We’re in for a bumper Songkran this year

Economists are predicting a bumper Songkran festival this year due to a number of factors.

he University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting says surveys indicate that Thai new year revellers are showing greater willingness to spend more this year.

They estimate there will be 3-5% growth in spending which they predict will bring in 100 billion baht during this year’s holidays from April 12 to 16.

Their predictions are based on a number of factors for the 2018 celebrations. Firstly, following last year’s subdued celebrations due to the passing of the much-loved King Bhumibol, Thais have indicated they are willing to put the ‘song’ back into Songkran.

The festival has also become increasingly popular with overseas tourists so that the country’s party zones are very heavily booked months ahead of the festivities, particularly Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai with Bangkok also showing heavy bookings in the lead up period.

Finally, Thais are showing greater willingness to travel far and wide, return home or extend holidays either side of the official public holidays with the growth of budget airlines and the improvement of roads generally around the country

The Centre reports that the CPI (consumer confidence index) shows a slight improvement from 79.3 points in February to 79.9 in March, a continuing trend of spending and confidence in the local economy. The Centre cites continuing growth in national exports and tourism for the improvements in the CPI.

Factors to watch, they say, include preparations for next year’s general elections, the effect of the minimum wage rise once it kicks in and the burgeoning tit-for-tat trade wars between China and the US which will inevitably drag Europe and the wider Asian economies into the imbroglio as the rhetoric ramps up between the two economic superpowers.

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