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Muted Songkran predicted

BANGKOK: Local tourism spending during the Songkran festival this year is forecast to remain lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic, generating around B11 billion as people are allowed to travel but water splashing is banned.

tourism
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 7 April 2022, 09:35AM


People splash water during the Songkran festivities on Khao San Road in April 2018. Photo: Apichart Jinakul / Bangkok Post

People splash water during the Songkran festivities on Khao San Road in April 2018. Photo: Apichart Jinakul / Bangkok Post

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said B11bn was expected from 3.34 million trips nationwide with an average occupancy of around 41% during April 13-17, reports the Bangkok Post.

Overall tourism spending this year is expected to improve from last year, but is still far below normal years as the country is still battling a high number of COVID-19 cases, prompting the government to extend a stringent social distancing measure, particularly a prohibition on water splashing in all areas.

Most Thais are returning to their hometowns, while some travellers are more likely to choose nearby destinations within driving distance as they want to minimise expenses during the festival, said the TAT.

Of overall travellers, 34% said they will opt for a destination close to their home, while 32% plan to take inter-provincial trips, said the agency.

The Northeast, which usually sees a high number of returnees for Songkran each year, is poised to have 754,380 visitors generating B1.3bn, followed by the central region, which should see 735,166 trips generating B1.4bn baht, said the TAT.

The East, which is famous for seaside destinations close to Bangkok, is expected to draw 560,980 visitors and generate B2.3bn.

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Meanwhile, the southern provinces are estimated to have 445,399 domestic trips, but expenditure during the long holiday is the highest at around B2.78bn.

Mr Yuthasak said even though water splashing and entertainment festivities are not allowed, the TAT is hosting traditional events in three destinations ‒ Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Songkhla ‒ that could generate B2.1bn in tourism revenue from 568,580 participants.

However, Bangkok and Songkhla are projected to have low occupancy rates at 27% and 11%, respectively, as most travellers take one-day trips to reduce costs.

By province, Bangkok remains the most popular destination, mostly based on one-day trips, followed by Chon Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Phang Nga, Ayutthaya, Udon Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Nakhon Nayok.

The festival last year generated around B6bn from 1.6mn domestic tourists.

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