Chiang Mai’s battered tourism industry rebounded a bit over the holiday weekend, with Thai tourists coming to the northern city for a break.
The Mae Tang Elephant Camp attracted both domestic tourists and foreign expats and tourists stuck in Thailand.
Taxi driver Jakawan Thongsuk said she was excited to see tourists again, even if they’re the domestic variety as the country’s borders remain closed. A group of Indian jewelers in Bangkok booked her service, the first time that’s happened since before the coronavirus lockdown.
Jakawan said she was happy to see the government making efforts to spark domestic tourism, as the past few months have been difficult.
Ploysirima Luachai, a first-grade student of Prince Royal School, Chiang Mai, was one of the visitors at the elephant camp. She and her family enjoyed the shows and feeding the elephants, she said.
Camp employee Supattra Boonrueng said she has worked at the camp for 10 years but had never experienced anything like this year, she said.
Business has been slow since the camp reopened, Supattra said, but this weekend was a marked improvement. She hopes it continues.
“It’s going to take a few years to be completely back to normal. Now we’re relying on Thai tourists for survival, not only ours, but the elephants’ survival as well.”