Child spirit casts magic spell on southern tourism

Nakhon Si Thammarat expects up to B800m in long weekend spending

Worshippers flock to Wat Chedi in Sichon district of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Friday. (Photo by Nujaree Raekrun)

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: Visitors to this southern province could spend as much as 800 million baht during the long weekend as they flock to pay their respects to the most popular child spirit in the country.

The figure represents the expected outlay on accommodation and other activities related to tourism during the four-day holiday, said Pitchsini Tassaniyom, director of the Touristm Authority of Thailand branch office in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

She credited Ai Khai, a child spirit at Wat Chedi in Sichon district, as a magnet for visitors to the province, where the hotel occupancy rate of hotels has been around 80%. She hopes the spirit will be able to work enough magic to carry the momentum until the end of the last quarter of the year. Many people have turned to spiritual tours to ease the economic stress caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus, she added.

The TAT main office has estimated that local travellers will take 3 million trips across the country, generating 12.6 billion baht in tourism receipts during the four-day break that began on Thursday.

Ai Khai is famous for helping people fulfill their wishes when they visit the temple where his spirit resides. Traffic on roads near the temple is often backed up for kilometres during long weekends.