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TAT officials expect the extra-long holiday weekend to boost tourism

Flickr/Jamie Monk

A six-day holiday period gets underway for Thailand today, with tourism officials expecting a jump in domestic travel and hotel occupancy. The holiday period starts with His Majesty the King’s birthday today and will include the start of Buddhist Lent next Wednesday, August 2.

Nation Thailand reports that the Tourism Authority of Thailand expects the holiday period to generate up to 1.66 billion baht in tourism revenue, from nearly 5 million domestic trips. Earlier this week, the caretaker government announced that Monday, July 31, would also be a public holiday, allowing Thais more time for travel.

The governor of the TAT, Yuthasak Supasorn, says the late addition of the extra day means most Thais would have already opted for domestic travel over international. He says the TAT expects Thai tourists to take 4.96 million trips, with hotels expecting an average occupancy rate of 63%.

Yuthasak believes hotels in the east of the country could see occupancy rise to 68%, adding that central and northeastern regions are expecting the highest visitor numbers. However, he says there may be fewer visitors to the south, given that several maritime national parks are closed for the low season, both for safety reasons and to allow the ecosystem to recover.

Meanwhile, while the Thai Chamber of Commerce is also optimistic about the economic benefits of the long holiday, chairman Sanan Angubolkul points out that while the extra holiday on Monday is expected to benefit the country, it will also mean additional costs for those businesses who have to pay their staff overtime.

Sanan adds that while he hopes the costs will not be significant, the government should have announced the extra holiday earlier, thereby giving businesses time to prepare.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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