|EXPO 2006-2007 Chiang Mai|
|Name||Royal Flora Ratchaphurek|
|Motto||"To Express Love For Humanity"|
|Area||80 hectares (200 acres)|
|Venue||Royal Agricultural Research Center|
|Awarded||December 1, 2005|
|Opening||November 1, 2006|
|Closure||January 31, 2007|
|Previous||2003 World Horticultural Exposition in Rostock|
|Next||Floriade 2012 in Venlo|
|Previous||Expo '98 in Lisbon|
|Next||Expo 2008 in Zaragoza|
|Previous||Expo 2005 in Aichi|
|Next||Expo 2010 in Shanghai|
The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek was an international horticultural exposition held 1 November 2006 to 31 January 2007 in the Thai city Chiang Mai of Chiang Mai Province that drew 3,781,624 visitors. Recognised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), it was one of the grand celebrations hosted by the Royal Thai Government in honor of King Bhumibol, the world's longest reigning monarch.
The ratchaphruek (Cassia fistula), or golden shower tree, is the de facto national flower of Thailand. Its yellow blossoms correspond to Monday, the birthday of Bhumibol. It is also named "Khun" or "Rajapruek".
The event was located on 80 hectares of land at the Royal Agricultural Research Center in the Mae Hia sub-district, Mueang district, Chiang Mai Province in northern Thailand. The 92 days of the expo featured 30 international gardens reflecting nations such as Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, and Canada. More than 2.5 million trees of 2,200 species of tropical plants and flowers were on display in this exhibition. The Association of International Horticultural Producers (AIPH), gave this expo A1 status, its highest level. Such exhibitions occur only once a year throughout the world. In addition, a host country can only hold one such exhibition once a decade.
The festival included many highlights to attract tourists:
The Thai government had expected an average of 20,000 visitors per day, with over 100,000 visitors on a crowded day, and 3 million visitors in total to attend the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006. At the exposition's conclusion, organizers claimed that the exposition had injected 27 billion baht into the regional economy.
The Thai government has proposed transforming the site of the exposition into a permanent training center. Despite some complaints of corruption and substandard facilities, organizers believed the exposition achieved its goals of promoting tourism and developing Thai horticultural industries.
The park was open to the public in 2008 with many of the past highlights still very much in evidence, including the international exhibits. It is thought that it will remain to stay open as a valued addition to things to do in Chiang Mai. The park receives around 500 visitors a day at the moment, mainly Thai.