Songkran festival to generate 18.5 billion baht, says tourism agency
This week’s Songkran festival is expected to generate 18.5 billion baht and attract over 300,000 foreign tourists, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Over 3.8 million Thais and about 305,000 foreign tourists are expected to travel in the country during the long holiday break, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said on Thursday.
Full-scale celebrations of the Thai New Year have returned after three years of Covid-19, which saw Songkran events and parties cancelled or heavily restricted.
The TAT estimates the Thai tourism market has recovered to 60% of the pre-Covid level in 2019. Tourists are now returning to the country in large numbers, particularly from Southeast and East Asian countries.
Billed as the world’s largest water fight, this year’s Songkran festival in Thailand has drawn large numbers of tourists from India, Taiwan, Japan, China, South Korea, France and Russia. Border checkpoints with neighbouring Malaysia and Laos are also recording a surge in arrivals for the long holiday.
Large numbers of tourists from Malaysia and Singapore took part in the “Hatyai Midnight Songkran” event in the southern border province of Songkhla. Laotian visitors meanwhile swelled the crowds at the Udon Songkran Festival in the northeastern province of Udon Thani.
The TAT is holding the “Water Festival 2023” in five major regions of the country from Thursday to Saturday. The theme of this year’s festival is “Defining Your Thainess”.
Yuthasak said that as well as attracting tourists from abroad, Songkran has become famous around the world.
Unesco is currently considering Thailand’s application for the traditional Thai New Year to be listed as global Intangible Cultural Heritage.
He added that Thailand was promoting Songkran as part of its soft power policy.
The TAT governor was speaking at the opening ceremony of the “International Amazing Splash 2023” held on Centenary Park Road (Soi Chulalongkorn 5) in Bangkok.