Connect with us

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai tourism slowdown takes a toll on local businesses

Caitlin Ashworth

Published 

 on 

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Chiang Mai’s tourism industry has drastically slowed down from the lack of travel due to the affects of the Covid-19 pandemic – the lockdowns and the travel restrictions. Tourists “vanished” during the April lockdown, according to president of the Tourism Association of Chiang Mai, Anantorn Hochindarat. Now, as the chilly, cool season approaches, when the northern province is the most popular for locals, Chiang Mai’s tourism sector is likely to remain “slow”.

The impacts from reaction to the pandemic has effected various people and business groups in Chiang Mai. Only 35% of the hotels have reopened, and those that are open report lower occupancy rates, Anantorn says. Many tourism businesses like spas, souvenir shops and tour agencies remain closed. The drivers of the red trucks, known as songthaews, used to do 3 to 4 round trips per day. Now only 1 trip per day is the average, and that’s with some drivers taking temporary leave.

“Over 1,000 tour guides are unemployed, while dozens of hotels have been put on sale after owners faced a liquidity crisis.”

Last year, Chiang Mai recorded 100 billion baht in revenue from 10.8 million visitors. 70% of the visitors where Thais while the other 30% were foreigners. After domestic travel restrictions were lifted, local travellers were only 20% from the same period last year. There have been travel promotions and events to help boost domestic tourism across Thailand, but some Thai nationals are still hesitant to travel because of health safety concerns.

“As the international market is stalled, if Chiang Mai can simply get the same chunk of the domestic market back within a year, typically 70% of the total, we should be happy enough.”

Apparently the slowdown of international tourists has been happening before the pandemic. After the 2018 Phuket incident where 2 tourists boats capsized in a storm, killing 46 people, tourist confidence was “shattered,” according to the director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Chiang Mai office, Pakkanan Winijchai. The Phuket tourist boats were carrying Chinese tourists, and many Chinese lost confidence in Thailand, she says. Chinese visitors make up one-third of overall international arrivals.

For the past 6 months, there has been a ban on international tourists, crippling travel destinations that relied on the foreigners for income. Thailand has been working on a way to get tourists in, but even the new Special Tourist Visa was a bust when authorities said they were preparing for a group of tourists from China to arrive in Phuket, but no one had actually applied for the visa. Even if the scheme does start up soon, Chiang Mai cannot benefit because it does not have any alternative state quarantine facilities to house the tourists for their mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Wikapedia

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mike

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Talk about stating the obvious, but I suppose it may as well be said. Of course Chiang Mai is suffering since it’s a one of the main tourist destinations. It’s very sad news.

    What isn’t sad news is that the red sawngtaew cartel is also suffering. I hope with all my heart that they disappear forever.

  2. Avatar

    Geoff

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:55 am

    “no one had actually applied for the visa”! Wow! So much for the comments about arrivals etc. All rubbish by incompetent officials.

  3. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 11:09 am

    From the linked article: “ Chinese tourists who mostly stay in condos or rental houses owned by Chinese investors.” – and yet Thailand caters to the Chinese tourist. The group who invented zero dollar tourism.

    • Avatar

      saidit

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      Where do you stay?

      • Avatar

        EdwardV

        Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm

        The last few times I’ve stayed at the Le Méridien Chiang Mai hotel. I like Chiang Mai, although I’ve only visited 4-5 times. I spend most of my time further south.

  4. Avatar

    Pompies

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 11:47 am

    The Tourism Authority as usual can find a series of excuses, but I want to know what it has ever done to effectively promote Chiang Mai because I have seen precious little in the last decade. The current situation affects the whole of Thailand and by the time the authorities have removed their restrictions there will be little tourism infrastructure left. Which is precisely what they want because their avowed intention is to move Thailand up-market, and only the well financed facilities owned by their big business buddies will remain. Tragically the unemployment situation will be disastrous but those who have lost their employment and businesses will use their anger to vote against any party aligned by the so-called elected government, and we will be back to political anarchy.

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Tragic over a 1000 tour guides unemployed.
    Well luck is with you. Change Mai is surrounded by agriculture. Put you grandfather’s straw hat on and out you go working in the rice paddys.
    Not well paid, but healthy and good exercise.
    Of course you will have to have the Lao, Burmese, and Cambodian labourers fired and sent home.
    Unfortunate, but during these difficult times, Thais need the B300 a day they earned.
    You know it makes sense.

  6. Avatar

    West tiger

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 12:54 am

    All the while the government ignores the obvious solutionthings will not get any better

  7. Avatar

    James

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 1:55 am

    Foreign tourism to Chiang Mai has been in decline for a long time now over the years, the facilities in Phuket which have improved are far superior to run down Chiang Mai, I think the boat accident in Phuket has not affected tourism to Chian Mai as it had not affected the number going to Phuket before the virus situation.

    I know quite a few people living in Chiang Mai and they will all be leaving soon to go south in order to avoid the dense smoke from the farmers’ fields which will choke the city for the next four months after it starts.

