ThailandTourism

Less Thais visiting temples due to Covid-19, religious tourism at a loss

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

While Google searches for “prayers” spiked during the Covid-19 outbreak, people in Thailand are spending less time going to temples to pray. In a recent poll, less people are travelling to temples and making merit due to the pandemic, according to the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office. The office recently did a poll and found that 44% of the 7,904 respondents are not visiting religious venues as often as they did in 2019, saying it’s due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Although religious tourism only makes up 0.36% of Thailand’s total tourism revenue with Thais spending an average of 10.8 billion baht a year on religious travel, the office’s director general Pimchanok Vonkorpon says it’s important and locals should work together to promote religious tourism.

“Religious travelling is an important economic activity that helps create revenue at the community level, as Thailand has religious venues scattered in every province… Therefore, local administrators and communities must work together to promote local tourism as well as maintain religious venues in good condition to attract tourists.”

Pimchanok says most Thais visit temples to pay respects and gain spiritual support. According to the poll, 54% enjoy horoscope readings, 21% enjoy palm readings and 12% enjoy tarot card readings.

“Over 70 per cent of respondents said they spend less than 200 baht for donations and merit-making on each trip to religious venues. People in this group are mostly students or unemployed, while those who spend more than 200 baht at religious venues are mostly civil servants and business owners.”

While Pimchanok says religious tourism across Thailand has been at a loss, a temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Sichon district has seen an influx of tourists. A spirit called Ai Khai at Wat Chedi is known for granting wishes. An earlier report says so many people flock to the temple that hotels in the area are often fully booked.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Thaiger deals

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Alas this is the trend now.
    People of the world tend to disbelieve that paying money to self appointed agents, that claim they have a hotline to God, or another religious agent that will give a believer a good life after death.
    Why is Thai Buddhism taken seriously, when witch doctors in Africa are dying out?
    Were witch doctors any less qualified to profit a believer, with hope, and enhanced morale?
    A Thai monk may have to put away their orange dress, and earn their rice in other occupations – such at tuc tuc drivers.
    However they might earn extra tips by blessing the passengers, or maybe not . . .

  2. Also one has to wonder if/when a message from above reaches the saffron dressed ones, will they pass the divine information on or will they have a quick whip round in the monestry and buy the lottery tickets for themselves?

    I was very surprised when the recent lucky holy man passed some of his new found wealth on to his children bless him.

    Is there something different about the celibacy bit in thailand that I don’t get?

  3. Visiting temples is a very important part of Thai life for tourists as well as Thai people. The slow down also probably affects the Naga spirit mediums also, which is a close contact event in private homes. This means the Moral of the people could be affected. However Thai people have their own shrines, spirit houses, and amulets for support. What we don’t want to see is a deterioration in temple maintenance.

Leave a Reply

Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

5 Comments

  1. Alas this is the trend now.
    People of the world tend to disbelieve that paying money to self appointed agents, that claim they have a hotline to God, or another religious agent that will give a believer a good life after death.
    Why is Thai Buddhism taken seriously, when witch doctors in Africa are dying out?
    Were witch doctors any less qualified to profit a believer, with hope, and enhanced morale?
    A Thai monk may have to put away their orange dress, and earn their rice in other occupations – such at tuc tuc drivers.
    However they might earn extra tips by blessing the passengers, or maybe not . . .

  2. Also one has to wonder if/when a message from above reaches the saffron dressed ones, will they pass the divine information on or will they have a quick whip round in the monestry and buy the lottery tickets for themselves?

    I was very surprised when the recent lucky holy man passed some of his new found wealth on to his children bless him.

    Is there something different about the celibacy bit in thailand that I don’t get?

  3. Visiting temples is a very important part of Thai life for tourists as well as Thai people. The slow down also probably affects the Naga spirit mediums also, which is a close contact event in private homes. This means the Moral of the people could be affected. However Thai people have their own shrines, spirit houses, and amulets for support. What we don’t want to see is a deterioration in temple maintenance.

Leave a Reply