There are many reasons why Thailand, but particularly Cha-Am and Hua Hin, is so popular with Norwegians. The most obvious reasons are the climate, the food, the golf courses and just having an inexpensive good time. A holiday may start as just a short break from the chilling Nordic winter, but for many their break is stretched over many weeks or months and finally a decision is often made to settle here. But this doesn’t answer the question about why this Region is chosen over other Thai holiday locations.
One simple answer is Edgar Huus Skjonhals and his company Orkide Ekspressen. Last month Edgar’s personal promotion of tourism in the region, spanning a period of 30 years, was recognised in a big way by invited guests including the Governor of Petchaburi Province, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Directors of both Prachuap Kiri Khan and Phetchaburi Provinces, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Deputy Mayors of Hua Hin and Cha-Am and many other important officials. The Tara Mantra Resort Cha-Am was the venue with Manager and President of the Thai Hotels Association (Western Chapter), Khun Vason Kittikul, being a very affable host and Master of Ceremonies. It was a ceremony to celebrate Edgar and his company’s role in making the Region such a popular Norwegian destination. In 2012 Orkide Ekspressen celebrated its 30th year of operations and this year the 30th year of bringing Norwegians here.
The recognition included the presentation of ‘Keys to the Cities’; that is the cities of Cha-Am and Hua Hin. As far as we are aware, this was an unprecedented honour for a foreigner. The evening was also a celebration of Edgar’s 70th birthday with his wife and sons present to enjoy the spirit of the moment. It was apparent that Edgar holds a special place in the Cha-Am hospitality scene with the Tara Mantra staff paying homage by parading his favourite pleasures, especially cupcakes. A giant cartooned image of Edgar, (looking a little like ‘Pope Edgar’) was featured and the mandatory birthday cake and chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’.
This was a fitting recognition of one individual’s role in the promotion of the local tourism industry. However the overall importance of Norwegian visitors was also being appreciated. One of the regular features of the Norwegian ‘holiday season’ is the Wirkola Cup golfing tournament and the associated ‘Dansegalla’ (dance gala) during October and November with visiting Norwegian performers adding a ‘Nordic flavour’ to the celebrations. The Wirkola Cup is hosted by Bjørn Wirkola, the legendary World and Norwegian ski jumping champion, with Orkide Ekspressen promoting the events and providing travel arrangements.
Edgar regards Cha-Am as his second home and many other Norwegians share that sentiment. This has become a mutually beneficial pairing with Norwegians enjoying the hospitality and local businesses welcoming friendships and economic benefits. Congratulations to Edgar and Orkide Ekspressen for this achievement and to the Thai hospitality industry for recognising this important occasion.