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27 Jan 2006

Thai Economy

Chinese New Year in the Year of the Dog: Bangkok Residents Spending Almost THB15 Billion

The upcoming Chinese New Year will likely be more active than in previous years. Without the widespread bird flu epidemic seen previously, Thailand's tourism has returned to normalcy after the tsunami disaster. As a result, Thai-Chinese Bangkok residents will likely increase their spending over the year before. Kasikorn Research Center (KResearch) has conducted a qualitative poll using a sampling group of 593 Thai-Chinese households, covering a wide range of occupations.

According to the poll, spending on ceremonial items, this year, will average THB3,092.28 per household, rising by 10-15 percent year-on-year, due to hikes in the prices of goods, particularly pork, chicken, duck, seafood, vegetables and sweets. As a result, total ceremonial-related spending reached approximately THB4.3 billion, an increase of 15 percent, over-year.

Meanwhile, most Thai-Chinese people are preferring to give cash as Ang Pao over gold, this year, which has lately become less popular. In most cases, gold is given to senior relatives. As the gold price has skyrocketed to breach a price of THB10,000/baht-weight, compared to almost THB8,000/baht-weight in the year before, gold trade during this Chinese New Year will likely be more lethargic than in previous years.

Based on the survey findings, budgets for giving Ang Pao during the Chinese New Year ? the 'Spring Festival' ? will have averaged some THB8,238.63 per person. On the whole, Bangkok residents' spending for this purpose will be a total of some THB5.4 billion.

This year, Chinese New Year's Eve ceremonies will be held on January 28, 2006. Subsequently, most Thai-Chinese businesses will be closed so that their employees can take vacations to visit their families. Given the short holiday, most of them will stay in Bangkok. The poll found that 65.4 percent of all respondents will stay at home while 32.7 percent will travel for leisure.

For those who choose to stay in Bangkok during the Chinese New Year, 59.2 percent will be conducting many activities, including eating out in restaurants, strolling in department stores, watching movies in theatres, going to amusement parks, cooking at home, visiting the homes of relatives for reunions, as well as paying homage to Lord Buddha at temples and famous shrines in Bangkok. Expenses for such activities will likely average THB673.96 per person, with a total of THB2.0 billion generated for businesses related to the above diversions.

For those who choose to take vacations during the Chinese New Year, 96.3 percent choose to travel upcountry. Of this amount, almost 60 percent will be taking short day-trips with an average expense of around THB903.57 each, the rest will be taking overnight trips with an average expense of THB1,865.22 per person. Spending for domestic vacations of Thai-Chinese Bangkok respondents during the Chinese New Year will generate around THB2 billion to tourism-related businesses, increasing 10 percent over last year.

The most popular domestic tourism destinations for Bangkok residents during the Chinese New Year that are not far from Bangkok are:

- Seaside venues in the east, such as Bangsaen, Pattaya, Rayong and Ko Chang.

- Seaside venues in the Gulf of Thailand such as Cha-am, Hua Hin.

Moreover, there are also seaside resorts in the South such as Phuket and Samui, and provinces that have famous temples or shrines such as Nakhon Pathom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and Chachoengsao.

The expenses of respondents who will be choosing to travel overseas during the Chinese New Year will average THB18,000 per person, resulting in overseas trips of Thai-Chinese Bangkok residents being valued at around THB1 billion, increasing 25 percent. Most of the trips will be short-haul within Asia where the popular tourism sources are Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

In total, the expenses of Bangkok Thai-Chinese residents during this Chinese New Year will total around THB14,700 million, and THB11,700 million of this amount will be spent in Bangkok, while the rest of around THB2 billion will be generated to tourism sources upcountry. Moreover, there will also be about THB1 billion in exchange out-flow occurring from Bangkok residents taking international vacations during the Chinese New Year.

Thai Economy