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‘World’s friendliest city’ Chiang Mai suffering with Covid-19 crippling tourism industry, but some are finding new ways to cope


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‘World’s friendliest city’ Chiang Mai suffering with Covid-19 crippling tourism industry, but some are finding new ways to cope

 

‘It’s a disaster,’ says one restaurant owner, a view reflected across the city as the lack of international visitors takes its toll

 

One massage school has turned to teaching on Zoom, while a hotel has launched a new food home-delivery brand, but other businesses have few options

 

Ron Emmons

 

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A very empty Anantara Chiang Mai Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in January. Photo: Ron Emmons

 

By one measure, Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern capital, has not suffered badly from the Covid-19 pandemic, with only a handful of cases and a single death in the province. Yet on the economic level, the lack of international visitors has crippled tourist-related businesses such as restaurants, hotels, bars, elephant camps and massage teachers.

 

“It’s a disaster,” says Ratana Jaikusol, owner of Ratana’s Kitchen, on Tha Pae Road, Chiang Mai’s main street. “[At this time of year] these tables are usually full, but look at them now.” She sweeps her hand around her empty restaurant. “No tourists, no money,” she sighs.

 

“These days we take less than 5 per cent of our usual earnings, and I’ve had to let most of our staff go. Now they work for Grab or Food Panda, and they deliver food from a motorbike, not at a table.”

 

Full story: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-leisure/article/3121542/worlds-friendliest-city-chiang-mai-suffering-covid-19

 

 

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Every hotelier and restauranteur in Chiang Mai should use this downtime to benefit the long-term health of their business. They should drive around the countryside shooting at anyone they see setting fire to anything.

 

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As a resident of CM and someone with a partner who owns a tourism related business, one can only condemn the lack of government assistance & initiatives.  Tens of thousands of people are now destitute and many thousands of small businesses, which are the ones providing the most employment, are shuttered permanently. To visit any part of this city is to visit a graveyard. When tourists do begin to trickle back, maybe in a year or so, they will find that this city no longer reflects the Land is Smiles but is instead a faint toothless smile of deep sadness.

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2 hours ago, brommers said:

As a resident of CM and someone with a partner who owns a tourism related business, one can only condemn the lack of government assistance & initiatives.  Tens of thousands of people are now destitute and many thousands of small businesses, which are the ones providing the most employment, are shuttered permanently. To visit any part of this city is to visit a graveyard. When tourists do begin to trickle back, maybe in a year or so, they will find that this city no longer reflects the Land is Smiles but is instead a faint toothless smile of deep sadness.

It's a big problem ,But that's what they get from putting All their Eggs in the Tourism basket . 

It's Too late now they just have to suffer same as anyone else. It's Not the governments fault . The people choose the Tourist as their Business. why cry to the government for a handout  the whole country is suffering.

If everyone paid Taxes  on their Income the Government would be able to Assist in some of the Cries for money .

From what we see around hier there are Very few people paying tax, that to me looks like that the country is going down hill if this doesn't change soon. But Hey this is Thailand , not to worry they Think that they know what they are doing.

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"cater to the locals"..chai...Small shop with a couple of tables outside.in the boonies 40 K outside CM..and apart from me with my beer Chang and Ice..every night...99 per cent customers are locals.. They still buy Beer.. ..whisky..crisps...soap..toothbrushes.cooking oils.....and others..so while our prices are "competative"...Good nights takings...not profit..can be 7..9.K   normal 3...5 but so what.. Works out over a year [email protected] 6 x 50....300.000  bt...better than..."nuff-Ing"...ya..what....Retired..

 

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14 hours ago, digger70 said:

It's a big problem ,But that's what they get from putting All their Eggs in the Tourism basket . 

It's Too late now they just have to suffer same as anyone else. It's Not the governments fault . The people choose the Tourist as their Business. why cry to the government for a handout  the whole country is suffering.

If everyone paid Taxes  on their Income the Government would be able to Assist in some of the Cries for money .

