Chiang Mai hotels jittery on bookings

Chiang Mai hotels jittery on bookings

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a prominent tourist attraction, in the morning. 
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a prominent tourist attraction, in the morning. 

Chiang Mai hoteliers have voiced concerns about slow bookings in December following the new Covid-19 infections from Thais who illegally crossed the border from Myanmar.

The majority of cancellations or postponements came from visitors travelling in groups of 30-50 people, such as provincial administrative organisations, schools, universities and groups of seniors, said La-Iad Bungsrithong, president of the Thai Hotels Association northern chapter.

She said some local administrations cited provincial orders that barred them from visiting or travelling to Chiang Mai during this time, unless it was necessary.

Even though hotel bookings during the upcoming long holiday from Dec 10-13 remain unfazed, forward bookings for the rest of the month are slower, which might be the result of virus panic, said Mrs La-Iad.

She said hotels located in trendy tourism destinations like Nimmanhaemin Road and the nearby mountains posted occupancy rates of around 80%.

Hotel operators had hoped to maintain occupancy rates at the same level as November, but now they forecast the rate may slip to 60-65%.

Operators reassured tourists not to panic and listen to trusted sources about the pandemic. Locals in the province are continuing their lives without disturbance, as there is no new wave, said Mrs La-Iad.

"Chiang Mai has implemented stringent safety and hygiene measures for eight months to ensure the highest level of safety," she said.

Moreover, tourism associations in the province also talked with the Office of the Insurance Commission about buying group health insurance to boost tourists' confidence.

If tourists who visit Chiang Mai test positive for Covid-19, the province will offer compensation worth 100,000 baht, said Mrs La-Iad.

Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said tour operators received a small number of cancellations to Chiang Mai as the high season already started there.

He said tour operators will follow market sentiment closely as they just received good news about a stimulus package from the government.

The Center for Economic Situation Administration approved this week a weekday tourism package for people aged 55 and older using tour operators.

The minimum package price is 12,500 baht per person, with the government subsidising 5,000 baht per person.

However, the association said it would like the capped price to be lower than 10,000 baht to serve more tourists.

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