In a bid to stimulate the tourism sector, a novel waiver has been implemented for travellers from China and Kazakhstan. The waiver is set to remain in effect for five months, up until the end of February.
Statistical data highlighted that in August, Chinese arrivals were tallied at 21,568, followed by 12,556 in September, and 7,828 as of the 15th of October.
Supamitr Kijjapipat, the president of the Association, remarked that various circumstances could have contributed to the less than spectacular visitor turnout. One significant incident was the distressing mall shooting incident that occurred in the heart of Bangkok on the 3rd of October. A teenage boy of merely 14 years, instigated a shooting frenzy in an upscale shopping mall in Bangkok, consequently leading to the sad demise of three persons, one of whom was a tourist from China, and leaving another four injured.
Kijjapipat also mentioned that the volatile Israel-Hamas war, which was ignited on the 7th of October, could be another contributing factor. He explained that potential tourists often postpone their vacation plans when there’s an ongoing war, irrespective of where it is, due to the potential implications for fuel prices and thus airfare.
According to Kijjapipat, the government’s proposition to extend the operating hours of Chiang Mai Airport till 1 am, starting from this November, holds potential to lure foreign visitors. He further emphasized the importance of airlines launching further direct flights to Chiang Mai, as the frequency of flights to the city are yet to match the pre-Covid-19 numbers.
Remainingly optimistic, Kijjapipat anticipates that the inflow of Chinese tourists will progressively escalate over the ensuing three months. This optimism is buoyed by a calendar brimming with festivals and upcoming events, such as Loy Krathong and the New Year countdown.
On a concluding note, the Association reported that while the influx of Thai tourists to Chiang Mai has seen an uptick, the time and funds funnelled into local businesses have experienced a slump. This trend is presumably attributable to the country’s economy still in recovery mode, nudging Thais to opt for truncated one-day excursions and concentrating their expenditure on essentials, Kijjapipat summed up.