Songkran festival boosts Thailand’s tourism with 140 billion baht

Picture courtesy of James Antrobus

This year’s Songkran festival, spanning over three weeks, spurred a remarkable 140 billion baht influx into Thailand’s tourism sector, surpassing the anticipated 132 billion baht. Foreign tourist arrivals soared to a hefty 1.9 million amidst the celebrations, divulged the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

The festival, running from April 1 to April 21, witnessed multiple sectors cashing in on the festive period’s buoyant atmosphere.

The accommodation sector reaped 42.06 billion baht, food and beverages fetched 33.06 billion baht, and merchandise and souvenirs rounded up to 26.83 billion baht.

Travel-related income stood at 15.50 billion baht, entertainment at 14.75 billion baht, and other tourism services amounted to 5.86 billion baht.

Other miscellaneous expenses accounted for the remaining 2.23 billion baht, according to Sudawan Wangsupakitkosol, the Tourism and Sports Minister.

The festival was vibrant, with activities staged nationwide that appealed to both foreign tourists and local Thais who participated in the Songkran celebrations.

The 21 day window saw 1,926,443 international tourists grace the country, marking a significant 37.54% surge compared to the previous year.

Sudawan attributed the notable growth in foreign tourist arrivals to the government’s initiatives to simplify travel, including visa waivers, the abolition of Tor Mor 6 immigration forms, and the organization of grand events marking the festival.

The influx of foreign tourists emanated from both proximate and distant markets.

The top ten countries contributing to the tourism boom included China with 395,830 tourists (an 89.16% upsurge from last year), Malaysia with 298,263 tourists (up by 41.62%), India with 114,330 tourists (up by 27.53%), and Russia with 104,538 tourists (a 19.61% rise).

South Korea contributed 84,539 tourists (a 36.02% rise), Laos 66,396 (a 43.59% rise), the United Kingdom 60,495 (an 11.31% rise), Taiwan 60,153 (a significant 58.74% rise), the United States 56,068 (a 10.43% rise), and lastly, Indonesia with 55,969 tourists (a 64.52% rise).

The festival also saw Thai nationals travelling extensively, with 13,897,988 Thais generating an additional 50.12 billion baht.

The peak festival period from April 12 to 16 alone attracted 461,509 foreign tourists, bringing in 21.54 billion baht. In the same period, 4,337,848 Thai tourists generated 16.48 billion baht, approximately totalling 38 billion baht, said the tourism minister.

The Maha Songkran World Water Festival 2024, held at Sanam Luang, was a crowd-puller, offering a stunning backdrop of the majestic Grand Palace and received global attention. “This event was a magnet for foreign tourists.”

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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