Thailand to Promote Romantic Cultural Festival to Middle East

Published October 15th, 2009 - 11:26 GMT

 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the
annual Loi Krathong Sai Festival, which takes place annually throughout
Thailand, as one of four major cultural festivals to be specifically promoted to
residents of Gulf and Middle Eastern countries. The promotions are part of a
comprehensive "7 Wonders of Thailand" campaign which will include highlighting
the four major festivals of Loi Krathong (November), Songkran (April), Thailand
Grand Sale (June- August) and the Chiang Mai Flower Festival (February).
Additionally, music festivals such as the Hua Hin Jazz Festival (June) and the
Pattaya International Music Festival (March) are also to be promoted within the
Middle East as major Thai attractions.

The Loi Krathong Sai Festival, which is set to take place from 1st- 2nd November
2009 with the first full moon of November throughout Thailand, is held in the
evenings and centers around elaborately candle-lit flower and banana leaf
offerings into Thailand's many ponds, rivers, lakes, the ocean and the sky
symbolizing the drifting away of ill fortune. The festival, also known as Thai
Valentine's Day, has proven extremely popular with foreign visitors over the
years, especially among honeymooners and couples, due to the "romantic" ambience
of the festivities, and as a private symbol of "commitment" between couples that
no "ill fortune" will come between them.

To coincide with the celebrations, the Tourism Authority of Thailand will
conduct a "Thailand Through the Lense" competition, whereby visitors are
encouraged to capture the special images of the Loi Krathong Festival and send
them to the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the chance to win fabulous prizes.

Says Mr. Pramoth Supyen, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Dubai
and Middle East Office; "The Loi Krathong Festival is an old annual event dearly
loved by all Thais and to be enjoyed by couples and families alike. Its beauty
and magical atmosphere is something we especially would like to share with our
Middle Eastern friends who have recently been visiting Thailand in increasing
numbers. By promoting this festival through a specially dedicated website, we
would like to provide those who are yet to visit Thailand a further incentive to
visit us with their partner or family. For those who have visited us before but
not experienced the Loi Krathong Sai Festival, we encourage them to visit again
as this festival is sure to provide all with truly memorable and heart-felt
experiences to last a lifetime. No one can witness this magical event and not be
moved by it, hence its popularity with couples."

The festival name originates from "Loi" meaning "to float" and "Krathong" which
is the name of a small raft about a hand-span in diameter traditionally made
from a section of banana tree trunk decorated with elaborately-folded banana
leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks. During the festival thousands of
people, especially couples converge at rivers, lakes and ponds under the
moonlight to float the small lotus-shaped offerings.

Even though the main days of the festival are 1st- 2nd November, the festivities
spill into the rest of the month and include other activities such as
processions, concerts, cultural performances, craft fairs, spectacular fireworks
displays, light and sound presentations, marine sport competitions and
traditional beauty queen pageants. As a major festival held throughout the
kingdom, the Loi Krathong Festival has been officially designated as the 7th
Wonder of the 7 Amazing Wonders of Thailand.

Different regions in the North, South, Central, East and North East each observe
the festivities in their own unique ways, providing localized twists, such as in
Chiang Mai in the North, which is renowned for its candle-lit offerings that are
actually launched and float up into the night sky.

Details of all the major events, festival practices, images, specially created
theme song video and even the opportunity to create one's own on-line
"krathong" can be accessed at the specially designated Loi Krathong Sai Festival

Says Mr. Pramoth Supyen; "For a taste of the romance of the festival I encourage
all to access the Loi Krathong Sai Festival website. With just one look at the
website I'm sure most will be captivated. But the real magic can only be felt by
visiting Thailand and actually experiencing it with those dear to you."

The Middle East continues to become an increasingly important source market for
Thailand inbound tourism.  Through the extra marketing efforts of Thailand's
festivals, value for money experiences and varied attractions within the Middle
East, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is targeting an increase in the number
of individuals, groups and families from the region to visit Thailand in 2009
compared to 2008.

Thailand continues to provide quality experiences for travelers from around the
world and was recently judged in 2008 by the Country Branding Index (CBI), which
examines how countries are branded and ranked according to key criteria, as
Number 1 in the world for "Value for Money", Number 3 for both "Authenticity"
and "Friendly Locals", and Number 4 for "Nightlife" and "Shopping".

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