Surat Thani Songkran celebration expected to draw Bt250 million in circulation


SURAT THANI, April 6 – The spirit of Songkran in this southern province is lively as tourists from Thailand itself as well as those from Europe and Asia, particularly China and Malaysia, are travelling to the area, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Surat Thani office director Panu Woramitr.

He said Bangkok Airways is increasing its flights from 20 to 30 flights during the Thai New Year in order to respond to the large number of passengers.

Over 90 per cent of hotel rooms in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao have been booked, while over 60 per cent occupancy is being seen in the provincial seat.

Meanwhile, in the capital, Khaosan Road’s entrepreneurs association head Piyabut Jiwaramonaikul said that Songkran in Khaosan Road is held annually, April 12-15 with talcum powder, high-pressure water guns and alcohol sales prohibited.

Some 300 officers will patrol the area for the safety of local visitors and tourists alike.

Apart from the water fight tradition starting April 13, other performances and activities include music performances, exhibitions on the history of the Songkran festival on Khaosan Road, and an international Songkran beauty contest in which foreigners are allowed to participate.

Concerning Thais’ opinions and plans for Songkran this year, about 70 per cent of those surveyed said they appreciate the value of the Songkran activities, according to the latest Assumption University ABAC poll released on Friday.

The poll was conducted with 1,217 respondents in Bangkok and its vicinity.

Fourteen per cent said they were uncertain as to whether the festival was valuable, while 8 per cent said they do not appreciate Songkran activities.

Over half the respondents said they will travel upcountry, while nearly half –about 45 per cent– said they would stay home.

More than half –some 54 per cent– said they intended to make merit on Thai New Year’s Day, 45 per cent would visit and pay respect to older people, and 36 per cent said they would spend time with their families, and one in three–33 per cent said they would join the annual water fight.