Domestic tourism not helping Chiang Mai hotels, industry chief says

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Laied Bungsrithong, President of Thai Hotels Association, Upper North Chapter and GM of Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort Chiang Mai.

The government’s push to stoke domestic tourism isn’t helping Chiang Mai hotels, with most remaining closed and those that do open only about 15 percent full.




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Laied Bungsrithong, president of Thai Hotels Association, Upper North Chapter, and general manager of Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort, said about 20,000 rooms have become available since hotels began reopening July 20, but average occupancy of 15 percent remains far below the breakeven point.

Sale and liquidation signs are popping up across the city as word spreads that Chinese investors are buying hotels in Chiang Mai.

About 70 percent of hotels simply have remained closed, as it costs more to open than keep the doors locked, she said.


The government has poured billions of baht into subsidized schemes to boost domestic tourism, but they have had little impact, Laied said. Even during the recent four-day weekend created to replace canceled Songkran holidays, average occupancy was less than 40 percent.

Most hotels need to be at least half-full to break even, she noted.

One problem with the subsidized government programs is they are complicated to qualify and apply for, Laied said. They also are scheduled to expire next month.

She suggested the government retool its programs to make them more accessible and extend the promotion until the end of April.

Hotels in Chiang Mai are struggling to recover from the pandemic. 20,000 rooms have become available since hotels began reopening July 20, but average occupancy of 15 percent remains far below the breakeven point.



Shops are closing because of the lack of foreign customers.

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Streets in Downtown Chiang Mai are empty without tourists.



Exchange booths have closed because there are no foreigners to exchange money.