The 36th Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF), organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), opened yesterday with great fanfare at Lumphini Park, Bangkok. The iconic park was transformed into a mini-Thailand filled with beautiful replicas of outstanding landmarks, cultural heritages, and the best products from the five major regions – North, South, East, Central, and Northeast – across the country.
The event was presided over by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, Minister of Tourism and Sports Her Excellency Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Chairman of the Board of TAT Mr. Kalin Sarasin, TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, and the executives of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
Under the ‘Discover Thainess Enjoy Amusement of Siam’ theme, the TTF 2016 inauguration ceremony began with spectacular cultural processions from five major regions of Thailand, followed by a special performance highlighting Thainess and the joy of the Thai way of life. Deputy Prime Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin, along with Minister of Tourism and Sports Mrs. Kobkarn, Chairman of the Board of TAT Mr. Kalin Sarasin, TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak, and BMA executives jointly sounded the drum marking the event’s official opening, sending the joy of Thainess through Thailand and the world.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “The 36th TTF is Thailand’s largest domestic travel fair where Thai and international visitors can learn of various aspects of Thai cultures, traditions, folk wisdoms and local ways of life from every region of the country. Under the ‘Discover Thainess’ concept, the event aims to promote greater domestic tourism in order to help disseminate tourism revenue to local communities across the country, as well as engage everyone in the conservation of Thailand’s cultural heritages. This event also marks a great beginning for Thai tourism in 2016.”
He added, “In 2015, TAT has rescheduled TTF from formerly held annually in June to January and relocated to Lumpini for the first time, which saw a huge success attracting more than 600,000 visitors and generating more than 405 million Baht. More importantly, TAT successfully has successfully built on the image of the event as Thailand’s most important and largest domestic travel fair.”
Banking on the success of the TTF 2015 and the great and convenient location of Lumphini Park, the TTF 2016 is expected to draw more than 600,000 visitors and generate about 500 million Baht in revenue or a 25 per cent year-on-year increase. It is also poised to set the tone for the country’s domestic tourism for 2016, which is targeted to stimulate 150 million trips and 800 billion Baht in income.
The TTF 2016 features four distinctive zones:
Zone 1 or the exhibition zone features booths educating visitors about TAT’s marketing and tourism campaigns, Thailand’s annual events and festivals, Thailand Tourism Awards, the TAT’s 12 Hidden Gems Plus campaign that aims to inspire travellers to visit 24 off-the-beaten-track destinations, and an old-style theatre screening movies telling the folk legend of each attraction.
Zone 2 or the cultural village features tourism products from the five regions of Thailand, including distinctive landmarks, cultures and ways of life, and indigenous food and crafts.
- The Northern village highlights the hand-woven fabrics of the Northern people; such as, Sin fabric of Chiang Mai, Mo Hom from Phrae, Tin Chok from Sukhothai, the award-winning sheepskin Nano fabric from Mae Hong Son, and Yok Dok from Lamphun, along with a Northern Thai-style market and unique Lanna cultural performances.
- The Northeastern village features historical religious landmarks; such as, the 5.3-metre replica of Phrathat Phanom Chedi, and demonstration of rice paddies and sacred rice rituals as well as other Buddhist rituals. Visitors are invited to join the sacred rituals and other fun-filled activities, shop for the region’s famous fabrics; such as, Pha Kap Bua from Ubon Ratchathani and Pha Phraewa from Kalasin, and savour the region’s famous dishes.
- The Central village highlights traditional Thai houses, traditional cultures and performances; such as, Luk Thung Thai folk music, Khon masked dance, and Likay Thai opera performances, as well as demonstrations of important ceremonies and handicraft products unique to the region.
- The Southern region features several replicas of important religious sites unique to the region; such as, the Chao Mae Lim Ko Niao Shrine in Pattani, Phra Borom That Chaiya of Surat Thani, and three different styles of famous local markets. There are also unique cultural performances and demonstrations of handicraft products and famous cuisine of the region.
- The Eastern region highlights outstanding tourism attractions; such as, the Alcazar cabaret show from Pattaya, Mimoza the City of Love, along with folk crafts, fresh fruits and seafood products which the region is most famous for.
Zone 3 or the Bangkok zone is dedicated to the 50 districts of the city highlighting delicious dishes, desserts, and snacks. The zone provides opportunities for tourists and travellers to try and taste different delicacies from these famous communities throughout Bangkok.
Zone 4 or the main stage features entertainment activities with celebrities and famous actors and actresses invited to colour up the event every day.
Mr. Yuthasak concluded, “TAT plans to elevate the Thailand Tourism Festival to an international level and to develop a further understanding of environmental mindfulness among Thai tourists. We will campaign for no littering, no drinking alcohol and no smoking at the event’s venue, and encourage Thais to be good hosts and join us in the development of our country’s tourism to sustainability, so that Thailand can be a role model for other players in ASEAN to look up to given our long-standing experience as one of the world’s top tourist destinations.”
The five-day TTF 2016 is taking place from 13 to 17 January, 2016, during 12:00 – 22:00 Hrs. and is free of charge. The venue can be reached by bus, MRT (Silom station), and BTS (Saladaeng station).