Khao San businesses petition govt to let tourists splash out
An association of business operators on Khao San Road yesterday submitted a petition to the government imploring the prime minister to allow water-splashing activities during the Songkran festival.
If water splashing is allowed around the country during the Thai New Year festival, Thailand will gain at least 1 billion baht in tourism-related income in April, the association claimed.
Intended for the attention of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his capacity as director of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the petition was submitted via and received by the Secretariat of the Prime Minister.
The CCSA previously announced a ban on splashing and other activities such as smearing powder on faces, saying they may heighten the risk of spreading Covid-19.
The activities are common ways revellers celebrate the festival and, before Covid, were organised at various locations in the capital, including on Khao San Road.
The road is a favourite spot for international tourists to celebrate Songkran, but if there is no water play then tourists will go elsewhere in the country, said Sa-nga Ruangwatthanakul, president of the Association of Business Operators.
According to Mr Sa-nga, business operators on Khao San Road have been maintaining strict Covid-19 screening measures imposed by the Public Health Ministry under its Covid-free setting policy ever since restaurants in the area were allowed to resume dine-in services.
The same Covid-19 screening standards will apply to Songkran events.
Visitors will be required to undergo a rapid Covid-19 test by antigen test kit and have their vaccination certification checked at the thoroughfare's main entrances, he said.
Moreover, only 5,000 fully vaccinated visitors will be allowed to enter the area's roughly 400-square-metre space to prevent overcrowding, he said.
About 50 million to 80 million baht is expected to be spent in and around Khao San Road if the usual water splashing is allowed during the four-day festival, Mr Sa-nga added.
He added that no live music or powder play will be allowed on Khao San Road this year as part of Covid-19 safety measures voluntarily adopted by business operators there.
After two years of suspended Songkran celebrations imposed by the government, the suspension should be lifted for the sake of economic recovery, he asserted.
Since early last month hotel bookings in the Khao San Road area have risen by 20%, while about 10% of the 500 street vendors in the area have resumed their usual business activities, as have about half of the shops, he said.
- Khao San