On October 21st, 2023, Chiang Mai local media sources reported the unsatisfied aftermath of visa exemptions since late September for Chinese tourists which was one of the Thai government’s policies to attract foreign tourists to visit Thailand.
Chiang Mai is one of the most popular Thailand destinations from around the world, however, statistical results showed otherwise, the number of incoming Chinese tourists to Chiang Mai was surprisingly low in the last one-month period. According to the statistics on the number of Chinese tourists who visited Chiang Mai, there were 21,568 in August, 12,556 in September, and 7,828 between October 1-15.
Mr. Suphamit Kitjapipat, the President of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, publicly reasoned that the low number of Chinese tourists was due to the recent Siam Paragon shooting incident and the current low season. However, in November, December, and January, there would be a large number of Chinese tourists at Thai festivals during the high season, Suphamit added.
Suphamit also mentioned his concerns about the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas that would indirectly affect tourism aspects because the high demand for oil would raise the cost of flight tickets. Many foreigners would choose to travel for business, meetings, and any other reasons but tourism.
Furthermore, Suphamit voiced another issue that the number of airlines flying directly to Chiang Mai was currently low compared to before the pandemic of Covid 19. “There should be more flights and an extension of airport service times to 1 AM needed to be considered. However, this is a good start for the first year of reopening the country in regards to the number of tourists,” said Suphamit.