Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports says the total economic impact of spending during the Songkran 2017 holiday was 45.428 billion Baht (US$1.3 billion*), representing a 14.40 per cent increase over the same period last year. In addition, several destinations nationwide were reportedly recording noticeable tourism growth during the Thai New Year period.
During the Songkran 2017 holiday period from 11-17 April, Thailand attracted 695,894 international tourists and generated about 36.941 billion Baht (US$1 billion), up 10.9 per cent and 16.40 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, domestic tourism resulted in 3.03 million trips and 8.487 billion Baht (US$242 million) revenue up 3.36 per cent and 6.45 per cent, respectively.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) organised and supported celebrations of Songkran 2017 in 14 destinations nationwide. They are: Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, Songkhla (Hat Yai), Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phuket, Nong Khai, Samut Prakarn, Suphanburi, Nakhon Phanom, Lampang, and Sukhothai.
H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports personally joined the Songkran 2017 celebrations in Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, and Chon Buri. In Khon Kaen, she also took part in setting a new record for the “human wave” activity, covering a one-kilometre-long strip on Khao Neao Road. The activity, which started in 2009 to symbolise unity, attracted 100,000 revellers on the first day (13 April), increased to over 120,000 revellers on the second day and concluded with 135,271 participants on the last day. It involved three rounds of human waves created with the participants jumping from the ground with hands raised high and sitting down immediately.
In Ayutthaya, Mrs. Kobkarn said the Songkran 2017 activities at the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Ayutthaya Historical Park were joined by many Thai and foreign tourists. On the last day of the one-week long holiday (17 April), the Minister joined the traditional Sand Pagoda Ceremony on Lai Day in Bangsaen, Chon Buri, with the highlight being the building of sand pagodas– one of the traditional aspects of Songkran.
In addition, Mrs. Kobkarn said, “With 41 per cent of domestic trips going into 14 destinations where Songkran 2017 celebrations were organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the TAT, that means Thais spent on accommodation, food and transport, thus supported local businesses. This makes us proud for being able to entice Thais to travel domestically.”
Based on the Ministry’s preliminary data, of the 3.03 million domestic trips during 11-17 April, 2017, a total of 1.25 million trips took place in the 14 destinations, a growth of 5.61 per cent when compared to the same period in 2016. The total economic impact totalled 5.15 billion Baht (+7.86 per cent), or 61 per cent of total domestic tourism revenue generated during the Thai New Year 2017.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “I was delighted to see many international tourists joining the Thai people in celebrating Songkran 2017 in the unique Thai ways. The Thai New Year is a time when family comes first, respect is paid to seniors, and people visit the temples to take part in traditional ceremonies. It’s all these beautiful aspects that make Thai culture unique and charming, and make Thailand one of the world’s most unique tourist destinations.”
*Currency converter: 35 Baht / US$1