TAT predicts tourist deluge for Songkran

TAT predicts tourist deluge for Songkran

Cheap flights, stable politics draw visitors

Thais and foreign tourists revel during a past Songkran. APICHART JINAKUL
Thais and foreign tourists revel during a past Songkran. APICHART JINAKUL

Tourism revenue during the coming Songkran holiday is expected to grow by 26% to 14.5 billion baht, driven by political stability and aggressive promotions by low-cost carriers (LCCs).

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said domestic tourism would contribute 7.5 billion baht, up 52% from last year, while the remaining 7 billion would come from international tourists, up 6%.

On the domestic front, the TAT predicts tourism revenue from the eastern region will grow the most at 148% to 1.64 billion baht, followed by the Northeast (up 17.1% to 691 million), the North (up 4.61% to 1.33 billion) and the South (up 1.89% to 1.29 billion).

Only the central region is expected to see tourism revenue decrease, by 26% to 2.05 billion baht.

Anuphap Thirarat, the TAT's deputy governor for the domestic market, said growth in the eastern region would stem from a tourism boom in Chanthaburi and Trat.

Both provinces are included in the "12 Tourism Destinations … You Can't Say No" campaign aimed at promoting new places to visit.

"The recovery of East Asian and Asean markets will be a major factor boosting Thai tourism during the Songkran festival this year," Mr Anuphap said.

Aggressive promotions by LCCs should attract Thai tourists during the festive season. Pollution in the North, however, will affect travel in that region, especially in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Srisuda Wanapinyosak, the TAT's executive director for East Asia, said the number of charter flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Bangkok and resort destinations would total 372 with 54,000 seats next month.

As of yesterday, advance bookings for regular flights from Shanghai to Thailand for April were running at 95%. Reservations on Thai Airways International from Beijing to Thailand were about 85%.

By land, the number of vehicles through Chiang Rai's Chiang Khong checkpoint on the Laotian border should reach 121 cars during Songkran, up by 55% year-on-year.

Kasian Watanachaopisut, president of the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association, predicts 550,000 Chinese visitors next month.

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