Dussehra festival celebrated in Bangkok, Thailand

Hindus perform a ritual during a Dussehra celebration in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, October 19, 2018. Hindus in Bangkok joined a series of festivities on Saturday evening to observe Dussehra, a major Hindu festival marking Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, the ten-headed demon king.

Sri MahaMariAmman Temple located at Silom road in Bangkok

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Travelers Spend More Money in Thailand Than Anywhere Else in Asia

It’s the fourth-most-profitable tourism destination in the world.

Just more than a year ago, I ate at Nahm, in Bangkok—and walked out after paying barely $60 for a tasting menu that currently ranks 49th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. My grand, five-star hotel, the Anantara Siam, with its gilded murals and landscaped courtyards, cost $150 a night, including a breakfast buffet that was truly fit for royalty. Even the most expensive souvenir I bought in town, an elephant figurine with inlaid mother of pearl, cost less than a typical outing to McDonald’s back home in New York.

Yet, according to a visualization of recent UN World Tourism Organization data by HowMuch, a financial literacy and infographics agency, Thailand outranks every other nation in Asia when it comes to tourism spend.

Last year, it collected $57 billion in international tourism receipts, nearly doubling Macao ($36 billion), Japan ($34 billion), Hong Kong ($33 billion), and China ($33 billion). Globally, the only countries that out-earn Thailand in terms of tourism dollars are France ($61 billion), Spain ($68 billion), and the United States—which handily takes the gold medal, at $211 billion.

It all comes down to volume. Foreign arrivals could hit 40 million next year, which is more than half the country’s population.

“In Thailand, you’ve got something for everybody,” says Rebecca Mazzaro, a specialist for bespoke outfitter ATJ. “From the private island with the private villa to amazing street food meals that only cost a couple bucks, it has a diversity and variety that exists in few other markets. It’s no surprise lots of people are going—and spending,” she says.

A Coming Luxury Boom

Though gaps in the WTO’s data make it difficult to ascertain the per-visitor spend in each of these countries, given recent and forthcoming developments, that number is likely to be rising.

“There’s no question that historically Bangkok—and Thailand in general—has always been perceived as a value destination,” says John Blanco, general manager of the forthcoming five-star Capella Bangkok, opening next spring with 101 suites facing the Chao Phraya River. “But there has been a real effort to shift that perception.”

photo.marketingbyraj.com
Tuk tuks are a key local transport mode in Bangkok. Source: http://photo.marketingbyraj.com

Bangkok’s iconic Tuk-Tuk Taxi

Mastercard’s annual Global Destination Cities Index recently ranked Bangkok as the most-visited city in 2017 for the third year in a row. The study, based on undisclosed public data sources, rather than cardholder transactions, indicates that travelers shell out $173 for a day in the Thai capital, compared to $537 in Dubai or $286 in Singapore. This year, it forecasts travelers will spend an additional 14 percent more.

By next year, the city will have gained even more opportunities to spend, such as superlative new resorts from Four Seasons, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental, and Waldorf Astoria, plus a $1.6 billion Bal Harbour-esque mixed-use retail development called Icon Siam. When it opens in November, the latter will claim restaurants from top-tier chefs, including Alain Ducasse and an outpost of Tokyo department store Takashimaya. The Capella hotel will house Mauro Colagreco restaurant, whose Mirazur in Menton, France, has two Michelin stars. “There’s a lot more meat on the bone now,” Blanco says of luxury offerings in the capital.

Overlooking the scenic ‘Land of Smiles’ – Bangkok Source: http://photo.marketingbyraj.com

Dino Michael, global head of Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, agrees. “We’ve been noticing the upscaling of Bangkok for a few years,” he tells Bloomberg. “The consumer has become more sophisticated; the dining scene has become more sophisticated.” And yet the timeless appeal is what led him to open the brand’s first southeast Asia property here in August—a glassy tower with dramatic skyline views from nearly every angle. Among Bangkok’s selling points, he says, are strong infrastructure and airlift, a “depth and breadth of tourists,” and an ingrained culture of hospitality. For tourists and brands thinking about charting the region, Michael adds, “It’s world renown—and an obvious starting point.”

