Srettha: Now he knows why Taylor Swift skips Thailand
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Srettha: Now he knows why Taylor Swift skips Thailand

PM vows to make country regional hub for concerts

Srettha: Now he knows why Taylor Swift skips Thailand
American singer and songwriter Taylor Swift performs at her concert for the international "The Eras Tour" in Tokyo on Feb 7, 2024. (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has pledged to bring superstar concerts to Thailand after learning why popular artists like American pop megastar Taylor Swift did not put Thailand on their world tour itinerary.

Mr Srettha, also the finance minister, used iBusiness Forum 2004 on Friday to share insights from a conversation with global concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) that fuelled his determination to transform Thailand into a show hub in Southeast Asia.

The former property tycoon turned prime minister said he had long been wondering why Taylor Swift had not performed in Thailand and AEG helped him shed light on this mystery.

According to Mr Srettha, AEG informed him that the Singapore government financially supported Taylor Swift's concerts, offering US$2 million to 3 million per show in exchange for exclusivity in Southeast Asia.

"If I had known this, I would have brought the shows to Thailand," he said in a keynote speech at the forum, held at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) in Bangkok. "Concerts can generate added value for the economy."

The prime minister said financial support was worth spending on superstars' concerts as they will draw foreign concertgoers to the country to splash cash in businesses from "hotels to tourism activities and barbeque pork roadside stalls."

He told the forum that he invited AEG executives for talks at Government House on Monday (Feb 12). During the meeting, he assured the government's readiness to provide tax incentives and other attractive measures to attract mega concerts and world-class festivals to Thailand.

iBusiness Forum 2024 is held under the theme "Reshaping Thailand for a Sustainable Future."

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin delivers a keynote speech at iBusiness Forum 2024 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center on Friday. (Photo: Government House)

Taylor Swift will perform six shows of the Eras Tour at 55,000-seat National Stadium in Singapore from March 2-9, with a two-day in-between break on March 5-6. Singapore is the only stop in Southeast Asia for the world's most popular singer-songwriter. Many Thais will fly to Singapore for the concerts.

Back in 2014, Taylor Swift had planned a show of the Red Tour at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani on June 9 but she later cancelled the sold-out concert in Thailand. She did not give reasons for the decision to scrap the event amid speculation about security concern. The announcement came after the May 22, 2014 coup orchestrated by then-army chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who later rose to power as prime minister.

"I'm sending my love to the fans in Thailand. I'm so sad about the concert being canceled," she tweeted at the time.

In July last year, Pita Limjaroenrat of the Move Forward Party invited Taylor Swift, who is Time's person of the year, to add Thailand to her Eras Tour itinerary after having cancelled a planned performance in 2014 shortly after the military coup.

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