TAT expects B18.5bn from holiday

TAT expects B18.5bn from holiday

Lion's share from domestic market

Local travellers wait to check in at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok during Songkran last year. The TAT predicts a large number of domestic trips during the holiday this year. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Local travellers wait to check in at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok during Songkran last year. The TAT predicts a large number of domestic trips during the holiday this year. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects the Songkran holiday to generate total revenue of 18.5 billion baht, with domestic trips exceeding the 2019 level based on pent-up demand.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said many Thais are planning to travel to their hometowns to celebrate Songkran after holding off for three years during the pandemic.

The TAT estimates the Songkran holiday could generate 13.5 billion baht for domestic tourism based on 3.81 million trips, exceeding the 2019 level of 11.6 billion baht from 3.3 million trips.

However, the rising cost of living and energy prices could make Thai travellers adjust their budgets to match their purchasing power, reducing the length of stay or choosing to travel to nearby destinations, he said.

The TAT projects a hotel occupancy rate nationwide of 74%, with the southern region ranking No.1 at 80% because of popular beach destinations and the "We Travel Together" scheme helping to subsidise hotels for domestic travellers.

The northern region, which remains mired in PM2.5 haze that discourages visitors, is expected to have an occupancy rate of 60%, according to the authority.

Foreign tourism is estimated to generate 5.03 billion baht, or 60% of the 2019 level, with 305,000 tourists arriving during the Songkran holiday week.

Revenue is projected to increase by 630% from last year, when Thailand was not fully opened during the first half of the year.

The TAT expects most arrivals will be from short-haul markets such as India, Taiwan, China and South Korea, along with tourists from France and Russia, based on forward travel booking prior to Songkran week.

Other major markets include Malaysia and Laos, with travellers from those countries normally crossing the border to provinces like Songkhla and Udon Thani.

Foreign tourists are estimated to stay for 3-4 days on average with spending of 5,380 baht per day, exceeding the festival tally in 2019 as product prices have increased nationwide.

International flights are projected to increase in frequency by 20, with an added 2,074 seats during the Songkran holiday, mainly from short-haul markets such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The TAT plans to host Songkran events in various destinations, including Songkhla, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and Pai in Mae Hong Son. They are estimated to attract 785,679 visitors in total, generating 4.12 billion baht.

Chief among them is "International Amazing Splash 2023 @ Bangkok" during April 13-15 at Chula Soi 5, near Chulalongkorn Centenary Park. Highlights include traditional caravans from five countries such as the Indian Holi festival and Japanese Senbutsu.

The event is expected to generate 30 million baht each day.

Pol Maj Gen Apichat Suriboonya, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, said the bureau plans to ensure the safety of visitors during the holiday by deploying 4,000 policemen and volunteers across the country.

Regarding concerns about illegal tour guides, nominees and zero-dollar tours, Mr Apichat said many cases have already been reported to the bureau as the tourism industry recovers after the pandemic, especially in major tourism cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya.

The bureau is in the process of collecting evidence, preparing to arrest a major illegal operator soon, he said.

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