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252nd Meeting - Tuesday, September 7th 2004

Chiang Mai Tourism – Its problems and solutions

A talk and presentation by Jack Kelly


Present: Michael Bauwens, Klaus Berkmüller, Klaus Berenhavsen, Mark Bleadon, John Cadet, Jim Campion, Penkhae Camsa, Guy Cardinal, Etienne Daniels, Harry & Margaret Deelman, David & Rungarun Freidberg, Louis Gabaude, Martine Gauthier, Oliver Hargreave, Reinhard Hohler, Autsadaporn Kamthai, Peter Kouwenberg, Annette Kunigagon, Peter Koret, Wisoot Legsomboon, Mike Long, Maggie McKerron, Stan Moore, Traci Morachnick, Verne Mundell, Thomas Ohlson, Marquis Op de Laak, Pichayalak Pichayakul, Adrian Pieper, Phubordin Phitipongkul, Peter Schupp, Burt & Barbara Tyrell, Ricky Ward, Michael Youngfellow

An audience of 37.


Summary of Jack’s talk compiled by your convenor, Brian Hubbard.

Using Thomas’s brand spanking new LCD projector and other associated bits of technological paraphernalia to illustrate his talk, Jack started by outlining the background and the current situation of the tourism market of Chiang Mai. He followed this by giving an analysis he has undertaken, and a subsequent strategic plan that he and a cluster of like-minded, tourism-oriented business folk have developed to address, as they see it, some of the problems related to making a decent living out of tourism in Chiang Mai. 

Some of the items covered in Jack’s analysis included:

Average Daily Expenditures, Tourists Segmented by Nationality, The Package Tourism Segment, The MICE Tourism Segment, Market Trends, Diagnostic Tools, SWOT Summary, Porter’s ‘Dynamic Diamond’ Analysis, and Benchmarking.

Having elaborated on some of the finer points of his analysis, Jack then went on to the strategic plan, entitled – “The Strategic Objectives Designed to Improve the Deteriorating Tourism Product.” The main points of the plan were:

1.      To increase the average daily expenditure and extend duration of stay.

2.      To target new and emerging market segments – MICE, Golf and Spa, Eco-Tourism etc.

3.      To provide for off-season tourism opportunities and smooth the natural cyclicality of the industry.

4.      To improve the quality of customer services so they are in line with world-class standards.

5.      To improve the public-private sector dialogues and cohesiveness and modernize industry organization and key institutions.

During his analysis, Jack also divulged data on the number of tourists who, after having been here once, returned to Chiang Mai. The figures showed that this number, in all demographic groups and for all nationalities, was extremely small. At this point a chorus of voices from the audience regaled the speaker with statements akin to “Well what do you expect. Have you seen the deplorable state of this city?” After which one member of the audience, making a stalwart effort to contain his frustration, questioned the speaker as to when he was actually going to discourse on the real problems of tourism in Chiang Mai – pollution, traffic congestion, etc., etc. Jack responded that he and the other members of the cluster were well aware of the de facto problems, but that the power to remedy them lay in the hands of those in the Local Authority, few of whom seemed to be showing any active interest in the subject. By way of explanation for the focus of his talk, Jack went on to explain that he was a competitiveness consultant with several years experience in management consulting – specifically strategic planning, which he has done for many different industries, and that since August 2003 he has been working with a growing group of tourism industry stakeholders to assist them in making some positive changes in what they perceive to be a deteriorating tourism industry.


After a challenging, and informative question and answer session, the meeting adjourned to the Alliance Cafeteria, where Jack was engaged in further informal discussion with members of the audience who held forth on some of their own theories as to why tourism in Chiang Mai was in a state of decline.








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