Hat Yai sees drop in tourist arrivals for Chinese New Year

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SONGKHLA, Jan 27 – Fewer tourists from Malaysia and Singapore are expected to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year in Thailand’s southern tourist haven of Hat Yai in this southern border province.

Hat Yai-Songkhla Hotels Association president Somchart Pimtanapoonporn said Monday that hotels here during Chinese New Year were often at full occupancy with Malaysian and Singaporean tourists, but now, the city has seen a decline in occupancy to only 50-70 per cent.

This year, Hat Yai has failed to attract a large number of tourists during the festival running from Jan 31 through Feb 5, despite campaigns being introduced to promote tourism and Chinese-style adornments festooned all over the town. Mr Somchart reasoned that many tourists are probably worried about possible bomb attacks like what happened in Sadao district of Songkhla late last year.

Mr Somchart said the city’s tourism is expected to bring in cash at some Bt50 million during Chinese New Year, a significant drop compared to last year.  However, new tourism campaigns will later be introduced in a bid to boost number of tourists during the Thai New Year Songkran celebrations in mid-April.