The Pitfalls of Popularity

There may be a price to pay for popularity, particularly on Thailand’s beaches and islands. Already, throngs of partygoers on commercial yachts have done so much damage to the pristine marine ecosystem of Maya Bay—the picturesque backdrop to Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 film The Beach—that the area closed for four months earlier this year to recover. Unable to bounce back fast enough, it’s now being closed indefinitely. That follows similar measures in nearby Koh Khai and Koh Tachai islands, where coral was being destroyed at devastating rates.

n Phuket, Mastercard’s 12th-most-visited destination in the world, there’s been a sharp decline in the local turtle population, correlated with the rise in beachside pollution. It’s led 70 hoteliers to band together to promote sustainability and encourage better etiquette among travelers. And in Thailand’s north, the dramatic growth of tourism has led to a sobering spike in unethical wildlife tourism, often centering around elephants and tigers.

The capital, meanwhile, has stayed largely out of the way of these visitor-related troubles—perhaps because it’s hard(er) to justify bad behavior in a city with 40,000 Buddhist temples. “Of course, red light tourism is alive and well—like it or not,” says Catherine Heald, founder and chief executive of Asia outfitter Remote Lands. “But ultimately, tourism has really lifted the local economy.” At $57 billion a year, there’s no denying that.

A birds-eye view of the second-hand market in Bangkok Source: Asia Transpacific Journeys
Phi Phi Island, in Thailand.
Source: Remote Lands
PM Prayut instructs officials to boost tourists’ confidence

The Prime Minister has instructed related agencies to step up efforts to boost tourist confidence.

Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha meanwhile, denied claims that Thailand had limited the number of visas for Chinese travelers, an allegation that went viral via YouTube, while the Thai consulate generals and Embassy in China also confirmed the reports were groundless.

Gen. Prayut has accordingly instructed related agencies to keep a close eye on all news and reports, to preempt false news, while clarifying the issue with the public, as there are groups that have been trying to hurt Thailand’s reputation, particularly among the people of China.

The PM confirmed that the Thai government has reacted to the false claims in social media, and various units have already been asked to reinvigorate Thailand’s tourism and to prevent any repeat of such attacks.

He added that the Royal Thai Embassy and Thai consulate generals in China, have already addressed the problem of a shortage of visa stamps and confirmed that there has never been any policy to limit the number of visa applicants while working with Chinese authorities to take action against those, who have spread false reports.

Information and Source

Reporter : Kitti Cheevasittiyanon Rewriter : Rodney McNeil National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Thailand remains most visited destination among Chinese

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has reported that Ctrip.com, China’s largest and most influential online travel agent, has ranked Thailand the number one global destination among Chinese tourists during this year’s National Day vacation, or the Chinese Golden Week 2018.

Thailand comes out on top of Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea, among more than 1,000 destinations in nearly 100 countries. Favorite Thai destinations among Chinese tourists include Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and Chiang Mai.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said China is Thailand’s largest tourist market, and this latest Ctrip’s study shows that the kingdom continues to win the hearts of Chinese tourists with a wide range of attractions, ranging from local experiences, abundant natural beauty and a remarkable variety of activities, including soft adventure, health and wellness, weddings and honeymoons, and sports tourism.

This year, TAT is maintaining its target of 10.5-11 million arrivals from China, up from last year’s 9.8 million. Already this year, from January to August, Thailand has welcomed 7.7 million Chinese tourists, generating 423 billion baht.

Thai Health Promotion Foundation warns of salty vegetarian meals

The Thai Health Promotion Foundation has warned people participating in the Vegetarian Festival to beware of high salt content.

The foundation and the Less Salt Project conducted a random sampling of vegetarian meals in Yaowarat, Aor Tor Kor Market, and Ying Charoen Market, and found the average sodium content of popular dishes to be above 1,000 milligrams, compared to the recommended amount of no more than 600 milligrams per meal.

People are therefore advised to opt for fresh fruit, soy milk, and grains, while avoiding ready-made meals, soup, fried food, and meals that are high in carbohydrates.

Information and Source

Reporter : Benjamin Rujopakarn Rewriter : Rodney McNeil National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

India Wins Election To UN Human Rights Council

Hack:

  • India was elected unopposed to the United Nations’ top human rights body on Friday for a period of three years beginning from January 1, 2019, after getting 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category
  • India’s Ambassador and representative to UN, Syed Akbaruddin‏ tweeted his happiness after the country was inducted into UNHRC

India was elected to the United Nations’ top human rights body on Friday for a period of three years beginning from January 1, 2019, after getting 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category.

 

The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections here for new members to the UN Human Rights Council. The 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot. Countries needed a minimum of 97 votes to get elected to the Council.

India was vying for a seat in the Asia Pacific category. Along with India, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji and Philippines had also staked a claim in the same regional group. Given that there were five nations vying for five seats in the Asia Pacific category, India’s election to the Council was all but certain.

