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Omicron fears, high costs dampen Lunar Year festivities in Thailand


This year’s Chinese New Year festival is only expected to lure some 527,900 tourists and generate just 1.93 billion baht owing to fears over Omicron as well as the rising cost of living and household debt, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said on Saturday.

He said once again, Bangkok’s Chinatown is not bustling with Chinese New Year preparations, while celebrations in many other provinces have been cancelled for a second year running due to fears of an outbreak. Also, he said, the rising cost of living and household debt is forcing people to tighten their purse strings.

“Kasikorn Research forecasts that even though Bangkokians will make merit and travel during the Chinese New Year festival, they will control their spending to cope with high living costs,” he said.

Yuthasak added that TAT has organised Chinese New Year activities in two areas, namely celebrations in Ratchaburi and light decorations in Bangkok’s Yaowarat area. TAT is also providing support in organising celebrations in Suphanburi and Nakhon Sawan.

"We expect about 192,600 tourists to travel to Suphanburi and Nakhon Sawan and generate 1.08 billion baht in revenue as tourists can take day trips to the two provinces,” he said. “Thai-Chinese and Chinese nationals often visit these provinces to pay respect to sacred objects."

He reckons Bangkok’s Chinatown will be able to generate some revenue because ethnic Chinese people need to buy offerings despite rising prices.

“Also people will need to buy food for family feasts,” he added.

Published : January 30, 2022

By : THE NATION