Songkran festival the magnet for Thai tourism


BANGKOK, Apr 1 – Domestic tourism will return to life this month as Thai and foreign tourists celebrate the water-splashing Songkran festival nationwide.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said long holidays in April and May will stimulate local tourism despite people’s anxiety over continued political conflicts.

TAT Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said a survey among 600 sampled hotel operators and 1,200 people found that slightly more than half — 50.6 per cent of the respondents will travel in April-May and 86.5 per cent said they will take their vacations this month.

The three favourite provinces are Chiang Mai, Phuket and Chon Buri.

TAT conducted the survey in six tourism provinces – Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Chon Buri, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Songkhla – between March 1 and 8.

Pattaya, Khao Sarn Road and the Koo Muang moat in Chiang Mai are the three favourite places among 90 per cent of people when they first think of Songkran celebration, according to the survey.

Almost 80 per cent of tourism operators predicted active tourism in April but 46.3 per cent were concerned with the political unrest.

Mr Thawatchai said tourism operators were concerned with the anti-government movement’s planned major rally on Saturday and judgments in several political-related cases which may affect tourism.

Chinese and European tourists have started returning to Thailand, he said.