CHIANG MAI — Cooler weather and the high season are bringing welcome visitors to the north.
Chiang Mai hotels are already 70 percent to 80 percent booked for the next four months, and Noppadol Jaripak of the provincial tourism industry council said the majority of those booking the 50,000 hotel and resort rooms are tourists from Europe and North America.
The majority from Europe are tourists from Spain, England, Italy and France. Asian tourists saw a drop, especially among mainland Chinese. Visitors from ASEAN member states including Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam are still heading to Chiang Mai during the cool and dry season.
As for Chinese guests, Noppadol said the majority are young, working-age backpackers now mostly coming in small groups of two or three people rather than tours. They stay an average three to four days, down from five to seven days.
As for Thai tourists, he said the early arrival of the cool season has been a boon so far.
“The weather has turned cold early this year. On top of mountains such as Doi Intanon, temperatures have fallen 1- to 5-degrees Celcius,” he said, adding that Thai tourists make up 70 percent of those opting for homestays or pitching tents in the various national parks during the four-month period.