Chiang Mai, Thailand, is stepping up efforts to ensure its normal flow of visitors which has suffered from Bangkok flooding. Hotels, tour operators and numerous other businesses have been affected by the business downturn caused by the perception that large parts of Thailand are flooded.
According to Mr Vorapong Muachaotai, President of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, as quoted in the Bangkok Post; “A lot of international tourists, especially Asians, have cancelled or postponed trips to Chiang Mai because of the floods.”
Local tourism players, who have been unaffected by flooding, are now organising a coordinated response. First step is to ensure their message is heard at international trade shows. Chiang Mai representatives attended WTM in London earlier this month, and a presence will also be made at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Manado, Indonesia, in January, and ITB Berlin, in March.
Various events will be held over the next year, and these will receive special support from travel industry members. This will begin on 22-23 November with the Chiang Mai and the North Tourism Forum (CTF) 2011, which will promote the tourism products of this northern city. Thai Airways International is also offering special holiday packages for the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek International Horticultural Exposition, running from December to March. Furthermore, Chiang Mai will provide the backdrop destination for the Miss Belgium 2012 fashion shoot, and other film-shoots as well.
According to the Airports of Thailand, during January – October 2011, international passengers disembarking at Chiang Mai International Airport totalled 133,693, up 44.1% over the same period of 2010. However, the October – November figures are expected to be much lower.
The Eurozone crisis has also affected European visitors to Chiang Mai. The share of tourism revenue from Europe has fallen from 49% in the past to 30%, while Asia’s share has risen from 29% to 49%.