Bangkok, 28 November, 2016 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that HK Express has launched its first twice-weekly direct flight between Hong Kong and Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, on 25 November, 2016.
The maiden service was marked by a familiarisation trip for travel agents and members of the media from Hong Kong.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “As Thailand’s tourism high season starts, HK Express’ new flights are vital as they allow increasing numbers of tourists to directly access this unique province.
“The flight highlights Thailand’s unique geographic advantage in the heart of ASEAN and strengthens Chiang Rai’s important role as a gateway to Northern Thailand, especially via an improvement in infrastructure and logistics networks.
These include the existing flights, the Asian Highway R3A, East-West Corridor and R12 routes, as well as the Mekong River that borders Thailand at Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai and Huay Xai in Lao PDR,” Mr. Yuthasak added.
Chiang Rai is increasingly becoming a well-known destination for tourism and trade. The province’s Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International Airport currently serves about 16 domestic flights per day by Thai Smile Airways, Nok Air, Thai Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, and Thai Lion Air, arriving from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International and Suvarnabhumi Airports.
Mr. Yuthasak added, “In line with the “Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand” campaign to promote local tourism, the increasing numbers of flights to Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand show how popular the region is becoming for Hong Kong tourists, our mature and important market.
“Chiang Rai boasts a unique rich culture, amazing scenery and attractions, and a sleepy laid back atmosphere. It is also in close proximity to the fastest growing markets in Asia. We welcome HK Express’ new flights and all the people travelling on them.”
Some of Chiang Rai’s must-visit attractions are Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple, Ban Dam (Black House) Museum, and Singha Park.
In addition, Chiang Rai is listed in the TAT’s newly-introduced activity called the “First Step towards the Great Nine” by nine routes, including the Royal Projects, Royal Initiatives and places where the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej visited people.
Under this activity, tourists are invited to visit the Tea Oil and Plant Oils Development Centre, Doi Tung Royal Villa, Mae Fah Luang Garden, the Hall of Inspiration, and the Hall of Opium, Golden Triangle Park.
Thailand has long been a favourite destination for Hong Kong tourists. According to the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, in 2015, a total of 708,435 Hong Kong residence came to Thailand, up 39 per cent year-on-year, and generated nearly 28 million Baht (US$820 million) to the Thai economy. The average spending per day per person was around 6,120 Baht (US$180).
From January to August, 2016, the number increased by 8.9 per cent year-on-year to 530,683 arrivals of Hong Kong nationality, and is expected to reach 729,260, up by 2.94 per cent in terms of arrival numbers by the end of the year, generating tourism revenue around 30 billion Baht (US$854 million), up by 7.27 percent.
The average length of stay for Hong Kong travellers to Thailand is around 6 days. Besides Bangkok, the favourite destinations in the kingdom for the Hong Kong market are Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Ko Samui, Krabi, and Chiang Mai.
“HK Express is thrilled to launch this exciting new route to Chiang Rai, Hong Kong’s first ever nonstop service,” said Luke Lovegrove, Commercial Director of HK Express. “We are always looking at destinations that appeal to our customer base, and Chiang Rai is suitable on many levels.”
HK Express is the only Hong Kong based low-fare airline, and it provides scheduled air services to twenty-five destinations in Asia including Thailand. Based at the Hong Kong International Airport, the airline is one of the founding members of the U-FLY Alliance. Chiang Rai is the third nonstop destination from Hong Kong, following the launch of other HK Express destinations in Thailand include Chiang Mai and Phuket.
A table top sale was also held as part of the familiarisation trip to mark HK Express’s first direct flight to Chiang Rai, allowing travel agents from Hong Kong to meet and discuss business prospects with local tourism product and service operators.