Reopening of Surin Airport to Cope with Tourism Growth in Northeastern Thailand

by Duangkamol Buranasomphop

Reopening of Surin Airpo

            Surin Pakdi Airport in the northeastern province of Surin has been further developed and will reopen for commercial use in November 2013 to cope tourism growth. Surin Governor Nirun Kanlayanamit said that the Surin Provincial Administrative Organization had been assigned to supervise development work to ensure that the airport will be able to reopen its services in time for the annual Elephant Round-up, one of the most famous cultural events in Surin.

            This airport began its operation on 12 November 2002 for Air Andaman, an airline based in Bangkok. Unfortunately Air Andaman decided to change its aviation route from Surin in December 2003 because of its financial problems. The Governor stated that, apart from welcoming more tourist arrivals, the reopening of Surin Airport in 2013 is also intended to accommodate economic and investment expansion in preparation for the realization of the ASEAN Community in 2015 and increasing border trade.

            He said that Surin would serve as a gateway to ASEAN, since it has become a tourism hub in the Lower Northeast of Thailand, which hosts many visitors from Cambodia and Vietnam. The airline Nok Air will launch an inaugural flight at Surin Airport on 14 November 2013.

            The 53rd Elephant Round-up in Surin is scheduled for 8-19 November 2013 at the Si Narong Stadium in Mueang district. It is aimed at promoting tourism and conserving elephants, which form an important part of Thai cultural life. This famous event features elephant performances to show elephants’ talent and ability, both at work and at play. It also includes other interesting activities, such as a bazaar of products under the “One Tambon, One Product” program, a Red-Cross fair, and cultural shows.

            The Surin Provincial Administrative Organization has carried out a project known as “Elephant World,” to promote elephant conservation. Listed as an endangered species, the Thai elephant is regarded as the national animal. Poaching of wild elephants is forbidden and captive or domestic elephants need to be registered and be given an identity certificate.

            About 450 kilometers from Bangkok and 50 kilometers from the Cambodian border, Surin is an ancient historical province from the Khmer period. This province is regarded as the land of elephants, with around 300-500 elephants.

            Surin is famous for organic Hom Mali rice, or Thai jasmine rice, as well. The brand of Hom Mali is well-known worldwide, especially in the high-end market. The province has also earned a reputation for its fine Thai silk and striking silver beads. The town of Surin is surrounded by villages that produce silk and a variety of handicrafts.  There are numerous ancient Khmer sanctuaries, which testify to the historical significance of this province. The population of Surin is 1.38 million, with about 342,000 households.


Duangkamol Buranasomphop

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