Domestic tourism during Songkran (traditional Thai New Year) is expected to experience numerous inhibitors, e.g., economic sluggishness, a lingering political standoff and a higher cost of living that has bitten into consumer spending. KResearchconducted asurvey on the travel behavior of Thais during Songkran (excluding those returning to their domiciles in other provinces) during March 18-25, 2014, using a sampling group of 1,132 people living in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) and other large economic centers throughout the country that showed a decrease in the number of holidaymakers planning to go on domestic trips.
These findings also showed that a majority of those polled – 80.6 percent – had no plans to travel domestically or abroad during our traditional Thai New Year, whereas the other 19.4 percent did. With no sign of economic recovery in sight, most respondents have decided to economize via shorter trips, shifts to short-haul destinations, etc. Tourism this year is therefore expected to be less active than what was seen last year. Factors include (1) a rising cost of living amid economic slowdown; (2) promotional campaigns of tour operators for trips during off-peak periods; and, (3) changes in the 2015 academic year for universities that will now begin in August this year in line with other AEC countries, resulting in a lower concentration in family visits during Songkran.
KResearch forecasts that around 4.2 million Thais will travel domestically during Songkran, when their spending may total some THB19 billion, down 12.4 percent YoY from the estimated THB21.7 billion last year (;travel” herein refers to trips made to other provinces that are not domiciles, excluding trips within the same province or home visits).
Despite an expected slowdown in domestic tourism overall this year, many revelers likely close to the number seen last year or even higher – may flock to Chiang Mai or Chon Buri (Pattaya, Bang Saen, Si Racha) during this festival. Businesses related to accommodation, food and beverages in Hua Hin and Cha Am – among the more popular tourist venues – are set to enjoy brisker sales, thus generating higher income than during non-peak periods.