This year’s Songkran festival ‘driest’ in four years


BANGKOK, April 9 – An estimated Bt116 billion in currency is expected to circulate in Thailand during the annual Songkran festival, according to the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Thanawat Polvichai, director of the university’s Economic and Business Research Centre, said revenue during Songkran will increase 2.36 per cent from the same period last year – the lowest growth in the last four years, mainly due to the inactive economy and the political impasse.

He said the public’s anxiety over the political uncertainty and economic situation has impacted their overseas vacations which dropped 18.9 per cent in Songkran last year to only 5.9 per cent this year.

People are more cautious in their spending while sales growth will be minimal, he said, adding that violence during the festival, if it occurs, will push down consumer spending.

Mr Thanawat said the survey found that consumer borrowing during Songkran will increase 20.1 per cent – a sign of an inactive economy in which people’s earnings are less than spending.

Favourite attractions for Songkran revellers are the sea and beaches at 36.3 per cent, mountains at 21.6 per cent and waterfalls at 20.5 per cent.

Among politicians whom people want to honour with traditional water pouring on their hands while asking for a blessing are caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at 17.1 per cent, anti-government leader Suthep Thaugsuban at 16.4 per cent and Democrat leader Abhisit at 10.9 per cent.