HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

ATF2011 closed on January 21 for another year

Chinese New Year around Thailand

Mae Hong Son wedding fair in February

TAT announces Amazing Thailand Roadshow


ATF2011 closed on January 21 for another year

By Reinhard Hohler

According to media sources in PHNOM PENH, the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism Forum (ATF2011) concluded on Friday evening with a closer co-operation among ASEAN countries and its dialogue partners, said Cambodian Tourism Minister Dr. Thong Khon at the closing ceremony in Phnom Penh.

"Our great achievement made in the forum this year is the adoption of the ASEAN tourism strategic plan for 2011-2015 aimed to turn ASEAN into a world class tourist destination by 2015," he told to more than 400 participants.

"Besides this, I hope that buyers and sellers have met their business partners for future co-operation," he said, adding that the forum also created a closer environment of co-operation among ASEAN countries and ASEAN with their dialogue partners including China, Japan, South Korea, India and Russia.

The 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum had kicked off on January 15 at the brand-new Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra. During the event, there had been a series of meetings of ASEAN National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), ASEAN tourism ministers + 3 (China, Japan and South Korea) and ASEAN tourism ministers plus India and Russia.

Also, there was the ASEAN Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) at Koh Pich with the participation of up to 1,000 sellers with 512 booths from hotels, airline companies, tour operators and travel agencies in ASEAN countries and some 466 buyers from ASEAN, Asia, Europe and the United States of America.

The 31st ATF will be held in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia in January 2012. ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.


Chinese New Year around Thailand

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will inaugurate the Chinatown Festival and Bangkok Chinese New Year Celebrations on February 3, 2011, at 16.00 hrs, at Chinatown, Yaowarat Road in Bangkok.

The official inauguration will be the highlight of a range of lively and colourful Chinese New Year festival activities being organised this year by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with the Chinese Government, various Thai-Chinese associations, government agencies, and private companies. The events will run during February 1 - 9, 2011, in Bangkok and nine provinces nationwide.

This year’s festivities will be extra special because they will commemorate His Majesty the King’s 84th birthday and 36th Anniversary of the Sino-Thai diplomatic relationship. They will showcase the best of Chinese culture and traditions in Thailand and also boost tourism.

TAT Governor Mr Suraphon Svetasreni said, “Chinese New Year is one of the main festivals in Thailand. TAT and related agencies have worked hard to create a schedule of events that everyone will enjoy, both local people and international visitors.

“For this year, we are expecting over 500,000 people to join these special events, including visitors from China, Asia, and Europe. It is also expected that this event will generate 550 million Baht in expenditure,” added the Governor.

Not only does Thailand have deep and historic social, cultural, business, and economic links with China but the People’s Republic is also one of the largest generators of foreign visitors to the country. In 2010, Chinese visitors totalled 1.12 million, up 45% over 2009. Thailand also received 321,120 visitors from Hong Kong (+0.7%), 385,689 visitors from Taiwan (+6.3%) and 579,105 visitors from Singapore (+2.7%).

Bangkok:- Chinese New Year 2011 formal ceremonies with speeches by the Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand and Minister of Culture of the People's Republic of China, and a cultural performance from China on February 3, 2011, at 13.00 hrs, CentralWorld shopping complex. Participants and visitors will enjoy dragon dances, fireworks, and demonstration of auspicious foods, local Chinese food, and products.

The 36th Anniversary of the Sino-Thai diplomatic relationship cultural performance daily between February 8 - 11, 2011, at the National Theatre. The performance will feature more than 200 people from 56 Chinese ethnic groups.

Nakhon Sawan: “Amazing Nakhon Sawan Chinese New Year, Celebrate H.M. the King’s 84th Birthday”, 27 January – 7 February 2011. The activities will highlight Chinese culture from various parts of Nakhon Sawan like writing auspicious Chinese characters, fortune tellers, and Chinese food festival.

Nakhon Ratchasima: “Chinese New Year Korat 54 “Amazing Shanghai”, February 3 - 5, 2011, at the Thao Suranaree Monument courtyard and memorial park. The activities will highlight the decoration of Chumphol Road to make it look the same as Shanghai city, golden lion parade, Chinese food, souvenir shops, ‘Ung-Pao’ (money-envelopes), and lucky draws.

