BANGKOK — The Tourism Authority of Thailand said on Thursday it is toying with the idea of deferring the Thai New Year festivities from April to July in order to avoid the coronavirus.
Agency director Yuthasak Supasorn said the decision will be made in tandem with its local partners and businesses. He said the organization will likely come up with a decision by Saturday.
“We don’t need a Cabinet approval. This is an internal matter,” Yuthasak said by phone. “There have been both positive and negative feedback, but we will decide by tomorrow or Saturday.”
Yuthasak said he was instructed by Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn to find out what the private sector thinks about the idea. If the postponement is approved, the festivities will be moved from April 13-15 to early July.
The Thai New Year, or Songkran, involves three days of water splashing and other activities, which typically draw huge crowds of revellers in major cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chonburi.
Yuthasak said he personally supports July as a possible date because water shortages will be unlikely due to the rainy season in that month.
“This idea stems from not wanting to lose the opportunity from the big festival, and because many major events have been cancelled,” Yuthasak said.
The past week saw cancellations of Songkran-related events in Chiang Rai, Chonburi, Buriram as well as the famous Khaosan Road in Bangkok.