CHIANG MAI : The newly established Pinkanakorn Development Agency has proposed building a monorail in Chiang Mai to help make the northern city an international conference hub.
Sarawut: ‘Convenient transport needed’
Sarawut Srisakun, director of the agency, said Chiang Mai is already well-known on the international tourist scene. Among the visitors are those attending international meetings held in the province, which is the agency's target group.
"Chiang Mai has valuable selling points as an international meeting venue. We can sell the organisers special offers for Night Safari visits or other tourist sites. But the question I have been asked about most is the transport service, which is important for attendance," he said.
He said Chiang Mai could not become one of the world's top destinations if convenient transport systems are not available.
Pinkanakorn Development Agency is the public organisation set up by the cabinet early this year to promote the tourism industry in the North. The agency currently oversees Chiang Mai Night Safari and the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
According to the plan, the monorail will cover 27 kilometres from downtown Chiang Mai to the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and will cost 7 billion baht.
Mr Sarawut added that a convenient transport service like the monorail could help deal with the problem of unreasonably high fares charged by local bus operators, which is the top complaint among tourists.
The project will go to the agency's executive committee next year before being submitted for government approval.
The agency also hopes to make a tourist attraction out of the historical park, Wiang Kum Kam, in Saraphi district. It plans to set up a landmark at the tourism site by rebuilding the spirit house of Phraya Mengrai, founder of the Lanna Kingdom.
"The story of Wiang Kum Kam can be sold [for tourism], but the problem is that the infrastructure is not good enough to welcome more tourists. That is the challenge we must tackle," he added.
Other projects include developing a water park for tourists, and a plan for a teak museum, which would replace the female prison located in the inner city.