'What about us?' Budget businesses fear premium tourist focus

Asia's Tech News Daily
'What about us?' Budget businesses fear premium tourist focus

Domestic travellers have become the main target for operators in Chiang Mai while awaiting the return of international tourists.

CHIANG MAI: The old city in Chiang Mai is a warren of alleys with ancient Buddhist temples sitting cheek by jowl with guesthouses and luxury hotels, bars and restaurants, and other businesses catering to the millions of tourists who typically flock there.

Now, scores of these businesses are shut, and bars mostly silent amid a ban on alcohol sales to curb the spread of coronavirus in the Southeast Asian nation that has been largely closed to foreign tourists since March 2020.

Starting Nov 1, Thailand will waive quarantine for fully-vaccinated visitors from 10 low-risk countries and gradually more, in a bid to revive its battered economy – but with a focus on premium tourists who authorities say will be more beneficial.

“Instead of relying on 40 million tourists to generate 2 trillion baht in revenue, we will turn to focus on quality tourists who can spend more,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

“This will be good for the country’s environment and natural resources,” he said at a press conference, adding that the nation hoped to draw about 1 million of these visitors before April, without specifying how, or who is a quality tourist.

After a record 40 million foreign visitors in 2019 whose spending made up 11.4% of its gross domestic product, Thailand lost about $50 billion in tourism revenue last year – an 82% plunge – and expects only about 100,000 tourists this year.

But as the country prepares to open in time for the tourist high season from November to March, budget hotels and other businesses reliant on backpackers and those travelling cheap fear being left out with the new focus on premium tourists.

'What about us?' Budget businesses fear premium tourist focus

Rod Daeng or Red Taxi, a local transportation in Chiang Mai, temporary parks nearby Wat Si Don Chai in Chiang Mai. (Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai)

“Chiang Mai has always got all types of tourists, so to focus on just high-spending tourists is not right – what about us, the businesses who cater to others,” said Rachana, a manager at a mid-priced guesthouse in the old city who goes by one name.

“All businesses should have the same opportunities when we reopen,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Tourism rethink

The coronavirus pandemic grounded flights and shuttered businesses worldwide, and has pushed authorities from Amsterdam to Bali to pledge a more sustainable model that is less reliant on mass tourism that has damaged the environment and angered local residents priced out of homes.

In Bali, which reopened last week to visitors from about 20 countries with a five-day quarantine, authorities will be more selective, said Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, who is overseeing the reopening.

“We will filter tourists,” he told reporters. “We don’t want backpackers to come so that Bali remains clean, where the people who come are of quality.”

The island, famed for its sandy beaches and striking Hindu temples, received more than 6 million visitors in 2019 and relies on tourism for more than half its revenue.

But there has been a growing backlash against some visitors, including so-called digital nomads – people who mix travel with work and set up shop any place with an internet connection – who have been lured by countries to make up for a fall in tourism.

Earlier this year, an American was deported from Bali after posting tweets that sparked a backlash over her perceived Western privilege and lack of cultural awareness of Indonesia.

Now, visa requirements including a guarantor and a hefty health insurance, may discourage budget travellers and “finish off” small businesses on the island, said Nyoman Sukma Arida, a lecturer in tourism at Universitas Udayana in Bali.

“We must first clarify the meaning of premium tourism and quality tourism: our government’s understanding of quality tourism is simply someone paying a high price,” he said.

“But quality tourists are those who care about environmental preservation, respect local cultures and local communities. This is the requirement now – not just money,” he added.

Trickle down effect

Nearly every country introduced border restrictions to fight the coronavirus’s spread, and wide disparities in vaccine rollouts have led to different reopening strategies.

In Thailand, which opened the island of Phuket to tourists from July 1 with some quarantine restrictions, there has been criticism of the government’s vaccine programme that initially prioritised tourism-reliant provinces.

Now, the government plans to promote Phuket to “high-quality” tourists as it reopens the country on Nov 1, even as a majority of Thais oppose the opening, saying it is too risky with only about a third of the population fully vaccinated.

The hiatus forced by the coronavirus was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to rethink tourism, but the approach of Thailand and Indonesia to reopening “does not suggest they’re planning on walking their talk,” said Stuart McDonald, founder of Southeast Asia travel website Couchfish.

In prioritising so-called premium tourists, authorities are falsely conflating quality with higher spending and limited environmental impact, he said.

“Of course it makes sense that a country should focus on quality tourists, but that need not mean big spending tourists. High-end tourism has by far the highest environmental impact, and is the most prone to economic leakages,” said Mr McDonald.

“While budget travellers often best manifest the trickle-down effect, putting money directly into the hands of locally owned and run small and medium enterprises. They also tend to travel far more widely, and stay far longer in the country.”

