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Chiang Mai tourism almost exclusively domestic for now

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Chiang Mai tourism is mostly domestic now. (via tawatchai07 / freepik)
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With Chiang Mai currently experiencing the fourth-highest daily infections in the country – 357 people in today’s figures – it’s not surprising that international tourism has hardly bounced back since the reopening of Thailand 2 weeks ago. The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the province has been estimated to have lost tourism revenue as high as 70 billion baht and Chiang Mai is hoping that the reopening of the country will start to bring some relief sooner rather than later.

While it wasn’t much, the Chiang Mai Tourism Council looks at the arrival of a chartered golf tourism flight from South Korea that held 83 passengers as a vote of confidence for the “Charming Chiang Mai” programme that aims to safely welcome back international tourists. They hope it shows that the province is prepared with health and safety protocols to protect incoming tourists. The Tourism Council said that public safety will stay the number one priority and businesses will stay flexible to account for the complications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president of the Tourism Council is confident that over time, more and more group tours and travellers will trickle back into Chiang Mai, giving the tourism industry a much-needed breathe of international revenue after a nearly 2-year drought. But all signs point to the tourism sector being carried heavily by domestic travellers for the time being.

Since the beginning of October, hotel bookings have picked up as domestic tourists flocked to natural tourists sites where hotel bookings managed to hit 50 to 60% occupancy at times, whereas Chiang Mai town increased as well, but only to about 35%. Tourism forecasters are predicting that fir the end of November and through December, occupancy rates for hotels will hover around 30-40% in town and 60% around the province’s natural attractions.

Domestic flights had been seeing passenger arrivals to Chiang Mai in the area of 1,000 to 2,000 people per day, but in October that figure rose to as many as 5,000 people per day on average. The province is expected to see a total of about 100,000 tourists visiting before the end of the year. The province is hoping to receive a boost to the digital nomad and workation sectors as this year’s Holidu Workation Index rated Chiang Mai as a top destination to travel to in order to work while relaxing.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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