From what we see around hier there are Very few people paying tax, that to me looks like that the country is going down hill if this doesn't change soon. But Hey this is Thailand , not to worry they Think that they know what they are doing.

Not the government? Did these business asked the country to be closed, who did that? Can all these people send an invoice to the Chinese government? Yes, one basket is not safe but many are happy they can afford at least one business. Guess you have a tourist business, invested in property and after a lot of money spent on schools your kids have a very good job with an airline/ hotel whatever.  My question is, what is not affected by decisions made by the government because of covid?  I bet you are on a pension and are just waiting until the exchange rate gets better?

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15 hours ago, digger70 said:

It's a big problem ,But that's what they get from putting All their Eggs in the Tourism basket . 

It's Too late now they just have to suffer same as anyone else. It's Not the governments fault . The people choose the Tourist as their Business. why cry to the government for a handout  the whole country is suffering.

If everyone paid Taxes  on their Income the Government would be able to Assist in some of the Cries for money .

From what we see around hier there are Very few people paying tax, that to me looks like that the country is going down hill if this doesn't change soon. But Hey this is Thailand , not to worry they Think that they know what they are doing.

 

"If everyone paid Taxes  on their Income the Government would be able to Assist in some of the Cries for money ."

Really, this being a soldiers "government", it would just mean more money for submarines, helicopters, weapons, not to mention

moon rockets, and of course more money in their pockets.

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4 minutes ago, possum1931 said:

 

"If everyone paid Taxes  on their Income the Government would be able to Assist in some of the Cries for money ."

Really, this being a soldiers "government", it would just mean more money for submarines, helicopters, weapons, not to mention

moon rockets, and of course more money in their pockets.

555...forgotten about the moonshot...555

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18 hours ago, brommers said:

As a resident of CM and someone with a partner who owns a tourism related business, one can only condemn the lack of government assistance & initiatives.  Tens of thousands of people are now destitute and many thousands of small businesses, which are the ones providing the most employment, are shuttered permanently. To visit any part of this city is to visit a graveyard. When tourists do begin to trickle back, maybe in a year or so, they will find that this city no longer reflects the Land is Smiles but is instead a faint toothless smile of deep sadness.

I hate what happens around the world in regard to covid. I think the panic is well beyond what it should be and the reactions of governments around the world are mostly inappropriate and probably driven by wrong reasons. 

But that's how it is and nothing much that the people can do about it. 

As for when things start getting back to normal and tourism start again, it will probably start slow and small, and in Thailand it will be like many years ago, with just enough services for the number of tourists. As numbers go up, more and more business (old and new) will open up to cater for tourists. 

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2 hours ago, SomchaiCNX said:

Not the government? Did these business asked the country to be closed, who did that?

Would you rather have had the country Open and most of the people got  the Virus . 

 Many more people would've Died ,But that wouldn't worry you is it. 

It's better the country Closed and  Everyone suffer a bit Than the country Open and Thousands more Dying.

Just don't look at the Easy  Greedy side. You know the saying  "Life wasn't meant to be Easy" 

Now your gonna say , It doesn't have to be Sooo Hard. Right?

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4 hours ago, digger70 said:

Would you rather have had the country Open and most of the people got  the Virus . 

 Many more people would've Died ,But that wouldn't worry you is it. 

It's better the country Closed and  Everyone suffer a bit Than the country Open and Thousands more Dying.

Just don't look at the Easy  Greedy side. You know the saying  "Life wasn't meant to be Easy" 

Now your gonna say , It doesn't have to be Sooo Hard. Right?

The roads are still open aren't they? Covid exist so does the flu and many other things however it is used as an excuse by many power hungry politicians to get the people under their thumb. We had problems before but no reason the chut down the whole world economy. If they continue to do like this at the end we will have more deaths because of this than covid related ones. Easy greedy side? Some people worked hard and for many years. If they would have been greedy they could retire now instead. Those in power make the rules but still have their big paycheck every month regardless but the people suffer. Not everybody has the money like the CP group to diverse their investments. You may have forgotten sooner or later we all die and you don't <deleted> how many people lost the last couple years. And FYI I still go on for a couple years without suffering but unfortunately many don't. 

