PM Yingluck Mulling Extra New Year Holiday

The ever-busy Bangkok main roads are mostly empty during the New Year 'long holidays' as many residents leave the capital for vacation

(2 October) Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had announced the government is considering a plan to declare 30 December as a public holiday, in order to lengthen the New Year 'long holiday' period and boost the nation’s tourism industry.

If the plan, originally proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, is adopted, Thailand will enjoy a stretch of  5 holidays from Saturday 28 December 2013 to Wednesday 1 January 2014.

According to Mr. Kittirat Na Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister, the 5-days long public holiday will help boost the national economy, particularly the tourism sector. He expressed his confidence that the cabinet would agree with the proposed plan.

Mr. Sampan Paenpat, Honorary Consultant of Thai Hotel Association, suggested that the plan could help stimulate the spending over year-end activities.

According to his estimation, the day off on the 30th December could generate 10,000 million baht spending, considering each of 2 million tourists to spend 5,000 baht per day in costs like accommodation and food.

Mr. Yutthachai Soonthornrattanawatch, President of Domestic Tourism in Thailand, also agreed with the plan, as it will greatly encourage "Thai people to celebrate the season in a most fulfilling way". Nonetheless, he said, the government must simultaneously take a step to promote domestic tourism, as there is a  possibility that Thai tourists could end up planning their trip abroad during long holiday.

Although the cabinet has not voted on the matter, the Prime Minister said at Government House today she is doing everything she can to enact the extra holiday.

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