Long holiday to generate 800m baht

Popular destinations see spike in visitors

Tourists flocking to Nakhon Si Thammarat and other provinces for the special long holiday weekend are expected to generate more than 800 million baht for local businesses.

The southern province was teeming with tourists on the first two days of the long holiday, which began on Thursday.

Pitsinee Tatniyom, provincial director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), predicted that more than 800 million baht would be generated over the long weekend, noting 80% of hotel rooms had been booked.

At the province’s latest attraction Wat Chedi, there was traffic congestion in front of the temple as visitors came to make merit and worship Ai Khai, a statue of a spirit locals believe can make their dreams come true.

Most of the merit-makers brought offerings such as chicken eggs, Chinese pastries and toys for Ai Khai. Firecrackers were lit as a sign of appreciation for the spirit for granting requests by worshippers.

In Surat Thani, another southern province, more than 23,000 tourists were expected to visit during the holiday, said Nanthawan Siripokphat, TAT director for the province. The visitors were expected to generate over 199.19 million baht in revenue for the province.

The province’s occupancy rate during the long holiday has been projected at 16.75%. Most of the tourists are families and people in the southern region, followed by those from Bangkok and other central provinces.

Ms Nanthawan said the two southern provinces are seeing a spike in holidaymakers due to the popularity of tourist attractions and airline and hotel promotions.

Tourists have been flocking to the top of the Doi Inthanon mountain in Chiang Mai, causing traffic congestion throughout Thursday and yesterday. Officials said Doi Inthanon National Park on Thursday welcomed almost 11,500 people visiting the Kew Mae Pan viewpoint.

The Transport Ministry reported almost 4,832,000 people travelled by public transport on Wednesday and Thursday, 4.3% higher than the number of passengers that was predicted. The number of vehicles entering and leaving Bangkok also exceeded the ministry projection by 36.5% at 5,837,395.

A total of 116 accidents occurred across the kingdom during the first two days with 10 people dead and 117 others injured, mostly due to speeding.

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