Tourism in Nakhon Si Thammarat turned sluggish in 2005 as a result of the Tsunami crisis and steep oil prices. Since 2006, however, Jatukarm Ramathep talisman fever has rapidly reactivated tourism there. The number of local and foreign tourists visiting this southern province in 2006 totaled 1.367 million, up 11 percent, over-year, generating THB3.353 billion in tourism-related income to the province, rising by 15 percent, year-on-year, against the growth of only 0.1 percent in 2005.
In 2007, KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) forecasts that tourist arrivals in Nakhon Si Thammarat may reach some 1.8 million, up 32 percent over the year before. Of this, 98 percent, or some 1.76 million people would be local visitors while some 2 percent, or 40,000 would be foreign tourists.
Key favorable factors conducive to tourism in Nakhon Si Thammarat since 2006 are:
- Expansion of low-cost airline services to Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Consecrating ceremony of Jatukarm Ramathep talismans that will be held daily at Phra Mahathat Voramahaviharn Temple and the City Shrine until early next year likely to draw a great number of participants throughout this year
- Hordes of local and foreign tourists, particularly from Malaysia and Singapore flocking to this southern province to pay homage to Phra Borom Mahathat Chedi, image of Jatukarm Ramathep and to purchase Jatukarm Ramathep charms.
- ;Nakhon Si Thammarat Games 2007” - the 36th national sports competition, to be held between May 11-25, 2007, in this province likely to attract throngs of local holidaymakers.
- The TAT, together with the allies from the private sector, is organizing the ‘Follow the Path of Pol. Maj-Gen Khun Phantarak Rajadej' package tour taking tourists to make merit and pay homage to Buddha images, ask for blessings from sacred objects, and experience the narration and commentary by tour guides along the route, which has spurred tourism during April-September 2007 quite a lot.
Spending of visitors traveling to Nakhon Si Thammarat in 2007 will likely generate around THB5 billion to tourism and tourism related businesses, increasing 49 percent over 2006. The money will likely go to the following businesses:
- Twenty six percent, or around THB1.3 billion, will likely go to sales of tourists' souvenirs, e.g., carved animal hides for shadow plays (Nang Talung) and featuring images of the popular Jatukarm Ramathep in gold and silver niello, which are encased in amulet frames and hung on necklaces.
- Twenty one percent, or around THB1,050 million, will likely go to the restaurant business with around 80 venues in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
- Twenty percent, or around THB1 billion will likely go to accommodation businesses, e.g., hotels, resorts, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, accommodation at the national park, or in bungalows, mansions, and apartments where there are around 115 such locations with around 3,505 total rooms in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
- Eleven percent, or around THB550 million, is likely to go to transportation business within Nakhon Si Thammarat.
- Eight percent, or around THB40 million, will likely go to entertainment and recreational businesses.
- Four percent or around THB20 million will likely go to tour businesses numbering about 16, with 58 tour guides in the area.
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