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Chiang Mai a “ghost town” as tourists stay away in droves

Greeley Pulitzer

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Chiang Mai a “ghost town” as tourists stay away in droves | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Mai's airport sits nearly empty due to the coronavirus outbreak - The Nation
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The coronavirus outbreak has turned Chiang Mai into a ghost town. The city’s Thansettakij newspaper today reported the results of its survey on tourist attractions since February 8, Makha Puja Day and the start of a three day holiday. It showed a massive decline in tourists, especially from China.

“Chiang Mai used to be very popular among Chinese tourists, but this year only a few can be seen at tourist attractions or at Chiang Mai International Airport.”

A local van operator said that during the city’s famous Chiang Mai Flower Festival last week, his company saw only Thais visiting the fair.

“My vans usually take Chinese from tourist attractions to Khaomao-Khaofang, a giant fusion restaurant in Chiang Mai, which was always packed with Chinese tourists, but this year I haven’t seen a single Chinese tourist there.”

January and February are the start of Chiang Mai’s high season,which lasts until the Songkran festival in April. Chiang Mai usually expects more than 2 million visitors from China alone, but the coronavirus outbreak has meant a huge drop in their numbers.

SOURCE: The Nation

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Zzz

    February 16, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Boo hoo the chinese are gone

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Tourism

The Coronavirus effect – Phuket and hotel report

Bill Barnett

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The Coronavirus effect – Phuket and hotel report | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett, c9hotelworks.com

“Perhaps the biggest wild card is the mounting number of travel advisories across the globe based on Covid-19”

In what is a continuing storyline on the global coronavirus outbreak, Bill Barnett reports on the impact on Thailand’s most popular island destination, Phuket. He says that the impact on Phuket tourism market is a creating challenging landscape.

“Looking at the largest single drop according to STR data, was the week of January 20 – 27 in the lead up to Chinese New Year, market-wide occupancy fell from 90% down to 60%.”

As of February 17, occupancy was sitting at the mid-50% level, though rate room rates have remained static during the past month. This week hotel numbers continue to shift downward as sentiment worsens due to travel advisories and a uncertainty over return travel are key issues.

The Coronavirus effect - Phuket and hotel report | News by The Thaiger

Moving over to the aviation gateway of Phuket International Airport as of the February 25, month-to-date arrivals compared to the same period last year were down 37.5%. Looking at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, the comparative figure is a negative 45.2%. which ramps into the Phuket situation given it’s a feeder of business to the island.

Forward trading remains speculative, but there remains widespread postponement and/or cancellations of MICE events.

(The Thaiger was speaking to the owner of a big MICE company in Phuket last week who said that they started the year with a good portfolio of upcoming MICE events on the island but ALL had been cancelled)

While there is some movement to motivate the Thai domestic market by the TAT, all of Thailand’s markets are chasing that same tail. The upcoming Songkran period is likely to be dominated by staycations versus international trips abroad. Expectations are that that declining demand and airlift are key factors impacting occupancy and we are starting to see rate-driven promotions which will undoubtedly hit ADR’s (Average Daily Rate).

Perhaps the biggest wild card is the mounting number of travel advisories across the globe based on coronavirus (Covid-19), and for now, travel and tourism are working on day-to-day management of the situation. As the majority of hoteliers are looking for some historical context and the closest thing to grab onto is the SARS crisis in 2003. For Thailand the market hit a freefall over five months from March to July, as market-wide occupancy bottomed out just under the 30% level in May of that year.

Or course, what followed was the big bounce and pent up demand drove recovery in August. It continued with spectacular growth in the decades since.

In the case of the coronavirus, the only takeaway from the current situation is a bit like the Back to the Future gab… “where we’re headed, there aren’t any roads”.

(Almost, the actual quote from the movie is “where we’re heading, we don’t need roads”)

Read a report from The Thaiger about the effect of Coronavirus on the Thai property market HERE.

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Tourism

Once bustling, Chiang Mai tourist areas are now deserted

Greeley Pulitzer

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Once bustling, Chiang Mai tourist areas are now deserted | The Thaiger

Thai news agency MCOT has become the latest media outlet to bemoan the devastating effect of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on Thai tourism, after their reporters went to the once thriving area of Nimmanhaemin.

Online blurbs about the area still describe it as having “buzzing dining and nightlife, hip cafes, fashion boutiques and a weekend craft market.”

But a month after the start of the ban on international group travel by the Chinese government, the area is deserted. (See video HERE)

Once bustling, Chiang Mai tourist areas are now deserted | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: – MCOT

MCOT says that there used to be 5000-6000 Chinese arriving daily at the northern city’s airport.

Now it is just a trickle: less than 100 on some days.

SOURCE: thaivisa | MCOT

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Expansion of airport to make Hua Hin an international tourist destination

Greeley Pulitzer

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Expansion of airport to make Hua Hin an international tourist destination | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hua Hin Airport's expansion will help transform the sleepy resort town into an international tourist destination - Hua Hin Places

Hua Hin, long considered a bucolic backwater compared with other resort destinations in Thailand, may be about to morph into something quite different; local media reported on Saturday that the Thai government has approved a major expansion of Hua Hin’s Airport, which could turn the sleepy resort town into a genuine international tourist destination rivalling other more established destinations in Thailand like Pattaya, Phuket or Chiang Mai.

The 350 million baht expansion comprises two projects, with 250 million baht being spent to extend the runway in order bring it up to the standards required for larger aircraft, and another 100 million to be spent extending the passenger terminal.

The project is expected to take 2-3 years, and when complete will enable Hua Hin to welcome not only more domestic flights but also international flights from destinations like mainland China, South Korea, India and Hong Kong, as well as other locations across Southeast Asia. Officials say a fully operational international airport will be a huge boost for Hua Hin’s economy and neighbouring Phetchaburi province.

Under the new plans, Hua Hin Airport’s runway will be expanded by up to 45 metres to accommodate larger aircraft, and the parking area for planes will also be expanded. Currently the airport has capacity for two B737s, but when the improvements are complete it will have capacity for up to five B737s at any one time.

The airport terminal will also be expanded three times its current capacity. The present structure can handle only 300 passengers an hour: this will be trebled to 900 passengers per hour.

The expansion of the airport is a major part of measures to develop the Thai coast from Hat Chao Sam Ran in Phetchaburi south to Chumphon.

The initiative to transform the coast has been dubbed “Thai Riviera” project – with the aim to the coastline becoming an alternative to more established tourist areas like Phuket in the south and Pattaya on the Eastern Seaboard.

SOURCE: Thaivisa

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