Tourists fly north to Chiang Mai

BANGKOK, 8 March 2017: Thailand’s legacy Chiang Mai tourism market has undergone a millennial transformation that is now tapping into a new base of travellers seeking authentic Thai experiences.

That was just one of the conclusion of the latest C9 Hotelworks research on Thailand’s northern capital.

Last year over 4.6 million arrivals at the city’s international gateway thrust the destination into a new light, as the passenger volume trailed just Phuket in terms of provincial airport arrivals in the country.

An expert overview of the past 10 years of tourism in Chiang Mai.

According to C9 Hotelworks’ latest market research Chiang Mai Hotel Market Overview, much of the growth has been fuelled by rising low-cost carriers, with 5,346 flights from Greater China last year.

Over the past 10-years passenger arrivals have shot up three-fold with 2013 being the turning point fuelled by the epic success of the Chinese film’ Lost in Thailand’. Noting the explosive impact of cinematic wanderlust on tourism, C9’s managing director Bill Barnett said: “Be it ‘Eat Pray Love’ or ‘Notting Hill’, the impact of films on destination marketing is remarkable. While Thailand’s travel market outside of Bangkok shifted to the beach in the early millennium, a rising tide of Asian travellers and westerners increasingly want into the culture club instead of the atypical surf and turf.”

As Thailand’s government has pivoted its tourism ambition from quantity to quality, Chiang Mai fits into the equation with a range of impressive new boutique hotels.

From two to almost five million provinical airport passenger arrivals in four years.

C9 Hotelworks describes the art scene as rampant noting the most eagerly awaited entries to the creative scene was the debut of the MAIIAM Museum of Creative Art in mid-2016. This 3,000 square metre facility has attracted global attention.

“We are certainly seeing increasing demand for personalised itineraries for Chiang Mai – for both the city itself and also a connecting city to explore the far north of Thailand,” said ASIA DMC Thailand managing director Andre van der Marck. “Strong domestic airlift is helping access, while the increase of creative, boutique accommodation is an ideal match with the experiential millennial travellers we see more and more.”

Looking into the prospects for 2017, while the government instituted a crackdown on zero-baht tours from Mainland China in the mid part of last year, the impact is normalising given strong demand from Thai domestic travellers who are being drawn to a different Chiang Mai experience.

Digital media is super charging the pace of change as millennials abandon guidebooks and replace them with smartphones and a new mode of travel driven by authentic local experiences and a lifestyle of sharing thanks to Facebook and Instagram.

Download the full report here:

(Source: C9 Hotelworks)