Songkran seen showering B113bn on economy

Songkran seen showering B113bn on economy

People pour water on a Buddha image during a campaign for more subdued celebrations ahead of the Songkran holiday held at the Tourism Authority of Thailand's office in Bangkok. No water fight is allowed in the upcoming water festival in the wake of Covid-19. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
People pour water on a Buddha image during a campaign for more subdued celebrations ahead of the Songkran holiday held at the Tourism Authority of Thailand's office in Bangkok. No water fight is allowed in the upcoming water festival in the wake of Covid-19. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Consumer spending could jump 64% to 113 billion baht during the upcoming Songkran holiday after last year's slump when tighter coronavirus curbs were in place, the commerce university said on Thursday.

But excluding 2020, when the country imposed full outbreak restrictions, spending would be the lowest in nine years, Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, told a briefing.

"People are still worried about Covid-19 and they feel the economy has not recovered yet," he said, adding spending in pre-pandemic 2019 was 136 billion baht.

"Last year, there was a nationwide lockdown and no Songkran holidays," he said, referring to the festival that takes place from April 13 to 15.

While the government allows some celebrations this year, it bans the street water fights during the festival in a normal year crowds pack the streets, spraying water guns in what has been described as the world's biggest water fight.

Thailand has yet to lift its strict entry controls which have battered its key tourism industry, slashing foreign tourist numbers to 6.7 million last year from 40 million in 2019.

However, it is gradually reopening from this month halving its 14-day mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals fully vaccinated at some tourist destinations to revive tourism.

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