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TAT expects Phuket Vegetarian Festival to make over 3 billion baht

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Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it expects Phuket’s upcoming annual vegetarian festival to rake in more than 3 billion baht of visitor money this year. The festival will be held from September 26 to October 4.

Some 81,429 travellers on 506 international flights are due to visit Phuket during the festival. Meanwhile, 110,165 domestic travellers are due to arrive on 919 domestic flights, according to the director of TAT’s Phuket office. The director said today that the arrivals are expected to spend about 3.4 billion baht on the island province. 

The director said that the average hotel occupancy rate during the festival is 60-65%. She said the highest occupancy nights were expected to be September 30 to October 2. 

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is known for its Ma Song. These spiritual devotees will self-mutilate, and slice their cheeks and tongues with swords, knives, and spikes. They will then march for hours, the intention being that through their pain they can achieve a holy and spiritual state. The Ma Song have helpers who follow them along to clean up their blood and pat them down with towels so that they don’t catch on fire from the many fireworks being thrown.

Officials are planning to enforce Covid-19 measures at the festival. Everyone participating in ritual ceremonies at the shrines must have at least two Covid vaccine injections and must take an ATK test every three days during the festival. Participants must wear masks at all times. Chantana Sittiphan of the Phuket Provincial Office of the Ministry of Culture said that shrine administrators will be responsible for enforcing the measures.

The festival’s street processions will begin on September 27 at the Koor Su Gong Naka Shrine in Wichit. They will be held every day of the festival until October 4. Other events highlighted on the festival’s programme are the ‘fire walking’ purification ceremonies from September 30 to October 4, and the ‘bridge crossing’ ceremonies from October 3-4.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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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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