Another (Pointless?) Seminar to Encourage Long Stay

 | Tue 22 Mar 2016 06:03 ICT

CityNews – Last week, on the 16th March 2016, The Upper Northern Provincial Cluster 1 by Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Tourism and Sport, The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, along with Center of Tourism Research and Development by Social Research Institute CMU, held a seminar ‘Long Stay Business Development for International Long Stayers in Northern Thailand’ at Khum Kham International Convention Complex, on March 16th.


The seminar, mainly attended by various representatives of the offices which hosted it, as well as many Thai business operators, focused on the presentation ‘Northern Thailand as International Stay Hub in the Future’, which presented a draft master plan for the development of long stay tourism in the upper northern provincial cluster 1 (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Sorn). The plan was to focus on the developing of infrastructure and health service business by using Lanna cultures as a selling point.

There was talk about the facilities and infrastructure with findings that entrepreneurs should focus on accommodation, as this was the key master of longstay. There was a discussion about the promotion of activities for expatriates as well as the need for the development of language skills amongst Thai service staff. Participants recommended a formation of a special department to oversee long stay related issue and the need for a web site which would be the centre of information for expats, with relevant updates from government departments as well as academic or private sector information and research. There were concerns about infrastructure and the environment such as bad footpaths and public transportation as well as the need to preserve the environment. Road signs, a speaker said, should be in duel languages, if not three languages to include Chinese and public facilities need to accommodate the elderly and disabled.


There was talk about creating a handbook for the elderly which would include health insurance and medical information.

Nancy Lindley, President of the Expat Club was one of a few actual expatriates in attendance (neither she, nor Citylife were invited, but managed to attend nonetheless).

“They’ve had many of these types of seminars before, by various government agencies, around every six months we see the same people, the same officials and similar topics. They all mean very well, and I have been to probably half a dozen over the years as President of Chiang Mai expat club and I am gratified to see that there is some movement or some better understanding of what longer stay expat wants. Initially the emphasis was about spas and resorts, now there seems to be more discussion of things expats actually care about like long stay visas and there was a rather nice presentation about the Malaysian retirement visas, with all their points spelled out. Talking about many features there in Malaysia like allowing retirees to bring in automobiles and household goods duty free. These things were not discussed three to four years ago. What I find maybe a little disconcerting is that there is never an action plan drawn up, who is going to do what, how are we going to make things happen. Also there is never anyone there from immigration or the ministry of foreign affairs who could impact the policies concerning visas. There are many Thai agencies encouraging people to stay here long term, but it doesn’t make sense that we are treated badly by the immigration folks at Promenada. It is a thing that worries me about these seminars is that it is Thai talking to Thai about expat matters, with little effort made to collect data from the expat community. We only heard about this from one of our sponsors who was the member of the chamber of commerce.”

Citylife wrote to one of the organisers of the event to ask them to please keep us informed of future events such as this, but have yet to hear back.