This year, the Songkran Festival will start on Friday April 13, 2007. The fact that April 13-17, 2007 has been declared a public holiday period will likely bring about greater participation toward the festivities among the general public across the country. The state-run Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has spearheaded marketing activities to promote Songkran in Bangkok and other key tourist attractions in 11 provinces. KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) conducted a qualitative poll on March 26-April 4, 2007, using a sampling group of 1,200 persons on the behavior of Bangkok residents in observing the festivities, and how they will be spending their time during this extra-long holiday.
Based on the survey, 32.0 percent of the respondents said that they were opting to stay in Bangkok during the ;Water Festival”, while the remainder of 68.0 percent planned to travel, down by 5 percent from the year earlier. A breakdown of those who preferred to leave Bangkok showed:
- 82.2 percent would return to their hometowns or visit their relatives in other provinces.
- 15.2 percent would take leisure trips upcountry, either ‘day-tripping' or overnight trips.
- 2.6 percent would be going overseas.
"Bangkok residents staying in Bangkok: spending THB42 billion
The findings show that the number of respondents who intend to participate in major Songkran-related activities will rise over last year. Most of them want to avoid traveling over the long weekend due to unusually high expenses, e., motor fuel, accommodation and package tours. They also cited risks toward road accidents and traffic snarls.
Among the most-favored activities for those staying in Bangkok will be Buddhist merit-making, including giving offerings to monks and cleansing rituals over Buddha images. Other activities cited by those polled include water dousing merriment, cleansing rituals for elders to seek their blessings, viewing traditional entertainments including the ‘Miss Songkran' parades and others. The most popular venues for Songkran celebrations in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area will include Khao San Road, Sanam Luang and Puttha Monthon. As far as estimates go, Bangkok residents may spend around THB20 billion for celebrating Songkran festivities, up 10 percent over the year before. Among the businesses that will benefit from the Songkran celebrations will be those related to offerings given to monks, cleansing rituals with scented water, talc, flowers and garlands, the selling of squirt guns and water pistols, Moh Hom shirts and other colorful outfits, etc.
Moreover there will of course be numerous other activities away from home, e.g., dining out, shopping in malls or department stores, watching movies, going to amusement parks, zoos or public parks – on which the spending value will total around THB2 billion, increasing 11 percent from last year. Most of the spending will be dispersed to concerned businesses including restaurants and food outlets, department stores and malls, as well as cinemas, outdoor fun parks, etc.
The total spending of those who choose to stay in Bangkok during Songkran this year will be around THB4.2 billion, increasing 10.5 percent over year, which will be due somewhat to more people opting to stay in Bangkok this year than last, and the rising prices of goods and services.
- Bangkok residents celebrating the Songkran Festival upcountry: Generating Spending of THB4.3 billion
The poll shows that most Bangkok residents who are going upcountry will intend to join in on Songkran activities that will generate income to related businesses totaling around THB4.3 billion, representing an increase of 7.5 percent over last year.
- Workers in Bangkok going home upcountry…Generating Spending of THB7.5 billion
Most of the people who are going upcountry to visit homes or family domiciles there, but work in Bangkok, usually go during Songkran. The total expenditures related to this will be around THB7.5 billion, increasing 7 percent over last year and comprising the following expenditures:
1. Purchases of gifts and souvenirs valued at around THB2.4 billion, increasing 20 percent over last year. Goods that people like to buy as souvenirs for relatives upcountry include foodstuffs, clothing and household utensils.
2. Taking trips upcountry and spending holidays at tourism venues will have a spending value increasing slightly to THB5.1 billion.
- Bangkok residents traveling upcountry…Generate the spending of THB2 billion
People intending to travel upcountry this year will be fewer than last year by almost 10 percent. Upcountry trips during Songkran this year include both day-trips and overnight stays in similar proportions.
Popular tourism venues that Bangkok residents like to visit on day-trips during Songkran will be short-distance destinations such as Pattaya, followed by Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Cha-am.
On the part of the tourist attractions for overnight stays that are popular among Bangkok residents, most are along the eastern coast, such as Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, etc. The next ranked tourist attractions are in Central and Western Thailand, such as Cha-Am, Hua Hin and Kanchanaburi. Moreover, there are tourist attractions in the North such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lampang and Nakhon Sawan. For the tourist attractions in the South, some are considering Samui, Krabi, Phang Nga, Hat Yai, etc. In the Northeast, popular tourist sites are Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Bangkok residents will spend around THB2 billion on traveling upcountry during this year's Songkran, rising 17.6 percent over year. The majority of this money will be spent on related service business, such as on tour guides, accommodations (such as hotels, resorts and bungalows), restaurants, admission to tourist sites, souvenir shops and other services in each province nationwide.
Bangkok residents going overseas: expenditures will be around THB4 billion
The number of tourists traveling overseas will be dropping by about 12.5 percent over-year, because they some are avoiding travel during the long holiday. Moreover, there is trend toward greater frugality, thus focusing on the shorter journeys at lower costs, while travel expenditures would seem might decrease along with the appreciation of the Baht. In addition, there are the low-cost airlines providing extensive services now. As a result, overseas travel expenditure for Bangkok residents during Songkran will be around 4 billion, dropping by 11 percent. The most popular overseas attractions for Bangkok residents are China, Japan and South Korea. The next ranked destinations are neighboring countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The total expenditures of Bangkok residents spent during this year's Songkran will be around THB22 billion, rising by 4.8 percent, with expenditures divided among: activities for those who will stay in Bangkok will be around THB4.2 billion, rising by 10.5 over-year; the expenditures of those who will be going back to their hometowns or traveling upcountry will be around THB13.8 billion, increasing by 8.7 percent over-year. Besides this, there will be foreign travel expenditures of THB4 billion, dropping by 11 percent over-year.
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