Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chiang Mai experiencing room glut

Room occupancy in Chiang Mai has averaged less than 50 percent the past three years due to over supply, according to Chiang Mai Tourism Association.

Association Vice President Vorapong Muchaotai said while tourist arrivals rose an average seven percent annually during 2005-07, hotel rooms saw double-digit increase during the same period.

According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, the total number of hotel rooms in Chiang Mai in 2005 stood at 16,673, rising 12 percent to 18,820 in 2006, and 10.6 percent to 20,816 in 2007.

He said the number of hotel rooms available in Chiang Mai could cater to 60,000 visitors a day or 18 million a year, but the sad fact is that only 4.1 million people visited the province annually.

As a result room occupancy during 2005-2007 was less than half the total capacity that is available. The occupancy was 46.9% in 2005, 47.9% in 2006 and 48% in 2007.

The association has urged the government to help promote Chiang Mai, especially during the low season, as a meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) destination.

It has also sought a budget of five million baht from the government to study tourist behaviour in order to find the right products and services to improve Chiang Mai's appeal to tourists.

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