Election of members of the Human Rights Council: India gets 188 votes, Fiji 187, Bangladesh 178, Bahrain 165, Philippines 165. (Asia Pacific group)

India’s Ambassador and representative to UN, Syed Akbaruddin‏ tweeted his happiness after the country was inducted into UNHRC. His Twitter post read, “Voting for a Happy Outcome. Thanks to the support of all our friends @UN , India wins seat to Human Rights Council with highest votes among all candidates.”


On the same day as India was elected into the UNHRC, the country celebrated its 25th anniversary of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). PM Narendra Modi marked the occasion addressing a crowd gathering at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, wherein he said, 

 

“For the last 25 years, the NHRC has been the voice for the common man of the country. It has led the way for the building of the nation by being the voice for the oppressed, poor. Your work towards justice has been recognized by international human rights institutions as well. As proud a matter as it is for India, protection of human rights has always been a part of our culture and traditions.”

The Prime Minister further stated that human rights were at the very focus of the freedom movement in the country, adding that the commitment towards human rights pulled the country out of a great crisis during the 1970’s.

“In that dark period of emergency, even the right to life was stripped; what can you say about rights? But Indians again achieved human rights through their own efforts,” Prime Minister Modi said.

READ: ”Human Rights Are An Indian Tradition” Says PM Narendra Modi

Source: https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/india-wins-election-to-un-human-rights-council

Altruistic Heart volunteers gather to mark World Soil Day 2018

 

– The Udon Thani Governor and a group of volunteers of the Altruistic Heart: We Love Doing Good campaign, gathered this week to perform good deeds in Non Sa-at District.

Udon Thani Governor Pramote Thanyaphued , said the event is dedicated to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late father of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Also attending the occasion were the chief of Non Sa-at District, civil servants, governmental unit heads, police and military officials, state enterprise representatives, village heads, local administrative employees and local residents. Some 350 volunteers cleaned the district office and trimmed the grass and bushes.

They also planted flower beds in front of the district office, tomark World Soil Day 2018 on December 5th. The date is the birthday of the late monarch who contributed enormously to soil development in Thailand and other parts of the world.

The Vice Governor of Udon Thani later visited Ban Huai Mak Lam School, met with residents of Ban Huai Mak Lam village in Chat Trakan District and inspected a royally initiated reservoir in Thom Na Ngam sub-district.

“Altruistic Heart: We Love Doing Good” is a campaign initiated by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn to promote unity among Thai people by encouraging them to do good in the society around them, without asking anything in return.

Information and Source

Reporter : Nuppol Suvansombut Rewriter : Thammarat Thadaphrom National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

 

All invited to attend prayers for Chakri Dynasty on Oct 15

All Thais are invited to attend a prayer session on Monday, October 15th at 6 pm to honor the past monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty and bless His Majesty King Rama the Tenth and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Ninth Reign.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn has graciously granted permission to transfer a revered Buddha image Phra Buddhamanee Ratana Patimakorn to the ceremonial ground where all can pay their respects. The activity is also in line with the vision of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Ninth Reign to uphold the religious codes.

His Holiness Somdej Ariya Wongsa Kotayan , the Supreme Patriarch will lead the prayer session with 207 other monks in the ceremony.

Information and Source

Reporter : Nuppol Suvansombut Rewriter : Rodney McNeil National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Buddha statue bathing ceremony in Phetchabun attracts 10,000 spectators

More than 10,000 people participated in the annual Phra Buddha Maha Dhamaracha Bathing Ceremony in Phetchabun province on Tuesday.

Petchabun Governor Mr. Suebsak Iamwicharn carried the statue into the Pasak River as part of the bathing rite which took place at Wat ChanamanTemple.

The statue, also known among the local people as Phra Buddha Maha Dhamaracha, was brought to the temple on a traditional barge with a Himavanta animal figurehead specifically designed for this year’s event.

The barge was among 24 others in the procession that traveled along the river from Wat Trai Bhumi Temple before arriving at Wat Chanaman Temple where the bathing ceremony was held. Many people on both embankments came to see the spectacle.

Phetchabun City Mayor Mr. Seksarn Niyompeng said today that the bathing ceremony is one of the biggest events that bring people from all over the country to Phetchabun. Up to 20 million baht is expected to be in circulation throughout the 10 day-event. Hotel bookings also rose by 80%.

Information and Source

Reporter : Nuppol SuvansombutRewriter : Thammarat ThadaphromNational News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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