Iconsiam, TAT ready countdown spectacle

Iconsiam, TAT ready countdown spectacle

Event expected to lure 300,000 tourists

Fireworks lit up the Chao Phraya River in front of Iconsiam last New Year's Eve. PATIPAT JANTHONG
Fireworks lit up the Chao Phraya River in front of Iconsiam last New Year's Eve. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Iconsiam has joined the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in organising "Amazing Thailand Countdown 2020" under the theme "Seven Wonders of Blessings" on Dec 31.

The event is expected to attract 300,000 tourists and generate 500 million baht, said Supoj Chaiwatsirikul, managing director of Iconsiam. The mall wants to become a global countdown destination, he said.

The retailer held a successful event last year to help stimulate tourism along the Chao Phraya River.

The highlight of the year-end celebration is an eco-friendly sticky rice fireworks display stretching along the river for 1.4 kilometres.

Some 1 million viewers are expected to crowd the 2km area along the riverbank to witness the fireworks, including at Chaloem Phrakiat Park, Sathon pier, Wat Suwan pier, Klong San pier, Holy Rosary Church, Charoenkrung Creative District, Lhong 1919, Asiatique The Riverfront and various hotels.

During the countdown event, Chao Phraya Express Boat will extend its service hours at Sathon pier to 2am the next morning.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said Thailand expects to generate 1 billion baht in tourism receipts from both international and domestic visitors during the last week of 2019, after the government approved Dec 30 as an additional holiday, creating a five-day holiday weekend.

He predicted Thais would increase tourism spending during this time of year.

Thailand's New Year's countdown events at several venues in the capital and in other major cities have become popular among tourists.

Bangkok recently was listed as one of 10 great places to spend New Year's Eve by CNN Travel, offering popular gathering spots to celebrate festive occasions such as CentralWorld, which is considered Bangkok's version of Times Square, as well as peaceful places at a host of temples like Wat Pho.

Mr Yuthasak said the TAT also plans to host countdown events in second-tier provinces, namely Sukhothai, Phatthalung, Lop Buri, Kalasin, Sa Kaeo and Ratchaburi, aiming to disperse the flow of tourists heading to emerging destinations for the holidays.

"In December 2018, foreign visitors to Thailand totalled 3.9 million," he said. "This year we expect to reach 4 million."

As of Nov 15, 33 million international arrivals had visited the country, up 2% year-on-year. The TAT estimates total foreign arrivals to reach its goal of 39.8 million this year, thanks to several celebrations.

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