Northern provinces launch tourism initiative

04 Jun 2012  684 | World Travel News

The tourism trade in Chiang Mai hasn't been too brisk over the past five years. And that's not only due to Thailand's political instability but also down to economic and other problems in other countries that have dampened the mood to travel.

Chiang Mai governor M.L. Panadda Diskul, centre, and representatives of both government and non-government tourism agencies in four nothern provinces announced at the MTF 2012 their mutual efforts to reinvigorate tourism in the region.

But instead of waiting for a miracle to happen, Chiang Mai and the adjacent provinces of Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son decided to join hands and play a more proactive role in reversing the situation.

In the "Miracle Tourism Forum" (MTF) held last weekend in Chiang Mai, representatives from tourism-related government and business agencies from the four northern provinces gathered to show their intention to fight this battle together. Tour agencies, the buyers, from Bangkok were also invited to meet and directly discuss business with operators of hotels, resorts and local attractions.

During the event, a new website,, was also launched. With both Thai and English versions, the site was designed not only to promote tourism in the four provinces but also to facilitate business. Tour agencies and the media can conveniently download and use information and the beautiful photographs of this part of the kingdom, selected from entries to a photo contest held earlier for this purpose.

During the first MTF, awards were handed out to many locals who have made considerable contributions to the tourism business.

Selected hotels designed in traditional northern style were presented with the Lanna Hotel Collection Awards. This year, the top honour went to the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, while recipients of the two outstanding awards were Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort and Khum Phaya Resort & Spa.

As part of their co-marketing scheme, the four provinces, through tourism-related associations and businesses, will also try to introduce less-known attractions and promote routes that encourage travellers to visit more than just one province on a trip.

Let's hope they succeed soon in making a miracle happen.

Japan offers new visa option

The Japanese government has announced it is offering multiple-entry visas for Thais.

It is expected that the new visa, which was launched on June 1, will help increase the number of Thai visitors to Japan, facilitate business and strengthen cooperation between both countries in the years to come.

The length of each stay is a maximum of 90 days and the visa is valid for up to a maximum of three years.

Call the Japanese embassy's visa section at 02-207-8503 and 02-696-3003.

Airlines update

- British Airways is giving away hundreds of free seats to promote the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

To be eligible, you need to be a friend or relative of a UK athlete or British expatriate and then register at Flying Britain Home Facebook (

The website offers a dozen free tickets per flight from 20 selected destinations including former Olympic host cities and countries popular with British expats such as Sydney, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong and Beijing.

Every successful homecomer will also receive a ticket to attend the games. The campaign runs until June 14.

The airline is also offering 50 free flights to friends and family of athletes of TeamGB (Great Britain) and ParalympicsGB.

- Japan Airlines will serve MOS Rice Burgers onboard selected routes until Aug 31.

The meal is one of the popular items on the MOS Burger menu. It uses steamed rice patties instead of bread to sandwich mixed vegetables and chicken strips. The dish will be called Air MOS Rice Burger and it will be the second offering after the success of the Air MOS Burger, the trademark Teriyaki Beef Burger, last year.

- AirAsia X will introduce direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing from June 22.

The service will be four times per week before becoming a daily flight in August.

"Our network would not be complete without Beijing, the heart of China. We are finally able to meet the robust demand for this exciting destination," said AirAsia's Group Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan.

It will use Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 12 Premium flatbed seats and 365 Economy seats.

AirAsia X launched its first flight to China eight years ago. At present, it covers seven destinations including Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guilin, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chongqing and serves up to 12 million passengers a year.

Hotels update

- Centara Hotel & Convention Centre Khon Kaen was opened last week.

Owned by Khon Kaen Buri, the 1.8 billion baht hotel was designed to serve the growing demand of the meeting, incentives, conferencing and exhibition (Mice) sector. The complex is the largest venue for meetings and conventions in Khon Kaen, according to Centara Hotels & Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat.

The hotel features 196 rooms and suites with sizes ranging from 30m2 to 93m2, an outdoor swimming pool with pool bar, a fitness centre, Spa Cenvaree, six meeting rooms as well as a ballroom and convention halls that can accommodate 2,000 people.

The hotel is the second property in the Northeast managed by Centara Hotels and Resorts follow the Centara Hotel & Convention Centre Udon Thani.

- Hilton Pattaya has opened Horizon, a rooftop restaurant and bar, on the 34th level overlooking views of the city.

The venue is 1,390 m2 and comprises both indoor and outdoor areas. Also provided are three private dining rooms and an outdoor bar.

The hotel has brought on board executive sous chef Shaun Venter to head Horizon's culinary team, working alongside executive chef Supoj Suwanwong and food and beverage manager Simon Bender, who together combine more than 45 years of culinary experience.

- Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila has introduced the Imperial Residence suite on the 11th floor.

The luxurious suite features a master bedroom, a 10-seat formal dining room, fully equipped kitchen and a living room with 72-inch flat-screen TV. The suite can be changed to five suites, which guests can book separately or as a whole and also with options to turn any of the rooms into a gym, office, spa, yoga studio, a videogame den or for other purposes.

Special services for the guests of the Imperial Residence suite include direct helicopter landing pad access, personal shopper services, in-residence massages and a private chef upon request.

Sourced: bangkokpost