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Tourism officials ponder moving Songkran to July, boosting domestic tourism




Joint ventures with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) are trying to solve worst case scenarios of losing over 1 trillion baht in revenue and 10 million in inbound guests to celebrate Songkran. The TAT has set a optimistic target of 172 million domestic trips this year, generating 1.13 trillion baht in revenue. They’re also examining the postponing of Songkran celebrations to July 4-7 this year. The idea already has the nod from Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn but still needs approval from the Culture Ministry and cabinet.

Meanwhile, the President of The TCT Chairat Trirattanajarasporn acknowledge TAT’s prediction – the decrease in revenue and inbound guests.

“The greater challenge for Thai tourism is to boost the number of domestic trips to maintain jobs for workers in the industry until the coronavirus crisis passes. The TCT has set a lofty goal for local tourists to take 200 million domestic trips this year, also that tourism operators from the private sectors should make more effort to attract domestic tourism”.

“As the cabinet has encouraged state agencies to arrange meetings and seminars within the country instead of outbound trips.”

Mr Chairat says he believes this segment can support tourism from April – June. He did not rule out the possibility of raising the number of domestic trips to 200 million, as the circumstances are drastically different with Thais unable to currently travel abroad.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the growth target of 4% for the domestic market is already beyond reach.

“As in the past few years the growth rate lingered below 3% and now virus fears are constraining travel. Last year, Thais took 166.84 million trips nationwide, spending 1.08 trillion baht. To achieve 200 million trips will require an additional 33.16 million trips or at least 20% growth this year.

“This is hard for all of us, but it’s worth trying. We need a lot of cooperation from the TCT and the private sector to build sentiment among tourists who still have travel ambitions and purchasing power but do not want to take risks outside the country.”

SOURCE: BangkokPost


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