Reader talkback results: What should Thailand do about Songkran for this year?

 

The following is our weekly feature in which we ask our readers a question at the start of the week and then a week later give the results, highlight diverse viewpoints and opinions on topics.

This week we asked you the following:

 What should Thailand do about Songkran this year? Should it be canceled for the second year in a row? Postponed? Allowed with rules? Only traditional? Etc.

Reader talkback: What should Thailand do about Songkran for this year?

As expected, this was a passionate topic. Many long-term ex-pats hate the event personally, but many also understand that it is the biggest holiday of the year for the Thai people and the biggest domestic tourism (and before, a major foreign tourism) event. Billions of baht are made every year…but is it at the cost of a lack of a traditional Songkran? We asked our readers also to think of the event from a larger perspective and not just “if you personally dislike it.”(Although got plenty of those responses too) Let’s see what you guys said:

If you still want to chime in, You can reply to us here in the comments, on our social media channels, or mail us at Pattayanewseditor@gmail.com.

Daniel S-I am Spanish. We have tried to save businesses at Christmas and now we have almost 40,000 more infected every day, about 3,000 deaths a week, and hospitals collapsed (we are the third-worst country in the world). And vaccinations will be delayed for a few months.
If the Thai New Year is not celebrated, many businesses will have to close permanently, but many lives may be saved. The question, also in my country, should be: Do we save businesses or do we save lives? I have run a restaurant and I know the answer is not easy. Even knowing that many people will have a hard time, common sense tells me that businesses can recover but lives cannot. Perhaps the solution would be to help businesses to resist but keep them closed until infection rates drop.
I would definitely not celebrate the Thai New Year this year.

Andy L-Bring Pattaya back in line with the rest of the country- Apr 13-15 only.
Celebrations must be traditional.
No water fights. And make this permanent for the next few years.
Restore Songkran to what it is meant to be. It is not an opportunity for thuggish, aggressive behavior like it was pre- Covid.

Denis T-Cancel it. Any rules put in place to limit celebration or make it a traditional only celebration will be ignored. TIT

Clifford K- Even if they attempt to have a subdued version with rules they will just be broken. That is especially true given the year of restrictions here this past year and no Songkran last year. If you allow Songkran this year then I fear a major cutting loose blowout party by many.

Damien R-There is no way in hell they will be able to have a traditional Songkran, especially the younger Thais. If given the chance, it will be an absolute major party (like New Year’s was in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but was shut in Pattaya) and although I don’t believe Covid is widespread here and the population seems mostly asymptomatic it is probably better to wait. On the other hand, the only reason they managed to cancel it last year was curfews, an alcohol sales ban countrywide (remember that?), travel bans, threats of the emergency decree, buses shut down, checkpoints everywhere, etc. That won’t happen this year so you will likely get millions (like regular years) leaving to go to their home province and visit, especially from Bangkok. It’s a difficult decision. I’d say the only realistic option is to cancel the big parties and events (including the final day in Pattaya, which even most ex-pats like, with the big beach road celebration) but tolerate the smaller events and parties within reason.

Ken T-It is too early to make any firm decision yet with the potential of future COVID outbreaks.

Mike R-No eight days of it in Pattaya. Do the national days only (13-15), no major parties or events or celebrations, no Beach Road event with hundreds of thousands, no Central Festival major parties, etc. However, I doubt you will be able to completely ban the water throwing so let the small bars play if they want, limit the areas possibly to the smaller sois for three days, only afternoons and not evenings. Focus on the traditional aspect, but accept some water fights will take place. I hate the event, but I also see it’s a huge earner for SOME business, and they certainly need it.

Vincent W-Cancel again. It was a necessary action last year and still is. Not enough people will be vaccinated by then to matter. There could not POSSIBLY be a bigger “super spreader” of Covid than Songkran. Furthermore, the 10s of thousands of ex-pats that leave Thailand for this ridiculous celebration will be stuck here, unable to leave. Remember that many ex-pats are in the high-risk group.

Joey S-Let it happen

David B-Postpone it. Always been madness to flush all that precious water away during the dry season…… maybe a good opportunity to delay it until later in the year

Peter H-It will likely be postponed. Anyway, it’s the last thing needed right now when the first priority is to keep case numbers down and to open up tourism.

Richard J-IMO It’s should go ahead as it normally would can”t be riding the COVID train forever 2021 it’s time to get off.

Brian S-I’m personally not a big lover of Songkran water fights. With the current Covid crisis still predominant I believe the old traditional Songkran is the best option. 

Sid J-Probably best to cancel until we are clear of the Covid, it only needs a couple of infected people mingling there to bring back another lockdown, just let it be for another year.

Tim W-Open up and let everyone have a good old jolly ******** time

Nik H-If it goes ahead, then it needs to be controlled, etc, and limited to a couple of days, as in Phuket. The continued two weeks that go on in Pattaya would be a stupid idea in the current climate.

Mike S-With no tourists in great numbers expected until the third quarter I would say just make it a Three-day weekend event. Domestic tourists will show up and book hotels. Starts at 10 am, finishes at 6 pm.

We will have a new reader question for you tomorrow, thank you as always for your opinions and thoughts!

 

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