The province has also been developed into a “MICE City” to host meetings, incentive travel, conventions, and exhibitions at international standard.
Recognized as the “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai will serve as the venue for the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018, which is the 37th of its kind and is scheduled for 22-26 January 2018. It will be the first time that the forum will be held in this city.
Chiang Mai has traditionally been one of Thailand’s prime tourism destinations. It is the country’s second largest city, after Bangkok, and the economic engine of northern Thailand. The province has received several awards and accolades, including third place for “Best City” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Top 15 Cities for 2017. It also ranked 12th in TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards’ Top 25 Destinations in Asia.
Blessed with a wonderful climate, rich local cultural and natural heritage, and numerous royally initiated projects, Chiang Mai is also one of Thailand’s must-visit destinations, and continues to benefit from convenient air access.
In 2017, it welcomed a total of 7,614 direct international flights and 567 indirect flights (via major destinations), with almost half coming from China (3,436 flights). In December 2017, Qatar Airways launched a direct non-stop service from Doha to Chiang Mai, bringing significant new sources of traffic by allowing visitors from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to connect to this city via the airline’s hub in Qatar.
In October 2017, Chiang Mai was declared a UNESCO Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts. It is well-known for a diversity of cultural and natural attractions, ethnic cultures, and unique Lanna-style traditions in celebrating many Thai festivals. Numerous handicrafts and agricultural products have also made a name for Chiang Mai.
The province can serve as a bridge to the cities of the Greater Mekong Subregion, such as Kunming in southern China, Da Nang in Vietnam, and Siem Reap in Cambodia. It is well-placed to capitalize on new opportunities arising from subregional development with neighboring countries.
Hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 in Chiang Mai is in line with the Thai government’s policy to give greater prominence to provincial destinations and highlight Thailand’s linkages with the Greater Mekong Subregion.