Receding revenue from Thailand’s water festival reflects economic drought, Thais going abroad


BANGKOK, April 9 – Tourism revenue during this year’s Songkran festival will possibly drop 10 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

More Thais are going north–to Japan–while some residents foreigners seek to avoid Songkran altogether, and go to destinations such as Singapore.

TCT projects only Bt37 billion revenue from Thai and foreign revellers in the annual water-splashing celebrations while about 120,000 Thai tourists are travelling abroad during the Songkran holiday. Their spending overseas is estimated at Bt2.9 billion.

The number of foreign visitors to Thailand during Songkran has gradually dropped in the last three years but it should climb up from this month following the cancellation of the state of emergency, the tourism council reported.

Revenue from foreign tourists during the Songkran festival, particularly in Bangkok and the North, is estimated at Bt14 billion.

However, political uncertainty, economic constraints and a passive mood among Thai tourists have negatively impacted the local tourism industry during the festive season which is expected to generate Bt23 billion from 3.5 million tourists, representing a 10 per cent drop from last year.

TCT chairperson  Piyamarn Techapaiboon said Thai tourists’ holiday trips in April are shorter this year, but Japan remains the favourite outbound destination.

She said local tourism operators are concerned about the prolonged political situation which has consequently slowed down the economy, while the public in general is more cautious in their spending.