Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Water Rabbit officially began on January 22, 2023. The Rabbit is the symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. According to predictions, 2023 will be a year of hope.
Chiang Mai has a huge Chinese population and Chinese heritage. Before COVID-19 travel restrictions, Chiang Mai was one of the top tourist destinations for Chinese tourists. In 2019, 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Chiang Mai, generating 15 billion baht ($450 million) in tourism-related income.
Because of the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chiang Mai city experienced an economic downturn. The tourism-reliant local economy lost revenue of around 100 billion baht (~US$3.1 billion) in 2020. According to estimates, more than 100,000 people became unemployed and left without a safety net.
Now that the borders are open, the tourism industry is recovering. However, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) estimates that Chiang Mai will only see around 600,000 visitors from China this year, or about one-third of the total number recorded in 2019.
To attract more foreign visitors, Chiang Mai City and TAT have planned a year-long calendar of festivals, starting with the Chinese New Year, followed by the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in February, Songkran in April, and Loy Krathong in November.