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Chiang Mai University says, they not only just collect the entrance fee from visitors but also take the chance to introduce Thai cultures to them, such as posting Chinese slogans in the cafeteria asking them to clean up the tables after eating or requesting them to take off shoes when entering the temples.
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“I came to see the uniform of Chiang Mai University (CMU) because we don’t have it in China. The scenery is beautiful too," says Vicky, a 23-year-old from Guangdong, in an interview with Bangkok Post. She went to Bangkok with friends to experience a different college lifestyle. However, the skyrocketing number of Chinese tourists have troubled not only nearby residents but also the staff members and students on the campus.
The Chinese comedy, “Lost in Thailand," was released in 2012 and shot near CMU. It has enchanted more and more Chinese tourists and led to an increase of people visiting the university. The selfie-addicted Chinese tourists even take selfies with the chairs at the café in the waiting lobby. Hundreds, or even thousands, of visitors “invade" the previously tranquil and peaceful campus every day. So far around 70,000 people have visited the place in the second half of 2014 and a total of 130,000 visitors have gone to CMU in the first eight months this year.
News relating to the swarm of Chinese tourists has been reported since last year. Foreign media outlets even say the mainland tourists have created chaos in the area and have a notorious reputation. Reports also point out that the visitors can enter the campus without any restriction and students complain that Chinese visitors hog the cafeteria seats, audit the classes without permission and even crash electric bikes into students on campus. Locals grumble that the Chinese visitors are impolite, unbearably noisy, and even spit and litter everywhere.
Residents admit that even though they don’t welcome the Chinese tourists, the visitors help develop tourism in Chiang Mai. Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, vice principal of the CMU and responsible for planning and developing tourism management on campus, says if they ban Chinese tourists from the campus, it might arouse controversy between the two nations.
The report says that the school charges each tourists THB$ 60 (approximately US$ 1.65) to manage the visitors. Electrical cars are provided for a scenic drive to the lake (Ang Kaew). A ride holds 15 people and the visitors can not get off midway.
In fact, the school quite welcomes the visitors and even gave a gift to the 111,111th passenger boarding the tourist bus. Back then, the school pointed out that the visitors started behaving better after regulations were carried out. The college campus became the third most popular attractions among Chinese tourists in Thailand, with the first being Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and followed by the Chiang Mai Zoo.
The school says, they not only just collect the entrance fee from visitors but also take the chance to introduce Thai cultures to them, such as posting Chinese slogans in the cafeteria asking them to clean up the tables after eating or requesting them to take off shoes when entering the temples.
Now the college campus receives an average number of 200 to 300 Chinese tourists per day and welcomes up to 1,000 visitors during high seasons like spring vacation.
“We can manage the tourists with the current manpower and resources, but if the number of visitors increases 2,000 per day, we will need to put more thought into this.”
In 2012, 2.78 million Chinese people visited Thailand, which is three times more than the one million visitors in 2006. Thailand has also exceeded Malaysia and become the most visited country among the Chinese.
Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang