KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) has recently made projections on domestic tourism market and their income during Songkran festival in 2008, based on as statistics of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT.)TAT defines ‘Traveling of tourists' as a journey to other places than their permananent residences, or a journey home. Therefore, travelers during Songkran festival in this year's report will exclude Thais returning to their hometowns.
KResearch forecasts that domestic tourism during the Water Festival will see a slight setback from the same period of last year. Thai tourists (excluding those visiting their hometowns) making domestic trips are expected to total around 2.28 million, down 1.7 percent, Y-o-Y. This is partly due to less active atmosphere in the local tourism market in the first half of this year in mourning for the late HRH Princess Galayani Vadhana. Other downsides also include the rising cost of living in line with the relenting rise in oil prices and more solemn Songkran celebrations in many regions focusing on merit-making activities for the late Princess and traditional conservations.
Some 30 percent – around 700,000 domestic tourists traveling within Thailand (excluding those visiting home) during Songkran festivities will go to Bangkok, an increase of 1.5 percent over-year. The remainder of 70 percent – around 1,585,000 travelers – is expected to visit other local tourist attractions, down 3.1 percent Y-o-Y.
Most favored tourism destinations after Bangkok (classified by regions) among Songkran revellers are:
1. The Northeastern region – Among the popular destinations are Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Khai and Mukdahan where there is the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge to facilitate traveling to Laos.
2. The Eastern region – Pattaya, Rayong and Ko Chang are famous destinations in this region. In addition, Wat Sothornwararam Woraviharn located in Chachoengsao is another popular venue for Buddhist adherents.
3. The Western region – Among the most favored destinations are Cha-Am, Hua Hin and Kanchanaburi, which is home to natural attractions, i.e., waterfalls plus large and small tributaries. Included on the list is Samut Songkhram that has drawn a large number of home-stay travelers and holidaymakers taking boat trips to view fireflies.
4. The Central region – Lop Buri and Saraburi are the key tourist attractions here, with fields of sunflowers and Pasak Jolasid Dam as the key magnets. - Other popular choices for tourists are old temples and historical sites in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya as well as famous temples and Wat Don Wai floating market in Nakhon Pathom
5. The Northern region - Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok and Chiang Rai are important cities where there are limitless temples, historical sites and natural scenic attractions such as mountains, waterfalls and canals. Furthermore, tourists can observe the lifestyles of hilltribe people and OTOP product villages.
While the number of Thai tourists traveling within the country is expected to see a drop during Songkran festivities, tourists' expenses including travel, accommodations, food and beverages, as well as other services are set to rise over the year before. As a result, the spending of Thai tourists this Songkran is expected to generate income of around THB10 billion, rising 5.3 percent Y-o-Y. Of this value, THB4.8 billion will circulate in Bangkok and the rest, at THB5.2 billion, will be spent elsewhere nationwide. Among the key beneficiaries are hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, tourist attractions, transportation services and souvenir shops.
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