Religious tourism takes a hit because of Covid-19 outbreak
Thais spend on average around Bt10.8 billion in religious travel per year, Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said.
The office recently conducted a poll on Thai consumers' spending related to religious and sacred items.
“Out of 7,904 respondents, 43.9 per cent said that they travelled less often to religious venues [temples, churches] compared to the previous year, mainly due to the Covid-19 outbreak,” she said.
“The top reasons for visiting religious venues are to pay respects and gain spiritual support, followed by praying to holy objects and asking for blessings.
“Over 70 per cent of respondents said they spend less than Bt200 for donations/merit-making on each trip to religious venues. People in this group are mostly students or unemployed, while those who spend more than Bt200 at religious venues are mostly civil servants and business owners,” she added.
“Activities that are most popular among religious visitors are fortune-telling from horoscope [54.1 per cent], palm reading [20.9 per cent] and Tarot cards reading [12.2 per cent].”
From the poll results, the office estimated that Thais spend around Bt10.8 billion on religious travelling per year, accounting for 0.36 per cent of total tourism revenue. “Religious travelling is an important economic activity that helps create revenue at the community level, as Thailand has religious venues scattered in every province,” Pimchanok said. “Therefore, local administrators and communities must work together to promote local tourism as well as maintain religious venues in good condition to attract tourists.”