Foreign arrivals, domestic tourism expected to grow this Songkran holiday period
Last week the Cabinet approved a 3.5 billion baht budget to finance land acquisition for the high speed rail line linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, and U-tapao International Airports. The cabinet also approved a further 108 billion baht is allocated for the rail link. The entire route will be about 220 km long and the trains should run at a speed of 250 km an hour. It is expected that the train will take about 45 minutes from Bangkok to U-tapao for a cost of 330 baht. Most of the rail line will be built along an existing route operated by the State Railway of Thailand and trains in the inner city will run at a lower speed of 160 km an hour. Makkasan Station, currently a station on the Airport Rail Link that connects with the MRT system will serve as the central station for the high-speed train. The government is expected to sign a joint-venture contract in December and the train is expected to become operational in 2023.
The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) said last week that six major airports across the nation will see an 11.9 percent year on year increase in air travel between April 11th and 17th for the Songkran New Year holiday. The number of passengers is expected to grow 14.4 percent year on year to around 430,700 passengers per day. Suvarnabhumi will see the highest volume with more than a 1,000 flights and almost 200,000 passengers each day. Don Mueang will see the second highest volume and is expected to see passenger growth jump 21.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts that nearly 20 billion baht in tourism revenues will be generated during the Songkran holiday period, an 18 percent increase from the same holiday period last year. Foreign tourists are expected to reach 530,000 arrivals and generate 9.3 billion baht in revenues while domestic tourism is predicted to grow 12 percent year on year generating 10 billion baht in revenues, a 15 percent rise. The rise in domestic tourism is due to tax incentives, the extension of holiday period and increased domestic flights to meet high demand during Songkran.
The use of data via mobile phones reached six times the same amount from four years ago in 2017 as Thais used a total of 3.3 billion gigabytes (3 million terabytes) of mobile internet data in 2017. Each user used an average of 4.11 gb of data a month on average. According to the to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) voice calls dropped from 70.72 billion minutes in 2014 to 43.46 billion minutes last year and the duration of those calls dropped from four minutes per day in 2014 to 2 minutes in 2017. There are 121.53 million mobile numbers in use in Thailand, with 53.05 million numbers registered with AIS, 36.05 million registered with TRUE, 30 million with DTAC, 2.32 million with CAT, and 0.11 million with TOT.