced the newest route out of Chiang Mai, the airline’s hub, to Hua Hin three times a week. The new flights will depart Chiang Mai on Tuesdays at 7:20 p.m. and Fridays and Sundays at 4:55 p.m.
The flight returns from Hua Hin to Chiang Mai on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays and Sundays at 7:10 p.m. The flight takes approximately one hour and 50 minutes. Kan Air announced that the flights, which begin January 15, will be offered at a special discounted price of 990 baht.
The airline also flies out of Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Pai, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phitsanulok, Khon Kaen and Ubon Ratchathani. They also offer a flight out Don Meuang in Bangkok to Mae Sot on Mondays.
The low cost carrier aims to target those smaller locations ignored by the larger airlines in a bid to make Chiang Mai its hub.

Thailand listed in top 25 best places to retire

Thailand is celebrating the New Year with good news. The country has just been listed as one of the world’s 25 best places to retire to in 2015 by International Living, a North American-based magazine for retirees.
International Living’s latest Annual Global Retirement Index released on 1 January, 2015, listed Thailand at number 10 with a total score of 84.6. The report combined several real-world insights about buying and renting, benefits and discounts, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, health care, infrastructure and climate of each of the 25 countries.

Patong-Beach-(5)Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “The International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index lists Thailand as a place with low-cost health care and lots to do. In the index report, it said ‘Thailand combines the best of authentic Asian cuisine and culture with enough North American influences to help you feel at home’, which is rightly so as the Thai people are very true to our culture, yet we are also known for our accepting nature and hospitality. Thais are ready to be a good host to all our guests at any time.”

According to the International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index, thriving expat communities already exist in the larger cities; such as, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and resort areas like Phuket and Hua Hin. The index report quoted Steve Le Poidevin, who relocated to Chiang Mai from Canada, as saying that “Here in Chiang Mai, it is easy to make friends if you make the effort. There are lots of opportunities to get involved with both locals and other expats…with a Chiang Mai Expat Club that meets monthly, as well as many expat clubs that get together weekly.”

While Thai food and culture are among the major draws for expat retirees, Thailand is also named as “an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with a rich mosaic of rainforests, exotic wildlife, and breath-taking temples.”
When it comes to cost, Thailand is listed as the place for “highly-affordable” homes and “a relatively low cost of living” in which the index gave an example that a couple can live comfortably in Chiang Mai on a modest budget of US$1,500 a month. Despite the low-cost, Thailand is praised for providing “excellent health care” throughout the country. Here, basic doctor’s visits and dental procedures (such as cleanings and fillings) can cost as little as US$30, while a basic health insurance plan starts at around US$300.

Thailand’s is regarded as a welcoming country for people to retire on a long-term basis, and the retirement visa does not stipulate an annual minimum stay. In addition, retirees are eligible for visas at the relatively young age of 50, and there are no additional financial requirements for their dependents.

Retirement visas are issued when applicants offer proof of income, which currently stands at around 65,000 Thai Baht (around US$2,100) a month. (TAT)

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]]

New Year holidays brings 400,000 tourists to Chiang Mai

2.75 million visitors to National Parks in 10 days

Flower Festival parade to be held in the morning

TAT Chiang Mai concludes tourism situation of Chiang Mai during the New Year Festival, money spread to 1,400 million baht

Kan Air announces new route direct to Hua Hin

Thailand listed in top 25 best places to retire



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