Phuket is expecting a lively Songkran celebration. More than 264,000 tourists intend to visit the resort island for the holiday from 12 to 16 April.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has predicted that the resort island of Phuket will welcome 264’350 visitors during this year’s Songkran Thai New Year celebrations, generating at least seven billion baht in revenue for the country, reports the Bangkok Post.

During the Thai New Year celebrations from 12 to 16 April, the island is expected to experience high levels of congestion, said Lertchai Wangtrakuldi, head of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Despite the “low” tourist season, hotel bookings have reached 80 percent. According to a survey of 2,069 hotels conducted by the tourism authority, the occupancy rate is 78.56 per cent out of 111,427 rooms, with each visitor staying for an average of five nights.

During Songkran, Lertchai said 264’350 visitors to Phuket are expected to spend an average of 6,625 baht daily, generating 7.04 billion baht for the popular tourist destination.

Among foreign tourists, Russian tourists remain the largest group. At least 5,000 Russians arrive in Thailand every day. They are followed by Chinese tourists, the second largest group with 2,000 daily visitors.

The number of European market visitors has also increased, especially from Germany, England, and Kazakhstan. However, the number of Indian visitors has dropped slightly as some Indians prefer closer destinations such as Krabi,” Lertchai added.

The tourism authority expects more arrivals from the Middle East and more domestic visitors during Songkran due to the lower travel costs in April.

Lertchai said ceremonies and activities are planned at many locations on the island, such as Saphankhin Bridge, Phuket Old Town, and Patong Beach, for Songkran celebrations.

For his part, Phuket Tourism Association president Thanet Thantipiriyakit said Songkran is expected to help increase the number of visitors to Phuket, especially from the domestic market.

In light of recent reports of inappropriate behaviour by expats and foreign tourists on the island, Thanet said everyone should abide by the law, regardless of nationality or background.

Last week, two tourists from New Zealand attacked a traffic police officer in Phuket and injured the policeman. On Wednesday, a raid on an illegal poker club in Phuket saw five foreigners arrested and more than 600,000 baht worth of gaming chips seized.

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