By The Nation
La-Iad Bungsrithong, president of the Thai Hotels Association's (THA) northern chapter, said Thais usually head to the islands during the hot season. However, she said, Chiang Mai hotels are hoping huge discounts will encourage people to head North instead.
“Around 1,000 hotels have reopened in Chiang Mai, signifying some 3,000 rooms. However, the average occupancy rate in March has been just 3 per cent due to people’s drop in purchasing power and low season. Bookings for the Songkran holidays in April only show signs of occupancy rise a little to 5 per cent. Hotels, however, hope that massive discounts will offer at least 10 per cent occupancy,” La-Iad said
Meanwhile, foreign tourists who accounted for 30 per cent of visitors to Chiang Mai in 2019, are still not visible due to Covid-related restrictions. This is even though many countries have launched mass vaccination strategies.
Chiang Mai normally attracts some million Chinese travellers yearly, though there have been no arrivals so far this year because Beijing has yet to allow overseas travel.
La-Iad said though 2021 is expected to be better for Chiang Mai’s tourism industry, hotels in the province have to make adjustments to not just control costs, but also earn enough to support employees. She added that some hotels have started offering takeaways to survive.