Connect with us

Tourism

Chiang Mai – the wellness destination

The Thaiger

Published 

 on 

Chiang Mai – the wellness destination | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

Wellness Tourism

Resorts in Northern Thailand are quick to adapt, as wellness tourism is on the rise. Many operators now offer packages that include anything from ancient spas, yoga in the forest, and monastery stays to farm-to-table produce, local cooking, Thai kickboxing classes, and mineral hot springs. And they have good reasons for it.

Though wellness trips now account for about 7% of all trips taken worldwide, a study by the Global Wellness Institute found wellness tourism is growing fast at 6.5% annually (from 2015-2017). More importantly, wellness holiday makers are also generous spenders. For Thailand, international and domestic tourists spend about 36% more than the average tourist for quality stays that rejuvenate their body and mind.

Chiang Mai - the wellness destination | News by The Thaiger

Find out more about investing in the Chiang Mai Onsen Wellness Resort.

Why are people taking wellness trips?

As daily stress, rising chronic diseases, and general unhappiness become part of modern life, people are looking for preventative ways and ancient wisdoms to take care of their physical and mental health, leading to a massive economic wellness boom, estimated at about US$4.2 trillion.

Add these modern “illnesses” to longer lifespans, demands for healthier lifestyles, desire for experiential travel, and the rise of the middle class to the ultra-wealthy in Asia, and you have wellness tourism that keeps expanding. In fact, at over $639 billion, wellness tourism has grown more than twice as much as general tourism (3.2%) in the past few years.

For Asia Pacific destinations, in particular, wellness trips are also driven by rising female travellers, mid-life adventurers, and Chinese millennial millionaires, a reportby the wellness and hospitality marketing company CatchOn states. Female travelers, for example, organize trips to “escape, rekindle friendships, celebrate milestones, and reward themselves.” And spas, wellness or life coach gurus, truly unique and authentic experiences, and creative endeavors like cooking classes are highly attractive. For Asian female travellers, spa treatments, sightseeing, as well as shopping at mega malls (Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, etc.) are also a popular way to recharge.

For the mid-life adventurers, however, wellness is for self-care and exploration. Activities that are highly memorable, like flying around Mount Everest, are very attractive to this group. Meanwhile, well-to-do young Chinese are drawn to “hassle-free, all inclusive packages” with activities that include anything from morning yoga, meditation, and local cooking to sightseeing, outdoor adventures, shopping, beach parties, and fine dining, the report shows.

Thailand as a wellness destination

Thailand was quick to jump on this trend. Ranked 13th in the world and 4th in Asia-pacific in 2017, after China, Japan, and India, Thailand’s wellness tourism is estimated at $12 billion. Establishing itself as a major medical tourism hotspot and a top spa destination, Thailand is now considering adding a visa category called “Medical Visa,”which would allow holders to stay in the country up to a year for the purpose of medical treatment. The country also incorporates both health and wellness into their international campaign “Amazing Thailand: Open to New Shades” and targets major demographic segments such as millennials, seniors, and female professionals.

The top performing sources of medical and wellness tourists in Thailand are from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, as well as Australia, India, China, and the United Kingdom. And “new business is emerging from places; such as, Myanmar, Australia and Russia,” the Tourism Authority of Thailand noted earlier this year. For spas and massages, it’s Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Israel, USA, and Vietnam that spend the most per head.

The Global Wellness Institute also commented on its global wellness report that by leveraging strengths in both segments, countries like Thailand are primed for stressed out professionals, patients and their families, as well as wellness travelers. Treatment, prevention, and recovery are available in a single trip, with health checkups, detox, life coaching, meditation, ancient therapies, and surgeries, in addition to a blissful setting for them to recover.

Chiang Mai as a wellness destination

While each region in Thailand offers a variety of wellness options, Bangkok is known for its wellness centers, Phuket its spa resorts, Koh Samui its fitness retreats, and Chiang Mai its spiritual retreats, according to a report in 2018 by Kasikorn Bank. Chiang Mai, with its rich culture, unique cuisine, long-standing Buddhist traditions, and mountainous scenery, attracts many tourists for general wellness travelers as well as spiritual monastery stays. While most tourists in the north are Thais and Chinese, the region also welcomes a lot of travelers from Europe and the United States as well as Japanese pensioners.

