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Songkran: Academics predict 10 year low in festival spending this year

Tara Abhasakun

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Songkran Pattaya 2013

Thailand academics predict the public’s spending during next week’s Songkran holiday will be the lowest in 10 years. An associate professor at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said he expects people to spend around 106 billion baht altogether across Thailand this year. This will be 5.4% less than last year, when public spending was recorded at about 112 billion baht. This was 21.4% lower than in 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19.

The professor, Dr. Thanavath Phonvichai, said on average, people in Thailand will probably spend around 4,779 baht per person over the almost week-long break. The professor’s predictions are based on a survey the UTCC conducted on expected spending behaviour during Songkran. He said the expected low spending is due to the spike in oil and consumer prices. He added that people are more likely to celebrate Songkran close to home this year because of Covid-19, as well as the spike in fuel prices.

This news comes after authorities announced water splashing will be banned during Songkran in Bangkok this year. The Bangkok Communicable Disease Committee decided to allow “water sprinkling” in specific areas that have sought permission, and organisers must abide by “Covid Free Setting” measures set by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Participants must stay at a Covid-safe distance of four metres and wear face masks. No alcohol is allowed. Officials did not go into detail about what exactly “water sprinkling” means.

In light of the restrictions, businesses on Bangkok’s popular Khao San Road are axing their Songkran celebration plans. Earlier this week, the president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association said that for many businesses in the area, having to comply with the strict measures will be too risky. On the bright side, the UTCC predicts that tourism will eventually pick up — after the relaxation of travel restrictions and tourism promotion.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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