Chiang Mai Night Safari to get new operator

Chiang Mai Night Safari to get new operator

State agency plans world-class transformation

A tiger enjoys himself during the night at Chiang Mai Night Safari in August last year. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
A tiger enjoys himself during the night at Chiang Mai Night Safari in August last year. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

A law is being drafted to transfer the rights of operation of Chiang Mai Night Safari from Pinkanakorn Development Agency Public Organisation (PDA) to the Zoological Park Organisation (ZOO), according to an acting director at PDA.

Anucha Dumrongmanee, the acting director, said the new legislation —  which will pave the way for the transfer — is needed because the existing laws make the move nearly impossible. 

“The new law would not put the state at a disadvantage,” Mr Anucha affirmed. “The drafting of the new law must be done quickly so that it can be forwarded to the cabinet for consideration.”

The safari has been operated by the PDA, a special body created by the former Pheu Thai-led government in 2013, whereas ZOO is a state agency.

A cabinet in 2017 had resolved to dissolve the PDA to mitigate financial losses of all its projects and transfer its assets and liabilities to other state agencies.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about how changes could impact the salaries of the safari's 300 employees and the animal feed contracts with four community enterprises in Chiang Mai — which have more than 500 members. 

However, Mr Anucha stressed that nothing would change as a result of the transfer. 

He added that the operation of the zoo would not suffer following the transfer and insisted that it would instead improve.  

An average of 2,000 tourists visit the safari every day and that number is expected to surge with an increase in the number of Chinese tourist arrivals expected from this month until October. The zoo currently has more than 1,200 animals.

The goal is to turn the facility into the world-class safari, he said, adding that efforts will also be made to create jobs and revenue for nearby local communities.

Last year, more than 600,000 tourists came to visit the safari, generating more than 230 million baht in revenue. This year the earning is expected to be around to be 250 million baht, Mr Anucha added.

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