Splash-happy tourists can cross out Bangkok’s Khao San Road from their water bucket list this year, after local business owners officially cancelled their plans to hold and Songkran celebrations in the capital’s tourist hotspot, formerly referred to as a “backpacker haven”. It’s the third consecutive year Khao San area operators have halted their famous water fights, much to the chagrin of both locals tourists, as Thailand continues battling the spread of Covid-19.
The decision comes after the Bangkok Metropolitan Association last week set strict Covid-curbing rules for private Songkran parties, and liabilities for those who organise them. Local businesses had earlier banned together to petition the BMA and CCSA for permission to hold water splashing events on Khao San Road, which had been the centrepiece of its pre-pandemic Songkran festivities. They had hoped to attract thousands of local and foreign participants for the first time in 2 years.
Earlier this week, members of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association met to discuss the multiple safety measures, including the ban on alcohol in the celebration ground, being held accountable for revellers who remove their face masks, and having to provide free face masks to replace wet ones. In the end, business owners feared it’s just too risky to comply with the strict new measures and restrictions that were going to be imposed, according to Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association.
The association has already informed the local district office of their decision to cancel their Songkran party plans, Sanga said, adding that a smaller group of business owners still insists on holding dry celebrations anyway. Meanwhile, he expects Khao San area operators to continue business as usual, projecting a 30-40% occupancy rate for hotels, while more Thais wine and dine there during the holiday.
SOURCE: Thai PBS