Chiang Mai promotes rock climbing to tap into global market of 44.5 million enthusiasts

0
715
During Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s recent visit, Punlop Saejew, Acting President of the Chiang Mai Tourism Council, highlighted the economic benefits of rock climbing, suggesting that hosting climbing championships could generate over 1 billion baht in revenue for local destinations.

Chiang Mai tourism leaders are advocating for the promotion of rock climbing to tap into a global market of 44.5 million enthusiasts, recognizing the sport’s potential to significantly boost local economies. During Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s recent visit, Punlop Saejew, Acting President of the Chiang Mai Tourism Council, highlighted the economic benefits of rock climbing, suggesting that hosting climbing championships could generate over 1 billion baht in revenue for local destinations.



According to data from the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), the potential for rock climbing in Chiang Mai is substantial. The U.S. alone boasts 10.4 million climbers, with Americans being among the top visitors to the province. The IFSC’s 2019 event in Colorado attracted 7,700 participants, underscoring the sport’s significant economic impact and potential for extended visitor stays, similar to major events such as the FIFA World Cup.

Punlop proposed that rock climbing could effectively promote second-tier cities and less-crowded destinations across Thailand, as many regions feature suitable mountain ranges. He identified provinces such as Lampang, Krabi, and Surat Thani as potential hubs for climbing activities.




Locally, Punlop pointed to Chiang Mai’s Chai Prakan district, home to some of Thailand’s deepest caves with significant but underutilized climbing tourism potential. He also mentioned the renowned limestone cliff in Mae On district, known as “Crazy Horse,” which drew thousands of climbers annually and generated substantial local income before its closure in 2018 due to legal issues.