TAT: Infection fears mar holiday

TAT: Infection fears mar holiday

Interest in long weekend deterred

Concern over new local Covid-19 cases is affecting domestic sentiment for the upcoming long holiday from Nov 19-22, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Even with the long weekend taking place during the high season, local infections resulted in travellers slowing or changing their travel plans, especially for areas where new cases were reported such as Krabi, said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Domestic tourism might be tepid this weekend as people already splashed out for trips during the public holiday on Oct 23, said Mr Yuthasak.

The government also declared several special public holidays in the last few months, including Dec 10-13 in a few weeks.

The TAT estimated local travellers will take 3.02 million trips, generating 12.6 billion baht in tourism receipts during the upcoming weekend, similar to the substitute days for Songkran holidays of Sept 4-7 that saw Thais take 3.10 million trips.

"Local tourists may bypass holidays as the sluggish economy has affected their incomes, as they face household debt and soft purchasing power," Mr Yuthasak said. "Tourism receipts are projected to be a bit low."

Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research) projects 77.3% of Thai tourists will make domestic trips in the last three months this year.

New infections in the country, the heated political climate and the economic slump will affect their vacation plans.

Thai tourism still has positive factors with colder weather, a school break and the domestic tourism stimulus plan from the government, he said.

The projected average hotel occupancy rate nationwide for this weekend is 37%, a dip compared with 41% from the previous long weekend in September.

Hotels located in the central region are forecast to gain the highest occupancy rate at 61%, followed by the Northeast (55%), the East (54%), the North (44%), Bangkok (20%) and the South (18%).

The TAT said popular destinations that attract a large number of local tourists are Chon Buri, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Rayong, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya.

Second-tier provinces such as Nakhon Si Thammarat, which is popular because of its statue of a child spirit named Ai Khai at Wat Chedi, are also expected to be crowded as a flow of tourists pray for wealth and prosperity.

Thai Smile Airways is introducing new routes to Nakhon Si Thammarat from Chiang Mai and Udon Thani tomorrow, operating a flight three days a week on the routes.

The TAT social listening report for Nov 1-10 found Chiang Mai and Phuket are among the top destinations people mentioned on social media platforms. Mr Yuthasak said the volume of tourism-related content for the holidays in November is higher than for the last long-weekend holiday, but the types of tourism activities remain unclear.

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