Despite the government’s temporary visa exemption (up to the end of February 2024) for Chinese tourists, Chiang Mai is reporting a drop in the number of arrivals from China, not the expected increase. Tourism stakeholders in the northern city report that, during the last month, the number of Chinese tourists has been unexpectedly low.
The data shows that 21,568 Chinese tourists visited Chiang Mai during the month of August, which dropped to 12,556 in September. Between October 1 and 15, a total of 7,828 Chinese tourists have visited the northern province.
Despite the dip, the President of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association remains upbeat. Suphamit Kitjapipat says the drop in Chinese arrivals is temporary and the result of the recent shooting at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon mall, combined with it being low season.
He believes the province will see higher numbers of Chinese visitors in the coming months, attracted by Thai festivals in November, December, and January. However, he points out that the current war between Israel and Hamas is a threat to overall tourism as increased demand for oil will push up airfares.
Suphamit says while people may continue flying for business purposes, there could be a drop in those travelling for tourism. In addition, he points out that the number of airlines serving Chiang Mai remains low when compared to pre-pandemic days.
“There should be more flights and an extension of airport service times to 1am needs to be considered. However, this is a good start for the first year of reopening the country in regards to the number of tourists.”
SOURCE: The Pattaya News