Songkran to generate billions in revenue for Thailand

After a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand‘s famous Songkran Festival, or Thai New Year, officially kicked off yesterday. Locals and visitors from all around the world gathered at popular spots across the country to partake in the renowned water-splashing festivities.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) anticipates that both Thai and foreign tourists will contribute up to 18.53 billion baht during the three-day event. Meanwhile, the Kasikorn Research Centre estimates that Thai tourists alone could spend as much as 23 billion baht.

In Chiang Mai, a popular destination for Songkran celebrations, key landmarks such as Khu Muang and Tha Phae Gate were filled with eager participants, despite the sweltering heat and haze. The festivities in this northern province commenced at 2pm with a traditional Songkran procession.

Approximately 1,000 Chinese tourists, who arrived in Chiang Mai earlier this week, began their celebration upon arrival. They travelled by car, entering Thailand through Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, and Nan. Chiang Mai’s TAT office expects at least 120,000 more tourists to join throughout the Songkran holiday, generating over 1.1 billion baht in tourism-related revenue.

In Bangkok, roughly 50,000 tourists flocked to Khaosan Road, an official Songkran celebration site in the capital that’s closed to traffic. According to Sanga Ruengwattanakul, president of the Khaosan Road Businesses Association, hundreds of municipal officials and police officers were deployed to ensure the security of the area.

Rules at the celebration site prohibit skimpy outfits, powder-smearing, high-pressure water guns, weapons, and alcoholic beverages. Silom Road was not designated as an official Songkran celebration zone, but water play was permitted on the packed street, attracting both Thais and foreigners.

In Phuket, an unofficial celebration began Wednesday night on Soi Bang La in the Patong area of the Kathu district. Mainly, Western tourists were spotted enjoying the evening, spraying one another with water guns.

Yesterday morning, Ratsada and Ao Chalong piers, Phuket’s two primary piers, were bustling with Thai and foreign tourists. Deputy Mayor of Phuket, Thiwat Sidokbuap, noted that most tourists were taking advantage of the speedboat service to explore Phuket and the neighbouring Phi Phi Island in Krabi.

Similarly, by 5am, two ferry piers in Surat Thani were crowded with travellers waiting to board ferries to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, the southern province’s best-known islands. During the Songkran period, all flights and train services from Bangkok to Surat Thani are fully booked, with hotels and resorts on the three main islands averaging 80% occupancy. Surat Thani’s provincial governor, Wichawut Jinto, predicts that more than 1.2 billion baht in tourism-related income will be generated in the province during the festival.

In Hat Yai district of Songkhla, a vital business hub in the Lower South, Songkran celebrations took place both day and night on Rat Uthit and Sai Sanehanuson roads. Many shops were bustling with patrons, including travellers from Malaysia and Singapore.

Finally, in the Betong border district of Yala, Thai, Malaysian, and Singaporean tourists gathered at the district’s iconic clock tower not only for water play but also to participate in traditional Songkran activities.

Songkran NewsThailand News

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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