11 July 2024

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will hold meetings next week with the Culture and Interior ministries, the private sector and other relevant agencies to discuss details of this year’s Songkran celebrations, which will last from April 1 until 21. Events and activities, their format, locations and the budget required will be on the agenda.

According to TAT Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool, the highlights of the celebrations will be at popular locations in Bangkok, such as Siam Square, Ratchadamnoen Avenue, Icon Siam, Aisatique and several temples along the Chao Phraya River.

Chiang Mai and Hat Yai are the other two main locations, especially in Hat Yai in the south, where a Midnight Songkran event is planned and expected to attract many Malaysians.

UNESCO declared Songkran as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity on December 8th last year. The Thai government has also been trying to register Songkran as an intellectual property, according to Thapanee.

The TAT is treating Songkran as a major tourism event, after this week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, with more than 177,000 tourists from China expected to arrive in Thailand to celebrate.

28,000 Chinese arrivals were recorded on February 5th, which is close to the peak before the COVID-19 pandemic. If average daily arrivals can be kept at 21,000, the TAT is optimistic that up to eight million Chinese tourists will have visited Thailand by the end of this year, bringing the total arrivals of all nationalities to about 36.5 million.

Thapanee said that the TAT will continue to promote other festivals and activities, such as sports, even during the low season, to attract tourists.

Global and domestic economic situations are not that bad this year, although tourists have changed their spending habits by opting for shorter trips or travelling in their own cars in the case of local tourists.

Thapanee said that several tourism operators have adopted the concept of “mixed use” by allocating some space in their hotels or lodgings as work space, introducing food delivery services and offering Muay Thai boxing lessons to tourists in their fitness facilities.