Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Spiders and Oysters speed up Thailand-UK tourism and transport in 2017?
The new Bangkok Mangmoom (Spider) card for transport across Skytrain and MRT and ferry etc sounds a terrific initiative for tourists and residents in The Big Mango. The UK too has a similar electronic (Oyster card) for the London Tube etc.
And terrific that both cities celebrated the New Year with sparkling free events and travel - and Thailand even gets a second go in April.
But grim reading on road travel in the insightful Bangkok post editorial:
With 2017 as the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism, it's no wonder that both Thailand and UK should be well-placed to deliver on their tourism targets of 29M and 36M visitors each this year.
And hi-speed rail are key projects for UK with HS2 from London to Birmingham and Newcastle, and presumably Edinburgh and Inverness, to stitch together the disunited kingdom of Brexit.
And HS3 for the oft-neglected Pennines mountainous route, from the Fab Four of Liverpool to Manchester to Leeds to Hull, now the City of Culture of 2017.
HS1 has already been up and running here through Kent from the 2012 Olympics to London and through the Channel Tunnel and onto Paris and Brussels and the rest of the EU rail network.
While the Welsh Government is singing out loud and clear for both the Heathrow spur link to boost their tourism and exports - with one the largest Thai food warehouses in UK - and the Oxford and Cambridge University new EastWest rail link a nobrainer.
#Maglev Future Rail#
While an interesting Independent newspaper article on the Maglev technology revealed the first line, now discontinued, was established at Birmingham Airport in 1984 - perhaps another Great British invention developed elsewhere as with cinema, television and the internet?
The Shinkansen Maglev will reduce the Tokyo-Nagoya 300km route to just 40 minutes. While a UK Hyperloop would reduce the 200km London-Manchester to just 18 minutes.
Or London to Moscow in less than three hours when Russia joins the EU?
Or BKK to Singapore in two hours? Or to Yangon or HCMC in an hour would be a boon for ASEAN tourists and residents?
The EU Parliament as of December has put in train Phase 4 of the EU Rail plan with greater integration and especially through-ticketing as with Thailand's and UK's Spiders and Oysters.
#UK and ASEAN Rail#
Shouldn't Thailand and UK be partners in such activity - especially with this week the commencement of the first Shanghai-London express train at Yiwu cargo port?
Bund to Big Ben if you will.
It's now only 10 days to Europe not 28 days by sea and of course running as smooth as silk on rails day and night.
Surely it’s important too for Thailand and UK to work with ASEAN to deliver on the ASEANRail projects to link through to Yunnan and India?
The Chiang Mai express railway is already underway and SRT must have potential for more with Kasetsart and Newcastle University railway engineering STEM departments?
And it would be More Fun in the Philippines with an integrated network of hispeed rail and bridges across many of the 7,107 islands avoiding the risk and hassle of ferries and typhoons and traffic jams?
Here in Meiji Kent with my KCC Leader 2017 and MP 2020 work we are ready, willing and able:
While I've detailed Project True etc - surely the electronic Oyster and Spider cards would be ideal for UK and Thai tourism? Thailand has the highest European visitors with UK tourists over 1M and UK has the 3rd highest spending tourists visiting from Thailand.
The UK all the more tempting with a favourable exchange rate of the pound from Brexit and the ChinaRail express full of designer handbags and clothes.
Shouldn't a whole host of co-operative promotions with say True and BT provide city guides and discounted simcards? At the very least the Chiang Mai express would be faster in terms of promotion?
Or an SMS poll on the SRT Makkasan site, even weblinks to a VR view of the plans?
Even a dedicated UK-ASEAN Pandemics hotline given the repeat problems of birdflu, TB etc?
And for those who like Hello Kitty (who doesn't?) even timely alerts and details of events such as the Fun Run on 31st January? Or the Hua Hin Jazz and Film Festivals later in the year?
Thai tourists could sample the delights of the Dunkirk megamovie and Ramsgate Little Ships commemoration in June/July:
And shouldn’t Kent Police be spurred on with shamelessly stealing the excellent Thai Tourism Police 1155 hotline and service? A UK tourist lost in BKK could quickly be helped in their own language by the tourism police, but a stranded Thai tourist would find it more difficult in UK.
While China has launched the Beipanjiang Bridge one of the highest bridges in the world – over 200 storeys high - rivalling the Eurostar Millau Viaduct link to HS1 in France, and the lengthy San Juanico bridge in the Philippines.
And if Brexit is sounding increasingly discordant, PM Prayut’s crooning of Sa-parn (Bridge) must be the ideal soundtrack to better bridges and transport and beginning the return happiness and prosperity and democracy in Thailand 4.0 this year:
One awful Xmas present though is the high number of road deaths in Thailand through the New Year – now 426 deaths in just 6 days, and increase of 25% on last year - and the second-worst road safety in the world after war-torn Libya.
A death toll only added to with 103 deaths in minivans and 56 deaths in bus crashes in 2016. And another fatal ferry boat sinking now Krabi rather than BKK.
Surely cheap and reliable hispeed rail-links to the North, Isaan and Deep South would provide a safer and more prosperous Thailand? And with UK support as the world-leader in road safety with only 1,700 road deaths and almost no rail or bus or ferry deaths?
Britain and Thailand could make 2017 a growth year for tourism and Spiders and Oysters?
Time for Change
* Project Mahidol: pandemics and pharma
* Project SUNrice: rice and malnutrition
* Project Johnny Appleseed: agricultural activity ie reforestation, apples, DigiFarm and Superfoods
* Project BenTre: civil society activity ie National Citizen Scheme, women and girls equality
* Project True: digital and mobile economy