Thailand put COVID-19 in the rear-view mirror as millions hit the road over the long weekend to crowd tourist attractions and temples throughout the country.
Months of pandemic cabin fever led to large crowds at beaches, markets and shopping districts in destinations such as Hua Hin, Cha-am, Pattaya and Bang Saen. Other popular spots such as Doi Suthep, Khao Kho and Khao Yai National Park reported the same.
Top tourism authority official Yuthasak Supasorn said yesterday that around 1.42 million people traveled, down from the usual 2 million travelers seen on four-day weekends. The number included those traveling for pleasure as well as long-delayed visits home after Songkran was postponed in April.
Although many places were too crowded to practice social distancing, Yuthasak said they provided hand sanitizers and most people wore masks.
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce estimates that about THB5.3 billion (US$169.5 million) was spent over the long weekend, down about 21% from the same period last year. It also forecast that around 20 million Thais will travel in the fourth quarter.
One week from today, a THB22.4 billion government stimulus program kicks in to reimburse people’s travel expenses.