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

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

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

Bangkok maintains position as top international destination

BANGKOK, 30th September 2018 (NNT) – For the fifth time, Mastercard has named Thailand the most popular international destination in the world.

Government Spokesperson Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on the weekend that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha was pleased to hear that Thailand had been voted the world’s best destination for the third consecutive time this year and five times in the past six years.

According to Mastercard’s report known as Global Destinations Cities Index, Thailand in 2017 was visited by 20 million overnight visitors. The average length of stay was 4.7 nights. Each foreign visitor spent 5,500 baht per day.

The cities of Phuket and Pattaya were voted 12th and 18th best respectively.

Thailand was the only country to have three cities in the top 20, which reflected the country’s well developed infrastructure, the quality of hospitality services, and affordability.

Mastercard examined 162 cities worldwide to come up with its Global Destinations Cities Index. The ranking is based on the number of visitors, the amount of money they spent, and the average length of stay in 2017.

By Mastercard’s assessment, Bangkok is more affordable than Paris, Singapore or Seoul.

 

Information and Source

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

Herb and Food fair to take place at the end of the month

Three Thai government ministries are to hold a herb and food fair, titled “Eat to a New Age… Eat Confidently with Sustainable Farming”.

The Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Ministry of the Interior have announced that this, their third Herb and Food Fair, will take place at the end of the month.

The event will feature safely prepared food and rare varieties of herbs, with highlights including fusion cuisine and dishes resulting from research. All ingredients used will be from sustainable farming and will feature herbs long used in Thailand for health purposes. One workshop will be on the use of herbs for anti-aging, and participants can also take part in over 50 short courses on herbal treatments.

Up to 300 herb plants will be handed out each day along with 200 books on herbs. The aim of the fair is to have citizens use safe food and herbs to improve their health. It will run from August 29 to September 2 at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

Information and Source
Reporter : Itiporn Lakarnchua Rewriter : Itiporn Lakarnchua National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

Mekong River rising again in Nong Khai province

The Mekong River at Nong Khai has begun to rise once again following rain and excess water drainage via tributaries in the province to protect farmland.

Rainfall in Lao PDR north of Nong Khai has raised the Mekong River as measured by the province’s Department of Water Resources office, by four centimeters to 9.46 meters. The river is continuing to rise due to inflows from Loei province. Water inflow from Loei’s Chiang Kan district is expected to swell the Mekong over the next 18-20 hours.

Drainage of waterways flowing into the Mekong River, has however benefitted farmland and allowed 10 small water pumps to stop operation, leaving only four large pumps still operating. Drainage from streams in Nong Khai into the Mekong has been increased to 100 percent in anticipation of more rain.

In the south, the Songkla Fishing Association has issued a warning to fishing boats operating in the Gulf of Thailand to be wary of strong winds and waves. They have been urged to move further south towards Nakhon Si Thammarat to avoid being impacted by tropical storm Bebinca. Boat operators have also been encouraged to closely follow weather forecasts and to stay close to shore so they may escape harsh weather.

Information and Source

Reporter : Itiporn  LakarnchuaRewriter : Itiporn  LakarnchuaNational News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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