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UNESCO recognizes Thailand’s Songkran Festival as Cultural Heritage

Songkran Festival 2024

Thailand’s Songkran Festival extends to 21 days in 2024 after UNESCO recognition, boosting community and tourism.

This year Thailand‘s iconic Songkran Festival 2024 was extended nationwide from 1 – 21 April following UNESCO‘s recent recognition of the festival as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity‘.

UNESCO’s recognition highlights the profound significance of Songkran, emphasizing its role in fostering community cooperation, family bonds, and the spirit of forgiveness. As stated on UNESCO’s website, Songkran symbolizes as a time-honored tradition for cleansing away misfortunes, praying for prosperity, and honoring ancestors—an embodiment of Thailand’s cultural resilience and heritage.

This journey from the ancient water festival to UNESCO cultural heritage recognition is a testament to the enduring strength of Thai traditions and testament to Thailand’s growing global ‘soft power’.

Traveloka fully supported the Songkran Festival extension, understanding its pivotal role as a driving force behind Thailand’s thriving tourism scene. This iconic celebration not only adds a splash of excitement but also amplifies the Kingdom’s reputation as a must-visit destination in Asia, promising travelers unforgettable, immersive cultural adventures.

As this year’s festival unfolded, cities around Thailand were transformed as Songkran in modern times is primarily about huge fun. Serving as a vibrant testament to Thailand’s cultural allure, Songkran has played a pivotal role in positioning the country as a top-notch destination for travelers worldwide. Ament to Thailand’s Songkran has helped promote Thailand as a cultural destination for travelers worldwide. Its global appeal transcends national borders, attracting international visitors from around the globe who gather for the event.

The 21-day extravaganza celebrating the Thai New Year was an economic juggernaut, creating employment in vital sectors including hospitality, transportation, retail, and entertainment.

The Economic, Tourism, and Sports Division said this year the extended Songkran festival generated 140.335 billion baht over the 21-day period from April 1-21, surpassing pre-event estimates. This was distributed across various travel segments including accommodation (42.069 billion baht), food and beverage (33.069 billion baht), souvenirs (26.839 billion baht), travel (15.505 billion baht), entertainment (14,758 billion baht), tourism services (5,865 million baht), and others (2,230 million baht).

According to Traveloka, domestic search traffic spiked from April 8 – 21 by over 60% compared to the same period in March. Additionally, it shared top its 5 domestic destinations during Songkran 2024 to gauge the travel platform’s economic and social contribution to Thailand’s travel industry:

  • Bangkok – A hub of electrifying street parties and cultural experiences.
  • Chiang Mai – Known for its vibrant parades, traditional rituals, and local celebrations.
  • Hat Yai – A nighttime water war downtown with foam parties and concerts.
  • Phuket – A blend of beachside revelry and cultural festivities.
  • Udon Thani – Immersing visitors in historical elegance and regional ceremonies.

This year, travelers were drawn by the allure of vibrant street parties, captivating parades, and an electrifying atmosphere that illustrates the rich cultural contribution of Thai soft power. The Tourism Authority of Thailand revealed the major success of ‘Maha Songkran World Water Festival 2024’. Over 780,000 people attended, generating more than 2,880 million baht from 11–15 April. Travelers experienced festive activities including fantastic parades, EDM concerts, Thailand’s tallest dancing fountain show, and stunning performances by over 1,200 drones in choreographed patterns.

The Songkran Festival’s economic, global, and social impacts in 2024 were multifaceted and far-reaching, showcasing its significance as both a cultural celebration and a catalyst for tourism, cultural exchange, community cohesion, and social development in Thailand.

Traveloka leveraged the reach and influence of its platform to spotlight the Songkran Festival as the cornerstone of Thailand’s annual tourism calendar. It will continue to seek to capture the imagination of travelers worldwide and inspire them to participate in future Thai events through engaging content, immersive experiences, and strategic promotions. All are invited to explore Traveloka’s portfolio of rich cultural experiences for upcoming festivals around Thailand for 2024 and beyond.

Co-Founder & Managing Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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