BANGKOK (AP) — Hordes of revelers tote colorful water guns as Thailand kicks off its exuberant three-day Songkran festival at full blast for the first time since 2019, hoping for a significant boost in tourism after the industry was devastated by coronavirus travel restrictions. The New Year celebration’s signature water fighting is a major draw for tourists. But it had been banned or discouraged since 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Tourism Authority of Thailand projects this year’s Songkran festival will help generate more than $530 million in revenue and bring more than 300,000 international travelers. Still, local entrepreneurs remain concerned about the pace of recovery.
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