Songkran a big splash with Chinese
- Published: 4/03/2013 at 06:57 PM
- Online news:
The three-day Songkran festival next month is expected to attract a record number of Chinese tourists to Chiang Mai that will generate between 400 and 500 million baht in tourism revenue for the northern province, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
An estimated 60,000 holidaymakers were expected to arrive in the province during the festival, Wisoot Buachoom, director of TAT Northern Region Office, said.
Mr Wisoot said he was confident that Chiang Mai’s 40,000 hotel rooms would be enough to accommodate the growing number of tourists.
An increase in the number of Chinese visitors to the province was already noticeable and likely to hit a record high during the Thai New Year celebrations. This was because the popularity of the Chinese comedy movie "Lost in Thailand" (2012), he said.
The film, which set China's box-office record, has successfully helped to promote Thai tourism and drawn a large number of Chinese tourists, especially teenagers.
More than 80% of the film was shot in Chiang Mai with the assistance of the Tourism and Sports Ministry's Tourism Department.
The TAT gave the film’s producers 2 million baht to film in Thailand in an attempt to use the entertainment industry, including drama series, to promote the country’s tourism industry. TAT's offices in China later promoted the locations used in "Lost in Thailand".
Chiang Mai was likely to earn 400-500 million in tourism revenue during the Songkran holiday, Mr Wisoot said.
Phunat Thanalaopanit, president of Thai Hotels Association (Northern Chapter), said the number of Chinese holidaymakers visiting Chiang Mai during the Thai traditional New Year was likely to hit a record high.
The hotel booking rate was currently 30 percent and expected to climb to 90 percent when the festival draws nearer. The Chinese were likely to make up 45 percent of the total bookings and European and local visitors the rest.
File Photo. A Songkran float procession passes through downtown Chiang Mai. (Jetjaras na Ranong)
File Photo. Armed with water guns, foreign tourists ambush children riding on a tuk-tuk in Chiang Mai during the Songkran celebrations.(Jetjaras na Ranong)
About the author
- Writer: Cheewin Sattha