The impact from Tropical depression Noru was seen with increasing water levels at two big dams in Chiang Mai. Panumet Tanraksa
Hoteliers in Chiang Mai are staying alert to the flooding situation as some of them relocate their guests, while bookings this month might be slower due to the severe weather, says the Thai Hotels Association (THA).
“The situation is still under control. Just some of the hotels along the riverbank relocated their guests to unaffected areas. As long as transportation hasn’t been disrupted, there’s not much to worry about,” said Phunut Thanalaopanich, president of the THA’s northern chapter.
Since Sunday night, the Ping River has exceeded its limit and caused flooding along the basin in Muang district.
Yesterday afternoon the water started to overflow into the main tourism areas, such as Chang Klan and the Chiang Mai night bazaar.
However, Mr Phunut said that if severe weather continues in many regions, it might reduce the number of domestic tourists as they would want to avoid inconvenient trips.
“With ongoing floods, it will definitely affect booking decisions. Falling demand will continue until mid-October,” he said.
Mr Phunut said the average Chiang Mai occupancy rate this month might be 30%, before jumping to more than 70% in the upcoming high season.
Meanwhile, the average room rate has remained low at only 800-1,200 baht for three-star hotels, which are the most popular choices for tourists in the province.
At present, tourists in Chiang Mai are mostly Thais and Europeans, said Mr Phunut.
As there are limited direct international flights to Chiang Mai, most foreign tourists have to connect via domestic flights from Bangkok.
More direct flights from South Korea are expected by the end of this month.
However, Mr Phunut said the province still misses its main market of Chinese tourists due to border closures.
“Most tourists in Chiang Mai remain local travellers, who contribute around 20% of the average occupancy of 30%, while the remaining 10% are foreign guests,” said Mr Phunut.
La-iad Bungsrithong, general manager of the Ratilanna Riverside Spa Resort, which is situated on the Ping River, said although guests had expressed concern about flooding in the province, there had been no requests for an early checkout.
Mrs La-iad, a former THA northern chapter president, said that all hotels would closely monitor the situation, particularly regarding rising water levels.