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Chiang Mai’s Digital Future: PM Srettha Thavisin’s Vision to Boost Tourism and Innovation

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin delivered an inspiring speech at the inauguration of a tourism event during his visit to the picturesque province of Chiang Mai on Saturday. (Photo: Thai Khu Fah Facebook)

During this eventful visit, Mr. Srettha expressed his strong belief in Chiang Mai’s potential to evolve into a leading digital startup hub within Southeast Asia. He assured that the government stands ready to support the province in realizing this ambitious goal. Lauding the city, he described it as a haven for digital nomads and one of the most creative cities in the world.

Reflecting on a memorable conversation with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., Mr. Srettha shared that Thailand is home to over 300,000 application developers from around the globe, making it the second largest in Southeast Asia. This, he pointed out, underscores the country’s burgeoning digital prowess.

Chiang Mai itself ranks among the world’s top 10 destinations for digital nomads, hosting around 5,000 of these tech-savvy professionals. To bolster this thriving digital scene, Mr. Srettha expressed a desire to see an Apple developer academy established in the city.

Addressing the broader ecosystem needs for digital startups, the Prime Minister affirmed the government’s commitment to providing more matching funds, supporting both new and established startups financially, amending laws to foster their growth, and organizing engaging events such as hackathons. These efforts aim to create a robust foundation for innovative enterprises.

On a different note, Mr. Srettha urged the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to focus on rejuvenating the Baan Tawai handicraft art center, one of the province’s cherished attractions. The center suffered immensely during the Covid-19 pandemic and is yet to bounce back. The center has reached out to the PM for assistance in finding new buyers for their exquisite crafts and securing additional funds to enhance the landscape.

In a reassuring promise, Mr. Srettha announced that the government will organize tourism promotion events in Chiang Mai during the fourth quarter of this year, aimed at drawing more Thai and international tourists to the province. This initiative envisions breathing new life into the local tourism sector.

In other exciting news, Mr. Srettha launched the government’s latest tourism promotion campaign for an additional 55 cities across the country, known as “ideal destinations.” This adds new choices beyond the traditional favorites like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya.

He encouraged tourists to extend their stay by exploring destinations such as Lamphun, Lampang, and Phrae, emphasizing that the longer visitors stay, the more they contribute to the local economy.

With a blend of forward-thinking initiatives and a genuine drive to revitalize both the digital and tourism sectors, Mr. Srettha’s visit to Chiang Mai was not only a beacon of hope but also a call to action for local and international stakeholders alike.


  1. Amanda G. June 8, 2024

    Wow, Chiang Mai as a digital startup hub sounds amazing! This could really put Thailand on the tech map.

    • TechGuru89 June 8, 2024

      I agree, but do they really have the infrastructure for such an ambitious goal?

      • Amanda G. June 8, 2024

        Good point. It would take considerable investment and time to get there.

    • Liam June 8, 2024

      They certainly have the talent, though. 300,000 app developers is no small number.

      • Amanda G. June 8, 2024

        Absolutely! The talent pool is there, just needs proper nurturing.

      • TechGuru89 June 8, 2024

        Plus, attracting foreign talent is equally important. The city has to be livable.

  2. Sanjay June 8, 2024

    I’m skeptical. Politicians often make big promises but rarely follow through.

    • Elena B. June 8, 2024

      A healthy skepticism isn’t unwarranted, but some politicians do deliver on their visions.

    • Justin34 June 8, 2024

      True. It’s a wait-and-see game for now.

  3. Wanda P June 8, 2024

    Why focus on digital startups when traditional sectors like handicrafts are struggling?

    • Dave June 8, 2024

      Diversifying the economy is crucial. Handicrafts can coexist with tech.

    • Sanjay June 8, 2024

      Plus, more focus on tech could actually bring more tourists interested in both.

  4. Kara M. June 8, 2024

    Establishing an Apple developer academy in Chiang Mai could be a game changer. Hope it happens!

    • Alex J June 8, 2024

      Yeah, but isn’t it ironic that an American company needs to come in to boost Thai innovation?

    • Sanjay June 8, 2024

      True, but the collaboration could beneficial for both parties.

  5. GreenThumb55 June 8, 2024

    More focus should be put on the environment while developing these digital hubs.

    • Michael S June 8, 2024

      Agree! Sustainable development should be a priority.

  6. Tom L. June 8, 2024

    Extending tourist stays is great, but what about locals feeling pushed aside by rising living costs?

    • Wanda P June 8, 2024

      That’s a concern. Tourism can be a double-edged sword.

    • GreenThumb55 June 8, 2024

      Hopefully, there will be measures to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  7. Emily K June 8, 2024

    Revitalizing Baan Tawai handicraft art center is also essential. Local culture shouldn’t be overshadowed by tech.

    • Dave June 8, 2024

      Definitely! It’s part of the local charm and identity.

    • Tom L. June 8, 2024

      Cultural preservation and modernization can actually go hand in hand.

  8. noobmaster69 June 8, 2024

    Why should we care about developers and digital nomads? Not like they help the average person.

    • TechGuru89 June 8, 2024

      They contribute to the economy, creating jobs through startups and innovation.

  9. Liam June 8, 2024

    I love the idea of having more ‘ideal destinations’. Thailand has so much to offer beyond the main cities.

    • Brianna June 8, 2024

      Yes! More tourists exploring diverse areas can spread out the economic benefits.

  10. Oliver W. June 8, 2024

    Hackathons and matching funds are a smart move to encourage more startups.

    • Michael S June 8, 2024

      True, and it’s these kinds of initiatives that can really kickstart innovation.

  11. Grower134 June 8, 2024

    More tourism promotion means more crowded places. Hope they manage it well.

    • Amanda G. June 8, 2024

      I share that concern. Overcrowding could diminish the experience for everyone.

  12. Elena B. June 8, 2024

    Does anyone else think this sounds like a PR stunt to mask deeper issues?

    • Tom L. June 8, 2024

      It does have that feel, but if actions back up the words, it could be more than just PR.

  13. Dave June 8, 2024

    Chiang Mai’s natural beauty is also a big draw. Hope they preserve this while urbanizing.

  14. Justin34 June 8, 2024

    Government support for innovation is crucial, but private sector partnerships can accelerate progress.

  15. Brianna June 8, 2024

    Small cities getting spotlight sounds nice but they need better infrastructure first.

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