Songkran is an annual tradition and the Thai New Year will give a big boost to the Thai tourism sector, not only from domestic travel but also from inbound visitors who intend to visit Thailand during this joyous celebration.
The anticipation toward Songkran this year has been dampened by the air pollution in the northern part of Thailand. At any rate, since the smog in the north had continued for some time, tourists have adapted to the situation and adjusted their travel plans to other areas. Meanwhile, the drought in many provinces has prompted holidaymakers to change their Songkran activities in line with the prevailing circumstances. Overall, Songkran this year should see a buoyant atmosphere as usual in both key tourism cities and secondary provinces. This should boost the Thai tourism business. KResearch views that travel activities of both Thai and international tourists during the week-long Songkran (April 11-17, 2019) will generate earnings for tourism and related businesses worth approximately THB28 billion, up 2.2 percent YoY.
Domestic travel activities of Thais during Songkran 2019 are expected to be active as has been typically seen in past years. KResearch projects the tourism receipts of domestic travelers during the seven-day Songkran festival between April 11-17, 2019 to reach THB12.2 billion. (These estimates include the spending of domestic travelers who are going back to their hometown and their expenses for recreational trips in and outside of their home provinces as well as the spending incurred from tourist groups on overnight stays and one-day trips). Also, since the Songkran break this year lasts many days, some Thai tourists are showing a preference for overseas travel, posing a challenge for the domestic travel market.
The outlook of inbound tourism during Songkran 2019 should also be positive as the market is partly driven by the visa on arrival (VOA) exemption which will expire in April. KResearch forecasts that tourist receipts of international travelers from April 11-17 will total around THB15.8 billion. (Inbound travelers for Songkran tend to arrive in Thailand between April 10 and 11. The spending estimates are based on their expenses during Songkran and on other travel activities during their stay in Thailand).