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58 minutes ago, SomchaiCNX said:

The roads are still open aren't they? Covid exist so does the flu and many other things however it is used as an excuse by many power hungry politicians to get the people under their thumb. We had problems before but no reason the chut down the whole world economy. If they continue to do like this at the end we will have more deaths because of this than covid related ones. Easy greedy side? Some people worked hard and for many years. If they would have been greedy they could retire now instead. Those in power make the rules but still have their big paycheck every month regardless but the people suffer. Not everybody has the money like the CP group to diverse their investments. You may have forgotten sooner or later we all die and you don't <deleted> how many people lost the last couple years. And FYI I still go on for a couple years without suffering but unfortunately many don't. 

So what if the roads are still open If  , If they can stop the virus from coming in it's fine .

don't forget that there are people sneaking into the country without being Checked ,Not everyone us coming by Road or Plane some find Other ways to sneak in . That's is a Major Concern.

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Just now, digger70 said:

So what if the roads are still open If  , If they can stop the virus from coming in it's fine .

don't forget that there are people sneaking into the country without being Checked ,Not everyone us coming by Road or Plane some find Other ways to sneak in . That's is a Major Concern.

Sorry, I made myself not clear enough, there are more deaths related to road accidents than people who die of covid in this country. Hence according to your view and way of thinking they should have closed all roads already a long time ago. But yet you managed to avoid being killed, how come, nobody had to tell you? At the moment we have a far more and bigger problem in CNX (and the greater north) that is completely ignored by those in power at all level, "air pollution".  I had my fair share of medical problems the last year and all my doctors share the same view about it but even their voice and opinion is ignored by the people in power.  The only covid winners at the moment in this unfair battle are China and the pharmaceutical industry.  The economy of China was the only one in the world that ended with a positive growth. I bet all Pharmaceutical related business are doing fine as well . So, it does not matter at the end if we close or not close a country Covid will still be around for a couple more years (decades) and people will adapt. 

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18 hours ago, Rinrada said:

"cater to the locals"..chai...Small shop with a couple of tables outside.in the boonies 40 K outside CM..and apart from me with my beer Chang and Ice..every night...99 per cent customers are locals.. They still buy Beer.. ..whisky..crisps...soap..toothbrushes.cooking oils.....and others..so while our prices are "competative"...Good nights takings...not profit..can be 7..9.K   normal 3...5 but so what.. Works out over a year [email protected] 6 x 50....300.000  bt...better than..."nuff-Ing"...ya..what....Retired..

 

Good example but how can they survive if the government decide to close all restaurants again like they did before? 

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2 minutes ago, SomchaiCNX said:

At the moment we have a far more and bigger problem in CNX (and the greater north) that is completely ignored by those in power at all level, "air pollution".  I had my fair share of medical problems the last year and all my doctors share the same view about it but even their voice and opinion is ignored by the people in power

Well well well, why are you still living in that place , For me the South hasn't got those problems . 

Where we are ,No Flooding in our Village ,No Dirty Air , Anything else  no need to worry about to much.

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19 hours ago, Rinrada said:

"cater to the locals"..chai...Small shop with a couple of tables outside.in the boonies 40 K outside CM..and apart from me with my beer Chang and Ice..every night...99 per cent customers are locals.. They still buy Beer.. ..whisky..crisps...soap..toothbrushes.cooking oils.....and others..so while our prices are "competative"...Good nights takings...not profit..can be 7..9.K   normal 3...5 but so what.. Works out over a year [email protected] 6 x 50....300.000  bt...better than..."nuff-Ing"...ya..what....Retired..

 

I live out of town and business goes along as usual - - tourist areas are dead and it is sad... other places catering to locals are doing normal business..

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26 minutes ago, digger70 said:

Well well well, why are you still living in that place , For me the South hasn't got those problems . 

Where we are ,No Flooding in our Village ,No Dirty Air , Anything else  no need to worry about to much.

