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National Holiday Extension Sparks Unprecedented Boom in Domestic Tourism: From Economic Boost to Safety Concerns!

The forthcoming long holiday period commences this weekend – beginning on July 28, His Majesty the King’s birthday, and concludes on August 2, marking the inception of Buddhist Lent. This announcement came from the interim government last week, who chose to add an extra public holiday on Monday, July 31st. The intention behind this initiative was to allow the citizens of Thailand more time to return to their ancestral homes.

Yuthasak Supasorn, the esteemed Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), acknowledged that with the last-minute addition of an extra holiday, Thai citizens are unlikely to arrange international getaways. Instead, he believes they will opt for local visits, boosting domestic tourism.

In light of this upcoming long break, TAT anticipates around 4.96 million local trips will be made, resulting in an average hotel occupancy rate of 63%. Particularly, it estimates hotels in the eastern part of the country may see a rate of up to 68%, while central and northeastern regions are set to welcome the most number of visitors.

In contrast, the southern part of Thailand might experience fewer tourists due to ongoing closures of several maritime national parks. The closures are for two primary reasons, namely, the present rainy season’s potential safety hazards and the necessity to allow the natural environment to rejuvenate.

However, the Thai Chamber of Commerce has a more optimistic view regarding the long weekend’s financial implications. They project a significant influx of cash flow, estimating a trading sum of around 5 to 7 billion baht during this period.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the extra public holiday assigned to Monday will generally be favorable for the country’s economy. Yet, he also mentioned the additional expenses businesses might incur due to obligatory overtime payments to their employees working on the extra day. Although he remains confident that these extra costs will not severely affect the involved businesses, Angubolkul expressed that he wishes the government had announced the additional public holiday sooner. This would have allowed businesses more lead time to strategize and plan adequately.

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