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15 Nov 2005

Tourism

Loy Krathong, 2005 ? Spectaculars along the Rivers Liven up Tourism

This year, the Loy Krathong Festival will fall on Wednesday, November 16, 2005. On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, both public and private agencies will be organizing grand celebrations to attract revelers. This is particularly true of Bangkok and other key tourist spots in every region, i.e., Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Tak, Ayudhya and Hat Yai, where the 'Festival of Lights' has become quite famous. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) supports Loy Krathong-related activities that are featured on its tourism campaign calendar for November, each year.

Several major spots have been elaborately decorated with multi-colored lights that will make for dazzlingly beautiful displays on the banks of key rivers and in cities. In Bangkok, a procession of illuminated boats will be held along the Chao Phraya River, from Rama VIII Bridge to Taksin Bridge. Also, cruise boats and many venues along the Chao Phraya River will also be decorated with beautiful lights. These spectacular festivities will be a major attraction helping to fill hotels and restaurants nearby on the banks of the river, as well as boost cruise boat operators that will likely earn handsome income. As with every year, four- and five-star hotels that are not located along the Chao Phraya River will also be jumping onto the bandwagon by organizing Loy Krathong-theme activities at their restaurants and poolsides to create an atmosphere of joyous festivities to attract a greater number of patrons. Normally, most guests will be foreign nationals who are staying at the hotels. As a result, several hotels in Bangkok will earn extra income from gala-dinners organized on the full moon night of Loy Krathong.

Meanwhile, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Tak, Hat Yai and Ayutthaya ? the leading venues for Loy Krathong in Thailand, will be having a lot of visitors traveling to participate in the festival, thus bringing in earnings from tourism and to related businesses such as local hotels, where most will have full occupancy during the festival.

Lively Loy Krathong events in important tourism cities, including Bangkok, are an important to helping stimulate tourism at the year-end with clearer growth from Thai and foreign tourist markets. Therefore, KResearch forecasts that, overall in 2005, around 11.5 million foreign tourists will have traveled to Thailand, dropping slightly from the 11.65 million persons in 2004, but generating 4 percent higher tourism income for the country with a value of around THB400 billion.

While the market for Thai tourists in 2005 has tended toward only slight growth, it is forecast that 76.2 million Thai tourist/excursions will be undertaken domestically, compared to 74.8 million tourist/excursions in 2004, inducing 5.6 percent higher domestic tourism income with a value of THB335 billion.

Tourism