    I can never understand some logic in Thailand, they say the boat accident in Phuket has affected tourism in Chiang Mai, what has affected tourism in Chiang Mai is the city is now run down and has been left behind by modern Phuket and other places plus the smoke drives everyone away each year, why don’t they solve that problem?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Mai. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai restaurants want dine-in ban revoked as infections drop

Maya Taylor

Published

on

PHOTO: Flickr/Siripanna Chiang Mai

The governor of Chiang Mai has called for the ban on dining in at restaurants to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm. Charoenrit Sa-nguansat’s request follows a drop in Covid-19 infections in the northern province.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has colour-coded Chiang Mai “dark red”, making it a maximum control zone, along with the central provinces of Bangkok, Chon Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan. According to restrictions imposed on maximum control areas, in-house dining is prohibited at restaurants, which are only permitted to remain open for takeaway orders up to 9pm.

The Bangkok Post reports that Charoenrit has appealed the ban in a letter to the CSSA, after daily new infections dropped from triple digits to double digits. In his letter, he attached a copy of a petition from the Chiang Mai Restaurant and Entertainment Venue Association, who last week called for the dine-in ban to be lifted, pointing out that it’s having a significant impact on more than 14,000 restaurants and 80,000 workers. The association also argues that there have been no infections linked to local restaurants.

Charoenrit, who also heads up Chiang Mai’s communicable disease control body, says he supports the association’s petition, adding that case numbers have been following a downward trend in the last week and calling on the government to lift the dine-in ban in the province.

According to the Bangkok Post, an innovative restaurant thought it had found a way around the ban when it opened up a “drive-in” service, in which customers could order and consume food in their own cars for up to 2 hours. Alas, the move was opposed by health officials, who pointed out the small gap between vehicles and voiced concerns that diners could use the opportunity to mingle.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Thailand

Chiang Mai on track to reopen 2 districts to foreign tourists in October

Thaiger

Published

on

Photo via Pexels

Chiang Mai is still on track to reopen to foreign tourists under the sandbox model this October. The so-called sandbox model would allow foreign tourists, who are vaccinated against Covid-19, to travel to designated areas in Thailand without undergoing quarantine. In Chiang Mai, tourists will be able to travel in the area with tour guides on designated routes. Phuket is set to reopen under the scheme on July 1.

In Chiang Mai, the districts Mae Rim and Mae Taeng are planned for the sandbox model. President of the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, Punlop Saejew, says those areas have a low population density and around 400,000 vaccine doses are needed for residents in both districts.

With Phuket set to reopen in July, tourism operators expect other tourist destinations in Thailand will benefit from the potential influx of foreign visitors.

“The Phuket sandbox model will create opportunities for other provinces… However, we have to prepare for our reopening regardless of what happens with Phuket because the country cannot afford another lost year.”

Health officials have said there are a limited amount of vaccine doses with priority given to those in high risk areas. Both Chaing Mai’s public and private sectors are planning to procure more doses, just in case, the government cannot provide the vaccines in line with the reopening schedule.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Drugs

Opium and Heroin seized at Chiang Mai checkpoint

Neill Fronde

Published

on

FILE PHOTO: Large drug busts this week in northern Thailand.

500 grams of heroin and 50 kilograms of raw opium were seized at a Chiang Mai checkpoint by Pha Muang Force soldiers. The cache was confiscated Tuesday evening in the Chai Prakan district’s Pha Hong checkpoint in Tambun Si Dong Yen. The soldiers stopped 2 drivers who aroused suspicion and who promptly fled when stopped. The motorcycle was left with 2 bags, with one containing 500 g of heroin and the other 50,5 kg of raw opium which had been packaged into 31 separate packets.

The bust is part of a line of recent drug seizures that have seen about 30.5 million baht worth of drugs recovered while thwarting the trade networks of 3 major drug rings in the Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, and Tak provinces. These drug cases have all been linked to Wichit Arphonrungroj, the chief of Phop Phra tambon administrative organization. While Wichit is still at large with police hunting for him, several other arrests linked to the busts have been made. Four warrants were issued and police are actively pursuing more accomplices.

The first raid on Monday in Tak came as police continued investigating and expanding the scope of a huge drug bust in October 2019 where police seized 1.5 tons of crystal methamphetamine. Police later seized 2 million baht of drugs in a bust of a man in Sukhothai. And in Phitsanulok, a 20 year old man was arrested after being unable to clarify the source of 20 million baht wired into his bank account. He had been selling drugs online, using a Facebook page called “Phee Laem Pilok”.

Last December police confiscated drug assets valued at 100 million baht in Bangkok. And just a few weeks ago police took in 100 kg of ketamine and crystal meth in a drug bust in Lat Phrao.

With the Covid-19 pandemic crippling the economy and many jobless and increasingly desperate, Thailand has seen an increase in drug use and trafficking. Add to that the civil unrest in Myanmar, where illegal drug manufacturers are using the turmoil to sneak drugs across a tumultuous border, and Police have seen the need to implement a widespread crackdown on drugs throughout Thailand.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending