People’s spending during the upcoming Songkran festival is expected to dive by 17% from 2019 to 113 billion baht, the lowest in nine years, as people remain worried about the pandemic and weak purchasing power, according to a survey conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
“The lower spending means the Songkran festival will not be as vibrant as usual, though it’s unlikely to be gloomy either,” Thanavath Phonvichai, the UTCC president, said yesterday.
The relatively sluggish atmosphere was attributed to the Covid-19 impact causing people to be more cautious about their health and budget.
People are still concerned about Covid-19 infection clusters in Samut Sakhon, the western areas of Bangkok, including Bang Kae district, and Pathum Thani, while there have not been significant signs of an economic recovery, said Mr Thanavath.
The findings are based on a survey of 1,256 people across the country from March 22-29.
The most popular activity during the six-day vacation starting April 10 is merit-making, according to the poll.
Second is eating and celebrating at homes, followed by the rod nam dam hua ceremony, in which young people pour jasmine-infused water on the hands of parents and elders to wish them good health and receive their blessings.
The government, which decided not to organise a Songkran festival in 2020, continues to ban water splashing this year to prevent Covid-19 transmission.
Up to 34.9% of respondents told the pollster they will cut their spending, while 43.3% said their expenses remain the same.
Only 21.8% said they will spend more.
Some 39% said they will travel within the province where they are living; 15.5% plan to travel to other provinces and 10% will go back to their home provinces.
Another 26.5% said they will stay home, while the rest had no plans.
Those who travel to tourist destinations are expected to spend 5,180 baht on average, with 44.2% of them preferring one-day trips.
The most popular provinces are Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Trat.