In Chiang Mai, the absence of tourists is most visible at night, with only a few shopfronts lit, and with none of the bustle that usually fills the city even in the off-season.

“We don’t know what to expect – whether regular tourists will still come,” said Ms Rachana at her guesthouse that is advertising reduced rates but was nearly empty.

“It is good if tourists spend a lot of money. But we would like all types of tourists to come, as we have already suffered a lot.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

ACM investigates cartel in food processing sector

Photo: ANP The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) is investigating a possible cartel in the food processing sector. The regulator has recently raided several companies in the Netherlands ... Read more »

Parts shortage dents Maruti Suzuki sales to 139,184 units in November

Representative Image Shortage in electronic components weighed on India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki with sales going down to 1,39,184 units in November as against 1,53,223 units it had reported a ... Read more »

LazyPay launches BNPL EMI facility, integrates with PayU payments gateway

LazyPay, a major player in the Indian Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) space, recently launched LazyPay EMI, which will empower merchants to offer instant and cardless Equated Monthly Instalments (EMI) options ... Read more »

Rick Bayless, Smashburger collaborate to launch Chorizo Cheeseburger

Photo by: Smashburger Press Release Smashburger and Rick Bayless have teamed up to create a new delectable burger sandwich. The American chef and restaurateur and the fast-casual hamburger restaurant chain ... Read more »

Petrol, diesel cannot be brought under GST in pandemic times: Govt official

A government official on December 1 told CNBC-TV18 that petrol and diesel can’t be brought under the goods and services tax (GST) regime amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision ... Read more »

HDFC and Bajaj Finance increase rates on fixed deposits: Should you invest?

Couple of non-bank lenders have taken cues from global and local inflationary trends and hiked the interest rates on their fixed deposits (FDs). These interest rate increases are effective from ... Read more »

Help vaccinate poor countries or face more new variant shocks, rich economies told

The OECD's Laurence Boone said Omicron would mean a downgrade for its growth outlook but that it was too early to say quite how much damage it would cause. Read more »

McDonald's Ireland recalls popular product over food safety issue

Photo by: akiragiulia/Pixabay McDonald’s Ireland recently issued an urgent recall on one of its well-known food products. The fast-food giant warned its customers that there is an undeclared ingredient that ... Read more »

Volkswagen expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34 billion

Image Source: Reuters Volkswagen’s planned European battery cell plants and securing vital raw materials will cost as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion), board member Thomas Schmall said, putting ... Read more »

IT spending in India will reach $100 billion by 2022: Gartner

The IT spending in India will reach $101.8 billion by 2022, up 7 percent from the 2021, driven by the digital transformation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according ... Read more »

DSI hands report on kinnaree street lights graft to NACC

Solar powered and kinnaree-topped street lamps line Khlong Bua Koh Lang canal on Soi King Kaew 37 of tambon Racha Thewa in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan. (Photo: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan) ... Read more »

Walmart: Brett Biggs to step down as chief financial officer of the company

Photo by: Marques Thomas @querysprout.com/Unsplash Walmart will be letting go of one of its executives that have been with the company for more than two decades now. It was reported ... Read more »

China's depressed land market offers buying opportunity for Hong Kong developer HKR International

The debt crisis affecting Chinese developers, which has reduced the bidding frenzy at land auctions in the mainland, has given a Hong Kong property firm an opportunity to acquire a ... Read more »

Hainan Airlines plans to raise US$7.9 billion via a stock sale to slash debt

Hainan Airlines Holding plans to sell new shares to raise around US$7.9 billion , the majority of which will be used to reduce financial obligations as the struggling carrier inches ... Read more »

Q2 GDP expands on pent-up demand; Omicron, services sector key to growth in coming quarters

Representative Image: Shutterstock India’s gross domestic product (GDP) at constant prices grew at 8.4 percent in July-September this year, just about covering up the loss in output due to COVID-19 ... Read more »

Removed 48,594 content pieces in October in India: Google compliance report

Source: AP Google received 24,569 complaints from users and removed 48,594 pieces of content based on those complaints in October, the tech giant said in its monthly transparency report. In ... Read more »

Elon Musk embarrasses whistleblowers with Tesla whistle

It looks like he’s trying to throw a sneer at former co-worker Owen Diaz with the whistle. That whistleblower, in English whistleblower, complained several times about a racist work environment ... Read more »

Buy Divis Laboratories; target of Rs 5711: Hem Securities

Hem Securities report on Divis Laboratories Total Revenue stood at Rs 1987.51 Cr for Q2FY22, registering a growth of 13.6% YoY. Profit for the period increased 16.7% YoY to Rs. ... Read more »

Nissan wholesales surge 60% to 5,605 units in November

Source: Reuters Automaker Nissan India on Wednesday said its total wholesales jumped around 60 per cent to 5,605 units in November compared to 3,502 units in the same month of ... Read more »

