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TAT to launch year of grand festivals

Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana inaugurated the `Thailand Grand Festival` campaign on…

Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana inaugurated the `Thailand<.> Grand Festival` campaign on January 20, 2002, a year-long celebration of colourful and exciting festivals based on Thai history, heritage and culture.

The launch at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) also attended by H.E. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Minister to the Prime Minister`s Office and Chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand H.E. Mr. Somsak Thepsutin.

TAT Acting Governor and Deputy Governor for Marketing Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan said that the campaign is designed to boost domestic and international tourism by creating a wider range of activities for visitors to enjoy, no matter which part of the year they choose to travel.

Tourism is now widely recognised as an effective and low-cost means of boosting the country`s economy and the Prime Minister has personally thrown his support behind the industry, the Acting Governor said.

Acting Governor Juthamas added, Though the campaign is basically designed for Thais, international visitors can also benefit. TAT wishes to acknowledge the strong support we have received from government agencies, the private sector and travel industry associations.

The Thailand Grand Festival campaign will see a new festival organised somewhere in Thailand every month, based on a different theme like music and sports, rivers, family relationships, arts and crafts, etc.

To encourage visitation, over 3,000 tourism-related businesses nationwide have agreed to provide discounts for their products and services. These include accommodation, tour companies, restaurants, souvenirs shops, airlines, transportation companies, etc.

Participating companies will be identifiable by a sticker bearing the Thailand Grand Festival logo in their premises. Their names will also be listed in a comprehensive directory which will be distributed to consumers free of charge. To promote the campaign among Thai travellers, a series of lucky draws will be organised every week.

Thais are encouraged to send in photos taken during their trips in Thailand with short captions and write-ups. These will be entered in the lucky-draw contest with entrants eligible for prizes like luxury cars, shopping coupons, digital cameras, air tickets, accommodation vouchers, etc. A call centre and a webpage to provide tourism information will also be established.

TAT has also joined hands with the Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT) to produce the `Thailand Grand Festival` Pin Phone 108 Card which can be used as a phone card and shown at major participating tourism-related businesses for discounted rates.

The phone card, worth 100 baht, will be available for sale at 7-Eleven convenient stores, World Phone shops and TOT offices nationwide.

In 2000, Thais and expatriates living in Thailand made an estimated 55.05 million trips, an increase of 2.61% over 1999. Their cumulative spending was estimated at 233.33 billion baht, up 14.46% over 1999. The projection for domestic trips in 2001 is 56.70 million, with an expenditure of about 268.88 billion baht. The full list of festivals under the Thailand Grand Festival campaign is as follows:
JANUARY — Amazing Light and Sound: A number of light and sound presentations will be held at nine major historical and cultural sites including Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram;

FEBRUARY — Flower Festivals: Many tourist destinations will be decorated with fresh flowers while flower festivals will be held in major tourist destinations. Special agro-tours will be organised to promote flower nurseries and gardens in many provinces;

MARCH — Summer Festival (Music and Sports): Music festivals to be organised will include the Pattaya Music Festival, Thai Traditional Music Festival in Suphanburi and Jazz Festival in Hua Hin. Sports events will include a World Jet-Ski competition and Buffalo Cart Races;

APRIL — Maha Songkran Festival: Songkran Festival will be celebrated in Bangkok and seven major tourist cities. Bangkok will also celebrate its 220th anniversary as the Thai capital this month. Songkran on Khao San Road will be celebrated with a cultural procession from Bangkok`s 50 districts and other provinces;

MAY — Fruit Season: A number of tour packages to fruit orchards will be organised to promote the many delicate tropical fruits. Fruit festivals will also be launched in major provinces;

JUNE — Green Adventure: The Eco and Adventure Mart will be held at the QSNCC to feature a wide range of ecotourism packages and adventure activities.

JULY — Thai Arts and Crafts: Major cultural and arts activities will be held including many Candle Procession Festivals in the provinces to mark the Buddhist Lent. Wax carving competitions will be organised.

AUGUST — Family Fun Fair: Family caravans will be organised to promote family travel, especially to sites like zoos, theme parks and museums, all of which will offer special discounted rates.

SEPTEMBER — Royal Barge: Special festivals will commemorate the closely intertwined relationship between the Thai people and rivers, along with boat races and a light and sound presentation at the Royal Barge Museum.

OCTOBER — Amazing Mekong: Cultural festivals and activities will be organised between Thailand and the neighbouring Mekong countries of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

NOVEMBER — Festival of River and Celestial Life: A Loi Krathong Festival will be held in major tourist cities; and

DECEMBER — Thailand Celebration: Special international cultural and entertainment events will be organised to honour His Majesty King Bhumibol. Globally known artists and celebrities will be invited to participate.

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