Well well some people don't move that easy when they have worked 30 years to build up something, created a family, a business a home etc etc. Moving would be the easy way out 🙂  Good for you that you found a nice place that you like. 

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Rule #1 always cater to the LOCALS first......tourists come and go....(in the real world)

 

Create a unique product that people are willing to wait for-visit-and pay for...

 

Good food-good service--good prices--the trifecta

 

Rules dont seem to apply when using Thai Logic....hence the empty hotels raising prices..

 

Lastly WHO said CM is the Worlds Friendliest City!!!?..I can name many others Ive been to in LOS....(pfffht)

giphy.gif

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23 hours ago, ChakaKhan said:

Rule #1 always cater to the LOCALS first......tourists come and go....(in the real world)

 

Create a unique product that people are willing to wait for-visit-and pay for...

 

Good food-good service--good prices--the trifecta

 

Rules dont seem to apply when using Thai Logic....hence the empty hotels raising prices..

 

Lastly WHO said CM is the Worlds Friendliest City!!!?..I can name many others Ive been to in LOS....(pfffht)

giphy.gif

Thai cooking classes for locals, Zip lines for locals, Skydiving for locals, scuba diving for locals, cycling tours for locals and more activities few locals would do. But yes if you have a restaurant that's what you should try to do.

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On 2/17/2021 at 9:42 AM, ChakaKhan said:

Rule #1 always cater to the LOCALS first......tourists come and go....(in the real world)

Create a unique product that people are willing to wait for-visit-and pay for...

1. If you've rented a premises for 80k/month in a tourist street, selling food to locals wanting to pay 30-40bht/plate ain't gonna work.

2. As a 3* tourist I don't want to eat in a place that caters to 3rd world people, or sit next to them either, or poop myself to death after the experience.

3. I avoid bars full of Thai guys (unless they're dressed as women), they get drunk and they pull out guns.

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On 2/15/2021 at 4:53 AM, brommers said:

As a resident of CM and someone with a partner who owns a tourism related business, one can only condemn the lack of government assistance & initiatives.  Tens of thousands of people are now destitute and many thousands of small businesses, which are the ones providing the most employment, are shuttered permanently. To visit any part of this city is to visit a graveyard. When tourists do begin to trickle back, maybe in a year or so, they will find that this city no longer reflects the Land is Smiles but is instead a faint toothless smile of deep sadness.

 

You may find this insensitive, but the easiest sector for recovery will be tourism and hospitality. Covid has not damaged infrastructure: Hotel buildings remain, restaurants may be closed, but their tables, and appliances have not gone anywhere. Many of the employed are unskilled labour and were in short supply until Covid 19 arrived. Yes, some businesses may have closed, but when the world opens for travel again, those businesses will quickly reopen. Yes, many small shops closed, but was there really a good reason to have multiple 7-11s and  Family marts within 1 km.sq.?

 

Tourism needs tourists. It is not Thailand\s fault that the worldwide tourism market has collapsed. Covid 19 is spread by aerosol transmission. It is not Thailand's fault that prudent people realize that the best way to minimize spread is to minimize social contacts.

 

When markets adjusted in 1980's and 1990's there were tales of doom and gloom, but Thailand quickly recovered. I remember  Phuket after tsunami and the farangs who insisted  Phuket was finished, and yet it came back bigger than before.  Covid19 is manageable and will be under control within the next year. Meanwhile the  air pollution,  deficient urban planning and lack of adequate infrastructure in Chiang Mai will have a more negative impact on the hospitality trade.

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

1. If you've rented a premises for 80k/month in a tourist street, selling food to locals wanting to pay 30-40bht/plate ain't gonna work.

2. As a 3* tourist I don't want to eat in a place that caters to 3rd world people, or sit next to them either, or poop myself to death after the experience.

3. I avoid bars full of Thai guys (unless they're dressed as women), they get drunk and they pull out guns.

One reaps what they sow...the golden goose will only lay so many eggs......rent close to both locals and tourists and choose your shops wisely-  I eat with local and street food daily...

 

Same as by CMU business is great when school is in session maybe not so much on break....location location location...

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