Chiang Mai’s Epic Cinematic Tourism Explosion
According to C9 Hotelworks latest market research Chiang Mai Hotel Market 2017, tourism growth has been fueled by rising low-cost carriers, with 5,346 flights from Greater China last year. Over the past 10 years passenger arrivals have shot up by threefold with 2013 being the turning point fueled by the epic success of the Chinese film ’Lost in Thailand’.
Thailand’s legacy Chiang Mai tourism market has undergone a Millennial transformation that is now tapping into a new base of travelers seeking authentic Thai experiences. Last year over 4.6 million arrivals at the city’s international gateway thrust the destination into a new light, as the passenger volume only trailed Phuket in terms of provincial airports in the country.
Noting the explosive impact of cinematic wanderlust on tourism, be it ‘Eat Pray Love’ or ‘Notting Hill’, the impact on film in destination marketing is remarkable. While Thailand’s travel market outside of Bangkok had shifted to the beach in the early millennium, a rising tide of Asian travelers and westerners who increasingly want into the culture club instead of the atypical surf and turf are changing the markets.
As Thailand’s government has pivoted its tourism ambition from quantity to quality, Chiang Mai has fitted nicely into the equation with a range of impressive new boutique hotels, a rampant art scene and budding culinary offerings. The shift is resonating with Thai and foreign travelers alike. One of 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 meter facility has attracted global attention.
Looking into the prospects for 2017, while the government instituted a crack in zero-baht tours from Mainland China in the mid part of last year, the impact is normalizing given strong demand from the Thai domestic segment who are being drawn to a different Chiang Mai experience. Add in changing faces in the foreign mix, as younger Millennials have now abandoned guidebooks and are armed with smartphones, drawn to authentic local experiences which are changing in the blink of an eye thanks to Facebook and Instagram.
To read and download the full report CLICK.