The Thai government is confident its pavilion at the Yeosu International Exposition 2012 will persuade more South Koreans to visit Thailand.
Live performances of ‘Phra Aphai Mani and the Mermaid’ can be seen at the Thailand Pavilion at the ongoing Yeosu International Expo 2012.
The Marine and Coastal Resources Department has joined more than 100 countries and international organisations to present exhibitions at the event, which is being held in the port city of Yeosu, South Korea, from May 12 to August 12.
The theme of the expo, "The Living Ocean and Coast", is aimed at promoting conservation of marine sources worldwide.
Officials believe the Thailand Pavilion's impressive design and content will see 900,000 visitors over the three-month period or 10% of the expected 9 million attending the event from start to finish.
Bamroongsak Chatananthawej, a director of the Thailand Pavilion, said more than 1 million South Koreans visit Thailand each year.
He believes the pavilion's showcasing of the country's beautiful and extensive seaside and efforts at marine conservation will bring in even more foreign tourists.
Kasikorn Research Center expects 1.22 million South Korean visitors in Thailand this year, a 20% increase over last year.
The study shows most of the arrivals will come here on business, but 35% will do so for pleasure, travelling to tourist destinations including Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui.
Sumana Kajonwattanakul, another director, said the pavilion's theme of "Colors of Diversity: Capacity of Thailand" is presented in an area measuring 560 square metres.
"Visitors can observe the growing awareness among Thais of the need to protect our seas, as doing so will attract more foreign visitors," said Ms Sumana.
After playing host to one-third of the total 35,660 visitors on the first day, the two officials are confident the Thailand Pavilion will be among the top five sites during the three-month run.
Kriengkrai Kanjanapokin, a co-chief executive of Index Creative Village, which won the bidding from the department to manage the exhibition, said apart from professional management and strong creativity, word-of-mouth is also crucial.
He said his company finished the pavilion two weeks ahead of schedule, making it one of the few ready for the soft opening.
"The Thailand brand is not as strong as big exhibitors such as Japan, the US and China, so we need effective tactics to attract visitors," said Mr Kriengkrai.
He said the giant demon guardian Maiyarap stands sentinel at the pavilion's entrance, while performances of Thai martial arts, "Phra Aphai Mani and the Mermaid", "The Joyful Harvest", "Khon: the Battle of Maiyarap" and "Romance of the Ocean" are performed live in front of the entrance.
More performances will be organised over the course of the exhibition to sustain the pavilion's popularity including celebrations of the Thai festivals Loy Krathong and Songkran.
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- Writer: Walailak Keeratipipatpong