Each nationality, however, has very specific needs when it comes to wellness, a recent study by Chiang Mai University ()which surveyed 1,092 travellers in Chiang Mai and other Northern cities shows.

Thai tourists, for instance, are foodies and a wellness trip is best with local northern cuisines or healthy food. Chinese tourists, on the other hand, are more interested in traditional massages and listed creative classes, like learning Thai medicine and massage, very high on their list. To Americans and Europeans, a wellness trip to Chiang Mai is more enticing when paired with a chance to experience the local way of life. They are also similar in their choosing, listing wellness activities like Thai and northern massages as most attractive, followed by healthy/local cuisine, spas, hot springs baths, yoga, and meditation.

Meanwhile, Japanese pensioners are most interested in golf, followed by Thai massage, local food, and hot springs. They also focus on accommodations that are in close proximity to medical facilities.

When asked to choose an activity that is most interesting, all nationalities selected nature sightseeing, except the Chinese who selected Thai massage and herbal medicine classes as most attractive.

Chiang Mai - the wellness destination | News by The Thaiger

Selling wellness in Chiang Mai

As mentioned earlier, international and domestic wellness tourists spend about 36% more than the average tourist when visiting Thailand, and this is no exception in Chiang Mai. Undoubtedly, this leads to more resorts offering attractive holistic treatments to cash in on this trend, from The Pavana’s five habits of longevity to Dhara Dhevi’s Ayurvedic Retreat, which includes Shirodhara therapy, where a stream of warm oil is poured onto the “third eye” to improve the functions of the nervous system.

These resorts in Chiang Mai can charge much higher fees when offering wellness programs. For example, a night at the luxury Dhara Dhevi’s deluxe villa costs around 10,000 baht or about $330 (which accommodates 2 adults). That rises to 86,000 baht/person for 3 nights of an Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Retreat, the bundle that comes with Ayurvedic therapies, personalized treatments, traditional massages, free access to thermal facilities, private yoga, and meditation classes, among other things. To extend your wellness stay to 14 nights, the price rises to 363,000 baht/person.

Investing in wellness in Chiang Mai

Instead of choosing a colorful, but busy part of the city, many resort developers eye for iconic locations in natural surroundings to market as luxury wellness retreats. And some are opening its doors to investors, Thai or otherwise.

Chiang Mai Onsen Wellness Resort, for example, lets investors buy a villa in its wellness resort at the starting price of 3.3 million baht (about $108,000). The resort is set in the hot spring area of San Kamphaeng of Chiang Mai and features on-site mineral hot springs. Minerals in this location, such as Fluoride and Sulfate, are said to have healing properties beneficial for boosting blood circulation, improving the reproductive system, strengthening bones and joints, as well as softening skin.

The resort also offers buyers guaranteed rental returns and hotel management. Buyers can also choose villas for their own use on the residential side , next to the resort, with access to facilities like the hot spring baths, spas, a Muay Thai kickboxing gym, spas, restaurants, as well as an on-site anti-aging clinic.

As wellness is a rising trend that attracts high-spending customers, it is obvious why many resorts are marketing themselves as wellness retreats.

Chiang Mai - the wellness destination | News by The ThaigerChiang Mai - the wellness destination | News by The ThaigerChiang Mai - the wellness destination | News by The ThaigerChiang Mai - the wellness destination | News by The Thaiger

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Environment

Unemployed elephants: Some return to the wild, others sent to work in logging business

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Unemployed elephants: Some return to the wild, others sent to work in logging business | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

The drop in tourism has had a huge impact on the elephants in Northern Thailand, leaving many elephants, you could say, unemployed. While some elephants are out of business and been taken back to their natural habitat, others are struggling in captivity and might be sent off to work in animal labour which some people may deem as unethical.

A reporter from BBC Thailand follow a group of elephants making the trek and spoke with those in the ‘elephant’ business. You can watch the video HERE. One owner, who goes by the name Uncle Eddy, told BBC, if the tourism industry doesn’t pick up soon, he will hand over his 57 elephants to a logging business in Myanmar.

