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Tourism officials say domestic visitors making up bulk of Songkran tourists

PHOTO: Flickr/dominique cappronnier

Tourism representatives say most of Thailand’s Songkran tourists are domestic, while most international visitors are from neighbouring countries, where Thailand is a short haul destination. Thaneth Tantipiriyakij from the Phuket Tourist Association says he expects 40% of tourists visiting Phuket this year to be Thai, compared to 30% in 2019.

“The association is focusing on travellers from inside the nation and from other Asian countries, except China, where tourism has not yet recovered. European travellers are not our primary market during this Songkran period because they normally come to Thailand in the winter to escape the cold.”

According to a Nation Thailand report, Thanet expects visitor numbers on the island to exceed 50% of 2019 figures, generating around 70% of 2019 revenue.

Meanwhile, the president of the Isaan Tourism Industry Trade Association says 90% of travellers in the northeastern region are Isaan people returning home.

Vasumon Netkijcharoen says the region doesn’t get many visitors during the summer months and instead, most tourists are Isaan residents travelling within their own region.

“If we look at the other 10% who are travellers, we find that 95% of them would travel by car, and tour groups are infrequent.”

However, she adds that it’s not true that there is little interest in Isaan among foreign tourists, saying international travellers are showing interest in the traditions and culture of the Northeast.

Isaan now welcomes tourists from new markets such as Singapore and Malaysia, as well as China. Vasumon adds that the 200,000 travellers visiting the region during Songkran are expected to contribute 400 million baht to the local economy.

Meanwhile, in the north, Panlop Sae-Jew, president of the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, says most visitors there are also expected to be Thai or from other Asian countries.

He says the R34 highway, which stretches for over 1,000 kilometres, is attracting tourists from China, who are arriving by bus or car. He says tourists are expected to spend up to 100 million baht in Chiang Mai during the Songkran holiday period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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