The international New Year often catches me by surprise. There are just too many things to do at year-end and not enough time to think about the New Year, let alone making a proper New Year's resolution. The Thai New Year, however, is a totally different story. With a long weekend and few social activities, I can usually plan better for myself and others.
This Songkran, my family and I managed to go together to Cha-am. Although the long weekend was relaxing, the town was also quite crowded and certainly looked much busier now than I remember. This part of Thailand _ Cha-am, Hua Hin and Pran Buri _ has become very popular with foreigners, especially retirees. I saw so many new condominiums being built.
The tourism industry is booming in Thailand. Since the start of the year, even despite the strong baht and disappointing global economic outlook, tourism has continued to do well. Foreign tourist arrivals reached 6.8 million in the first quarter, up by 19% year-on-year. The momentum is clearly continuing from last year, when foreign arrivals reached a record 22.3 million, a 16% increase. Last year, arrivals in Asia-Pacific, which led the global tourism growth, expanded by 7% compared with the worldwide average of 4%.
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