KResearch views that the overall trend for domestic travel will see improvement during the 2021 Songkran festival. However, the festivities will differ markedly from those that took place in the era before COVID-19, as Thailand continues to be on high alert for signs of local transmission. For this reason, the government has imposed a ban on water splashing, foam parties and concerts, but will still allow the general public to hold traditional activities including religious ceremonies, and inter-provincial travel. Since April 12, 2021 is set to be a special holiday, this year's Songkran festival will consist of a six-day long public holiday. Many businesses in the tourism industry have launched marketing campaigns to boost tourism in time for the festival, which could be considered a boon to the country's domestic tourism.
A recent survey on Bangkokians' plans for inter-provincial travel during the 2021 Songkran festival reflects a more positive outlook towards domestic travel. While the figures are lower than those of Songkran festivals prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more of the sample group has plans to travel compared to those surveyed for the 2021 New Year festival, when a fairly large proportion – 40.1 percent of the sample group – stated that they had no plans to travel to other provinces (based on the result of a travel survey conducted during the 2021 New Year festival – which coincided with the start of the latest COVID-19 outbreak).
The faction of the sample group with definite travel plans amounted to 39.9 percent of all respondents. For this year's Songkran festival, most of these holidaymakers are seeking seaside getaways (such as Hua Hin, Cha-am, Pattaya and Phuket) that can be conveniently reached by car from Bangkok, and offer a retreat from more crowded tourist destinations. Provinces with low to zero COVID-19 cases are also being given special consideration. Meanwhile, 20 percent of the sample group was still uncertain regarding any travel plans, although it is likely that they will eventually decide to take a trip.
KResearch is of the opinion that, if no significant outbreak occurs that could disrupt travel plans during the nine-day Songkran holiday from April 10 to April 18, 2021 (even though April 12 is a public holiday and does not apply to the private sector, certain groups of domestic tourists are accustomed to taking leave for their travels, and some private sector organizations such as factories have made adjustments to allow their employees to go on vacation for an uninterrupted period of several days). Thai tourists are projected to make 3.84 million domestic trips, with tourism revenue estimated at THB 15.9 billion during Songkran festival. Should the overall COVID-19 situation improve, KResearch believes that the domestic travel market will gradually recover over the remainder of 2021. Furthermore, the government has introduced additional stimulus packages including the third-phase extension of the “We Travel Together" scheme and the brand-new “Travel Around Thailand" program to boost tourism during May to August 2021.