Bangkok officials campaign for dry, sober Songkran

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has encouraged Songkran celebrants to refrain from two components that are key to the modern celebration of Songkran — booze and water.

Bangkok Deputy Governor Pusadee Tamthai said the city will still hold Songkran parties citywide, but it will encourage celebrants to refrain from drinking, nudity, use of high-pressure water guns and use of talcum powder — basically, every “nontraditional” addition to the modern Songkran festival.

Besides cutting the festival to three days due to chronic water shortage, the city is also encouraging celebrants to help conserve water. It has been reported that the city will scrap all water filling stations this year.

Pusadee said the campaign will be launched on the popular Khao San Road to invite locals and tourists to take part in the water play while assuring them of their “safety.”

In addition, authorities will be sent out to restaurants, markets and train stations to inspect the safety of food being offered to people during the festive period, according to National News Bureau of Thailand.

Despite the drought and shorter period of Songkran, academics still have high hopes the popular festival will generate THB124 billion, the highest revenue in ten years, said Thanawat Pholvichai, director of business and economic forecast center at University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

Thanawat said that the high spending is expected because of the tax incentive scheme, which allows taxpayers to claim a tax deduction up to THB15,000 when they dine in restaurants during Songkran and another THB15,000 when they stay at hotels.

UTCC predicted that the spending during Songkran is expected to increase 4.5 percent from last year’s THB119 billion — which is the highest increase in three years, Thai PBS reported.



Songkran feast: Food and hotel receipts eligible for tax deductions

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Drought desperation: Bangkok officially cuts Songkran short to save water

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