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4 Feb 2008

Thai Economy

Chinese New Year: City Dwellers Spending THB16.4 Billion(Current Issue No.2034)

KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) hasconducted a qualitative poll on ;Spending Behavior of Thai-Chinese Bangkok Residents during Chinese New Year 2008: Focusing on Households Strictly Observing Worship Ceremony” during January 18-25, 2008, using a sampling group of 444 interviewees who represented families observing these worship rituals. The survey was intended to shed light on the major activities of Chinese New Year celebrants in Bangkok and the cashflow among related businesses during the festivities. The findings show that the main activities will include the buying of ceremonial items, giving Ang Pao, domestic travel and outbound tours. Among the top activities quoted by respondents were, i.e., visits to Chinese shrines/Buddhist temples, as well as dining out and shopping at department stores. These Chinese New Year-related activities in Bangkok will likely generate THB16.4 billion in income, rising by 5.1 percent over 2007.
Details include the following matters of note:
- Purchases of ceremonial Items will be worth some THB4.4 billion in Bangkok. Most respondents – some 47.7 percent – said that the budgets they had set aside for the purchases of ceremonial items would remain unchanged from last year. However, 29.5 percent responded that they would be cutting this somewhat from last year, while 22.8 percent of those polled said that they had set aside a larger budget for this purpose to reflect the higher prices of goods.
- Giving Ang Pao: In 2008, Ang Pao is projected will have a total value of around THB6.4 billion. Due to the dramatic rise in gold prices and unfavorable economic conditions, most Ang Pao will be cash. The poll results showed that 59.2 percent of Bangkok residents would be giving Ang Pao during the Chinese New Year Festival with a budget close to what was seen last year. Most respondents – some 91.6 percent – would be giving Ang Pao in cash, while 8.4 percent responded that they would be giving gold jewelry. Most of the intended Ang Pao recipients this year – more than 60 percent – would be younger relatives who haven't started working yet; that proportion is followed by older relatives and employees, in that order.
- The spending on outdoor activities of Bangkok residents who are opting to stay in Bangkok during the Chinese New Year will be valued at around THB2.4 billion. The first leisure day of this Chinese New Year falls on February 7, 2007. A higher proportion of those polled than last year stated that they are choosing to stay in Bangkok, but would also be enjoying some outdoor activities. Most of these respondents – 84.2 percent – are choosing to stay in Bangkok, while 15.8 percent responded that they would participate in outdoor activities within the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and/or neighboring communities during this Chinese New Year. Out of respondents choosing to stay in Bangkok during this New Year, 68.2 percent have outdoor activities planned, while the remaining 31.8 percent would rest at home. The outdoor activities that 38.7 percent of those polled are choosing to participate in during the 2008 Chinese New Year include worship at Buddhist temples and famous shrines in Bangkok.
- Spending on domestic travel this year is valued at around THB2 billion, which would include both one-day and overnight trips where the travel itineraries include visiting famous temples or shrines for worship. Popular tourism venues that Bangkok residents said they would like to visit this New Year are those not far from Bangkok because they are convenient and moderate in expense compared to the cost of long-distance domestic travel seems rather high to many this year.
-Traveling abroad: During this Chinese New Year, the value will be around THB1 billion. Outbound tours this year will be very active, partly due to the stronger Baht. The cost of outbound tours is relatively close to long-distance domestic trips such as to Phuket, which costs about the same as going to Singapore or Malaysia. In addition, those intending to visit seaside tourist attractions are facing reservation problems because this festival is part of the high-season for foreign tourists. Thus, there may be higher costs for accommodation, too.

Tourist attractions in foreign countries that are popular with Thai-Chinese Bangkok residents include short-haul destinations in Asia such as China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. Among those countries, China tends to be the most popular because of the lower cost. While visiting China, Thai-Chinese Bangkok residents can visit relatives and go shopping at the same time. Nonetheless, Laos and Vietnam are popular destinations for Thais, as well.

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