Gift for Hollywood actor Crowe's PR

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome meets Russell Crowe yesterday to show appreciation for his goodwill. (Australian embassy photo)

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome met Russell Crowe on Sunday to express the government's appreciation for the goodwill the Hollywood actor has shown during his visit to the kingdom.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the minister met Crowe, 57, on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's behalf at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok on Sunday. Crowe was accompanied by Australian ambassador to Thailand Allan McKinnon.

Mr Itthiphol presented a gift and a bouquet of flowers to the Hollywood actor and thanked him for conveying his appreciation of Thailand, Thai people and the Phuket sandbox tourism programme.

Crowe has also related his experience and posted images, video clips and messages on social media of various attractions he has visited. Crowe's posts on Twitter showing him and his crew travelling in Phuket and Bangkok have created much-needed buzz ahead of Thailand's reopening to foreign visitors on Nov 1, the government says.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier spoke of his appreciation after being informed about the Academy Award winner's tweet, prompting the premier to thank everyone involved in Phuket's sandbox reopening model. Crowe is shooting a movie called The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a drama directed by Peter Farrelly. He posted pictures of tourist attractions in Phuket, including the 25.45-metre tall, seated Buddha statue at the Big Buddha Temple.

He also posted pictures of himself and his group biking in Bangkok's Thon Buri district, including Wat Kanlayanamit Woraviharn on Arun Amarin Road.

Crowe tweeted to his 2.7 million followers that he had never visited Thailand, although he had transited in Bangkok six times. "The Thai govt has this very cool thing in place. It's called Sandbox Quarantine. If you are fully vaccinated you can fly to Phuket and move around the island freely," Crowe tweeted.

On Sunday, Crowe told the minister he had deep admiration for Thailand, especially the people's hospitality, said Mr Thanakorn. The actor also suggested more signs pointing to tourism attractions be written in English. Crowe said he has yet to understand the subtlety of common Thai phrases and words including khob khun mak (thank you very much).

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