Full-time employed residents work fewer hours a week compared to a decade ago: MOM

SINGAPORE – Full-time employed residents put in fewer hours of work per week this year compared to a decade ago, according to an annual report by the Ministry of Manpower ... Read more »

Tel Aviv most expensive city to live in, Amsterdam drops on list

Tel Aviv is the most expensive city to live in, according to an annual survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit. The main reason, according to the researchers, is that the ... Read more »

Buy Manappuram Finance target of Rs 209: Geojit

Geojit’s research report on Manappuram Finance Manappuram Finance (MGFL) is one of the leading gold loan NBFCs in India and is well diversified into other business segments like housing loan, ... Read more »

Oil depot supervisor charged with starting B40m fire

Firefighters spray water on the smouldering debris after the blaze at the Prapakorn Oil Co lubricant depot in Sam Phran district of Nakhon Pathom on Monday. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabaya) An ... Read more »

Reforming global trade rules is tough but doable: WTO chief

The head of the World Trade Organization stressed the importance of reforming the global trade body to prevent further trade wars but warned it would be “very tough” amid high ... Read more »

Global airlines prepare for Omicron volatility, agility will be key

Global airlines are bracing for more volatility due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 that could force them to juggle schedules and destinations at short notice and to rely more ... Read more »

Buy Birlasoft: target of Rs 580: Sharekhan

Sharekhan’s research report on Birlasoft Birlasoft has transformed its business significantly from enterprise business to enterprise digital solutions in the last few years and is well-placed to capitalise opportunities by ... Read more »

Musk ridicules whistleblowers with Tesla whistle sales

Photo: ANP Tesla has launched a special whistle, the ‘cyberwhistle’. “Blow the whistle on Tesla!” CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter. It looks like he’s trying to throw a sneer ... Read more »

This city is world's costliest to live in. And the cheapest is...

Tel Aviv is the world’s most expensive city to live, according to a ranking compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Tel Aviv is the world’s most expensive city to ... Read more »

Mahindra & Mahindra reports 15% dip in November tractor sales at 27,681 units

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd on Wednesday reported a 15 per cent decline in total tractor sales at 27,681 units in November 2021. The company had sold 32,726 units in the ... Read more »

World's AIDS Day 2021 | Four decades of research but still no vaccine

With hopes of eradicating AIDS badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, we look at the fight against the deadly condition since its emergence 40 years ago, as the planet marks ... Read more »

Impact of Omicron on emerging economies to depend on restrictions, policy support: Moody's

Representative image The economic impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on emerging economies will depend on a mix of government restrictions, public comfort with social interactions, and capacity of ... Read more »

China's video game freeze enters fifth month, as NetEase faces challenges over Harry Potter game

China’s suspension of new video game licences has stretched into the final month of the year, clouding prospects for gaming giants Tencent Holdings and NetEase. NetEase shares fell as much ... Read more »

Kaisa loses control of Nam Tai's board in epic revolt led by activist shareholder IsZo, adding to the indebted developer's woes

Kaisa Group Holdings has lost control of a New York-listed property affiliate after a shareholders’ revolt, in a boardroom defeat that adds to the developer’s woes amid its asset sales ... Read more »

Royal Enfield ties up with Belstaff for exclusive range of apparel

Royal Enfield (Representative image) Mid-sized motorcycle maker Royal Enfield on Wednesday said it has joined hands with British brand Belstaff to market an exclusive range of apparel. Launched in 1924, ... Read more »

Health insurance premium rises faster than costs: ‘Possible to double in the next twenty years'

The faster increase in premiums means that citizens bear a larger share of the total health care costs. One reason for that sharper increase is the freezing of the deductible ... Read more »

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to receive $1million annual salary

Parag Agrawal was appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Twitter on Monday. Parag Agrawal, who has recently been named as the CEO of microblogging platform Twitter, will receive ... Read more »

VE Commercial Vehicles sales rise 10% to 4,085 units in November

Eicher Motors Ltd on Wednesday said its joint venture with Volvo VECV posted a 10.1 per cent increase in total sales at 4,085 units in November 2021. VE Commercial Vehicles ... Read more »

We won't be where we are today without the IT boom: Girish Mathrubootham

Girish Mathrubootham-led Freshworks might have been the first Indian startup to list in US stock exchange, NASDAQ, creating the ‘Aha’ moment in India startup. According to him, this would not ... Read more »

Intertrust drops on recovering Damrak

Intertrust was significantly lower on the Amsterdam stock exchange on Wednesday. The decline followed the announcement by investor CVC that talks about a takeover of the financial services provider have ... Read more »

Modern Millionaires Review - Scam or worth your money?

The Modern Millionaires program has been created to help people become successful online entrepreneurs. It's a proven system that teaches people how to create wealth on autopilot. In this review, ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic