The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) kicked off its ambitious ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’ campaign with a spectacular procession through the heart of Bangkok.
The opening ceremony, held at Siam Discovery, was presided over by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tanasak Patimapragorn, and brought to life the campaign’s focus on sustainable, quality tourism in line with the ‘Sufficiency Economy Philosophy’.
The procession – which Travel Weekly was lucky enough to witness first-hand – featured six parades, which joined a 3.5-kilometre route from the National Stadium to Lumphini Park.
Each parade represented a treasured aspect of Thai tourism, with the first showcasing the Lotus Goddess, a symbol of the ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’ campaign, signifying harmony and happiness.
The second parade highlighted amazing architecture and sculpture from each region of Thailand, including miniatures of Wat Phra That Sri Chom Thong, Chiang Mai (northern region), Wat Phra Mahathat, Nakhon Si Thammarat (southern region), Chon Buri’s Kong Kao – or rice mould – Festival (eastern region), Phrathat Phanom Chedi, Nakhon Phanom (north-eastern region), and the Mon Songkran Festival in Sangklaburi, Kanchanaburi (central region).
The third parade presented a taste of Thailand’s wide variety of distinctive foods, desserts, and ingredients, while the fourth and fifth parades showcased the various outstanding festivals and major sporting events set to be hosted in the Kingdom in 2018.
The procession was capped off by the sixth parade, which exemplified Thailand’s role as a gracious host.
The ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’ campaign aims to boost the country’s reputation as a preferred destination while increasing visitors’ average length of stay, expenditure and repeat visitation.
The campaign places the spotlight on activities in 13 categories: sports, gastronomy, maritime tourism, weddings and honeymoons, medical and wellness, community-based tourism, leisure, green tourism, night tourism, MICE, trade fairs, B2B marketing activities, and logistics.
Each of these categories has a packed schedule of local and international events.
Speaking last night at the parade, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said: “Today marks the beginning of the ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’, which is at the heart of the Royal Thai government’s ongoing efforts to foster the success of the tourism industry, as a key economic driver.
“Our outstanding program of major events throughout the year will once again put Thailand in the spotlight as a preferred destination for international travellers.”
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn added: “Today’s procession offers a glimpse of what each and every visitor to Thailand can look forward to as part of the ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’.
“And one point to be emphasised is expressed in the last procession, which features the many occupations in the tourism industry, and reiterates that Thailand is a very hospitable country and has welcomed international visitors with open arms throughout its history.”