BANGKOK, April 10 – Thais are expected to spend over Bt144 billion during this year’s Songkran traditional new year festival, while Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was voted as the most popular person from whom most Thais wish to be blessed to celebrate the Thai New Year, according to a survey.
The latest ABAC poll from Assumption University released on Tuesday projected money use, adventurous but quite risky activities on the day, and the person Thais wish most to ask for a blessing on the traditional New Year. The poll was conducted from March 10-April 9 with 2,149 respondents from 12 years old upwards in 28 provinces countrywide.
Over half the respondents said they would stay in their hometowns during the holiday season, while 41 per cent will travel upcountry.
Comparing Songkran expenses with those of last year, 53 per cent of those surveyed said they would spend more, 38 per cent said the same, and 7 per cent said lower.
Forty-eight per cent said their expenses will be for travel costs including petrol and bus/airfares (Bt69 billion), followed by 43 per cent for food and beverages (Bt62 billion), 4 per cent for accommodation (Bt6 billion), 1.8 per cent to buy souvenirs (Bt2.5 billion), 1.6 per cent to participate in shows and activities (Bt2.3 billion), and 0.8 per cent for merit-making or giving money to parents and children (Bt1.1 billion).
Asked about adventurous but inadvisable activities that they wished to do during Songkran, 62 per cent of those under age 24 said they want splash water while driving, while 44 per cent of those over 25 said they wanted to do the same.
Over half (54 per cent) the youth and one-third (32 per cent) of adults want to watch provocative dances by young women in wet clothes during Songkran. Some 38 per cent of the young and 34 per cent of grown-ups expected to drink alcohol during the festival, while 34 per cent of youth and 33 per cent of adults want to gamble. About 14 per cent of youth and 4 per cent of grown-ups said they intend to use drugs during the holiday.
Concerning the most coveted person from whom Thais wish to pour water and receive his/her blessing on the occasion of Thai New Year, 43 per cent named Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, followed by former prime minister and opposition Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (26 per cent), as well as former premier and Democrat party leader Chuan Leekpai (11 per cent).
Of all former prime ministers, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra was voted the most desired person Thais wish to pour water in seeking a blessing, followed by Gen Prem Tinsulanonda and Chuan Leekpai, respectively.