Thailand’s Chiang Mai airport deserted as rising Covid-19 cases trigger lockdowns and curfews


Footage shows an airport in northern Thailand deserted today (Aug 3) following travel bans and curfews in response to an increase in Covid-19 seasonal illness cases.

The Chiang Mai International Airport normally carries thousands of passengers a day between the capital Bangkok and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.

But ministers rolled out an interprovincial travel ban and curfew last month before widening the restrictions to include 28 provinces along with the capital Bangkok.

Shockingly, officials at the airport said it was the first time since 1923 – almost 100 years ago – that the airport has failed to record a single daily passenger.

Struggling domestic carriers including AirAsia and Nok Air have since cancelled flights and cut salaries amid uncertainty over future travel.

Economists have warned that it could be another five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels. 

Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen. 

Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thailand has recorded 652,185 Covid-19 cases and 5,315 deaths.