Grand Opening Ceremony in Lumphini Park, Bangkok
Now as you may know, tourism is big business in Thailand, and with such a huge diversity of amazing attractions and destinations it is not difficult to see why. Last year alone, 30 million people are thought to have visited the Kingdom, helping to generate around 8 trillion Baht for the economy.
To help promote the tourist industry and encourage more people to discover all that Thailand has to offer, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT, organises an annual tourism festival to raise awareness of Thai culture, traditions, heritage, and unique ways of life.This year the 36th festival was held in Lumpini Park over five days and kicked off with a Grand Opening Ceremony on the 13th of January. We met up with the Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Her Excellency Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul to ask why the festival is so important for the Thai tourism industry and to see what she hopes to achieve at this year’s event.
This year’s festival is split into four main zones, each designed to highlight the beautiful Thai way of life along with world famous Thai hospitality. The first showcases Thailand’s colourful festivals and vibrant local fairs from the five major regions. It also introduced visitors to the “12 Hidden Gems Plus”, or twin destinations project, an initiative designed to encourage travellers to visit small, pass-through or forgotten cities by pairing lesser known cities with their more famous neighbours.
Another zone showcases the uniqueness of the Kingdom’s five regions via “5 Tourism Villages”. Each village provides visitors with first-hand experiences of what each region has to offer, from exquisite art and exotic crafts to scrumptious local delicacies. Each of Bangkok’s 50 districts were represented in a further Zone, whilst the final zone was home to a dazzling array of live cultural performances.
This year’s event is thought to have been the biggest yet, attracting over 670,000 visitors, both locals and from around the world. We caught up with a few international tourists to see what they thought of the festival.