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya: “5th Chinese New Year Celebration 2011 in the Ancient City, Ayutthaya”, February 4 - 8, 2011, 17.00-23.00 hrs, in front of Chao Prom Market, Naresuan Road and in front of the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Municipal Office. The activities include the opening ceremony, the contest of Miss Chinese New Year and kids and Chinese costume.

Suphan Buri: “Chinese New Year in Suphan Buri, Amazing 3 years of the Dragon Descendants Museum”, February 3 - 7, 2011, at the Descendants Dragon Museum. Activities include the opening ceremony, fireworks, performances of folk music, and Chinese dance.

Ratchaburi: “Ratchaburi China Town 2011”, February 2 – 6, 2011 at the Ratchaburi National Museum. Activities include the Ratchaburi China Town parade, water curtain show, fireworks, light and sound show, Mister and Miss Chinese New Year contest.

Phuket: “Chinese New Year Festival – Back to the Past of Phuket Town”, February 8 - 10, 2011, at the Chalermprakiat Park and Thalang Road. Activities will highlight the lifestyle of the Phuket people in the old days, local people wearing traditional Phuket apparel, the show from Suining city of the People Republic of China, signing the MOU for Twin cities between Suining city and Phuket.

Chiang Mai: “China Town in Chiang Mai”, February 4 - 6, 2011, 09.00-24.00 hrs at Trok Lao Cho. The outstanding activities will be the exhibition of the giant oranges basket, Kung Fu from Guangxi, fire dragon show and lion dance.

Chonburi (Pattaya): “Chinese New Year Festival in Pattaya City”, February 3 - 5, 2011, Pho Na Klue Courtyard, Banglamung district. For further information on activities, please contact the TAT Pattaya Office, Tel: 038-427667, 038-428750.

Songkhla (Hat Yai): “Chinese New Year Festival in Hat Yai”, February 2011 at Srinakorn School courtyard. For further information on activities, please contact the TAT Hat Yai office, Tel: 074-231055, 074-238518. (TAT)

Mae Hong Son wedding fair in February

Mae Hong Son will be the site of the 3rd wedding fair hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The Pai Rak Sud Khob Fah, or Season of Love, will be held in Pai in time for Valentine’s Day, February 13-15, 2011.

Couples and tourists are invited to attend the wedding fair, particularly those who are interested in getting married. The event charges 20,000 baht per couple for a wedding ceremony and party.

The beautiful and unique identity of Pai, with its mountain views, cool breezes and interesting local culture offers a romantic atmosphere and attracts tourists from all over.

“Pai is an ideal place for those who want to visit and get in touch with rural ways of life in the remote areas. Each year, tourists visit Pai in large amounts,” said Anant Sridaeng, Deputy Director of TAT Mae Hong Son.

He added that Pai is popular with tourists who wish to get in touch with natural and cultural beauty and is a romantic place for couples.

The wedding activities include merit making, a Chinese meal, dressing in Thai Yai local costumes, and a wrist- tie ceremony to bring good fortune, a grand wedding parade, wedding registration, followed by bamboo rafting along the Pai River, and tree planting, with evening entertainment and more.

For more information, contact  Ban Kung Kaeng The Pai, 053064450, 0869923896, Mantis Resort  053064456, Belle Villa  053 698226 - 7, Pai Wiman Resort 053699403, Ban Ban Thai Resort 053699970 – 2  and TAT Mae Hong Son Office  Tel.  053612982-3.

TAT announces Amazing Thailand Roadshow

The TAT announced that they are taking applications for their upcoming Amazing Thailand roadshow to the United States and Canada. Travelling to San Francisco on Tuesday, April 26, then Houston on April 28, Chicago May 2, Toronto on May 4, Washington D.C. on May 5 and ending in New York on May 9. Costs will be borne by participants although United is offering a special discounted fare for participants but they must make their reservation directly with the airline.

The TAT will issue a letter to the US Embassy and Canadian Embassy in Bangkok to facilitate visa application for 2 participants per company. While participation is free of charge (Maximum 2 participants per company), a deposit of 10,000 Baht is required to guarantee a seat and will be refunded after the Road Show. Deposit will not be refunded under any circumstances related to all kinds of cancellations.

Applications are due February 11 and interested companies should contact Ms. Phantajit Promkutkaew or Mr. Sipoom Nakchadtree of the Americas Market Division. 0 2250 5500 ext. 1295-97. Fax. 0 2250 5696, 0 2652 8282. [email protected] / [email protected]