Bangkok, April 7, 2011 — The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has invited about 300 overseas travel agents and media to join in the fun and frolic of Songkran, the kingdom’s most joyous annual festival which celebrates the start of the Thai (lunar) New Year.
This year, the Thai people will mark Songkran between 13-15 April 2011, a fun-filled national holiday to highlight the role of water in Thai social, cultural, economic, and spiritual life. Marked during the peak of the summer heat wave, it includes the annual bathing of Buddha images carried out at temples and homes across the country.
The word “Songkran” means a passage or course and refers to the position of the sun within the solar system. As the sun enters each of the houses of the zodiac constellation,
a Songkran cycle is completed.
This year, TAT has decided to broaden the festivities with the “Songkran Grand Invitation 2011” to underscore the importance of this traditional festival in Thai culture and tradition and reinforce the long-standing reputation of the Thais as a fun-loving, easy-going people who are more than happy to involve foreigners in their local festivities.
The invited media and travel agents will in turn generate significant amounts of business and positive publicity for Thailand.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “We selected Songkran for this Mega Fam Trip because there is no better time for visitors to see Thailand at its happiest. No matter what else is going on, everything gets set aside for these few days as everyone takes a five-day time-out to cool off and have fun. The festivities involve all Thais nationwide, including foreign residents. And we know from experience that visitors have a lot of fun too, especially young people.”
A total of 292 representatives of international travel agents and journalists have been invited to join this Mega Fam Trip, with the breakdown being ASEAN (103), Europe (51), America (45), and East Asia region (93).
On 11 April 2011, the group will be formally welcomed by TAT, followed by a presentation on the Thai tourism industry. Their visit will include stops at an ecotourism conference, the famed temple of Wat Pho, and a river cruise. They will also enjoy a cocktail party at Nagaraphirom Park (near Wat Pho). This will be a great chance for both parties to witness first-hand the splendours of Thailand.
At the same time, TAT is cooperating with public sector agencies and private sector partners to organise a number of activities for Thai and foreign visitors to celebrate Songkran in Bangkok and 12 major provinces most popular with foreign and domestic tourists.
The list of celebrations and activities follow below. Further details are available at the website www.tatnews.org or contact TAT Call Center 1672.
GRAND SONGKRAN FESTIVAL OPENING CEREMONY
9 APRIL, 2011/ 18.00 hrs
Nagaraphirom Park (near Wat Pho), Bangkok
BANGKOK SONGKRAN SPLENDOURS FESTIVAL
SONGKRAN THAI NEW YEAR MERIT-MAKING AT NINE ROYAL TEMPLES
9-17 APRIL, 2011/ 11.00-18.00 hrs
Nine royal temples around Rattanakosin Island
SONGKRAN FESTIVAL CELEBRATION AROUND RATTANAKOSIN ISLAND
(Banglamphu, Khao San Road, Phra Athit Road, Santichaiprakarn Park, Wisutkasat)
SONGKRAN FESTIVAL CELEBRATION IN 12 PROVINCES
9-17 APRIL, 2011
Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Chonburi, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Songkhla and Phuket.
International visitor arrivals to Thailand during January – March 2011 totalled 3.59 million, up 11.71% over the same period of 2010.
For 2011, TAT is targeting 16.4 million international visitor arrivals with projected foreign exchange revenue earnings of 625 billion Baht. The domestic target is 91 million trips with an earnings projection of 432 billion Baht.
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
Web site: www.tatnews.org
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