The video from BBC Thailand showed Uncle Eddy’s elephants on short chains standing in a cement outdoor structure. He said if the elephants don’t work, then they don’t get exercise. Without exercise, the pregnant elephants would have trouble giving birth and the babies would eventually die, according to his commentary.

Thailand has a variety of elephant camps and sanctuaries. There is continuous debate on how elephants should be cared for in captivity. Some establishments keep elephants on a short chain, only to be taken out for rides or shows. Some businesses describing themselves as sanctuaries have elephants roaming the property and allow tourist to feed and bathe the animals. This ‘ethical’ model is becoming more popular with some of the tourism demographics visiting Thailand in the past.

The Chiang Mai-based Save Elephant Foundation started a project to return some of the elephants back to their natural habitats, Thai PBS World reports. From April to May, more than 100 elephants trekked north from Chiang Mai to Mae Chaem, a 150 kilometre trek.

BBC followed a small group of elephants led by the Save Elephant Foundation and said the elephants became very thirsty and some seemed to be “low on energy”. The charity’s founder, Lek Chailert, says the pandemic is a chance to get elephants out of the tourism industry.

“Tourists would be swamping into Thailand. The Covid-19 pandemic will give us time to think.”

SOURCES: BBC Thailand | Thai PBS World

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Crime

Animal activists claim police officer killed beloved campus dog

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Animal activists claim police officer killed beloved campus dog | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

A Thai animal rights group is accusing a Chiang Mai police officer of abusing and killing a beloved dog, Tia, a stray adopted by students at Chiang Mai University.

Watchdog Thailand, based in Chiang Mai, investigated the incident after the dog’s body was found last week and recently reported their findings to police, according to Nation Thailand. The autopsy of the dog’s body doesn’t seem to match the police officer’s story. No details on the dog’s condition are reported.

Police say the activist group have also spoken to witnesses and seen surveillance camera footage. The group posted a video on Facebook with a clip from surveillance footage of a dog approaching a person on a motorbike, but no apparent abuse is shown in the video.

Police are investigating the dog’s death and say they will be questioning the police office.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

ฟังวอชด็อก เชื่อเตี้ยถูกฆ่าทารุณ

#เชื่อเตี้ยถูกฆ่าฟังชัดๆทีมมูลนิธิวอชด็อก ร่วมทำคดีเตี้ย มช.กับเเอดมินเพจเเละตำรวจ เชื่อหลักฐานที่มีอยู่ในมือ สันนิษฐานได้ว่า เตี้ย ถูกฆ่าอย่างทารุณ!

Posted by อีจัน on Wednesday, 20 May 2020

 

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Air Pollution

Government claims they’re serious about northern air pollution

Jack Burton

Published

on

Government claims they’re serious about northern air pollution | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s northern provinces, particularly Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, suffer mightily during the annual plantation burning season, infamously known as “smoky season,” when farmers there and in neighbouring Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia burn their fields in preparation for the next harvest. The season lasts from January to April, and during that time Chiang Mai often rates as having the worst air quality in the world. But now the government says it’s taking air pollution seriously and aims to clean up the North.

Chiang Mai’s air quality problems have been a consistent issue, since the northern Thai city was declared ‘most polluted city in the world’ on March 10, according AirVisual.com. The city has ‘won’ the accolade on more than 10 days this year. Adding to the problem, in March and April this year were the forest fires challenging local authorities in the mountains around the city.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat expressed gratitude to the Chiang Mai Breath Council for its concern on smog in the North and gave assurances the government is earnest about solving the problem. Responding to the council’s demand for successful resolution she said the council makes a huge contribution by monitoring air pollution for the sake of public health.

“The government has tried to solve the problem and assigned local authorities to implement relevant measures. It is never distracted from the effort, despite the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The government is grateful for the Chiang Mai Breath Council’s campaigns for clean air. However, the problem cannot be solved by a single organisation. All parties must join forces. I believe that solutions will improve from now on.”

The government spokeswoman also said that Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon would visit Chiang Mai province today to follow up on smog solutions.

“The government understands that it may not be impossible for provincial and regional parties to solve the issue by themselves. We believe that if all parties join hands and watch out for wildfires, which are at the root of the problem and cause of the fine dust, air pollution will be relieved eventually.”

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Trending