Chiang Rai gets ready to open doors to vaccinated visitors from Dec 1
Chiang Rai province is getting ready to welcome double-jabbed tourists from December 1 under the “Blooming Chiang Rai” campaign, provincial governor Phassakorn Boonyaluck told the press on Monday.
“Tourism in Chiang Rai has been in a slump for almost two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we will be ready to welcome tourists again,” he said. “So far, 58.9 per cent of Chiang Rai residents have been fully vaccinated and we believe that by December 1, the number will rise to 70 per cent.”
Phassakorn added that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has marked 11 of Chiang Rai’s 18 districts as “blue zone”, or an area ready to pilot the reopening to foreigners who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and test negative upon arrival.
“The ‘Blooming Chiang Rai’ theme aims to promote the province’s Art and Flower Festival, which will be held from December 18 to January 1 at the Garden of Reeds in Rim Kok subdistrict,” he said.
“Chiang Rai will also hold a flower festival at the 75th Anniversary Flag and Lamp Park in Wiang subdistrict from December 24 to January 9.”
If the reopening plan is successful and the Covid-19 situation improves, Chiang Rai may consider bringing back other cultural events that were suspended, such as the flower offering festival and midnight walk for alms tradition to lure more tourists.
Wisoot Buachoom, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s Chiang Rai office, said the province’s economy relies almost totally on tourism.
“Before Covid-19, Chiang Rai welcomed around 4 million visitors annually, who helped generate around 40 billion baht in revenue,” he said. “In 2020, the number of visitors dropped to just 2 million and tourism revenue slumped to just 15 billion baht. This trend can be seen in many tourism provinces in Thailand.
“However, the situation is gradually improving, with up to 33 flights landing in Chiang Rai daily, compared to just 10 flights a day earlier in the year,” he said.
“Some 250 hotels have been certified under TAT’s Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration [SHA] standard, while businesses winning the SHA+ label, which requires more than 70 per cent of staff to be vaccinated, has been on the rise.”