Locals to spend B16.6bn during extended weekend
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Locals to spend B16.6bn during extended weekend

Almost 5 million Thais are travelling during the long weekend and will spend 16.6 billion baht at various holiday locations in the country, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The extended holiday from Friday to Wednesday, made possible by a cabinet announcement last week designating today as a special holiday, is spurring great tourism spending, the TAT added.

The TAT predicts there will be 4.96 million trips with local tourists spending 16.6 billion baht during the holiday.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the average hotel occupancy rate is expected to be 63% during the period.

During the first two days of the long holiday, tourists made trips to destinations within a 200–300 kilometre radius of where they lived, he said.

"Negative factors continue to be inflation and fuel prices that remain high though it is tending to decline," he said. "They are major obstacles to Thais spending."

On Monday, the government suddenly announced a special holiday for today in a bid to stimulate domestic tourism. If the extended holiday period had been announced long before, people could have planned overseas trips to places like Japan as the yen is fairly weak, the TAT governor said.

In Chiang Mai, landmark tourist attractions, including the Tha Pae area in downtown Muang district, were packed with both Thai and foreign visitors.

Paisal Sukcharoen, president of the Thai Hotels Association, Northern Chapter, said the hotel occupancy rate during the long weekend has hit 80%. Half of the guests are foreigners, he said.

Tourism revenue in Chiang Mai earned from Thai visitors is estimated to be 120 million baht.

In Phuket, holiday tourism revenue is predicted to reach 2 billion baht as the island province is teeming with overseas visitors, mostly from Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Vietnam.

Lertchai Wangtrakuldee, director of TAT's Phuket office, said the hotel occupancy rate during the holiday has surpassed 65%. More than 234,000 visitors, both foreign and Thai, have booked accommodation on the island during the holiday, he said.

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