KHON KAEN, 29 July 2016: The Tourism Authority of Thailand says Khon Kaen is a potential destination to attract more visitors and become a prime gateway to explore Northeast Thailand.
TAT governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, said Khon Kaen figures in the up-coming TAT’s Action Plan 2017 as a tourism model for other cities in the country and could attract 5 million visitors a year.
“We aim to position Khon Kaen as a key tourist destination attracting 5 million visits per year up from the current 3.8 million visits…the province is not only potential for leisure tourists, but also for business travel, meetings and conferences.”
Khon Kaen is a centre for agriculture in the heart of Northeast Thailand. It is linked by major highways north-to-south and also to towns eastward on the banks of the Mekong River that constitutes the border with Laos.
Northbound a rail service links Bangkok and Nong Khai, a border town on the Mekong River facing Laos. The city is an important commercial transport hub and its airport is served by all of Thailand’s low-cost airlines. There are plans to upgrade and award the airport international flight status.
Possibly its biggest asset is its meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions industry (MICE) that serves universities and government departments, that host events year-round, many of them focused on education and rural development.
Khon Kaen has been identified as one of Thailand’s leading MICE hubs that will create more jobs and boost the local economy.
Supporting the expansion of MICE facilities, CP Land PLC, a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group, has invested THB1 billion in a new convention centre in Khon Kaen province.
The new MICE centre, covering over 26,000 square metres, is expected to open in 2017 and able to accommodate up to 7,000 delegates in its main exhibition hall.
Khon Kaen airport is also set for an upgrade of terminal space to accommodate international flights. A feasibility study for the planned expansion is underway. Construction is expected to start in 2018 and should be finished by 2020. Once open it will be able to accommodate up to 5 million passengers from the present capacity of 1.5 million a year.