A light-and-sound show held at River Kwai Bridge in Kanchanaburi. The second-tier province is one of five TAT is promoting as countdown venues. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is promoting second-tier provinces for 2018 countdown venues, paving the way for a new domestic tourism market campaign next year.

Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT governor, said five second-tier destinations — the provinces of Lampang, Sakon Nakhon, Rayong, Phuket and Kanchanaburi — have been selected as TAT’s Amazing Thailand Countdown venues, along with many other events run by private operators across the country.

Lampang is famous for horse-drawn carriages, which will be adorned with decorative lights for the countdown events. In the Northeast, Sakon Nakhon province has been given the theme “Cool Isan”, highlighting street performances.

The Eastern coastal province of Rayong will see decorative lights on fishing boats in the seaside town of Ban Phe.

Phuket’s historic Old Town will come alive with decorating the Sino-Portuguese buildings and a variety of activities including traditional Peranakan cultural shows and parades, a carnival, concerts and retro market fairs.

In the western region, TAT is organising the Amazing Thailand Countdown 2018 celebrations at the historic “Bridge over the River Kwai” in Kanchanaburi province.

Mr Yuthasak expects each of the five provinces to attract more than 50,000 tourists during the countdown, while total tourism revenue from the five provinces is expected to be more than 1 billion baht.

He said that during countdown, TAT predicts overall tourism expenditure will be more than 10 billion baht. It is also confident that there will be 35 million foreign visitors this year who will generate more than 2.8 trillion baht.

Mr Yuthasak said TAT plans to kick off a new domestic tourism campaign called “Grow Local Go Local” in 2018 to encourage locals and tourists to visit secondary and tertiary tourist destinations.

The tourism body will ask big companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand to host trips to alternative destinations.

TAT will also promote new destinations across the country, along with new combined routes between major cities and second-tier cities or new routes between second-tier cities.

“TAT aims to encourage 10 million people to visit second-tier destinations next year,” Mr Yuthasak said.

TAT will also organise countdown events with private companies.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, executive vice-president of marketing for Central Pattana Plc said that it will join with TAT and entities such as the Royal Thai Police, Advanced Info Services, Chang International, Seiko Thailand, Singha Corporation, Master Card Thailand Co, Plan B Media, GMM Grammy, the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association, Index Creative Village and Channel 3 to organise “AIS Bangkok Countdown 2018 @CentralWorld”.

He said 12 CPN shopping centres nationwide will organise New Year Countdown events.

“One highlight will be the size of the stage at CentralWorld, which will run to 80 metres in length allowing a bigger concert,” Mr Nattakit said.

Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) predicts that 17,570 flights will be operated at its six international airports from Dec 28 to Jan 3, a 5.8% increase year on year.

AoT expects that 2.92 million passengers will travel during the period, 6.6% more than in the corresponding period last year.

News Reporter

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